LOUD playing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by JackD, Mar 11, 2005.

  1. JackD

    JackD Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 30, 2003
    Manchester / London
    I know this has been discussed before, but I think that was in a slightly different context...

    In my lesson today my teacher said that I was a bit of a "mouse" when it comes to playing loudly! He asked me if I ever practice with a very big volume, and the answer came back : "Well... no!" I think I've got a bit of an issue with big breathing, and consequently big loud playing.

    He's got me doing the diminished / dominant 7ths from Arban at a big volume, and I was just wondering if you had any tips?

    I've just done 30 mins of it, at a very large volume, and now my stomach aches! My lips feel fine strangely enough, but after about 30 mins all my support from down below seems to have given out. This is very strange for me, as it doesn't normally happen (but then I don't normally practice playing very loudly).

    The other thing is I noticed the tone started to break up when I reached a certain volume, and even some double-buzzes started creeping in. That's also not something I normally have to deal with.

    I feel like someone's just punched me very hard in the stomach! :shock:


  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    Oh, dear...

    Jack, first off, when your instructor suggested that you incorporate loud playing into your practice I doubt that he wanted you to do so so for a full 30 minutes! I would say 10 minutes at best for someone whom heretofore has been a self-described "mouse". The essence of superior loud playing is in the control that a player can show when doing so. That is: tone must never suffer nor should intonation and your lips have to retain the integrity (stability) of the embouchure. That's why the double buzzes have crept into your playing temporarily. Your lips gave out before the end of the 30 minutes yet you continued playing because this is somewhat new to you as a practice technique. Your emouchure was being starved of wind.

    The one good thing that this unfortunate process has revealed is that you have an abdominal stiffness when you breathe. You have to allow the tummy area to be weak and pliable when you breathe in. You're holding the belly stiff as you inhale and likely doing so as you exhale as well. You must allow the belly to expand naturally as the lungs fill with air. The punch in the gut is the result of bearing down when you release the air as though you were engaged in a seated visit to the W.C. and maintaining that sensation for half an hour.

    Remember: Barrel in, hourglass out and you'll be fine. Take the rest of the night off if you've got nothing pressing tonight. In fact, as discipline for your errant behavior, report at once to the Castle Anthrax for punishment. Ask for Zoot... she'll know what to do.

  3. JackD

    JackD Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 30, 2003
    Manchester / London
    Thanks Manny. I stopped soon after I heard the double buzz - I realised I was slipping into a non-productive bit of practice! Thanks for the tip on the stiffness thing - this is definitely something I need to work on (not another one! :-o )

    ps. As for Zoot - in the name of King Arthur, open the door!
  4. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I used to do a longtone exercise that involved me doing a crescendo from as soft as I could play controlled, to as loud as I could play with control, back down to as soft as I could play, all in one breath. It was a great exercise (and one that I probably should start doing again!) and it really expanded my dynamic range and improved my tone control The idea was to crescendo smoothly and gradually to as loud as I could play while maintaining intonation and tone.

    Manny is going to have much better advice on the subject than I do though. The above exercise is something that I came up with on my own.

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