It's Working!!!

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

  1. commakozzi

    commakozzi Pianissimo User

    Oct 30, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    Anh, it's off and on at this point, but more on than off (good than bad). I'm being forced to play pretty hard in the group I'm playing with now, and it seems to be doing me some good. It's hard to explain, or maybe I just don't have the patience to type it, but in the past I never had to really depend on my corners so much as I had to depend on the tissue in my lips to withstand what I was playing. I cheated back then... I used to pull the mouthpiece down so that less top lip was in the cup, and I could just blow a lot of fast air by my lips and play really high. Well, since I've gotten serious again I've wanted to learn to do it right. And now I'm learning that my corners really have to be strong to support me throughout the day. Sure, on a good day, that thin thread of an aperture is there, but when I'm tired it disappears and my tone goes to hell. I think this is most of my problem. I'm getting in better shape now, and I have consistent high D, D# range. When I'm fresh I can easily play double G, Ab, A, but then the next day I'm toast. It's all about the mechanics!!!
  2. commakozzi

    commakozzi Pianissimo User

    Oct 30, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    So, here's an update:

    I'm playing in a church orchestra now that I thought, at first, wasn't going to challenge me much, and I wasn't too excited after my first visit. I have since returned for another practice and service, and wow this week was great!!! They actually do have some pretty demanding charts! One tune we did starts off in D maj, and the best way for me to describe the chart is that it's sort of an "Earth Wind and Fire" type of tune. The first note for 1st trumpet is a high D. So, for about 64 bars or more you're playing up around high D, and then it modulates up a half step! So then you play up around high Eb for awhile, but wait... it gets better! It modulates again up another half step to have you play high Es for awhile and through to the end. The last note being, of course, a high E. I couldn't keep up with it, but was playing a good bit of the high notes when I felt like I could. One of the other charts we did is written in B maj 7 (not dominant 7th), and at the chorus there are two eighth note "pops" written as A# and B *doo dah!*. So, I was consistently playing the thirds on top as C# and D#, and it felt like I could have played the fifth easily, but that's a theoretical "no no" right? Anyway, so what I'm finding is that I will relapse into my old tendency to "overblow" the upper register occassionally (like when I see high Ds, Ebs and Es written all over the place), but when I just relax and blow freely things come out great! I was pretty worn out after the service this weekend, but suprisingly I woke up yesterday morning feeling just fine. I had a little swelling from playing pretty hard, but my lips weren't sore or anything. I took a light day yesterday anyway, and today I feel great. So, I'm going to start a new post about "Building Strength" to talk about an approach for playing in that type of group, and I'll ask some questions that you guys might be able to answer. See you over there hopefully!!!
  3. tony h

    tony h Pianissimo User

    Feb 21, 2008
    I have tryed this soft playing but let it slide,
    I'm encouraged by this forum and will include it in my practice
  4. BlackWhite

    BlackWhite Pianissimo User

    Feb 27, 2008
    The softest I can go is pp.
    How do you get softer?
    Usually,after pp,I try to get softer but my air just stops and I stop playing.
  5. SteelyDan

    SteelyDan Pianissimo User

    Nov 19, 2003
    Phoenix, Az
    In my practice routine, this is a soft playing is relative dynamic. For example I find it much easier to play "pppp" in the lower register as opposed to the higher register. So, as I ascend I continue to play as softly as possible, but the volume seems to go up a little bit. What I've been doing is similar to the material on Bob Odneal's "Casual Double High C" which I'm implementing into my daily practice. Have a great one.

  6. commakozzi

    commakozzi Pianissimo User

    Oct 30, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    That's the key: Air! You gotta keep it moving, and the best analogy I've heard (actually seen) was of my instructor standing, facing a wall with his feet about 3 feet away, and he's leaning forward with both hands on the wall. Can you picture this? No matter what you're playing this is how your air should feel in the horn! You should be constantly driving that air through the horn, as steadily as humanly possible. He also talks about aiming for a target to "blow to" in the horn. He strives to aim for the end of his lead pipe or actually the first turn in his tuning slide. He also talks about the "balance of air" from body to horn, and how this balance needs to move out of the face and more toward the end of the lead pipe almost as if you were trying to get the horn to tip over, away from your face. That's kind of two different ways to picture the same concept: aiming for a point in the horn and balance between body and horn. I feel that really all three concepts work well together to help me get closer to achieving what he was trying to teach me. Still need loads of work!!!
  7. Miyot

    Miyot Pianissimo User

    Jul 22, 2007
    When I get so soft, and I can play pretty soft. My lips just stop vibrating. My air stream continues. I used to add air to get my sound back, but have learned to finesse it with my lips.

    I have been working on Clarkes, etc. and my range is building. I like the Arban studies on slurring, especially page 44, exercises 22 & 23. Holding the the whole note out at the end of each line and fading to the most quiet sound possible. Nice firm corners and as little pressure as possible. Thinking CONTROL.

    Also great are the Interval exercises on page 125. I feel they are excellent for your corners. I try for accurate intervals, clear and with out pressure. I try for control with tongue level and breath support.

    Building strength just takes time and work. No shortcuts available. I seem to advance to a level that surprises me, and invariably I fall back to a spot that seems to last for several months. And once again I'll make a little progress.

    You have to add a little intensity to your workouts. Playing soft with control helps. Hard sessions help, with good rest between. I like to do Etudes, perhaps 5 or 6 in a row, with 30 sec. to a min. of rest between. You must get plenty of recovery time. For me, if I do to much, and this tends to creep up on me. My progress really slows. If I don't recognize I am overworking, my progress stops.

    I'm getting off the point. Soft is good. At least in trumpet playing.
  8. commakozzi

    commakozzi Pianissimo User

    Oct 30, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    Good point! Yeah, we can't slack off on the hard sessions either! I wish I had your endurance though, because I couldn't play 5 etudes in a row to save my life. I can barely make it through one without dying. I can play snippets of Charlier #1 very well, but when I try to play through the whole thing (top to bottom) I just can't handle it. I keep thinking that I should just practice more intensely for longer periods, but that's probably hurting my progress. I'm starting to drop off my practice time and concentrate on just doing things better and letting my lips rest between sessions. I wish I had a pro here with me all day to watch how I practice and listen to how I say I feel. I get so frustrated over my lack of endurance! To be fair, I've only really been working hard for about a month and a half (minimum 2.5 to 3.5 hours per day). Before I started getting really serious again I would just play when I felt like it. Please tell me I'll just gain endurance from just practicing hard! That's all I want to hear!
  9. EdMann

    EdMann Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 20, 2007
    Los Angeles
    "You will gain endurance by playing more." As you know, there are many ways to get there: soft playing, loud playing, extended long tones, but the best way is playing correctly for long periods of time (with the proper rest of course).

    The best I ever played was during a summer in the late 70's when ALL I did was play in a funk band and practice. There's just no substitute.

    Ed Mann - Ed - 51 - Male - LA, California -
  10. Patric_Bernard

    Patric_Bernard Forte User

    Oct 25, 2007
    By air attacks you just mean attacking with no tounge right... just start blowing until you create a tone and go with that?

Share This Page