lip trills

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Kiddo, May 22, 2010.

  1. Kiddo

    Kiddo New Friend

    Jan 30, 2010
    I must apologise for yet another incessant lip trill thread. But fact is that there are so many vague and misleading/divergent opinions on execution of lip trills over the net, that a trill-beginner like me get absolutely confused on where and how to start.

    For one, the technique that is most agreed upon is the pronunciation of the syllables 'taa-ee-taa-ee-taa-ee'. However, some say that jaw movement during the pronunciation must be limited, and concentrate on using the shifting on tongue position to change the speed of the air-stream instead; on this, I can't consciously shift my tongue without engaging in the motion of tonguing; my brain just simply can't move the tongue up and down without it bumping up and down the top and bottom part of the mouth (or that when i purposely do so, the note does not change at all).

    Either that, I'm doing it too slow, or my jaw starts to unknowingly do the 'taw-ee-taw-ee' lip slur motion. Or I'm forcing the air stream to change by blowing harder and softer, instead of using the movement of the tongue to do so.

    So is there any advice? Am practicing for like 2 months alrdy, no trill progress so far, except that my lip slur had improved leaps n bounds. (but nevertheless still nowhere close to trilling speeds)
  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Time for one of the more esoteric Vulgano Brother observations. When we play a note, the air column inside the instrument has defined and mathematically predictable areas of high pressure and no pressure. In physics these are known as nodes and anti-nodes. The higher the tone, the more of these nodes ins inside the instrument. With a horn of sufficient light weight, we can play a long tone we can gently run a finger around the leadpipe and/or bell and feel some of the vibrations. Change to a different harmonic and that place will move.

    Now for the esoteric part. Playing a long tone, we can shift our awareness to inside the trumpet, and imagine/feel a point of resistance somewhere inside the horn. I call these "magic bubbles." To slur up, we can "blow" this magic bubble further away, backing off will allow the magic bubble to return to its place closer to the mouthpiece.

    Our body will memorize the feel of these notes and nodes much more quickly than the cognitive control of several variables can. Remember that the embouchure is (or should be, in the Zen Vulgano philosophy)formed in part by the note that it is playing.

    Experiment a bit, and have fun!
  3. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    To truely learn lip trills get a teacher. It's not something you can "figure" out. Or learn about by reading.
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    taa-ee-taa-ee-taa-ee + hard work. There is no better way. Don't forget lots of air.
  5. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    A lip trill is a fast lip slur, concentrate on your syllables taa-ee , keep your air flow even,and use as little pressure as possible , too much pressure will slow a lip trill to a lip slur every time.
  6. Trumpet1Ohio

    Trumpet1Ohio Piano User

    Jun 22, 2005
    Columbus, OH
    Here's what I do... not saying it's THE way, but A way. I plant my tongue below my lower teeth and use/think the syllables oo-ee-oo-ee. My trills are only doable above the staff this way. My method is easy for me since I use the anchor-tongue method to play in the upper register.


    Good luck
  7. Sofus

    Sofus Forte User

    Jul 26, 2008
    I also use the anchor tongue, i.e. with the tip
    placed below my lower teeth.
    It works for me and is the way I once was tought . . .

    Two things come to my mind (they always do when
    lip slurs and trills are discussed)

    1) Although everyone agrees that the tongue should move
    like oo-ee-oo-ee or aa-ee-aa-ee, some would say that
    the tongue movement itself isn´t enough: it is not until it
    is synchronized with a certain lip activity that it actually works.
    What this activity should be is in turn another subject
    that also is discussed . . .

    2) Several have correctly stated the importance of keeping the
    air constantly flowing. Although this is something one THINKS
    one is doing, it is very easy to actually think this and STILL NOT DO IT!
    In all exercises where you have to concentrate on something
    you find hard to do (trills, slurs, double tonguing, tripple tonguing etc.)
    the airflow may get too little attention, and incorrect behavior may
    sneak in there. I´m writing this from my own experiences, so:
    Be very aware of your airflow! It may not be as constant as you think!
    Last edited: May 25, 2010
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Sofus makes a good point.

    Lip trills ARE an evolutionary stage of lip slurs and if we approach this as speeding up the lip slur, we don't have to talk about lip movement. Just practice the slurs faster and faster.

    Honestly, it is possible to dissect every aspect of trumpet playing. Very little of that isolated information is of any use to a player that does not have the fundementals down. Most EVERYTHING in playing the trumpet comes with time and intelligent practice. We can never shorten the absolute time required, we can only compress that into fewer days (months, years) by practicing more and more intelligently.

    Players with a good daily routine don't have to ask as many questions because so much happens naturally. Players without such routines look for downloadable cheats that may work in Guitar Hero but never on stage.

    Technique with the trumpet is not a single specific bodliy action, rather it is the trained synergy between muscles, brain, ear and air. Developing synergy takes time and gives us the opportunity to move the learned into musically significant content.

    Solid routine, short medium and long term goals and rewards for reaching them. My recipe for success.

    aa-ee-aa-ee works not only for donkeys.
  9. guyclark

    guyclark Piano User

    Feb 28, 2008
    Los Gatos, CA
    HI, Kiddo!

    There's not alot for me to add, as Rowuk and Al (at least) have said most of it.

    I just want to underscore the idea of the fast lip slur. I learned to lip trill on my own by practicing lip flexibility exercises. These were primarily playing one note and then lipping up to the next harmonic and then back down to the original note over and over again, until I had it fast and uniform in sound.

    C...E...C...E...C...E...C..E..C..E..C..E..C.E.C.E.C.E.CECECECECECE...etc. then B Eb, and Bb D, etc. Then I'd go up to the next harmonic E and G, Eb and F# etc, and the next harmonic G and A, F# and G# etc.

    Just work them up slowly and speed it up as you can. It'll probably take you weeks, or even months, so don't despair if you don't get it in a practice session!

    Hope that helps!!!

    Guy Clark
  10. crazyandy88

    crazyandy88 Pianissimo User

    Nov 3, 2007
    Fayetteville, AR
    Can you whistle? If you can change pitches while whistling then you can move your tongue up and down/forward and back without articulating. That is the only way to change pitch when we whistle. Try whistling the intervals you are trying to trill. When you do this put your finger at the top of your mouth and feel your tongue move up and down. This is the same motion needed for lip trilling.

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