Multiple Problems

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by tg610, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. tg610

    tg610 New Friend

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    Aug 15, 2010
    One of the reasons i became a member on TM was because i have quite a few problems with playing. I got my braces off right before summer started, worked my butt off, than took a brake for a month when summer came. Well, By that time i lost my show music, and my valves were stuck and i was w/o blue juice, so i was doomed until the beginning of summer band.

    My tone was really, really bad when i had braces, though I was the only person in our second band who could hit a high c. Well, i lost all my range, but after working i can hit a e easily...hopefully midway through the season, ill be above a g.

    Ill just start with 3 questions:
    1) As of late, when im marching it seems like i have a different embouchure and its very edgy, like when i had my braces on. Sometime I dont even make a sound (my guess is that my lips are touching). Luckily, this years show is a lot of stand still as the music is difficult.

    2)Ways to improve tone? i will do ANYTHING.

    3) People say low notes and long tones help tone, but can someone explain how?

    Thanks! :play:
     
  2. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    Hi tg610,
    Your questions are:

    1) As of late, when im marching it seems like i have a different embouchure and its very edgy, like when i had my braces on. Sometime I dont even make a sound (my guess is that my lips are touching). Luckily, this years show is a lot of stand still as the music is difficult.
    1a) You very well may have two different embrochures. Sometimes when people play marching band, they will roll their bottom lip in a little more and use a bit more pressure.
    If the change is effecting your playing, then I'd stick with the embrochure that works for you. Learn how to use the corners of your lips instead of mouthpiece pressure to go higher and lower. Do lip slurs (pick any of the 7 combinations) and do bugle calls. Make the notes smooth and not sloppy. Do all 7 combos: 0, 123, 13, 23,12, 1,2 one at a time. Spend 5 minutes a day and focus on using the corners of your lips. Will this hurt like the Dickens? You bet!! You're using muscles that you're not use to using. However, by next holiday, you'll be a new player if you do this 5 minutes a day.


    2)Ways to improve tone? i will do ANYTHING.
    2a)Play a long tone and listen. Now play another long tone and slowly bend the note up and down. There will come a point in the bend where the sound "pops" out and sounds great. That's where you want to be.
    Next, play a long tone and close your eyes and imagine (yes, imagine) the sound getting fatter and growing out from your body. Fatter doesn't mean louder, fatter is more sound in your sound.
    Next, open your eyes and now that you have a fat sound, play another long tone. This time take that fat sound and imagine that you're playing to someone a block away.

    3) People say low notes and long tones help tone, but can someone explain how?
    3a)Long tones are more like meditation. When you play softly, listen for the fattness and the projection of your sound.
    Badmangood brings up an excellent point and some great references about air. In addition, there's a free set of videos by Urban Agnes. Its called "Flow and is very good. Pay close attention about posture, relaxation and breathing.
    Good Luck and welcome
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010
  3. bagmangood

    bagmangood Forte User

    I'd also say for 3 that AIR is what makes a trumpet sound. A steady airstream is what improves tone and with a single note, you are able to very easily listen for any differences in how you are moving your air.
    A more steady airstream will improve all parts of your playing.

    For better breathing, look up Rowuk's (a poster on this forum) "Circle of Breathing", any yoga material on breathing, or the trumpet teacher Vincent Chicowitz materials on breathing
     
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    There is a lot of information here concerning all of your questions. You need a teacher, not a thousand internet recommendations that may differ.

    4 weeks off in your case means basically starting over - except for reading music. Just start and don't worry about what. There are no special exercises for super weak chops on players that have not developed firm habits.
     
  5. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Robin, when it comes right down to it, the mechanics of trumpet playing is comprised of some pretty basic building blocks:

    1.) Sound production and tone
    2.) articulation
    3.) flexibilities/lip slurs
    4.) fingering and coordination with the above 3 points

    The issue that many players face is that they want everything to come together NOW and they aren't patient or systematic in how they approach those basic concepts. They want to force range and endurance that they are not ready for and their chops are not prepared for, and they want to be able to force "music" they aren't yet equiped to play as well, and this ranges among most players to varying degrees.

    So to the Original Poster I say, get back to the basics, slow down, and start working on those individual building blocks of playing. Take it easy, and really pay attention to what's going on - you CAN NOT force it. The harder you try to force it ("...embouchure and its very edgy, like when i had my braces on. Sometime I dont even make a sound...") the worse things are going to get.

    The best thing you can do right now is to start working slowly in the practice room to improve your sound production and articulation. Work softly, slowly and systematically. Reduce pressure on the mouthpiece, don't play above a 3rd space C, and focus on clarity of tone and cleanliness of articulation. This isn't something that's going to imrpove in a day or two. You are going to have to work this for weeks. I understand that there is playing that is expected of you in marching band and that's fine, but get back to basics in the practice room. Alternately work on long tones, articulation and lip slurs, and do them specifically in different practice sittings. Example - for one practice sitting only work long tones. Next one, only work articulation. Next one, only work flexibility. It's interesting how well you start to feel what's going on with your chops and dial things in when you aren't distracting the heck out of yourself trying to combine everything at once when nothing is quite going right. I used to do this and have gotten back to it recently, and it has really worked to help me keep my chops as dialed in as they can be.

    Some will argue that you need to be working on music too. To that I say, if your basic fundamentals are weak, trying to play musically might be detrimental, and besides, you are doing music in marching band.

    After a few weeks of getting back to basics and doing some real embouchure work on the basics, you'll be surprised at how quickly things will start to come around and playing becomes easier and a lot more fun.

    Of course this is just my opinion and since I typed in on an internet forum it can't possibly be worth anything. :roll:
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010
  6. tg610

    tg610 New Friend

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    Aug 15, 2010
    actually, i do have a teacher, but i did not take lessons over the summer as i did not have a specific time each week when i was free.

    Thank you for all the advice! One more question.

    When im marching and playing, i (unconsciously) move my mouthpiece so that it is anchored on my top teeth. When i march, this presses my top teeth to my bottom lip, therefore producing no sound. Its a real pain having to tilt my head so much to anchor my mouthpiece on my bottom lip. Any suggestions/tips on this?
     
  7. bagmangood

    bagmangood Forte User

    I would say that 1,2, and 3 are all a result of good breathing and air support. (WARNING THIS WILL SOUND WEIRD). Get one of those yoga videos and pay attention to the parts about breathing (if your parents ask, tell them its for improving your overall life/trumpet playing depending on which they believe more. If someone at the store asks, tell them its for your parents). Applying better breathing to your playing makes everything come easier, from range to articulation to tone.
    You still need to practice on all of those specifically and individually, but improving your breathing is one of the best ways you can improve your trumpet playing, and you don't even need a horn to do it!
     
  8. tg610

    tg610 New Friend

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    Aug 15, 2010
    my problem with breathing is that im typically on 2nd or 3rd part, so i have to play softer, and that really limits my air support.
     
  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Have you thought about having a mouthpiece bent specifically to use for marching? I once did one on my own with a vise and a rawhide mallet, just messing around with an old mouthpiece - not ideal probably, but it seemed to work ok and you would only be using it for marching.
     
  10. bagmangood

    bagmangood Forte User

    Not necessarily air going through the horn, but a fuller breath, and engaging your core/abdomen/diaphram (not sure exactly what the muscle group is) to put air up in a steady state. Also: it isn't tightening that muscle, it is engaging it
     

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