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Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Trio15, Sep 10, 2014.
It's not the horn.
However... Cleaning the horn is a good thing and that IS good sound advice!
I am an old man, and still play on my first horn that I started playing in the 1960's. If anything, that horn sounds better that ever before. So from my experience I grew into the horn.
Don't blame the horn. It is an inanimate object. It is of higher likelihood that the problem is in the player, an animateobject.
the maintenance advice is good, of course. i do think it is possible for people to change, and therefore seek a different instrument. i am not familiar with jupiters. if yours is a student line horn, maybe you actually did outgrow it. maybe you're getting strong enough that those notes up there can be played without so much effort, or a more relaxed effort. or maybe a different horn would put your newfound strength to better use, responding with a bigger sound without going overly bright on you. a tuner might be instructive, but being in tune with the tuner would not guarantee being in tune with your colleagues. lipping notes around is a skill, and good for you for learning it, (and if you do it "automatically" without thinking about it, it means you're basically doing it right) but it does make you tired sooner, especially up there. possibly your director could help your section to find out if someone is playing consistently on one side of the pitch or the other. using a tuner can be very effective if another person is watching the tuner while the player plays normally. again, good on you for trying to be part of the solution, but it might not be you. if you're the section leader and you're pretty much on pitch, the second player should theoretically tune to you. if you're consistently sharp, you might be overblowing either your trumpet or your mouthpiece. a 3C is not a small mouthpiece, but its not unheard of for a high school senior to play a 1.5C if they're a strong player. its very intelligent of you not to rush to blame equipment, or for that matter, your 2nd player, but there are a lot of variables here. i don't find fault with people who try to use equipment intelligently to maximize efficiency or get a job done. that's not quite the same thing as blaming. all any of us on the blog here can do is suggest possible solutions, but you'll have to be the one to try out the possibilities.
As a physician, I look for a keen part of a patient's history that leads me to the most accurate diagnosis. Here is my keen take on your post... when we march. Marching is about over blowing... plain and simple. Your embouchure is now trained for overblowing. The cure, is when not marching, practice with sincere concentration of playing softly. Play softly. Say it with me... I will play softly. You HAVE to think this phrase with EACH phrase you play, because if you don't, you will be playing loud again. This my kind sir, will get your tone back. Believe me. I'm a doctor!
And you know what they call the guy who was even last in his class at medical school, right?
Sorry. You gave it to me. Cheap, I know, but was just too easy.
I will disagree with you that marching is about overblowing. In some/many/most programs that can be true, but I would submit that those programs would overblow if they were standing still, tranquilized, in straightjackets.
Everything you say about the outcome of overblowing and how to combat it is true, of course.
Also, I assert that when someone outgrows an instrument, it would look like an extended plateau, not a fallback in performance or the new appearance of any other problem. If your performance changes for the worse, it isn't because you are all of a sudden so much better than your instrument is capable of that it starts to rebel.
That's my assertion.
Life is too short to pass up a cheap shot.
Actually there are multiple questions here.
1) Is it possible to outgrow an instrument: YES! There are student instruments and professional instruments. The student instruments are in tune, rugged and easy to play. Pro horns are more delicate, in tune and give the player more possibilities to manipulate the sound-at the cost of requiring better breath control.
2) second question is that three of you don't have common intonation-what to do? Well, that is not as clear cut. It could be maintenance, but when I hear "marching band", other far nastier things come to mind. For players with good practice habits and a solid sound concept, playing outdoors is generally not an issue. The player has ears and brains and stays in the comfort zone where evereything works. Lesser players do not use their ears or brains, play outside of the comfort zone and twist their face, body and breathing to "hit" all of the notes. The result is a blast attack - just like someone taking a dump on your music stand. It stinks and others have to clean up the mess! One out of control blaster can make it impossible for others to play in a controlled musical way because they raise the noise level in the frequency band that we are listening in. The effect is called "masking" and no one is immune. The seating arrangement in a symphony orchestra attempts to position instruments so that the players can hear themselves. Masking does not only occur when someone is too loud. A thick sound can make it hard for someone to hear themselves especially when it is in the same range that they are playing.
3) question three is how can one judge their personal intonation (inside their comfort zone). The truth is, everyone has intonation issues. Intonation is a big topic and for brass players it generally is a sign of musical decency. If our purpose as a brass player is to make music, then we stay in the comfort zone, learn to listen and practice intelligently to make what we do more consistent. It is impossible to judge intonation by practicing alone. We always need a reference to another player.
My hunch is that all three of you play outside the comfort zone, have twisted your breathing and faces to hit all of the notes and because of the general lack of control, can't find your common denominator. The solution is to practice more at sensible volume and back off in the field. Play duets with the other players to solidify the common denominator.
I am not a big fan of marching band unless there is a lot of musical control. Outdoors playing is special and if not done sensibly, screws up more than most will admit.