I seem to be back sliding...help! and 16c4-gp

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by bfpri, Mar 6, 2007.

  1. bfpri

    bfpri New Friend

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    Feb 22, 2007
    It seems that for the past few weeks or so, it has been difficult for me to practice. I used to be able to get high Bb, the one above the middle one. Now when i play i can hit it like 2 times, seriously. then after that all i get is air. The same happens for a and even g which is depressing. All that comes out is air. Recently i have gotten a c trumpet, and it came with a 16c4-gp mouthpiece. Strangely i tried that on my stradivarius 180-37- laquer trumpet and i could hit the higher notes more frequently. However i am hestitant about using that instead of my 3c which is a more popular brand. What should i do?
    And does anyone know why i keep getting air?
    I have only been playing trumpet for 5-6 years.

    Thanks
     
  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome bfpri!

    The the most part, nobody here can diagnose all problems all the time, so you'll end up getting a lot of opinions. Some will work, some won't. Almost everyone, however, would urge you to to see a good trumpet teacher. There is no substitute for hearing and watching a student when helping to solve problems. Learning to play trumpet by text is sort of like learning to ride a bicycle or learning to swim by reading about it.

    Now that the big 'ol disclaimer is out of the way, I'll jump in with my opinions by asking a question. Does your sound get thinner, and weaker as you play up a chromatic scale to your highest possible note, or does it stay strong until nothing but air comes?

    It it is the latter, it could be that the aperture, the hole between your lips is too big. Practicing softly can help -- for everything we need a balance, and often the key to playing high,fast and loud is to also be able to play low, slow and soft.

    That's all I've got for now. Sit back and see what other folks have to say. Enjoy.
     
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome to TM,
    if you were able to reliably play above G before, then something has changed. There is a difference however between "hitting" and playing reliably. If you have beaten your chops up in recent history, this could just be your body fighting back. Vulgano Brothers tip to play softly is the cure here.
    You could also be playing with too much pressure, soft playing is the perscription here too! Your breathing could be less than optimal. Stand up straight, take a deep breath and when you are full, exhale without holding the air in. practice this a couple times until the transition from inhale to exhale is perfectly smooth. Then take your trumpet and substitute play (any note) for exhale. DO NOT TONGUE THE NOTES - only the natural breath attack from exhaling. Once you have this down, try different notes - without tonguing. This is work for a couple of days - not 10 minutes. Then try lip slurs - still breathing the same way and NOT starting with a tongued attack. By now you should have your range back.
    Many times trumpet players can HIT notes - not by proper support and technique, but by the bigger hammer method: pressure and a vicious attack from the tongue to break open the squeezed off lips. This system collapses after a while - often with the symptoms that you describe!
    ALWAYS when something drastic happens in your playing - go back to the very basics. They are a reliable measure of where and what we are.
    Try this out for a couple of days. It can't hurt!
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2007
  4. bfpri

    bfpri New Friend

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    Feb 22, 2007
    Wow thanks for the replies. And Yes i do seem to have a problem with my breathing. I do breathe from the stomach, but I have noticed that i seem to have no lung capacity to play without breathing for a long time. So i'll try what you said.

    Thanks again guys.
     
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    BFPRI,
    practice that Big Relaxed Breath without the horn as often as you can. Filling up needs to be trained too!
     
  6. bfpri

    bfpri New Friend

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    Feb 22, 2007
    So , You want to release it as fast as possible ? without drawing it out evenly or forming an embouchere? so like one big puff of air? and am i supposed to be getting dizzy?

    thanks
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2007
  7. trumpethack

    trumpethack Pianissimo User

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    Here's an easy yet quite effective breathing exercise that should help you with what's been recommended.

    Put a pen on a table in front of you, breathe in deep and then blow the pen across the table. You shouldn't have to exert a lot of effort to do this, if you are straining in any way, that is bad... if you are huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf...that is "bad"....

    Practice blowing first thinking "Poooooh" and then thinking "Tooooooh". This is a really easy exercise and you shouldn't really have to think about any sort of "mechanics". Don't even think about the trumpet at first, just breathe in and blow the pen.... Do this over and over and over and over.... This will slowly work it's way into your playing. Once this all feels natural, start to visualize that when you blow the pen you are starting a note...

    Don't underestimate the value of simple things like this, they can be very effective.

    Matt
     
  8. bfpri

    bfpri New Friend

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    Feb 22, 2007
    Eh, what kind of pen? LIke a cheap plastic one? Do you keep the cap on? How far from the pen do u start? If the table is too low should you bend down and keep it at mouth level?  I ask too many questions =(
     
  9. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    I think rowuk is talking about the natural breath -- just let it "fall out." If you wait between breaths you won't get dizzy: exhale, wait until your body needs air, inhalelettheairfalloutinonerelaxedmotion and wait again. Put a different way, inhale, and let the air fall out in one relaxed motion; don't hold your breath. When we inhale we create a low pressure area in our lungs, and the outside air can't help but come in. When we let the air fall out, the pressures equalize. Try not to think of inhaling as "sucking air in," rather think of it as outside air rushing in.

    Think of bfri as meaning "big friggin relaxed inspiration" and have fun!
     
  10. uatrmpt

    uatrmpt Piano User

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    Did your range problems start before you got the 16c4 mouthpiece? If you're going back and forth between the two, you're only going to disrupt your muscle memory and slow your progress.

    Yes, if you go from a smaller to larger mouthpiece you can play higher easier for a while because your aperture is used to the smaller piece; however, the aperture will eventually begin to spread, which will make going back to the smaller mouthpiece more difficult.

    Pick a mouthpiece and stick with it.
     

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