My face vs. my mind.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by TangneyK, Mar 18, 2004.

  1. TangneyK

    TangneyK Pianissimo User

    Nov 10, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ
    For the past 6 years or so (including a one and a half year hiatus from the horn to get some other parts of my life "together"), I've been "stuck" at an Eb above the staff. I OWN that Eb too. But whenever I go for that E, it either never comes out, or it's just this squeeky little P.O.S. I haven't worried about this too much, because most of the playing I do, especially for the last 2 years, has been section work or "jazz" (i.e. combo setting).

    Now, I would consider myself to be a decent lead trumpet player. I have the sound, the confidence, style, etc. I sound good playing lead all the way up to that Eb, then BAM.... There goes me playing lead on that chart.

    Although I do realize that playing high is a means to an end, and not an "end" in and of itself, I'm finally getting to the point where I realize that to be a marketable trumpet player, I need at least a strong G. (In my humble opion.)

    I've got a couple range extension excercises that I'm starting to work on. I've just started this week, so I've yet to see any progress. (Not that I expected to so soon.)

    So, here's where the topic of my post comes into play:

    I REALLY REALLY REALLY shy away from analyzing any of my embouchure. Every time I do, I start to overanalyze every little thing I do, creating a kind of "paralysis." (My mind starts working overdrive, trying to manually change things about my playing, which result in me sucking.)

    But, if I faithfully do these excercises, and no results are apparent, what then? Is something fundementally flawed in my playing?

    I'm pretty sure I'm using my air the right way.

    I'm also afraid to write down what I think is going on in my embouchure on this forum, cause I'll get a million opinions on what I should be doing different, thus creating the afore-mentioned "Analysis = Paralysis" problem.

    I'm afraid to get a teacher, because he/she might try and drastically change something that for all intents and purposes (minus the range thing) is working beautifully.

    So, I don't know what kind of replies I'm expecting on this. I might have just needed to get this off my chest, face, and mind.

  2. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly Piano User

    Oct 31, 2003
    the north philly ghetto
    so what equipment are you using?
  3. TangneyK

    TangneyK Pianissimo User

    Nov 10, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ
    NEVERMIND my equipment!!!!

    Sorry to be such a bastard, but this is MY problem, not my horn's, or my mouthpieces', or my shoelaces.
  4. pops

    pops Pianissimo User

    Mar 17, 2004
    You are in a catch 22.

    The problem is if you want a DIFFERENT result then you have to TRY something DIFFERENT.

    9 times out of 10 paralysis is just fear.

    IF you stay afraid the game is over.

    Why is it if someone asks you to try something you as you say overanalyze everything?

    Well you asked a question.

    High notes have always been and always will be about 1 thing.

    Faster lip vibrations.

    There is more than 1 way to do this.

    The easiest is to speed up the air.

    I am going to stay completely away from the embouchure so you don't have anything to worry about. ;-)

    Project the notes where they belong.
    Low G rolls out of the bell,
    Low C goes out 5 feet,
    Second line G goes out 8 feet,
    3rd space C goes out 12 feet,
    G on top of the staff goes out 20 feet,
    High C goes out 40 feet,
    G above high C goes out 80 feet.

    Relax the stomach muscles. Tension only hurts the sound. Tensing the stomach muscles does NOT create a smaller body cavity or pressurize the lungs.

    Bringing the abs in toward the spine and contracting the muscles around the girdle does create a smaller body cavity. That moves your guts and since the pelvic bones won't let them go down; they have to go up. That makes the part of your chest cavity available for your lungs smaller. And that places the air in the lungs under pressure.

    Pull the stomach in farther for each higher note.

    The muscle about 2-3 inches below the navel needs to come in and up as you play higher.

    Swoosh faster air= faster vibrations.

    Another way to speed up the air is through a tongue hiss.

    Say Siss and feel where the tongue is. Pressing against the back of the top teeth.

    Play your Eb and hiss higher notes should come out.

    This is just a normal extension of tongue arch and everyone should be using it.

    In case someone is not whistle an arpeggio. The tongue moves higher in the mouth to make the higher pitches. This should happen when we play too.

    Nothing to do with the chops and nothing to analyze or get scared about.
  5. Liberty Lips

    Liberty Lips Pianissimo User

    Dec 7, 2003
    You might benefit from doing some reading on the subject. Some people say that if a player reaches a plateau, as you seem to have reached, it's an indication that the embouchure he's using is only going to produce that range and nothing higher. Jerome Callet, Clint McLaughlin, Claude Gordon, Adams, Stevens, and many others have written extensively about various embouchures and techniques that will extend one's range a full octave above the high Eb. Control of breathing factors heavily into these techniques, as does tongue level, and also equipment, although I think that you are correct to downplay the equipment aspect. These materials are fairly easily accessed, through this website and also trumpetherald. After you've read some of these writings, you might have a better idea about who you would like to approach for specific study to address your range issue.
  6. Annie

    Annie Piano User

    Nov 13, 2003
    First step- Breath and relax! Breath again, relax again, breath again, relax again...ACh, don't hyperventilate on me! (Sorry, really sorry attempt at a joke there.)

    Anything that might be wrong can easily fixed, as long as you believe it can. If you get a good teacher, he/she might not drasticly change your embouchure right away. A good teacher sees what you've learned, sees what you need to learn, and doesn't change what you've learned unless it is something drastic - For example, playing on a very shallow mouthpiece just because "It'll help get high notes better." A good teacher will start from where you are, and then add new things and make minor changes over an extended period of time to get to a large change.

    I know, it's worrying when people are like "Get a teacher." And then you wonder...will they change everything? Will they say I'm horrible? (I worried about that before I started getting lessons - Yeah, that was a stupid thing for me to worry about too! Even though I was horrible when I first started lessons...) Maybe you could do a few preliminary lessons with several different teachers, and see who fits your fancy as a teacher! You don't have to go with the first teacher you run into, you do have a choice (especially since you're the one shelling out the money!)

    Good luck, I hope I helped.
  7. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

    Nov 2, 2003
    what do you do for daily fundamental practice??

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