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Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by rmccaffr, Mar 27, 2014.
Ivan is the best. Hope you keep up for all sufficient reasons. Keep working on it. PETE or no PETE.
P.E.T.E. is a resistance exerciser of the lip and facial muscles that only augments what Rowuk has stated and surely what Vulgano Bros will state. The weird looks I get when using it make me silently chuckle also. Too, it gives TSA a tissy fit, but they haven't seized it. While spending 30 days in the hospital, I passed the time listening to CDs and using my P.E.T.E., that is when the Docs and techs didn't intervene. Also, Ivan and I have a working acquaintance.
Thanks everyone! No worries Rowuk, I had great teachers who taught me how to breath, listen and approach my horn the same way I approach life. I will say if anyone here has taken 10 years between practice sessions, it is an interesting experience...You would think your range would suffer, but I have had the opposite problem. Mine has been pitch and endurance.
Of course, the problems with pitch are probably because I have to use silent brass to avoid waking my daughter!
rmccaffr; If you are using Yamaha Silent Brass (YSB), toss the ear buds away and replace with the best pair of earphones you can afford. It's not that my wife doesn't enjoy the music I produce, it's just the repetition of parts of a song as I practice that she hates. Thus, to keep piece and harmony in our 46 year marriage I use YSB when she is in the house or about.
In my 40 plus year lapse in playing, I didn't lose my sense of pitch due to my continued listening to recordings ... that is, until I went near totally deaf due to impacted ear wax that has since been removed and I now hear better than have been able to in a long long time.
Endurance is quite another issue and I feel it is now failing fast. Such is due to my being diagnosed with COPD due to a prior long standing habit of smoking plus my aging and cardiac health. I don't suppose being diagnosed with diabetes helps either. Still, I'll persist and do my time practicing my brass instruments and enjoy such as long as I can.
Good news rmccaffr!
to get a sense of pitch it is critical that your playing be relaxed and essentially "exhaling". This way the lips resonate not by "muscle force", rather sympathetically with the horn. As your ability to let the horn do the work increases, it is very easy to play more loudly but still as centered. It is the difference between mutually falling in love or conquering someone that you would like to be in love with. I cannot emphasize this aspect of practicing enough. When we "compensate" during playing (limited breathing, body tension, too much chop tension), we essentially DESTROY the most critical form of communication with the instrument.
I use the silent brass on occasion with no amp or headphones. Even with it in the horn, the relaxed exhale can turn into centered tone!
It's not the silent brass and my experience was similar. I took a 20+ year break in playing and when I began again my upper register returned fairly quickly but it took months to get the pitch control back. That was a very frustrating time but it passes.
I has taken me 4 years to come to fully understand that Rowuk is EXACTLY correct! Please stay away from chop strengthening exercises; they can really mess you up. I can not improve upon what has been said other please do not learn the hard way. Just close your eyes, clear you thoughts, hear the music in your head. Even if you play a single note next to a piano. Start with a beautiful note.
Well, maybe there is some "room" for interpretation here........... I teach integration and in theory, IF the level of face, brain, ear, body integration is very, very high, ADDITIONAL strength could be put to good use. Unfortunately just about every non professional brass player gets it bass ackwards - they start with weight lifting because it is intellectually appealing - and document how much they don't yet know! There is a VERY sensitive balance between exhale/blow, face muscle tension and the amount of pressure we apply for any given tone. Add to that the necessity to alter pitch slightly to play in tune with others by adding tension to the body/face depending on the level of control that we have and you will start to realize that the PROBLEM is not strength, rather the ability to leverage all of the factors to REDUCE EFFORT for a given phrase.
A come-back player has a unique opportunity to get rid of baggage IF they can get their priorities straight. They need to work on integration with someone far better than they are. They have a pool of tools once learned as an advantage over "beginners". That can help - or hurt depending on the short term goals.
I am so thankful for everyone's thoughtful responses! I feel like coming back to the horn now has given me such clarity on how much time I wasted practicing while studying trumpet in college. I would practice 3-4 hours a days with no focus or goals in mind. I look back now and thank my teachers for giving me the basic foundation of breathing and focusing on my sound first and always. I just wish I had spent more time studying how my practice was connecting or moving me towards my ultimate goal of being able to create within the confines of chord changes. It is a leap of faith I am taking now beginning again, knowing it is better to play one note beatifully than woodshedding off key without projecting my sound.
As I set off on this new and exciting journey, it is great to know I have people out there to support me!