I have to start all over again.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by thaibo93, Dec 20, 2009.

  1. thaibo93

    thaibo93 New Friend

    Oct 5, 2009
    After I "tested off" by playing a trumpet concerto, my high school band conductor decided to move me down four chairs because I use too much pressure when I play. This really well...it sucked. I have been playing trumpet for 4 years now and I was looking forward to growing into a lead trumpet that can scream and all of that. This is a BIG step backwards for me. I was second chair playing 1st trumpet music but now I am currently playing 3rd trumpet music.

    I had a personal talk with the conductor, and he told me to just work with the mouthpiece for the rest of this winter break. He also told me that in order to get better, I would have to drastically change my embouchure in order to get rid of my reliance on pressure and grow as a trumpeter. He says that he notices that I fatigue very easily and the only way to fix it is to take time to learn how to play without pressure. That being said, he also wants me to challenge up in trumpet chairs early to redeem my position.

    As much as I hate being a third trumpet, I don't know if challenging up when i'm JUST relearning how to play the trumpet again is a good idea. I need to get used to playing with no pressure and challenging up would just increase the stress. How long should I wait to challenge up chairs?

    Also, I would really appreciate some advice in learning how to rely less on pressure and how to get my range back. This is really frustrating and I want to get out of this "hole" as quick as I can.
  2. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    Find a good experienced trumpet teacher and take some lessons. This is the only way to really develop your embouchure properly. It's way too easy to get into bad habits (excessive pressure) that will hold you back. You need to be in it for the long term. Just saying to use less pressure is not the answer to your problem. You are not doing some things that are making you use too much pressure. In order to help you a teacher needs to see and hear you play.
  3. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    As a recent comeback player, I am in pretty much the same situation that you are in - only I'm 50 years further down the road. So, I do not have very much in the way of expert advise on this, but rather maybe some sympathy and a bit of perspective.

    First, you are not really starting over. Trumpet playing consists of many different physical and mental components of which lip pressure for high notes is only one. You still have the ability to read music and hear the pitch and play musically and the finger dexterity for fast runs and passages, and the sense of rhythm/timing, your breathing techniques, and many other positive skills (I assume). If this is the case, then the only thing keeping you from challenging back up is your lip pressure. There are many threads here related to that issue. I will not take the time to review all of the tips for developing range but basically the idea is to develop the foundation in sort of a counter-intuitive way. That is, instead of constantly practicing high notes - and thus reinforcing the bad technique - you practice long, slow, soft, low tones and then build from there. There are some here who recommend starting with a several week period when you play nothing above pp level and I assume that also means do not play any note that requires excessive lip pressure. Then watch to see if the top note that you can play starts to increase. Just what constitutes "excessive" may be a matter of opinion so you will need to ask your band director where that level is since he is the one who determined that you are using excessive pressure. A serious discussion about that will show that you really want to do the right thing and apparently you are good enough in everything else so it should not be difficult to work your way back to playing 1st trumpet parts again.

    Good luck.
  4. ChaseFan

    ChaseFan Banned

    Mar 25, 2008
    It is really for your own good.

    The great Bill Chase used to use too much mouthpiece pressure and he developed bad embouchure problems.

    After a decade of professional lead playing Chase went to the great Armando Ghitalla who taught him to use much less mouthpiece pressure.

    Less mouthpiece pressure allows the embouchure to form a better shape and it allows the embouchure muscles to strengthen properly.

    You will be a better player with greater endurance and greater range after you have made the adjustment and strengthened the embouchure.

    Hold the trumpet gently.
    Don't use the pinky ring.
    Play softly.
    Use just enough mouthpiece pressure to get a good air seal with acceptable tone.
    Soft long tones.
    The pencil trick.

    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
  5. ltg_trumpet

    ltg_trumpet Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 21, 2009
    hmm... overhauls like this seem more and more common. you do what works for you. the horn fits your face the way it should. if you can play alright, good. you dont need an "embouchre switch". less pressure is gained through practice and devotion to your horn. If you are passionate about your instrument, make the investment of getting a good private lessons teacher. it will make a world of a difference, and it will save you alot of trouble.
  6. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    I could not agree more with Bob Grier and ITG Trumpet. Get a good private teacher and do waht they tell you.
  7. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    Mouthpiece pressure can often can sometimes be a crutch to make up for poor breathing, body tension or other disfunctions. Just pushing less may or may not fix those problems. You need to see an experiences trumpet teacher, which may or may not be your band director.
  8. thaibo93

    thaibo93 New Friend

    Oct 5, 2009
    Well I DO have a private teacher. I've had him for the past half a year and he's been actually doing wonders for me. He just attributed by fatigue issues to the SIZE of my mouthpiece. Apparently I have big lips, :-). He thinks i need a 1C or a mariachi mouthpiece.

    Anyways, he's been teaching me more about the music theory. He has been teaching about trumpet mechanics, but it been more about hand placement and breathing excercises. He had talked about pressure once, but he's never said that I've had a pressure problem. He's also been pushing my range more and more each day, so that might have influenced me to rely on pressure. But so far, it seems like he hasn't noticed my pressure problem.

    I haven't yet talked to my private teacher about my director's decision, partly because of the fact that we were going to decide to stop lessons with him. If I had this problem all along, then why hasn't he been helping me fix it? It seems by your comments that I NEED him to get through this problem. I just fear that he will continue to try to push my range which would cause my pressure problems to get even worse.
  9. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    Is your private teacher a trumpet player? or a Music teacher?
    In any case you can always ask him to speak with your Band Director to discuss your issues. Just chasing range is not a smart idea, nor good teaching. And you have already acknowledged that mpc pressure reduces your endurance.

    I think you have a smart Band Director, a lot would go for a high note screamer for the Band at the expense of the player. Take the time to examine your technique and sort it out. AND there is no such thing as No Pressure on the high notes, there is a need for some extra pressure to seal the embouchure.
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I read this as MAJOR BS. No teacher moves a player down only because of pressure. Most all kids use pressure because it works - for a while. You get moved down because of your playing or personality. Instead of whining about symptoms, face the truth - then you have the basis to get better! Instead of "blaming" pressure, accept the fact that you have not been keeping a solid routine and that YOU need to do something about that. 1st to 3rd is a pretty big move. You must have REALLY screwed up. It wasn't pressure, it was probably LAZY.

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