losing air around lips

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by MarkMin, Feb 21, 2010.

  1. MarkMin

    MarkMin New Friend

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    Jul 15, 2008
    First some disclaimers:
    1. I am not trying to get to a Double C -- I'm not interested in it. In my opinion (just my opinion, I don't expect anyone else to agree), I don't think the trumpet sounds particularly interesting up there -- just a squeaking or siren-y noise most of the time (and I *have* listened to some high note specialists) -- especially if it stays up there a lot. Although I can appreciate it, I prefer the sound of the trumpet in its mid-range. And I've never been asked to play one or seen one written (there is always a first time, of course).
    2. I will never be a professional player -- I'm just an interested amateur.
    3. I have read many of the postings on high note playing.
    4. I'm 54, with long and successful careers in three other fields separate from music: I've long since resigned myself to the fact that I am not a musical or trumpeting prodigy -- I just want to sound better.
    5. I do have a teacher, but I've been sick, and haven't seen him for a while; I'm trying to get myself back together a bit before going to see him.

    Having said that, I do want to make my high notes more secure, and working on the principle that in order to play a C above the staff securely in performance I should be able to play an F or G above that in practice, I've been working on getting a little more range.

    My secure range is up to the D above C above the staff. Eb and E are usually there, but it's an effort. F is only occasionally there; a few times I've hit a G and each time nearly fell over in shock. Occasionally, when fooling around, I hit notes that are extremely high, but I have no control over them and they are essentially mis-hits: some part of the harmonic series that I've misheard.

    Now, the issue is that once I get beyond the D or Eb I start to leak air around the mouthpiece. This is not a gradual thing, I go from a secure note, everything's relaxed, no problem, no sir-ee, to the next note which I completely fluff and it sounds like a strangled chicken, air coming out the side of the mouthpiece.

    I'm sure this is common. And the solution is? And don't tell me "practice"! I know I need to practice, but what image, or idea should I have in mind? Or, more simply, what should I be doing?

    Keep in mind, that my main aim is to make all the notes from the D above C above the staff DOWN sound secure and musical.

    BTW, if it's useful, I have a goodish pedal range -- at least an octave below bottom F#, sometimes more; this has always been the case.

    Equipment: Monette B2 mouthpiece; Olds Recording trumpet. I don't think it's the equipment -- unless you count my lips, teeth, jaw, tongue, throat, lungs, diaphragm, legs, and brain as separate from me ... on second thoughts.

    Thanks
     
  2. abtrumpet

    abtrumpet Pianissimo User

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    Nov 14, 2009
    This isn't the reason but a B2 is a very big mouthpiece and is not as easy to get up in the high range.

    To get more control I'd find out what you're doing inside your mouth when you play each note, and try to hit it spot on until you can't mess up. Not the best advice, but it's something :D
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2010
  3. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    I love your disclaimer! You obviously read here a lot.

    I'm guessing that your smiling instead of puckering when you go higher.

    The smile system works. There are really good players that use that system. I don't like it though. I used to play like that and have had much better results with the pucker. In Arban the tongue mark is tu. tu naturally brings the corners in. Tee will make the corners smile. It's a very subtle difference.

    To fix it, do slurs like C-G-C, B-F-sharp-B, and so on. Slowly and on each note make the corners go in a little. You'll feel what I'm talking about when you do it.

    If your not smiling, I have no idea. I can tell you that I play part time and have been having some trouble keeping up physically at age 50.
     
  4. MarkMin

    MarkMin New Friend

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    Jul 15, 2008
    Abtrumpet: thanks for your thoughts ...
    I've always played a fairly big mp: my teacher put me on what I think was a Bach 1 1/2B or 1 1/4B (did they make that size? my memory's not what it should be) when I was about 16 or 17. I played that for a few years until I lost it when touring somewhere and could only get a Giardinelli 7VS to replace it at short notice. I made do with that until I stopped playing c.27 years old.

    When I took trumpet up again about 18 months ago the first teacher I played for put me onto a Marcinkiewicz Michelou E2, which was ok, but I always felt a bit strangled on it, and the tone wasn't as nice as when I shifted to the Monette B2.

    I feel comfortable on the B2, though I must say I have since played a B5 which had a nice tone and seemed to give me a couple of extra high notes. But I think that sometimes happens when you change a mp for a few minutes, then reality kicks in (a bit like having an affair -- er, ahem, not that I've ever had one; believe me, I'm a doctor).

    My range has always been about the same on all these mouthpieces, so not sure that it is the mp.

    I'm interested in what my tongue *should* be doing tho' (I won't say anything about affairs at this point ...).

    best
     
  5. MarkMin

    MarkMin New Friend

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    Jul 15, 2008
    Thanks B15M ... that seems to be going in the direction abtrumpet was suggesting: I'll give the pucker I try.

    Yes, I occasionally indulge in a read on here, tho' I've latterly started to admonish myself that every minute reading about it is a minute not spent doing it ... but I do need some help identifying what "it" is.

    And I genuinely don't particularly like high high high trumpet -- it seems a bit like listening to a dog whistle to me. (I don't mean a dog whistling, that would be remarkable; I'd pay good money to see and hear that. I mean "dog whistle" as a compound noun. Whew.) Taking the dog whistle idea further, will someone eventually ask how they can play so high that no one can hear it?

    I'll stop before I get too silly.
     
  6. MarkMin

    MarkMin New Friend

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    Jul 15, 2008
    That should read "I'll give the pucker A try".
     
  7. abtrumpet

    abtrumpet Pianissimo User

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    Nov 14, 2009
    I generally move my tongue up towards the roof of my mouth as I go higher. I also use a lot more air. You do not want to jam the trumpet against your lips to try and squeak out these notes either. Please note this is what I do and it won't work for everyone.

    Ha!
     
  8. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    Try slurring from a G to a C. while doing it, move the back of the tongue towards the roof of the mouth. I think of Yyaa. Tongue up to hit the note and then open aa so your not playing choked off.
     
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Germany
    The quickest fix for leaking air is the "Pencil Trick". Google it. Eric Bolvin has a great description on his website. It consists of strengthening the "corner" muscles. It works and doesn't destroy other things.
     
  10. Phil

    Phil Pianissimo User

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    Jun 7, 2009
    Cookeville
    It's hard to say this without actually seeing you play, but, from experience with myself, too much pressure can be a cause of air leakage. The pencil trick Rowuk mentioned can be a great fix for that in that it strengthens your embouchure and your body will begin to stop using your arms as a source of lip compression.
    If you are interested in an exercise to go along with the pencil trick, you could do what my professor calls the "flat hand." The flat hand is where you hold the trumpet in your left hand but your left hand has the four fingers flat and the thumb extended so that your hand is in the shape of an "L" and the trumpet is resting on the tip of your thumb and index finger. In the right hand, place your pinky on top of the pinky ring and your thumb between the first and second valves. Start out with a low C major scale and go as high as you can before your left hand begins to slip towards you and hold that note.
     

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