Lookin for advice!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trptboy21, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. trptboy21

    trptboy21 New Friend

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    Jan 23, 2008
    Hey there....
    Just wanted to make a post and see if anyone had some good advice for some of the trumpet problems I've been having lately.
    I play with a slightly off to one side embouchure, i can play decently high (F's and G's) but I have to use a lot of pressure when I do. I feel like my chops are pretty inconsistent and i miss too many notes. I also have trouble articulating above a G above the staff. Any suggestions/methods would be great! I play pretty well but I'm dying to get past these problems that are really holding me back.
    Thanks
     
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Trptboy21,
    welcome to the crowd.
    The only suggestion that would really be in your interest is to get a real teacher and take lessons. What you are experiencing is deficits in your breathing, chop strength and that all comes from a not adequate routine and regular control by someone in the know.
    There are several good threads in recent history on relaxed breathing, body use, embouchure and the like.
    Do a search here on "big, relaxed breath" and you will have a good start on your journey!
     
  3. flugelgirl

    flugelgirl Forte User

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    Very well-said, Rowuk! Too many of us try to go it alone without lessons - I wouldn't have gotten anywhere without all my lessons!
     
  4. Patric_Bernard

    Patric_Bernard Forte User

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    Just a point...some of us cant afford lessons :(
     
  5. wilcox96

    wilcox96 Mezzo Piano User

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    First off - to the above statement:

    ....being around/with players who are better than you or those you admire can garner great "lessons" every time you are with them. Everything from just watching them play to having conversations with them will benefit you greatly and cost you nothing. Therefore, find and make opportunities to be around these types of players.

    ....if you are really serious about progressing as a player, then you will do whatever it takes to acquire the money to take lessons with a good teacher....even if it is for just a few times. Is there "something" extra you can do or even sell to get enough money to pay for a few lessons? Be inventive.

    Now, to the OP's question....

    I would not stress too much over what you are experiencing. Sounds like you are at least aware of the problems...now go at the solutions positively. There are no "quick" fixes...but steady work over periods of time. Many times our expectations are greater than the daily results. (thus...frustration sets in). Don't worry. An example of some helpful things to try are expanding scales (done softly)..and perhaps some articulation exercises that advance above the staff. You can take some things you already work on and just keep working them slowly upwards. All the while, trying to sound as musical and stress free as possible. Spread your practicing over long periods, if you can. (several sessions of - say - 20 minutes at a time over the course of a day) If you don't push things to the point of going back into those old habits of shove, shove, shove...and "really" work on balancing things out with your air vs pressure...then over a period of weeks/then months...you can gradually see improvement.

    Lessons? See the above suggestions...

    Best of luck to you....
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2008
  6. trptboy21

    trptboy21 New Friend

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    Jan 23, 2008
    Ok maybe I should clarify a little bit. I'm 21 years old, I've been taking private lessons since the 8th grade. Im currently a trumpet major at a Big XII university where I play principle in the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, and Orchestra. I'm just constantly struggling with my chops and was wondering if anyone had any advice. Thanks for you help!
     
  7. wilcox96

    wilcox96 Mezzo Piano User

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    Well, perhaps it's a bit of "over" playing that has you experiencing these problems. Just considering what you've told us about the amount of playing you are doing and the demands of being principle of all these... maybe it's just too much, without adequate rest. If you are trying to practice inbetween all this on top of it (and especially if you are practicing material as if you didn't already have a heavy load throughout the day)...then that's probably it.

    You probably will need to re-evaluate what and how much you are practicing to balance out against your heavy sched.
     
  8. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome to TM, trptboy21!

    First of all, be wary of everything that is said here on TM--it is an open forum, and all kinds of opinions get voiced here, from the sublime to the ridiculous, and this includes advice from Vulgani.

    What suggestions has your professor made about pressure, articulation and missed notes? What kinds of things are you assigned to practice? What is very easy for you. Anything that your professor nags about?

    Answering these might help in getting more sublime answers.
     
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    As you are a trumpet major, overload is designed into the program! One thing that I remember from my studies in the early/mid 70s was that I always thought that I had to prove something and played much harder than was necessary. Try cutting EVERYTHING back one unit of volume and focus on elegance. Listen to Manny Laureano at Minnesota or Gil Johnson from the Ormandy Philadelphia recordings to see what I mean (there are many other fine players, I just view these two as exceptionally elegant!).

    If you are missing things, two things could be wrong: mechanical or mental. Mechanical can be overwork or just the attempt to overachieve, mental can be something that happened in your life that would limit concentration.

    I have had accomplished students that all of a sudden start missing things and that chews away at their self confidence. What worked for them was me sending them to swim laps. They hadn't ever "worked out" before so this was a new experience. The first day they managed 500 meters and were out of breath, the next day 400, the 3rd 700 and by the end of the first week they had 1000. After a month 2000. That increased their self esteem and also the contol of their body. It also took their mind completely off of the trumpet for 45 minutes to an hour. The newly developed power in their body and mind positively influenced their playing (and their social life - new friends that don't care or talk about a double C, chops or pressure).

    My advice to you is to do something similar. Get something brand new in your life that is healthy and positive. Set goals (1000 meters, 1500, 2000) and REWARD yourself when you succeed. I don't mean pizza and beer. Do something exceptionally nice. You are in a major school and that means that you have potential. You just need to get out of the rut!
     
  10. trptboy21

    trptboy21 New Friend

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    Jan 23, 2008
    Hey thanks for all the advice everyone,
    To answer a few questions- my prof has me doin some specific things for some of the same problems I originally posted. He has me playing lyrical Etudes in the evenings very softly and with little pressure. This seems to help but obviously im still in the rut. It's true that i'm probably overloaded a bit, i play in a jazz combo and an off and on quintet as well. Not to mention practicing several hours a day to try and keep up with all of the lead parts/rep I have to do.
     

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