I need help.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by MinorMuse, May 12, 2014.

  1. MinorMuse

    MinorMuse New Friend

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    Mar 6, 2014
    North Carolina
    I don't seem to be getting any better playing-wise, only worse.

    I'm a sophomore going on junior year soon. I started playing in 7th grade. Next year, I will be trumpet section leader in my high school's marching band, and hopefully high brass captain. The thing is, I'm not that good. I've exceeded my current section leader but I can't progress. I have my Arbans and Clarke books that I play daily. I warm up and warm down after each concert band rehearsal and personal practice. I play over the weekends. I study music theory. I learn from what professional wind players shine on me. I love trumpet. I do everything I can but I can't: play effectively above high A, can't single tongue faster than eighth notes at 150bpm, and I can't double tongue more than 2 notes at once (and only on one pitch). I have a ton of those "I can'ts" because I physically can't get to that point. Is there something I can do to fix this rut?
     
  2. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    We all went through various plateaux when we first learnt. Or at least, I did. What does your tutor say about these problems?
     
  3. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    One thing you haven't addressed is how softly you can play. Spend a week or so practicing ppp and see if that doesn't help your range.

    As for tonguing, be sure to relax your tongue. That should help speed it up, and the rest of multiple tonguing is just coordination.
     
  4. MinorMuse

    MinorMuse New Friend

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    Mar 6, 2014
    North Carolina
    My softness can get at most pp when my chops are fresh.

    My band director tells me I just need to push through the roadblock and practice, try to get a private teacher (which I'm struggling to do financially.)
     
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Your problem is not unique and the solution isn't unique either. Marching band will severely limit your ability to get better in a controlled way.

    The problem is that you have achieved a degree of proficiency and now slowing down so much that you can fix your lame tongue, breathing and chops just doesn't seem to be an option. It isn't so much the private teacher as your ability to spend hours on just improving breathing (google my "Circle of Breath"), putting up with some really crappy sound until you get your double and triple tongue sorted out, and then enough long tones and lip slurs to get the pressure off of your face allowing you to play high notes. We are creatures of habit. Thousands of repetitions are required to develop proper playing habits.

    Instead marching band will have you applying MORE pressure, beating your face up and not being completely relaxed to get your breathing together as well as little opportunity to improve articulation. There is NOTHING that anyone can really do considering this reality and to be honest, it does not get easier when you are older.

    I would not even take you as a student unless I knew that I had 6-9 months of complete control of your playing - EVERYTHING. Marching band would be immediately eliminated for at least the time mentioned. By then you would probably be well on your way to much better musically and technically but perhaps out of the school band loop and at odds with your peers. Life is unfair sometimes. Any teacher that tries to work around the schedule that you have mentioned has the odds against them big time. Granted, I have never seen or heard you play, but your descriptions more than ring a bell.
     
  6. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

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    Apr 5, 2011
    Hi MM,
    You stated:
    "I love trumpet. I do everything I can but I can't: play effectively above high A, can't single tongue faster than eighth notes at 150bpm, and I can't double tongue more than 2 notes at once (and only on one pitch). I have a ton of those "I can'ts" because I physically can't get to that point. Is there something I can do to fix this rut?"
    -----
    All the king's horses and all the king's men, can't make you a better trumpet player if your technique sucks. Rowuk mentioned concerns about marching Band and for the most part, I'd agree with him but in my case, my abilities (due to my private instructor hammering the basics in my head) marching band, concert band and jazz ensemble were seemless.
    Here are some documents that you can print out for free but here's the thing, "YOU" must do what the documents say and not improvise on the instructions.
    They are:
    *The Circle of Breath (Don't take this lightly. Air usage is the major issue when people can't figure out what they are doing wrong)
    *The Basics Sheet (Be sure to use a mirror)
    * Ray of Power (This will help you find where the power comes from to play)
    ---
    Next, you sound like you're pretty good and lack competition. Allow me to introduce you to Natalie Dungey. She's younger than you, she's a girl, and she's better in every way on the trumpet. Your job? Get as good as Natalie.
    Beware!! If you've got low ego strength or a piss poor practice routine, you'll probably ditch the trumpet and switch to guitar in about 6 months.
    ---
    You have the recipes for advancement (This I Promise).
    You have something to pit yourself against(Everyone needs someone to look up to and pit themselves against).
    ---
    Good luck!! Now get busy and tell us how you are doing in about 3 months
    Dr.Mark
     
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    MinorMuse, how much time do you spend practicing per day, and what specifiably do you practice?
     
  8. vern

    vern Piano User

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    Everyone is or has been there! I might humbly make several suggestions: 1) Get a good teacher if you can. A professor at a nearby university might be your best choice. 2) If you can't get a teacher, I would suggest getting the "Yamaha Exercise and Etude Book". Read Thomas Hooten's suggestions for practice and re-read often (only a couple pages). Follow his advice!
    Good luck and remember: Rome wasn't built in a day....... and neither was Adolf Herseth.
     
  9. ricecakes230

    ricecakes230 Pianissimo User

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    Jan 15, 2013
    Texas
    Buzzing some long tones and sirens every time before I practice has helped me. I don't know how but I just always play better if I buzz before hand. I used to not have a private teacher and that killed me like crazy cause even though I practiced almost everyday, I wasn't doing it right. Im a freshman in high school and I don't mean to make you feel bad but a high A is something I play in my sleep now. The first semester of this year, all I knew how to do was force and pretend to push air. The real solution that got me way over a high A was making sure that I started to take in my breath 2 counts before I play. I like to imagine that the air fills my belly then shoots up and out my mouth. Whenever I'm not hitting a high note I try again and I pay attention to how my abs feel. I make sure my pressure is minimal and only enough to make a seal on the lips with the mouthpiece, then I push all my air out by flexing my abs and using that strength to literally push out all my air at a high velocity for the high note. These are just the things that I always try to keep in mind. Circle of breath and the basics sheet have helped tremendously. Follow them like a religion. They fixed my problem of air leaking out my nose...(crazy stuff)

    As for double tonguing or even triple tonguing I think it's a matter of repetition. My teacher said double tongue ta-ka. Just keep saying ta-ka ta-ka ta-ka and go as fast as you can. But first try to get your ka to sound identical to your ta. When you're in the shower do ta-ka, thinking about that one hot girl in the band do ta-ka, walking down the sidewalk do ta-ka. Eventually you will get fast with your ta-ka and you can try all things with it. Start off with an easy pitch and do a million ta-ka's. From there triple tonguing is easy, just add another ta. So it's ta-ka-ta.

    I wish you the best, I've been where you are in my 8th grade year. Just get your technique and the way you practice on track and from there it is just dedication. :)
     
  10. BigSwingFace

    BigSwingFace Pianissimo User

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    James Morrison gave me some of the best psychological advice I've ever heard:

    If you ask yourself why you can't do something, your subconscious will find a reason why you can't. If you say "Why can't I get better at double-tonguing?" your subconscious will automatically and, often, incorrectly answer you with "You can't get better at double-tonguing because..." and then spew out a bunch of nonsense.

    Allow yourself to believe you have the ability to do anything on the horn you want. There's no way you'll learn to play a double C if you're not even sure it's possible. Be certain in your potential and then it merely becomes an issue of "How?"
     

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