Is it Possible to "Outgrow" an Instrument?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Trio15, Sep 10, 2014.

  1. Trio15

    Trio15 New Friend

    Jan 31, 2013
    I'm a high school senior playing on a Jupiter intermediate trumpet with a Bach 3c mouthpiece. I've had this instrument since I started playing six years ago and have been using the mouthpiece for a year. I dropped my instrument once and twisted the bell, though it was repaired within the week and I didn't seem to have a problem that my director pointed out. Since August, though, we've run into a conflict.
    There are three of us playing the first part when we march this year. The third person doesn't seem to be having the same problem as the second chair player and myself. The two of us are constantly out of tune. From G ( on staff) to C (two ledgers above) we never can seem to be in tune.
    We found out I can bend notes and shift them between flat and sharp. However, I'm not really sure how I do this, it seems to "just happen".
    In the past month, I've really noticed my playing has gone from dark to bright and brassy.
    We're going to try tuning for a little longer, but we may resort to testing different trumpets in order to isolate if this is a player problem or a horn problem (though I don't want to blame my instrument).
    Is it possible that after all this time I've outgrown my beloved trumpet to an extent? As in, would it perhaps be for the best for me to find a new one? And if so, what kind should I look for?
    Before we get to that point, would it be worth switching trumpets with the other player and seeing if that makes a difference in how we play?
    Any advice is appreciated. If you need more information, please ask whatever may help.
  2. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    First thing to do for all of you is to get the horn cleaned professionally and have the corks and felts replaced. The horn will also be inspected for other issues.

    If this has never been done... it's likely the answer.

  3. Trio15

    Trio15 New Friend

    Jan 31, 2013
    Thanks. :thumbsup:
    I didn't think about getting it cleaned. I know I've wanted to get it looked at, just haven't yet. Will definitely try that this weekend when I'm near a shop.
  4. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Welcome to TM, Trio15!

    I also believe having the horn cleaned and adjusted is a great idea.

    The brightening in your sound can be a sign of growth--a trumpet should sound like a trumpet, after all. It could also be a sign of playing consistently sharp, and going to the upper register could magnify the effect. There are so many factors involved--body use is huge, and the interaction between player and the trumpet/mouthpiece combination, how the mouthpiece and trumpet interact with each other, how the mouthpiece cup and backbore interact with each other....

    I don't usually use the electronic tuner except for reference tones. You might want to use a tuner and a piece of scratch paper and test each note (without lipping) and notate your pitch tendencies. Spend time getting your octaves in tune.
  5. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    Cannot add more than the 2 pieces of excellent advice above. Check your horn, and check your tuning using an electronic tuner. Note where you are, and what you need to do to get into tune. If 2 of the 3 of you are getting out of tune, check yourself carefully though out your practice session to ensure you are maintaining your tuning. Do a warm-up, and check your tuning. Mid-way through your session play against the tuner and run up to G and above. Continue your practice, and check again at the end.

    Lastly, electronic tuners are good to check yourself (and sometimes where you cannot get feed back on yourself), but in a Band, play with the Band to be in tune. If you are in tune, and the band is out of tune, then you match the band... Yes it may be growth, and your ears are opening up to the Band. Keep them open.

    I would not switch gear -
    I was lucky to see James Morrison at the launch of the Schagerl range in Melbourne. He had a lot of new trumpets in their cases on the table. He went to the Piano, played a Concert C, pulled out a horn, removed the plastic wrapper, did not touch any slides, put in a mpce and played a perfect Trumpet D. He then said "I get paid as a musician to play in tune with the other instruments, these slides just make it easier for me - he then pulled the tuning slide, and again played a perfect Trumpet D - and then matched a few other notes at random. Those are skill developed by Musicianship - equipment should always be maintained so that it never enters the equation for a bad performance. Maintenance is your job, if the equipment then begins to enter the equation into hindering your performance, then it is time to up-grade or at least have a good teacher review where you are -
  6. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    BTW - Welcome to TM,
    It has taken you a long while to say "Hello" to us. Go to Introductions, and tell us more about yourself, your gear and your goals.

  7. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

    Jan 9, 2010
    East Yorkshire
    I am going to be slightly controversial here I think you can outgrow an instrument, but I doubt that is what has happened to to you. You could have slightly outgrown yourself, as high range becomes easier it can sharpen because you are trying as hard as you used to (of course the goal is to be as relaxed as possible but we all at some stage use too much effort) The point where x note feels as easy as a note say a fifth lower. This could lead you to be pushing the horn sharp. There could be an issue whith the horn needing a service. Give some thought to body use are you tightening up or has somehting changed in how you approach a note. (I have to watch tesnion in my left arm for example)

    To return to the outgroing issue. I used to play a Besson 600 cornet, now doing sterling work in the hands of a student. I loved that instrument and used it for 15/20 years. Since playing the trumpet more and having the DEG cornet, the besson feels tight and difficult to get air through. still loveley sounding but if I work as much air as I do with other instruments it just isn't comfortable. I could be said to have out grown it, although basically I am just not used to it any more and would have to practice hard on it for my body to remember how to get the best out of it.
  8. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    I'm wondering about putting three high school kids on a unison high C.
  9. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    Has the Jupiter been cleaned and serviced at all in the last 6 years? If not, then I strongly suggest the instrument may be causing some of your issues. Playing sharp makes a horn sound brassy, so that is something to consider.
  10. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    The short answer to you question is an undoubtable maybe. :roll: Too many factors unknown to blame the horn. Jupiters are good horns. Consult with your teacher/director.

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