Long tone troubles

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by BHSBrass, Jan 14, 2009.

  1. BHSBrass

    BHSBrass New Friend

    May 20, 2008
    Hey everyone,

    I have recently been running into problems when trying to practice my long tone and improve my control over my lips. I practice the tones from ppp-fff-ppp, starting at a C in the staff and work my way down. The problem I am running into is when I go back to ppp a lot of the time I end up getting a shrill airy sound and I feel as iff my lips are contracting to much as to let the air pass through.

    I have been trying really hard to not tense my lips so much when I diminish but I cant really get a solid grasp on it especially on tones above middle G.

    Any help is much appriciated.
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Then don't go to FFF. Only go to a controlled f or mf for a couple of weeks and the problem will go away.

    You are probably blowing your embouchure out of shape when playing TOO loudly. that messes the geometry up for soft. Just back off. FFF isn't needed that often anyway!
  3. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    I agree with rowuk, also try using less mouthpiece pressure when changing dynamics, it will give you more flexibility not only going from note to note but also in making smooth dynamic changes.
  4. mrtrpt

    mrtrpt New Friend

    Sep 23, 2007
    Try this:

    Start of with a long tone of 2 beats... (I call this a short long tone :)

    play the most beautiful note you can for 2 beats, rest for a few beats and then do it again. Repeat....

    Now do 4 beats...

    then 6...

    then 8...

    then 10...

    The idea here is that when you play a "Long" tone everything stays exactly the same as if it was a "short" long tone. So if you play a 4 beat note, your "form" is the same as if you play a 24 beat note.

    I see a lot of students or players do a "long tone" and it becomes an athletic event rather than just playing a beautiful tone for a certain amount of time. I think it is best to count while you play your long tone, just like you are playing a very long note in a symphony that must start beautifully, have shape, and end at a certain point. Not just play a note and hold it until death do you part......

  5. soloft

    soloft New Friend

    Jan 14, 2009
    When I've done exercises like that, my tone got very airy also. For me, the solution was to realize that I don't need to move my lips when I adjust from playing loud to soft, it's just air control. Try not moving your lips at all and just use more air and less air. It might help to just practice blowing on your finger. At all times, make sure the air hitting your finger is cold, hot air is bad for breathing.

    If pressure might be the problem, my teachers have shown me a great method. It sounds a bit weird, but it works. Hold you horn with your right thumb just past the lead pipe, and your left thumb just before the bell. Now, buzz your lips and move your horn closer to you until you make a sound comfortably, and then stop. Do some long tones there to reduce pressure. This technique will also help with getting high notes out. I did this exercise quite a bit over one summer while practicing scales. By the end of the summer, I could pop out a C two octaves above the staff on a good day.

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