negatives of soft playing?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Coehlers95, Sep 2, 2015.

  1. Coehlers95

    Coehlers95 New Friend

    Jul 12, 2012
    Minneapolis, MN
    Hey guys so I have been having playing issues for awhile and I have try trying to play as soft as possible as much as I can and trying to avoid situations I need to play loud and my sot playing is great! but I literally cant play anything above a G top of the staff and cant play anything over like mf volume.... Thoughts?
  2. Dennis78

    Dennis78 Fortissimo User

    Feb 1, 2015
    More air, faster air
  3. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Trumpet is a physical instrument that is ultimately meant to be played loud and proud - don't be afraid of that side of the instrument. Sometimes you just have to go for and be aggressive in your approach.
  4. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Great Southern Land
    Were you able to play louder, and with greater range, before now? If so I can think of a lot of things which might have caused this - such as having had an injury, change in diet (e.g. eating more salt), something blocked in your trumpet (you do keep it clean on the inside, yes?), or some psychological change which is stopping you playing louder or higher.

    I don't think that playing softly in itself should take away from your ability to play louder or higher, except insofar as you may as a result not be practicing your range and dynamic.

  5. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    You say you've been having "playing issues for a while". Did they begin before or after you started the soft playing?

    "Soft playing" is a technique. In and of itself, it is neither good nor bad. What matters is how you use it.

    I've found this technique helpful, as part of my daily routine. If you want to learn more about "soft playing", Google "sotto voce nick drozdoff" or similar queries. Nick has a number of videos showing how he uses the technique.

  6. johnande

    johnande Pianissimo User

    Jun 3, 2009
    western Wyoming
    Coehlers95: Having had the same (or very similar) problem as you described, I recently spent a couple of hours jamming with a former professional player. Like you, I have a good range but no significant volume in the upper range. His suggestions reflected some of the ideas expressed by previous posters: 1) spend some practice time play LOUDly (ie, don't practice in a bedroom playing softly); 2) concentrate on deep breathing; 3) practice sustained LOUD tones at the upper end of your range even if it is just G above the staff. His point was that playing "softly" improves your ability to play softly but does not improve your tone or volume above the staff. In a nutshell, if you want to improve your ability to maintain a nice soft tone, practice playing long soft tones. If you want to improve your ability to produce greater volume above the staff, practice that. Makes sense to me. Will post a follow-up in a few weeks after I have had a little longer to try his approach. JA
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    There is no down side to playing softly, but there sure is a down side to playing wimpily. Soft high notes need great breathing and embouchure control.

    I think that you are confusing soft and underdeveloped. Search on my circle of breath. There may be some stuff in there for you!
  8. BrassBandMajor

    BrassBandMajor Fortissimo User

    Jan 13, 2015
    On my rotary it causes more resistance because of the Heckel Kranz {or Tone-Ring} got to blow harder than the piston trumpet.
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    BBM, you shouldn't be making up stories. The crown does not make the blow harder. On a quality rotary trumpet, the crown controls the point where our sound develops an "edge" (it moves it to a much louder place). When playing softly, the crown on a quality rotary trumpet has little if any effect other than perhaps a bit more projection.

    Perceived resistance of the trumpet is based on many things. When playing softly, the room has more to do with what we think is resistance. If we play softly with a big, well supported sound, the room resonates and we have feedback that lets us think that the horn is free blowing. If we play with a wimpy sound, the room doesn't resonate, we think that the horn is stuffy. Need more proof? Take your best blowing horn outdoors - it is immediately stuffier than in a good room - same horn and mouthpiece.

    On a cheap rotary, usually a standard bell with a thick rim (like from a piston trumpet) is used and the crown is added to make it look cool. There is no sonic advantage, but a lot of disadvantages if the bell is too heavy at the circumference. Real Heckels have bells that are VERY thin at the outer edge. The crown in this case has many different, precisely calculated advantages.

  10. Ljazztrm

    Ljazztrm Piano User

    Nov 15, 2003
    Queens, NY
    "Soft high notes need great breathing and embouchure control."

    And this is where you get the most benefit from soft playing that effects your whole physical efficiency on the horn greatly. You want to practice softly when you have to - out of necessity for breath control. I can think of no better example or exercise then the scale portion of Clarke's Setting Up Drills. You have to do each one in one breath so you have to play them soft to get through them. This also teaches you to rely more on your air and less on your chops and it carries over into all your playing. Best, Lex

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