lip slurs

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by midwestchops, May 22, 2007.

  1. Tom Mac

    Tom Mac Pianissimo User

    184
    1
    Mar 11, 2007
    Nashville Tennessee
    Please don't be too judgmental regarding this post because it may sound so simplistic that it appears that I've completely missed the point of the discussion (here's hoping that isn't exactly what has happened).

    I have approached lip slurs as exactly what they are, playing two notes in succession w/o using your tongue. Obviously this becomes more difficult as the interval between the notes becomes larger (much easier to slur between c and e than c and high c). In my mind the task becomes easier if you approach the problem by playing the lower (when sluring up) note then pausing...and playing the upper note. This is not a slur yet but builds a foundation for practice. While you do this analyze the feeling you have on each note. Next articulate the first note and play the upper note with out a tongue (still pausing between notes). Practice in this fashion until you can PLAY each note in succession w/o a pause (that is w/o a break in the flow of air). The trick seems to be not in the slur but simply playing to tones, regardless of the interval between them, without interupting the air flow with the tongue and without "shooting" for the higher note. For me relaxing seems to be the key.
    This is very hard to explain in words.
    With that said if I don't work on intervals I lose this concept and ability very quickly.
    Hope this is not too weird. Don't judge me too harshly, like I said, it seems like a very simplistic approach to a difficult technical problem.
     
  2. trumpethack

    trumpethack Pianissimo User

    65
    0
    Jun 1, 2006
    Massachusetts

    I think that this is right on the money. Alot of people think that a lip slur is something that you do "on a note" meaning if you are say doing a basic "lip slur pattern" that starts on a G that you are playing that G and then "manipulating or changing" something to get to the next note. But y ou are really playing two notes G then C and connecting them. You aren't taking the G and then changing your embouchure or your tongue or your air, or whatever you like to think about, to make a C, you are playing a G and then you are playing a C and connecting them, you just don't happen to be pushing down any valves.

    An easy "non-analytical" trick is to throw in some false fingerings. For example if you are slurring from G to C (in the staff) play the G open and the C 23 or the G 13 and the C open. Do that a couple times and then do it all open. Or alternate back and forth in one contiuous line, make them feel and sound similar. A G is a G and a C is a C whether or not you slur it, tongue it, or play it as part of a scale or a "lip slur". (with obvious intonation/scale degree issues aside...)

    Another practice technique that I picked up that I think is from Chris Gekker, maybe... is to connect the notes you are lip slurring with notes of the scale. So if you are lip slurring G up to C down to G down to C, basically play a C scale starting on G go up to C and then down G and then down to C pausing briefly on each of the "key" tones from the lips slur exercise. When you play those notes in the scale exercise you should carry that feeling of air, tongue, embouchure, etc, to what you do when you then try the lips slur drill. This will allow your whole embouchure "system" to learn the placement of each note with out having to "jump" and try to find it.

    I find it very helpful to be aware of that "text" in the Irons and Colin's books. But it should be more in the back of your mind when you are playing these things sort of passivly observing what is going on rather than trying to control what is going on. Claude Gordon I think was the originator of the term tongue level exercise but even he was adiment that theory doesn't play the horn, you have to get the knack of it through practice. So once you understand the theory behind how it works don't over dwell on it and just practice the right things to get better...it's not rocket science...

    One other thing is that your lips slurs will only be as good as your most basic sound production is. And most likely not as good... so if you sound just "ok" on real basic sound production exercises I would venture that "lip slurs" will not sound that good, so make sure you address things in a certain order...

    -Hack
     
  3. chryxz

    chryxz New Friend

    13
    0
    Dec 25, 2006
    This is some of the most thorough advice I've seen on lip slurs. I will be applying this in my practice.

    Thanks a lot!
    Chris
     
  4. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    60
    12,459
    7,035
    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    In Vulgano terms, we try to keep our heads as far as possible from our behinds.
    When waiting for that downbeat, we can sometimes breathe out ever so slowly through our nose in order to keep the throat open.

    As far as power and volume go, Doc Severinsen is a fantastic role model to try to emulate. Please be sure to balance out your playing with some soft stuff as well.

    Have fun!
     
  5. midwestchops

    midwestchops Pianissimo User

    right with that. i try not to play any louder than mf with most of my practicing, trying to do most at p-mp. that was advice from maurice andre to my trumpet prof and byron stripling told me that as well. "if you have good control @ p, other dynamics are a piece of cake" something along those lines is what he said to me.
     
  6. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    60
    12,459
    7,035
    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    It might be a strictly Vulgano thing, but I find extremes are extremely important when practicing. Schuebruk's Trumpeter's Daily Stunt has some great exercises (and Shostakovich 5, 3rd trumpet part has a fun fff-ppp octave skip, for example.)

    Andre gave some really good advice, but I'm sure he also practiced his extra p's & f's too. And again, it may be a Vulgano thing, but I like to approach the trumpet like a Formula One race--I've crashed and burned a few times, but it sure beats driving around in circles slowly all day long!
     
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    16,611
    7,955
    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    I would like to disagree with something.
    If we lip slur from one note to another, we DO change something and that IS with our embouchure. To produce a higher frequency we need higher tension or a higher air pressure. If our support is correct, we do not vary our pressure (it would not be possible to play anything fast if we screwed around with our air), that only leaves the tension of the lips! This is why we work on strengthening the corners! That gives us the mechanical leverage to change the frequency that we are playing with lip power alone (actually this is also not correct as the tongue AWAYS has at least a little to say with the tone that we are producing. The more we practice, the less we think about it in physical terms).
    As far as developing volume and power, this also starts with breath support and embouchure development. The better those pieces function together, the more efficient our playing becomes, the more efficient, the more volume and power.
    Lip slurs are physical work. If our chops are weak, we need to apply other methods to get through and that means comprimise.
     
  8. trumpethack

    trumpethack Pianissimo User

    65
    0
    Jun 1, 2006
    Massachusetts

    Of course something changes when we change notes...

    To play from a G to a C requires something to change...quite obvious. Let me use the simple lip slur pattern G - C - G (all in the staff) to further illustrate what I am trying to get at.

    When playing this pattern one is playing a G and then a C and then a G. What I "see" many people struggling with playing these types of exercises do is mentally approach playing this pattern as if it were:

    G - "G with altered embouchure or tongue or air or whatever" which sounds like a C - G

    Does that make sense?

    Rather than playing a G and then a C and then a G and connecting the notes by means of a slur. These notes are the same as when they are played in a scale passage as they are in a lip slur passage. Many people would play the following scale passage "G - A - B - C - B - A - G" one way and then when they play G - C - G they use a lot more effort or the C between the G's is different than the C in the scale exercise, it should be the same C...because it is the same C...

    It's about thinking musically rather than "trumpet mechaniclly". The music says to slur from a G to a C to a G, so you play a G, then slur to a C, then slur to a G... very simple...

    Rather than thinking "ok, I'm on a G, now I going to execute a "lip slur" and change this G into a C and then come back down again..."

    This is a different way of looking at "lip slurs" than is printed in the front of all the method books, that's all. To quote probably every major musical artist worth listening to... solve technical problems with musical solutions... why should "lip slurs" be exempt from this idea?

    There are many mechanical processes that go on in playing the trumpet but the more conceptual we can be in how we tackle learning these things the faster and better we will learn them. This does not negate or replace the value of knowing how everything works, it enhances it...

    Again, I think Tom Mac was right on the money with what he wrote...

    -Hack
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2007
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    16,611
    7,955
    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    Hack,
    you are right-we don't necessarily need to know how something works - if we are getting qualified help and the pieces required are present.
    We do need sufficient breath support and enough embouchure strength to lip slur though. If one of those factors is missing, or weak, and/or if we don't have a qualified teacher (how many TMers will raise their hands here?), we can try to imagine all sorts of things - the chance of guessing wrong is pretty great (I have a student like this right now-he tried for years to figure it all out himself - the road back to reliable is VERY stony).
     
  10. trumpethack

    trumpethack Pianissimo User

    65
    0
    Jun 1, 2006
    Massachusetts
    Rowuk,

    Even though you're sort of agreeing with me, I don't think we don't need to know how it works (yea, that's a double negative...). I was never implying that. To restate something I wrote earlier:

    "I find it very helpful to be aware of that "text" in the Irons and Colin's books. But it should be more in the back of your mind when you are playing these things sort of passivly observing what is going on rather than trying to control what is going on"

    In fact the ideas I posted and was supporting from Tom Mac are for the very people that don't have that great guidance. If you just try to read the text in those books and figure out how to coordinate all that stuff to do a lip slur...talk about banging your head on the wall...

    Using practical exercises/drills that supplement the lip slur exercises are a great way to learn to do them "better" and maybe even quicker.

    As a young player i ran into many of the problems I am posting advice about. I try to pass on what I have learned from some really great players to work on these things, I don't think much of what I post are my original ideas...

    On the lines of embouchure strength, I too used to really focus on that. I would do lip slurs for an hour or two in high school... boy was that dumb...

    I think Vizzutti says it best when he says that lip/embouchure strenth is important but far too often over emphasized as a goal in practice. If you play every day the "right stuff" the necessary strength will be a natural "by-product"

    Again, I'm not saying strength isn't important, nor is knowing the mechanics of how everything works. I think that is all a necessary part. But for the exact audience you are talking about, the people who read here who don't have that great teacher or guidance it is very easy to get too caught up in that stuff. As a young player reading these types of forums I know I did...

    Lip slurs can be much harder than they have to be when not approached with the right mental "direction" The exercises that I mentioned are a way to take something familiar and relate it to the "harder" skill trying to be learned.

    Another example of this type of modeling would be when working on a C to E lip trill (ala Arban) to first practice just C to D and play the exercise with those two notes. Often after doing this the C to E lip trill is far easier to execute.

    Do I know why? Of course I do... is it worth getting into right now...no... just go try it and if it works you just got better...! Some things are better understood after you are able to do them anyways...

    Trumpet playing is hard enough, I'm all about making it as simple as possible...

    -Hack
     

Share This Page