Learning how to play without pressure

Discussion in 'Trumpet Pedagogy' started by rviser, Jun 29, 2009.

  1. rviser

    rviser Pianissimo User

    Dec 26, 2008
    I understand some pressure is necessary, but I feel that I use a bit too much pressure. I think it contributes to swelling in my lips and I end up not being able to play as long as I could, which is making it harder to get stronger. Are there any methods or suggestions out there on how one learns how to play without pressure? I know the short is, don't use pressure. But how can I still play my gigs and play the way I need to play, while working on using less pressure at the same time? In other words, I can't just stop playing my gigs and spend 2-3 months rebuilding my range and what not while learning to play differently. Any suggestions? Thanks!!
  2. Brian H. Smout

    Brian H. Smout Piano User


    I really enjoy the new Cat Anderson book. It involves demanding exercises that require a specific setup during the exercises only. "Normal" playing embouchure is unaffected but tends to evolve to a more jaw forward, less pressure setup. Of course YMMV.


  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Swelling is often unrelated to pressure. We do start applying pressure when the swelling starts though - because it works,

    There is no need to take time off. You need a lengthier low impact daily routine of long tones and slurs that CAN be played with lower pressure. They build power and endurance that keeps you from having to squeeze off.

    Swelling occurs when tissue thinks that it is being attacked in ways that it is not used to. Teach the tissue by a lot of low impact playing.
  4. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    Practice every thing soft, slurs, long-tones, exercises etc. you can play some things at mf, when you do a gig think of a full projecting sound ,not volume and try not to press too hard it takes a while but it can be done while still working.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2009
  5. Advancedtrumpeter93

    Advancedtrumpeter93 New Friend

    Jun 16, 2009
    Hey , I seem to have the same problem when I am playing my trumpet. As I got higher into the trumpet register for say, G on top of the staff and over, I have a hard time and I think pressure may be my problem. Is there anything I can do so I can play relaxed without straining?


    Borg Trumpet
    Suzuki Master Class Intermediate Trumpet
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  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
  7. chenzo

    chenzo Piano User

    Jul 18, 2008
    Hey Rowuk
    It might be advantages for you to set up an auto reply with hit of one key board stroke.
    I think certain letters on your keyboard are starting to fade.:-);-)
    Never the less I like reading your posts maybe adventualy the general theme will sink in.

    Cheers Chenzo
  8. ltg_trumpet

    ltg_trumpet Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 21, 2009
    yep higher register is only attained through diligence, thats why when i hear other hs trumpet player play dubba a's im like, wow, this guy sheds...
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I take great pleasure in individually typing my replies. I can assure you, the message will never sink in with many. They have never had to EARN anything in their life and they will quit trumpet and leave TM if it becomes work. The truth does speed up the process sometimes though.................... :evil::evil:

    I have an Apple Pro Keyboard that I bought in 2002. Other than the slightly yellowed white color, it is fine. No sign of wear yet.
  10. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    As I read this, the question is not whether it is bad to use too much pressure but what can be done to develop playing with less pressure. Obviously this is not something that you can change overnight. You will likely continue your gigs as you are currently doing them but you can try different methods during your practice time and try to gradually change over. One method that I use which I have found helpful is to play scales, long tones, arpeggios, and other exercises while holding the trumpet with just my thumbs under the leadpipe and bellpipe, positioned between the 1st and 2nd valve casings. I can still use my fingers to work the valves but I cannot put much pressure on the mouthpiece. You might try it just to see if it makes a difference for you.

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