Losing my range, blowing out my lips or something

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by thaibo93, Oct 5, 2009.

  1. thaibo93

    thaibo93 New Friend

    Oct 5, 2009
    I came into band camp believing I could hit a high C consistently, and I did that everyday of band camp. My range was getting better and so was my tone. My band instructor put my as second chair :-).

    But then marching season came around and I just lost it. Everything that I worked hard for, my range, my consistency, and my tone, all gone. I couldn't play any of my music and had to play it down the octave, even though i played the same part effortlessly during band camp. I'm fine when it comes to playing below Middle C, but higher than that i sound weak and terrible. My attacks are weak also.

    I've been trying to figure out why i've been playing so badly for the past week. I started practicing more, but that didn't help.

    I NEED help. I need to know what i'm doing wrong and how to fix it.

    Here are some more details I can supply:

    • I recently changed mouthpieces from a Bach 7C to 3C, but my problems started happening before that.
    • School has been really busy for me lately.
    • Some of my teachers suggested that I put too much pressure on my lips
    • Others suggest that i'm having growing pains and that i'm going through a tough transition from playing second trumpet parts into lead trumpet.
    • My trumpet teacher thinks i need a new mouthpiece because my lips are relatively big. He thinks i need a mariachi mouthpiece.
    • He also believes I put my mouthpiece too low on my lips
    What's most confusing to me is that I've hit all of those high notes before and done it effortlessly. Why am I suddenly losing all of my abilities? I'm really stressed out and i want to keep my chair position, but I don't think i can.

    Please help!
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2009
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    You didn't have double C. C above the staff is just high C.

    Marching will strengthen any bad habits that you have. When you play with pressure, everything else suffers, it has NOTHING to do with the mouthpiece.

    The only solution comes after marching season. Then you need a solid daily routine with long tones, lip slurs and breathing exercizes. You need to work on your body use. That is very tough to do DIY. If you go into marching season strong, the chance of resorting to excess pressure is not as great. In the middle of the season, there is not much that you can do except playing second or third where you are not working as hard.

    Whenever we beat ourselves up, we have problems regardless if it is our face, arms, legs or abs. You need a good trumpet teacher.
  3. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    You could be having a problem adapting to the 3C, the cup of the 7C is deeper and the shape of the rim is very different, if your losing sound and range ,you could be bumping the cup.
  4. SpiritDCI08

    SpiritDCI08 Piano User

    Feb 11, 2009
    Fort Campbell, KY
    I agree with Rowuk, it has nothing to do with the mouthpiece.
    From what I've seen 3cs are the most commonly used mouthpiece in H.S. and College.

    Take a weekend off of your chops. Trumpet players are like runners, we can't do it everyday and expect to compete with fresh legs. The break will rebuild your lips and calm you down.

    Maybe you are not ready to be a lead player, which isn't a problem, you just need more practice. Long tones and lip slurs, and when I say long tones I mean LONG tones. Play a G (G's are a good starting note because it is roughly in the middle of the possible notes you can play on the horn) and hold it then go down a halfstep (F#) and hold that note until you can't possibly put anymore air into the horn. Then start on F# and repeat dropping to the F natural. Listen for pitch, tone, and intonation. Make sure your sound doesn't waver but is one constant tone.
    Lip slurs will build your endurance. Grab an Arbans are play some of the Slurring Studies he has. You can also make your own, just play a starting pitch and move up and down the parcels (spelling?). Make sure, if you make your own, to repeat the slurs using your valves (i.e. open slurs, 2nd value, 1st value, 1&2 combination and so on). Listen to for a smooth transition between the notes and an evenness of sound.
    You can also do long tones and lip slurs on your mouthpiece, which I highly recommend.

    I recommend staying on the 3c, then again NEVER listen to someone about which piece you need to play on. It's a personal journey, play everypiece before you buy it and make sure it works for you.

    Hope this helps
    Keep us posted on your progress
  5. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    Sometimes people start playing too loud or with way too much pressure in Marching Band. Also, all the high playing you did during band camp was probably way more high playing than you were doing in your practice leading up to it. If you're playing with too much force, back off and stop trying so hard. Standing with good posture and taking a relaxed breath is the best you can do mid-season. After the season, look at what you've learned about your playing and talk to your teacher about a routine that will help you in the long run. Also, changing mouthpieces during a time of high stress playing or when you're struggling isn't usually a good idea.

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