I need to make playing easier

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Kayak Cruzer, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. Kayak Cruzer

    Kayak Cruzer New Friend

    Mar 17, 2011
    Deepest, darkest Missouri
    I found y'all when looking for trumpet/cornet information. I have learned so much just by reading through the threads; now is the time to ask a couple of questions that I have not yet seen the answers to. I'll address my first question in this thread. As golfers and bowlers have handicaps to enable them to play better, or at least more competitively, what factors in the B-flat trumpet or cornet world can give me that handicap and enable me to do more with less effort, thereby making it more enjoyable for me?

    I've decided to re-learn at least the basics since I was first chair cornet with an Olds Ambassador in my 5th- and 6th-grade school band (47 years ago!). I stopped when I got braces on my teeth and playing shredded my lips. Now I want to play Taps at the funerals of military veterans, as I am a disabled Vietnam-era female veteran myself, and I would also like the ability to play some simple, entertaining pieces for vets in the veterans' homes. I can't practice well or long right now, as I have multiple sclerosis, which causes rapid fatigue in my average-to-thin lips. I do OK for the first 15 minutes or so, but after that even simple notes get really sloppy. I would like to know if there is any particular combination of horn and mouthpiece that would blow more freely and enable a more productive embouchure with less effort. As it is, when I practice now, I can play simple scales for several minutes, and then Taps 2-3 times, but after that the effort has made the embouchure sloppy and soft.

    Right now I have a 1972 Olds Ambassador cornet that might have a back-pressure problem because of a crease where someone dropped it on the spitvalve on the right, driving the hinge into the tubing; the lettering on the mouthpiece says "Giardinelli 7C". I also have a Rexcraft Boy Scout bugle in great shape that came with a Vincent Bach 7C mp, but it, too, causes rapid fatigue, and doesn't offer me the opportunity to practice anything but bugle calls. Both mps look like trumpet mps.

    I am actively looking for the above-mentioned handicapping horn/mp combination that will make it a little easier for me. I can spend about $600, but the less, the better. I would have been able to spend about $700 but before reading the warnings here about Wal-Mart China-Eastern European student-type horns, I bought a "new" cornet on eBay that turned out to be a poorly-made piece of organic fertilizer. It's pretty; I might hang it on the wall for a decoration or make a lamp out of it or something. Before I make another mistake I'm asking the people who know. I'm not selling the bad one, because I sure would hate for some kid to get it and think they had no talent and be discouraged, not knowing it was the crappy horn and not them.

    A pre-2004 Bach Omega has been recommended; but, they are harder to find than a green M&M in the grass, and I wouldn't know what kind of mouthpiece to use anyway. Any ideas, taken from your vast cumulative experience, will help. -Patty :play:
  2. mrbill00

    mrbill00 Pianissimo User

    Apr 20, 2009
    Middle of Georgia
    you said all this.....and your a girl?
  3. oldgit

    oldgit Pianissimo User

    Jun 16, 2010
    Basingstoke, England
    hope you find the naswers you need. I will say that olds trumpets and cornets have a great reputation on here and it might be best to get a good tech to repair the one you have and find a good teacher to help find what suits the skills you have regards the best mouthpiece. sorry i cant be more help but wish you all the best.
    take care
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    What a great post! All of the information needed to give you some help. You know the concepts behind practicing so we don't need to get into that, other than to say, like eating, several small meals are often more productive than only a couple of big ones.

    Let me start with a basic module of my teaching: set short term goals and REWARD yourself when they are met. Keep the goals simple - a Db scale in 16ths at quarter=120 for instance. When you get there, do something out of the ordinary nice for yourself. At least once a month, something special should happen - or your goals are too hard.

    As far as prerequisites for wind instruments, air is critical and if swimming could be a part of your daily or 3-4 time per week routine, the rest could get a lot easier. With handicaps, we also need to take as much as we can for free. Check this link out:
    David G. Monette Corporation
    It applies regardless of hardware!

    Yoga is also great to discover hidden energy in your body. This allows you to learn how to relax more on the one side and pump energy into the good stuff on the other.

    So, as far as the horn goes, my suggestion is to pick a lightweight horn. They often respond more easily and because of your physical condition, are much easier to hold. Very good choices here would be a used Yamaha 6000 series or Getzen Eterna Sevrinsen trumpet.

    I can't think of any Bach that ever almost played itself. I consider them to be instruments that need to be PLAYED. More work in, more benefits out of the bell.

    The Ambassador is a fine student horn, built like a tank, but not the easiest playing instrument ever built. The dent will not cause serious back pressure issues as long as the spit valve does not leak air. Still it can cause intonation issues and the fix would not be that expensive.

    If the 7C is comfortable to you, a 3C has a similar rim shape but is a bit shallower and could make life easier.

    Too bad that you live so far away. Working with you would be a project that would interest me a bunch. Feel free to post or PM at any time. Like my posting here, no strings or invoices attached.
  5. hup_d_dup

    hup_d_dup Piano User

    May 28, 2009
    Tewksbury, NJ, USA
    Patty, the Olds is a fine instrument that you can have repaired for less than your budget of $600. I would be reluctant to look for handicaps right now ... even if by chance you find something that does work, it is just as likely to become a sort of crutch as you gain strength and endurance.

    I think you are wise to stay with the cornet. With its short profile it is easier to hold than a trumpet.
  6. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    Welcome to the forumn!!! You've come to the right place.

    As for a suggestion .... I just played a Conn 17A Director cornet with a copper bell that was, I thought, the easiest horn I've ever played. It sounded very nice as well, deep, rich tone. And I agree with Hup ..... easy to hold.

    Watch Rowuk's posts closely ..... you can trust him to help steer you in a good direction. A wealth of information, and at a good price too.:-)

    Have fun in here!

  7. tpsiebs

    tpsiebs Piano User

    Feb 6, 2010
    Randolph, New Jersey
    I have a Rexcraft bugle also. I will bet $10 that it leaks and that's why you tire quickly (even though it is pitched a 3rd lower, in G).

    hup_d_dup and turtlejimmy make a great point about cornet vs. trumpet.

    If holding the instrument in playing position is problematic, I would STRONGLY recommend a Schulman System. It bears much of the weight, transferring it to your sternum and holds the instrument at your preferred angle. It has an added bonus of discouraging excessive pressure so that embouchure muscles develop and bad habits like pushing and twisting don't. It works on trumpet and cornet.

    I have seen them in the classifieds in trumpetherald. I don't know if he's still actually making them so you'd likely need to search out a used one.

    Do any of our TrumpetMaster friends have one for KayakCruzer?

    Mouthpiece buzzing is not a waste of your time.

    Warburton markets the P.E.T.E., which can help excercise embouchure muscles.

    Yoga breathing? Trumpet playing is 99% air and the other half is lips. (apologies to Casey Stengel).

    I applaud your efforts to give back to fellow servicemen. I joined Bugles Across America as many veterans of WWII were passing without proper ceremonies for that same reason.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2011
  8. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

    Nov 16, 2009
    Near Portland, OR.
    There is probably little to add to Rowuk's remarks. I'll just say this about your fatigue onset: considering you're just getting started in your practice, your playing getting "sloppy" after 15 minutes is not necessarily a function of your MS. Building endurance is as difficult as anything else on this darn instrument. Your lips are just getting tired the same that any other learner's lips would. Don't play the full 15 min. Play 5, rest3 to 5. Play again, rest again, and so on.

    Every traditional method out there cautions in no ambiguous terms about trying to extract more from the lips than what they can deliver. That advice is 100+ years old, follow it. All these are signs that fatigue is setting in: more effort for the same notes, degrading sound, missed attacks, the top of your useable range decreasing by a half or full tone, and others that you will discover on your own. If you notice one of them, rest.

    One of the most frustrating things about learning to play trumpet is that you can't just throw yourself into practicing like crazy. If you do so, you work against yourself and make no progress. That even applies later at higher levels. From what I've experienced and from talking with advanced players, I gathered that, for every player, throughout development there is an amount of practice beyond which you impair or cancel progress. If you go too far beyond, there can be significant setbacks, embouchure damage, etc...

  9. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    That's a good point. I hadn't really thought of it until getting heavily back into my Gibson electric guitar ..... generally speaking, as long as your fingertips hold out (the pads), you can play with impunity. Seven or eight hours straight with no breaks is doable (done that). If your pads give out, you can just pop a few ibuprofen and get another few hours out of them. Next day, no harm done.

    Moderation with lots of rests is a good approach to trumpet. There are so many fine muscles that need to be cared for.

  10. Kayak Cruzer

    Kayak Cruzer New Friend

    Mar 17, 2011
    Deepest, darkest Missouri
    I will try a shallower MP. How do you think a 3CW would work, or would the wider rim do any good? *I* don't live far away, YOU do! :-) Ich spreche Deutsch auch; Ich kann wie ein Tourist sprechen und schreiben. Ich lebte in Bad Kreuznach von Salinenstrasse seit einem Jahr, als ich im Militär war, so dass ich Deutschland gesehen habe. I will follow your suggestions; that will be as good as being there, will it not?
    Very good point; the handicap can handicap if I let it! I will follow some of the other suggestions and break up practice into smaller doses so as not to become too weak at any given moment. Do you have any suggestions on whom to trust for repairs? I really do live out near nowhere in Missouri, and I'll have to send it out no matter what I do.
    I prefer the deeper, richer tones over the bright ones. Right now the challenge is making a tone that is recognizable! I will go look and see if any Directors are on eBay.
    Now that's interesting. How would I test it for leaks? I got it at the local Goodwill store for $15, so who knows what it's been through. But it is dent-free and the finish (silvertone) is lovely, and all the slides slide easily, so it does not look abused.
    Never heard of that, I will look it up on the 'Net. I have caught myself using my hands to press the horn tighter to my mouth so that it doesn't drift away because of weakness.
    That sounds like a worthy organization; I will also look at that on the 'Net to learn more about it; I might want to join.
    Well, OK, then. That is reassuring. As I mentioned above, I will reduce the practice lengths and go slower. I know it was nearly half a century ago, but I *was* first chair, so I still have that practice-practice-practice kid mentality even though I'm a grandma-type now and need maybe to be kinder to myself.

    Thanks so much to everybody for all the comments so far; they have really encouraged me and pointed me in the directions to look. I am not going to desert this thread just yet; I am sure there are others out there who have not read it who have valuable insight to contribute. I'm feeling happier already! And Turtle, I am having fun in here! Isn't the Internet a wonderful thing? Now let me go add my two horns to my signature; I'm not including the junk one. :thumbdown: -Patty
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2011

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