Just found out I play upstream...

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by russbellinger, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. russbellinger

    russbellinger New Friend

    Jun 30, 2010
    Fultonville, NY
    ...after assuming I've always been a downstream player.

    Over the past few years and many trumpet teachers, I've undergone changes ranging from air support to rebuilding my embouchure by moving from the side more to the center (horizontally) and positioning 50/50 vertically, where as before (while in high school) I was predominately 1/3 upper, 2/3 lower. I've been cursed with endurance issues, unreliable upper register...the list is endless.

    Recently I decided not to seek professional instruction after 5 different teachers couldn't really help my issue. Nearly every one suggested the time old answer (More air, blah, blah) and I assure you, I'm putting more than enough air into the horn. My issue is I don't think I'm directing the air right. I get up to F# at the top of the staff and bam, my lips stop vibrating.

    So my question is this: Would me setting up to play downstream even though I'm an upstream player cause these problems? Or is there a remedy for this that I'm overlooking? I'm in my third year of college, about to transfer to a 4 year university and I really need to figure out a course of action before it's too late. Musically, I can understand how pieces that I'm performing should sound. It seems that physically, I'm being held back. Any suggestions? I'd appreciate any input. :-)
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2010
  2. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    If your sound just stops at a note, you are probably overblowing or tensing up.
    I would forget about the upsteam/downstream thing and just focus on practicing. Paralysis by analysis.
  3. russbellinger

    russbellinger New Friend

    Jun 30, 2010
    Fultonville, NY
    See, that's what I thought too. But the thing that I really don't get, is this has been on going for about two weeks now (The note stopping part) and I don't notice any neck tension, jaw tension, tongue-stopping-airstream anything. My lip just stops vibrating. Air's still moving. It's almost as if I've "lost" G at the top of the staff and beyond.

    Maybe it is overblowing. So basically, I'm not meeting the resistance of the horn where the notes G and above sound in that partial? Sounds like I've got a week of trial and error ahead of me. This all has been happening so suddenly, I don't even know how it started. One day I can play C's above the staff loud and proud for everyone to hear, next day I'm in a practice room playing G scales and trying to get top of the staff G to sound.
  4. SmoothOperator

    SmoothOperator Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 14, 2010
  5. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    If your vibration stops but your air is moving, then your aperture is open and there is no reason for vibration. Work on using a closed (lips touching) aperture and soft breath attacks.
  6. russbellinger

    russbellinger New Friend

    Jun 30, 2010
    Fultonville, NY
    I don't seem to be able to play as quietly or as loudly. p-f, rather than pp-ff.

    The breath attacks is something I'm new to hearing. I might have to try that next.

    I'm going to have a quick lesson before a big band rehearsal with my old teacher to see if he can figure anything out about this.
  7. leftmid7

    leftmid7 Mezzo Piano User

    Sep 21, 2010
    Franklin, TN
    This may sound elementary but are you sure nothing's wrong with your horn? I had a spit valve cork off just slightly one time and couldn't figure it out but it messed up the whole flow of air through the horn.

    If you were playing above staff C just fine before, that doesn't make any sense. Have you tried playing on someone else's horn just to see?
  8. russbellinger

    russbellinger New Friend

    Jun 30, 2010
    Fultonville, NY
    Yes, and I have 2 other horns that I checked on to make sure.

    The lesson went well, we determined that I was playing with too wide an aperture and that, coupled with me not wetting my lips a bit before playing, was the main reason the recent embouchure move wasn't working to it's fullest. It's day two, and now I have most of my range back and was stronger than I'd been in the two weeks previous.
  9. Ed Kennedy

    Ed Kennedy Forte User

    Nov 18, 2006
    You are talking Rinehardt Pivot System. Contact Rich Willey at Boptism Music. He can put you in contact with a Rinehardt teacher in your area.
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Pardon me while I smile. Day two doesn't mean a damn thing. Bad habits take weeks, months, years to correct. Good habits that didn't work are no different. Post again in a month. You will have a real story to tell then.

    If it is that easy, then you were only messing around or must have practiced no more than 15 minutes a day prior to the "change". If you were working hard, there is a whole lot still in front of you.

    Just be patient. That and preserverance are the key to getting on the right track.

    Up and downstream are two VERY different ways to play.

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