Loss of control with extensive range practice

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Cpt.Funk, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. Cpt.Funk

    Cpt.Funk New Friend

    Jul 15, 2012
    Hey TM- I'm an upcoming senior in high school and have been rigorously working range to get comfortable
    with a demanding marching band piece (open pedal C to 3rd C chromatically and by way of C arpeggio)
    I've noticed that toward the end of a day of 20 play/20 rest practice sessions (totally playing time usually around 3 hours)
    my control is shot- I feel somewhat of a slip or shift so to speak right around 3rd A. The rest of the ascension up to 3rd C goes fine...
    but on the way down my embouchure fights to stay up up UP. I've tried to first counteract this with modulating the airstream, then even went as far
    as to attempt some form of counter pivot/shift. Thus far, nothing has worked. The next day, everything is great!...until around 1.5 hours. (this wouldn't be an issue
    if I didn't need the ridiculous endurance it takes for marching band -_-)

    Current equipment:
    1.5ZM Curry
    1.5C Bach
    '37 Stradivarius 2011
  2. Cpt.Funk

    Cpt.Funk New Friend

    Jul 15, 2012
    apologies, just learned the proper terminology for this site- replace all 3rd space C's with HIGH C. and the 3rd A to above the staff A
  3. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

    Nov 16, 2009
    Near Portland, OR.
    Cpt Funk, in ordinary terminology, "high C" is the one 2 ledger lines above the staff; the one in the 3rd space of the staff is usually referred to as "middle C."
  4. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011

    I'm not getting the data from Curry that I wanted so excuse my analysis should it be flawed...

    here: http://currympc.com/standard-series-trumpet-mouthpieces.html

    From what I can decipher though it does appear however that your 1.5ZM Curry mouthpiece is way too deep for marching band. At least for the great majority of trumpet players.

    Remember that marching band is there just for building chops. We join it because our band director arm twists into the scam at least half the time. Most every brass player I knew who joined marching band in high school did it because it was a required prerequisite for jazz band enrollment.

    The idea that we need a deep mouthpiece for sound out on the football field? Well you be the judge. In marching bland we want projection and endurance. Forget about getting overly caught up in quality sound because the whole concept of the outdoor marching band is marginally "musical" at best. This isn't the Boston Symphony here folks.

    There exists a couple common problems with switching to shallower pieces (of which Curry has a complete line but sorry to say I'm not well versed with)

    1. It takes some conditioning to get used to the shallow m/pieces. That's right: In certain applications a shallow piece requires more, not less chops to take advantage of.

    2. Band directors and even a fair amount of trumpet teachers who give private lessons are biased against these shallower pieces. Ignorant would be the more accurate term.

    So you could be handicapped in advance due to these limitations. That said I highly recommend that you start looking into shallow equipment. take your time getting used to it. No hurry. At first you'll sound tinny but this is usually only due to the break in period.

    A little later I will be posting something about the shallower pieces. Maybe even tonight. So check it our when you can.


    Schilke: (or Yamaha equivalent. see your local music store for comparison)


    You're probably not ready for the total screamer known as the Schilke 6a4a. A marvelous piece in the hands of a well conditioned pro but you would probably find it too radical a change presently


    The best mouthpieces for marching and jazz band really were the long since discontinued and antique Al Cass collection. If you can find one of these oldies its a real treat. Try the 1-28 first and then work shallower to the 3x4. The consummate lead piece.
  5. D.C. Al fine

    D.C. Al fine Banned

    May 8, 2012
    Just practice more, for longer times. Its just endurance. Not a big issue.
  6. D.C. Al fine

    D.C. Al fine Banned

    May 8, 2012

    Just stick with what you have, no need for a new mouthpiece for marching band.
  7. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011

    In all likelihood this statement is startlingly inaccurate. Assuming my judgment of his Curry m/piece is accurate I'll bet the farm he's playing a mouthpiece way too deep for his own good.

    I stake my nearly 48 YEARS behind the horn and 4 decades of bandstand gigs as witness.

    Seen too many kids blow blood out the end of the bell. Dried blood in the mouthpiece. Needing to break the scab off their beaten chops the next day just to get a note out of the horn.

    Almost without exception each was using an overly sharp, too deep of a mouthpiece.

    Why kill yourself? Its only marching band...
  8. mctrumpet98

    mctrumpet98 Pianissimo User

    Sep 29, 2011
    Down Under
    Mate, I feel your pain. I used to have similar issues as well. I think you need to correct your playing routine, or more so do a better warmup that focuses on all registers of the trumpet. I present to you the program I took part in and have been successful with: the Range of Complete Control.

    The narrative here talks about what the Range of Complete Control is, the benefits, and its principles and practicality.


    You then take a diagnostic test to determine where your range of complete control is. Regardless of how good you may think you are, be very critical of where this line sits. For most people, this is from 4th space E to top staff G. I would not recommend any higher than this.


    You then proceed to your relevant daily exercise for your range of complete control and off you go! Continue at a pace of one half step/week. This may vary from one week to four weeks, however, as sometimes you get stuck on 'plateaus' of range building. Then after a few months, you've got a significantly increased range of complete control.

    TaKaTa Trumpets - Range of Complete Control

    Speaking from experience with this program, the main thing it teaches you to do is use your tongue properly while playing, for better range and articulation. The program helps you develop your softer register, which will provide greater contrast in your playing to louder sections.

    [HR][/HR]NOTE: the pdf's end at a range of complete control of High C. This is done so for a reason. Most of the songs out there for trumpet, depending on what genre you play, don't exceed high C. I went up to High D and I've stayed on that for about a month now. I would not go higher than this.

    Be flexible with your daily exercises! I started with the long tone exercise and then the rest in order, while playing 2 sets of one tongued one slurred chromatic scale exercise in between each other exercise. I gradually increased the tempo of the scale as well. I also worked on my shakes (lip trills), starting from top staff G upwards. I added these to the climactic note of the chromatic scale. Once I reached high A in my range of complete control, I instead added some of these exercises to the slurred arpeggios exercise.

    An important note once you reach a higher range of complete control regarding long tones. One octave ascending isn't as beneficial for you in your range development as two octaves ascending and one descending. From high Bb onwards, I started on the lower octave (i.e. low Bb, in this instance) working my way chromatically up to high Bb and then back down to third line Bb.

    Finally, another exercise you could add are some mixed intervals. Arban wrote out plenty.

    Best of luck!

  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I think that the expectation of a high school senior FOCUSSING on range to not be shot after 3 hours is the problem.

    Developing range is a process of integration. If your brain, ears or body are not integrated, you can have all of the chops in the world, you will CRASH and BURN. Only when you finally get the message that EVERYTHING is connected, will you be on your way to not CONQUERING the music, rather being able to MAKE music.

    One of the BIGGEST mistakes is isolation of playing factors. It always results in the same frustration. The player thinks that they are doing everything right, but are not making the expected progress.

    When I start reading crap about embouchure and mouthpiece changes I really get upset. The brainlessness of divide and conquer only works when destroying countries or relationships. It was NEVER effective in making better musicians.

    My advice to you is to NOT overemphasize any aspect of your practice sessions. I teach a lot of long tones and lip slurs because they need the air, the relaxed body, minimal pressure on the upper lip, a turned on brain and ears. Once the fundementals of playing are down, then we add the tongue to articulate the "superior sonics". If our practice sessions are well balanced, we have plenty of great music to play and can develop emotionally at the same time and then we are playing WITH THE GROOVE instead of beating ourselves up senselessly.

    relaxed Body
    living Breath
    synchronized tongue

    and a dedication to the process of integration of everything - take notes. I'll bet that your only problem is not "loss of control"!
  10. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    I would guess that you're trying to continue to practice and press on even when your lips are tired.This usually causes us to start using more and pressure ,which will result in the symptoms you're now experiencing after the 1.5 hour mark.
    If you want to build endurance,practice very softly with as little mouthpiece pressure as possible.When practicing long tones and lip slurs,concentrate on air flow,most don't use enough air when playing descending scales,arpeggios and slurs.
    Instead of practicing 3 hours when your lip is good for 1.5 hours, try adding 20 minutes to your 1.5 and see how that goes.Practicing on tired lips only makes it easier to let bad habits sneak their way into your playing.

Share This Page