It's Working!!!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by commakozzi, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. commakozzi

    commakozzi Pianissimo User

    Oct 30, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    Tom asked me to start doing breath attacks and playing at pppp. The point being to get a more efficient buzz, and I believe it's working for me!!! For about 3 weeks before I met with Tom I had been doing 3.5 hour days, and I'd feel very tired by now (I'm 1.5 hours into my day). I had, at one point, added range and endurance exercises to my lip flexibilities session, but was having a very hard time playing even a high C. Toward the end of my flexibilies today the only thing feeling slightly tired were my corners, and I took a short break and played up to high C at pppp. It came out like it was nothing!!! So, I tried going a little higher, and suprisingly I didn't really have to reach that hard for the G above high C. It felt like it just whistled out!!! This approach feels so much better, and it's what I thought I was doing, but apparently not. So, I'm playing long tones with breath attacks and playing at pppp or as quietly as I can physically play. I'm doing breath attacks on my flexibilities and doing a decrescendo on the last note down to pppp and beyond. Wow! It's really working for me... it feels a little strange and I've lost some control, but it feels like something that I can keep working on and learn to control.
  2. Decentplayer

    Decentplayer Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 11, 2008
  3. Forte User

    Jan 27, 2008
    Brisbane, Australia
    That's awesome and so encouraging! I can't wait till I can just pop out that high C! Only 4-5 whole steps more (I've got a comfortable F or G depending on the day). I'm trying really hard to do it 'right' with no pressure or strain. You're inspiring me too. :)
  4. Eeviac

    Eeviac Piano User

    OK you all know I'm an Ubern00b, but, Clarke in his book talks about playing "very softly" (I have the older version of his book) and says that playing loudly may cause the "opposite effect" so I've become more interested in playing "softly". I've noticed yesterday that I was able to do C-G-C very softly right away, the upper C being the one in the middle of the staff, which is about "all the high I go" right now. I could do that several times, before I think I started to tighten up.

    I think playing softly may teach me to keep my lips relaxed while I go higher.

    I hope I'm on the right track, I'm playing a lot of exercise type stuff, when I go to trying out a song or part of one, I sound better each time, but mainly I'm interested in range and good technique right now. I'm beginning to understand how a student could just play exercises and work on that for maybe the first six months (assuming they can keep interested in that).
  5. commakozzi

    commakozzi Pianissimo User

    Oct 30, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    Yeah man, keep that up because I'll tell you what... it's really working for me. It's not that I'm not playing with any pressure whatsoever, so don't take me the wrong way when I say this: I feel like I'm using hardly any pressure compared to the way I was playing. Trying to get that efficient buzz at such low dynamics is forcing me to keep the mouthpiece further away from my teeth (if you get my drift). I can actually feel my aperture size now whereas I don't remember ever being that aware of it before. When I get up to high C I feel this small thread of an aperture and it just takes a little bump in air to go higher. My lips feel great!!! Try this too, if you're doing Arban's triple and double tonguing. Look at exercise #9 in the triple tonguing and where it has you play a half note F on the top of the staff: play the exercise as quietly as you can and hold that F out and decrescendo down to almost nothing... as far as you can physically go. Do all of the exercises like this, and see how it helps you. I think it's helping me a lot. PLAY MORE QUIETLY!!! I'm going to spend a year on this concept!!! I mean, I'll play my etudes and all at full volume, but during my sound production, articulation, flexibilities, etc. I'm going to really work on playing much much much more quietly than I'm used to doing.
  6. Eeviac

    Eeviac Piano User

    Right on. What I notice is, it's always easy to go LOUDER, but playing quietly, well, if Clarke says it's the way to learn, I believe it.

    How many people know he started on violin/viola? Very good instruments in themselves but he loved the cornet.
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    It is always interesting............ Don't we often get beat up for playing too loudly (except for drum and bugle or marching band)?
    There is a real message here that goes far beyond your chops commakozzi. That message is for all of us!
    You will also notice with a controlled pppp that your ability to play with more color increases dramatically!
  8. commakozzi

    commakozzi Pianissimo User

    Oct 30, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    Oh man Rowuk, you aren't kidding... listening to Tom play an A above the staff at pppp was just amazing. I forget the name of the piece he was playing the solo from... it's a popular orchestral excerpt. It's probably one of the most impressive things I've ever heard done on the trumpet. Yeah a super loud, piercing double C is impressive, but I'll tell you what... Tom playing that A at pppp was more impressive to me. It's inspired me to enter into a whole new world of playing the trumpet.
  9. Jude

    Jude Piano User

    Dec 2, 2007
    Has that problem with no vibration on one side disappeared with the new approach?
  10. SteelyDan

    SteelyDan Pianissimo User

    Nov 19, 2003
    Phoenix, Az
    I find this topic VERY interesting as I've been going through a similar experience for some time now. I hurt my chops shortly into college and had to stop playing. Fast-forward a few years and I had a teacher that was into soft practice, BUT with a "pucker" embouchure. It worked for him, but messed me up even further.

    Last year, in exasperation I started practicing Getchel book 1 at a very soft and quiet dynamic level; slowly transposing the first few exercises upwards, one key at a time. Within @ 1 1/2 months I could play easily into the upper register in a manner that I had never been able to before. My tone was crystal clear and the horn felt "open" and easy; I had previously always struggled with the feel of resistance in every horn I'd owned. Alas, not all was well in paradise: I couldn't tongue anything to save my life! Slurred, legato playing was awesome, but tounging sounded like a paintball gun on full auto.

    This year I decided to start soft volume articulated exercises (CG DTR) from square one in addition to Getchel and Schlossberg, and it's making a really big difference for me. It feels as though things are "clicking" together even though I had to take a few steps back to get the fundamentals in order. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one!


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