I Need Help Please

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by ineedhelp, May 4, 2011.

  1. ineedhelp

    ineedhelp New Friend

    Apr 30, 2011
    Ok, first off I want to say i've been playing trumpet for 4 years. The problem I'm having is that whenever I play relatively high(an E in staff) w/o much pressure (I personally think I use ALOT to play) I get a growl from my throat (like in my throat) and it hurts. It only happens when I try using Air to play trumpet. It only happens when I DON'T use pressure, and TRY using air. Any Ideas on what it is, and how i could possible fix this? (If you need to know, my bottom lip sometimes goes inside my mouth while playing, and my highest possible note would be a B flat above staff. Lastly, People tell me I tense up sometimes when I play, but I don't feel like I'm tense.) Please Help me,:-( Thank you.
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    you are not alone. Wht you describe is the product of unmonitored playing. Any teacher paying attention picks up on this quickly and slows you down!

    Yes, it is tension and can be so much, that internet analysis probably only will make you aware of how much is going wrong.

    How do I fix this in lessons? By teaching the student how to breathe. I teach the circle of breath. Put the horn down. Inhale slowly, then exhale slowly. Make sure when you change from in- to exhale, that there is no tension in your throat - only air moving in one direction than the other. We visualize this with a BIG circle. The left side going up is INHALE, the right side going DOWN is exhale. At the top of a circle where we change directions, there is no bump, no corner, only a smooth and infinitely small point where we change directions. At the bottom, the same. Just practice breathing like this. DO NOT PUSH THE AIR OUT FORCEFULLY. Stay open and just let it flow.

    Once you can breathe this way (can take 30 minutes to an hour before it really is BIG and relaxed). replace exhale with play. No tonguing to get the tone started, no breath ATTACK - just EXHALE through the lips and take what you get.

    We are creatures of habit. You need to break bad habits and learn new ones. Thousands of repetitions secure this vital aspect of playing.

    When playing this way, a good teacher can demonstrate how messed up a students breathing and body use really is. I am sure that you are inhaling with tension, probably holding the air in by closing the vocal chords, then forcing your air out, pounding your way out with heavy tonguing. Your upper body is most likely not relaxed and if someone listens carefully, you probably grunt while playing.

    A good teacher that understands body use is the easiest way. If you have never really experienced something, it is hard to find it - you don't know what you are looking for. I am constantly reminded here at Trumpetmaster that DIY can also be successful, I have experienced very few fine players that have not had decent guidance at some part of their playing career.

    Yoga can also help, if the instructor is also tuned into reducing body tension.
    Last edited: May 5, 2011
  3. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    they always told me in school - to relax and "open" my throat. But it was never easy to "just do that". Years later, though, and stuff like if you follow the above rowuk's advice - and the 1000's of repetitions.

    I don't think you can correct this - overnight -- but I do say -- you can "learn" to correct it, and you will be amazed, excited, and grateful that when you succeed -then you know that you endured this little test of the demands of the trumpet --- AND you mastered it!!!!!!
  4. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    While sitting lean slightly forward in your chair while keeping your head level. This opens the throat / airway naturally (observe EMT mouth to mouth resucitation and instruction to tilt head back to open airway). This is what cured the same problem for me. I've observed the problem is more prevalent among "downstream" players. Set your thought for your music to fill the room all the way to the ceiling ... and it often does.

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