Low note trouble

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by YTR-2335, Apr 4, 2006.

  1. YTR-2335

    YTR-2335 New Friend

    Mar 25, 2006
    I'm starting to find it a bit easier to get high notes but the low notes like the lowest open C still alude me. I can get a few once in a while but they aren't focused and I find I must adjust my embouchure quite a bit. So what do some of you experienced players do to get the low notes? Is there somthing special you do with embouchure?
  2. R.A.S.

    R.A.S. Pianissimo User

    Oct 13, 2004
    Woodbury, Minnesota
    Are you talking about "single pedal C", "double pedal C", or just "low C".
    Please describe.

    If it's the single pedal C, I've been playing for 25 years and still have trouble getting that note out with open fingering. I usually use 123.

    If it's the double pedal C, it will come in time.

    If it's just the C one line below the staff, consult with a good teacher! You may need help with the way you approach the whole range of the instrument. I am specifically referring to the kind of advice that is on the Monette site (in their acclimation guide). Very helpful information, and an issue many players struggle with. Someone like Manny Laureano would be able to assess the problem and help you solve the problem.
  3. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004

    I've been thinking about you since the first couple of posts you put up. You are at a distinct disadvantage because you're an adult beginner and are not approaching this new trumpet thing with the child-like simplicity that is such an important part of learning music.

    Kids go completely by sound and you're very concerned with the physical processes of playing. My advice is to stop trying to figure out what makes the car go. Put in the key, turn it, and drive. You don't have to be a mechanic to drive a car nor do you need any more knowledge about the trumpet other than what it sounds like for now. Leave all that other intellectual stuff for later.

    Knowing what muscles are involved in trumpet playing is of no consequence to even an adult beginner. You need to hear someone play a low C several times and I'll bet nature will guide you if you have a good ear. If you don't have a good ear there's always piano which produces the tone for you.

    Be a passive observer and enjoy the trumpet slowly, with patience. Endurance comes later with consistent practice and a good ear.

    I wish you the best,

  4. camelbrass

    camelbrass Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Dubai, UAE
    I'd just like to add my 02 cents worth and re-iterate what ML has said (now there's either arrogance or an inflated ego on my part for you!!).

    These web sites are lots of fun and you'll read lots of stuff about the benefits of setting your embouchure this way over that way. It's more intellectual than reality....don't get confused by what you read, lots of it probably won't ever apply to you. It doesn't to me.

    Sound is what guides the physical, adult or child, beginner or expert. Players that sound good have all the technical bits right.Get together with a teacher who can show you what the notes sound like and emulate them...you'll get it quickly.

    It's not rocket science and despite what you read it's easy. Relax.


  5. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    2335; what Manny said-and he's the pro.

    I speak as someone "on your side of the fence" who "began" to play trumpet (and, incidentally to even READ MUSIC) at age 50. Listen to lots of music. All genres. Imitate or work on imitation of trumpet sounds you know. Get a lesson or two...or three....or more...I recommend your local college conservatory... so what if the kids teaching you are half your age...or less? If you can afford it you might be better with an adult instructor but honestly, they'll likely recommend you to an advanced student for the first few lessons or months anyway. (and student instructors are way cheaper!) But ONLY a student instructor recommended by a proper music or trumpet teacher please. You can learn a lot of bad habits in a hurry with the wrong teachers.

    1) Get someone to show you IN PERSON a good "chop set" AND proper posture, breathing.

    2) Get a nice sound in your "mind's ear"

    3) Put the darn thing to your face and BLOW.

    Yeah, you'll fool around, experiment with the mouthpiece (a little over... maybe up? maybe down... how about tucking the bottom lip in a hair... does this work? does that work?) You'll get to it but you have to use those two things on the sides of your head. You have to find out what works best FOR YOU.

    4) Get some books... simple ones. (I first started out using the old Yamaha "Playcard" system... anybody remember them?)

    5) Don't be afraid to just chuck the exercises every once in a while and try some simple tune books (Music Minus One, etc.) and play tunes that you KNOW (and that are in your range). It's good to "take a break" from rigorous technical stuff... that's how you discover what you really can and cannot do musically AND it keeps it "fun"; very important to keep the motivation level UP. (It's also a great way to self-measure your advancement).

    6) Don't be afraid to ask questions. Those questions generally indicate where you are at and help others to help you when it's appropriate. No question is stupid (unless it is repeated needlessly).

    7) As soon as possible get into an appropriate skill-level group. There are things that you cannot learn "playing solo". Community band, garage band, whatever you can find. They provide the motivation to push you forward. As I found, it's often EASIER to play along in a higher skill level band than in one that's too low (where timing and tuning are often VERY problematic).

    8) HAVE FUN! It's a hobby, remember? A VERY serious hobby to many (not "Manny"), but a hobby nontheless. For all of those who are amateur (using the strict definition of the word) it is a hobby. In other words, music isn't necessary to pay the rent or put food on the table... just necessary to keep you sane!
  6. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

    Sep 14, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    What they said:

    The only thing that I could add is that you need to be certain to keep your corners firm even below the stave!

    It's taken me some time to do but it pays big...

    Specifically make sure not to do the horse lips thing where your just flopping all over the place. Keep it as firm as you can.
  7. YTR-2335

    YTR-2335 New Friend

    Mar 25, 2006
    It's C one line below the staff. I can play it but I must adjust my embouchure quite a bit.
  8. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

    Sep 14, 2005
    Metro Detroit

    That should be a farily easy note to play.. You need to be careful about adjusting your embouchure especially if it's "Quite a bit" Your embouchure
    should remain the same for as many notes as possible. This takes time but can be done.

    I'd highly reccomend some James Thompson buzzing studies using the B.E.R.P. device to help you with this. I can keep one embouchure from pedal "C" to about A one line above the stave before I start making changes.

    It worked wonders for me!
  9. Billy B

    Billy B Pianissimo User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Des Moines, IA
    More great advice from Manny. When I read such advice not only from Manny, but Vizzuti, Bill Adam and a host of other greats, it never ceases to amaze me that so many ignore this advice and continue to approach the trumpet with so much analyzation of the physical process, attempying to manipulate muscle groups.
  10. YTR-2335

    YTR-2335 New Friend

    Mar 25, 2006
    Thanks for the advice. I'm trying to find a teacher but the only one I know of won't return my phone calls. I guess he's probably got all the students he can handle right now. I think you're right though. If I could see someone playing the right way It would probably help alot. I'm sure I'll find a teacher somewhere I'll just have to look around more.

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