I need some help, again...

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by ineedhelp, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. ineedhelp

    ineedhelp New Friend

    Apr 30, 2011
    First off, I've been playing trumpet 5 years going on my 6th soon, and I have been having trouble lately with again, what I think is air. Any note after a G on staff, except an A or B flat on good days, I struggle to play. When I go higher my volume drops significantly, it's like when I go higher te volume switch goes from 100 full/loud sons to 40 thin/screeching sound. I do not know what the problem is. I also have a HIGH tendency to "grunt" while playing an A or anything above, which after a while of "grunting" while playing an A or above I begin to "grunt" playing an F on top staff line. I notice that I begin to tense my throat while I'm playing a G on staff or higher. My private lessons teacher says that I should use my tongue to increase air speed and less of my throat but it's hard for me to do it....I need any and all help I can get, because this problem is making me want to quit playing trumpet completely. Please know that I have heard of the Circle of Breath but I haven't found any good information on it. Thank you for your time and attention.


    Apr 1, 2011
    When your teacher talks about using your tongue to increase air velocity, they mean to arc the tongue higher in the mouth, which constricts the flow, thereby increasing velocity. I would recommend working on some one octave slurs. Start on the C just below the staff and slur up and down on octave. Next, Db, then D, and so on. Focus on arcing your tongue as you ascend and lowering it when you descend. Do it very slowly, paying close attention to the tongue level and how it affects your airstream.
  3. fredthewhale

    fredthewhale Pianissimo User

    Jun 12, 2011
    New Jersey
    certainly, it's hard to really diagnose through text but here are a couple thoughts that i have after reading your description:

    it sounds to me as if you may be using a lot of internal or mouthpiece pressure. how much of a ring does your mouthpiece leave when you finish?

    it also sounds as if you may be focusing your air stream "too close." think about blowing a candle that's on a chair five or six feet away. you don't want to blow it out, you simply want to move the flame. to do this, you'll need to blow a long and focused column of air.

    i hope this helps some.
  4. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    My take is that in your personal practice, stop working on range for the moment, and work instead on your fundamentals in your comfortable range - say low F# to your top line F. Keep everything right there for a bit, and maybe even stay right there in your first octave and a half - tuning C on down.

    Work on your sound. Do long tones. Do a lot of fingering and tonguing exercises. Build your foundation.

    I think that a lot of developing players (and yes, at only 5 years in, most players are still fully in the developmental stage) find themselves developing bad habits and start fighting the horn because they try to do more than their chops are really ready for at the time - they haven't yet put in the dedicated practice into developing their foundation and basic technical chops.

    While you may not think I've addressed the problem, indirectly I think it will help you. By doing what I've suggested you will:

    Develop your air control and breath support
    Develop better focus
    Develop better overall comfort level and familiarity with the horn
    Develop better sound
    Become more relaxed overall

    Ultimately all of those things will improve your upper register without you ever really playing a note up there. It will become an extension of what you can already do down low. Eventually you'll have to start working on your upper register to fully make it a part of your playing and to fine tune your control, but building the foundation first will give you the tools that make playing your upper register a bit easier.
  5. Byfbo96

    Byfbo96 New Friend

    May 15, 2011
    Jacksonville, FL
    It certainly could be an air issue. Are you using proper support? Are you using to much pressure? These are things that are hard to diagnose without seeing or hearing you play. Are you sure there is nothing wrong with your horn? Are you sure the valves are slotted in the casings properly? Did someone prank you and insert something in the lead pipe or slides? :dontknow:
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    The circle of breath is my teaching and you can find it here in the general trumpet forum. Search on circle and dig a bit.

    Grunting means not relaxed, bad news. Range stopping at a specific note means pressure.

    Back to the basics. You need monitoring by a teacher that gives a crap about body use. Yours seems to be happy letting you dig a hole....................
  7. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    I second this. There is much more to range development than what your teacher is telling you. There is no help there. Find someone who canhelp you. My students don't have any range problems.
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006

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