must learn to use less pressure

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Myshilohmy, Aug 27, 2009.

  1. Myshilohmy

    Myshilohmy Pianissimo User

    Jan 6, 2009
    Does anyone have any good advice on learning to use less pressure? Lately in marching band (which i use a little more pressure in marching band to get the feet out of my sound, which is what i think everyone does) i have been getting tired real quick, face sore that night, and it reflects the next day and get's worse and worse until i get a day off or rely on an Aleve to help the muscles relax.

    Two part question, I read somewhere a warmup is only needed to 'fix' how you played wrong the day before. My teacher today said warmup is all mental (which i've heard several times before) and your lips have the most blood or something in them, and are always warm. I'm not sure I heard him right on the last part, but for me I physically cannot play like above an E without a warmup. Even with a HUGE breath and the fastest air it feels like my face is just readjusting to the mouthpiece and I need to loosen up my lips a bit. I have noticed if I don't play a day, the next day I can play maybe a G on top of the staff with no warmup, so my main concern right now is learning to use less pressure. In class sometimes I take my pinky out of the octave key, sometimes I play lip slurs one handed just to ensure no pressure is added, but I only sound the same up to a G above the staff (I can only play a high C really), anything above G on the staff for me one handed I can play, just not sound as good. So what should I do to use less pressure in chamber season and marching season?
  2. Bach219

    Bach219 Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 25, 2008
    Well I totally know what you mean about using more pressure to get the "marching sound" out of your trumpet!

    Personally instead of using a lyre like most people I hold my music with my left and play with my right. I hold the the music and my horn with my left hand, roughly in between the 3rd valve and the bell flare. By me doing this I can control the balance of the horn. I'm not saying it works perfectly, but with a smoother marching technique and holding the horn how I described it, it can help a bit.

    Maybe you should try a warm down after practice. Just play some relaxing low notes/pedal tones. It should help calm your chops down and make them ready for the next day.
  3. lakerjazz

    lakerjazz Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 10, 2006
    "Octave Key"-good one
    The real key to using less pressure is to develop your muscles to the point where you can play the note without using pressure. It really is that simple. The only problem is that in marching band, you are expected to play at a level of endurance that is much greater than a player at your level should have. Therefore, you feel the need to add pressure to hit and maintain notes that you shouldn't be forced to play at all. If you play daily, taking rest once or twice a week, eventually, playing e's and g's without too much pressure will not be a problem at all. Keep in mind, though, that as you play higher, you will have to put a slightly greater amount of pressure per note in order for the note to be clear. So you will never (or should never) be playing a g above the staff with the same amount of pressure as a c in the staff. That said, there shouldn't be too much of a difference either. Relax, take deeper breaths, and strengthen your muscles.
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    For the most part, marching band rehearsals will not be the place to develop lower pressure habits. The horn (and your body) has mass and mass in motion tends to stay that way unless outside forces (like pressure) slow it down.

    The only way that I know of to fix the problem is practice moving. During marching band season, move your long tones and slurs outdoors - moving. Practice softly and very rhythmically. I think that you get the idea. Practice as much as you can without beating yourself up!
  5. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

    Jul 28, 2009
    New Hampshire
    Myshilohmy -- your teacher is correct partially in that warmup is definitely mental, but it is also very physical. Playing an instrument is an athletic endeavor, just as athletic as playing football or swimming or anything normally regarded as "athletic." We're just using a smaller set of muscles and the muscles we're using are smaller than the major muscles the "athletes" are using. And you won't find any coach who doesn't insist on his/her athletes "warming up" before they do anything in their sport. The reason is that muscles which aren't gently stretched and made to start working will go into spasm and possible even rip if sudden and major stress is applied to them. Your lips and breathing muscles are no different.

    So use a warmup routine such as the Stamp Warmups or the Thompson Buzzing Book, and if you need to wake up a half-hour earlier each do so that you can get that warmup in before your school starts or your band rehearsal starts, then do it.

    The reason you have to use so much pressure is because your muscles aren't working properly and they have to be overpowered into working.

    Rowuk is quite correct when he says that marching band rehearsals aren't the place to develop lower pressure habits -- you need to work on them in a practice room, away from a band director who is asking you to play louder and higher and doesn't think that you need to get your muscles warmed up to begin with.
  6. hichez

    hichez Pianissimo User

    Jul 13, 2009
    This is so true. Warm-ups should be physical and mental. There is no reason to limit its potential. The reason why embrochue changes are hard is because its just different muscles. Thats why if you practice to hard on a new embrochue you could not be able to play trumpet at all.

    If you play first trumpet in marching band your director probably expects you to practice the rest of your lower register on your own. I know mine does. If you have to use drugs to reduce the pain of playing trumpet you need to switch parts or work something out with your band director. I recommend doing lip slurs after every rehearsal even if you have to wait till you get home. Sound stupid but it helps.

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