New Problems?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by commakozzi, May 23, 2008.

  1. commakozzi

    commakozzi Pianissimo User

    Oct 30, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    So, things are going really well lately. My experimentation with my embouchure has landed me on a great setup which is more or less similar to how I've always played, but with a more defined forward focus into the cup. I can now feel the apererture as I'm playing and I know when I'm blowing it apart either with heavy tonguing or not properly setting after breathing (probably from moving too much during the breath). Anyway, my range and endurance have sky rocketed after discovering that I had been trying to switch from downstream to upstream the higher I played. It was bad enough that I couldn't remain at the top of the staff or higher for very long without getting this weird buzz, and losing strength very quickly. Now I'm capable of playing in that range for a relatively long time without problems and it's really exciting. Unfortunately, or fortunately (however you choose to look at it), I'm having too much fun with it, so I tend to want to see how far up I can go too often. I'm trying to not push too hard, but I occassionally try too many times for a high A, for example. I don't hurt myself, but my lips do feel stiff more often because of it. I have a solid high F to F# (I would say F, because I know that I can just pick the horn up and tag that note like it's nobody's business, but an F# isn't as consistent). So here's the question: I know I need to listen to my body and stop when I've gone too far, and I think I'm doing that. However, is this stiffness a sign that I should limit my range extension stuff to maybe once every other day, or maybe even just once every three days? How do you guys work on range extension? Do you feel this stiffness, and how do you deal with it?

    Most importantly out of all my new developments (which aren't as drastic as I may make them out to sound... I work very hard on the horn, and things are moving along a good pace), is that my endurance is finally getting close to what I hope to achieve this year. I'm just saying this so that you guys don't think I'm just some guy that likes to pick up his horn every once in a while a rip out some high notes. I work hard on excerpts, Charlier, cornet solos, jazz, etc. everyday.
  2. Jason Parra

    Jason Parra New Friend

    Mar 6, 2007
    NYC, Miami, Boise
    Hi Commakazzi,
    The stiffness/tightness is not really a bad thing if your not gigging the next day. There are more muscles in the face than anywhere else on the body; like lifting weights, you break down and build. What your feeling should be normal, unless it is causing physical damage to your chops. Congratulations on the progress.
    "It's a baby sonny, but it will grow". L. Maggio
  3. commakozzi

    commakozzi Pianissimo User

    Oct 30, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    Yeah, I've found a happy medium of pushing myself really hard one day and then doing a light day. If I have a gig, I make sure that I adjust my schedule accordingly. So, things are working out much better for me that I don't push hard everyday! I used to play really hard everyday, and I felt like I was getting nowhere. As soon as I started doing kind of a "Heavy Day/Light Day" schedule I started seeing great improvement. Some days I can't help myself though, I start thinking of a better way to approach Mahler 5, for example, and I go and work on that even if I hadn't planned on it for the day. Then I've done a heavy day and then a moderately heavy day over two days and my chops are starting to really feel it.
  4. Miyot

    Miyot Pianissimo User

    Jul 22, 2007
    Hey, sounds pretty good. I'd maybe say slow down. I have never found a quick answer to my progress. My embouchure development seems to be a steady up and down with fairly long plateaus. Although overall I am progressing.

    My endurance seems to be getting better, but seems I must pay for it with steady effort. I guess my point is to be careful. Don't keep going for those high notes. Keep going for steady, solid progress. I think it pays in the long run.

    Just watch you don't start to grind your chops. Intense effort is great, as long as you take time to recover properly.

    I too get stiff and kind of buzzy. Back off and work on quiet, solid work. No hurry.
    Last edited: May 24, 2008
  5. Richard Oliver

    Richard Oliver Forte User

    Jul 18, 2006
    Casper, WY
    Just a hack here. Not a range hound per se, but I'm a trumpet player and the bug lives in me nonetheless.

    I don't blow long enough to become stiff.

    My range drill is p7 #26 in Schlossberg. It's part of what I do to begin the day. The 5th drill I do. The ones prior top out at a G above the staff -- all p or mf.

    I extend the drill beyond what's written up to where things stop. A small G above high C. I do it daily. The F# & G are small. Below those notes, things are quite nice for me.

    I guess I do it because should the ego get the better of me, I could show off for the kids who play 1st band. Maybe a nice controlled piano Eb arpeggio?

    Also, it does make all the stuff to high C easier. THERE. That's the REAL reason :)
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    when I started really working on range, I bought a D/Eb trumpet (and picc) and started playing my whole routine on the big Bb (slurs, tunes, etudes) then the same thing on the D/Eb. I was able to move my useful range up a fourth (the fingerings and agility are easier with the higher pitched instruments). I was in an Army Band at the time and played duets with a colleague that played an Eb too (the band had one). We drove those around us nuts, but Amsdens up a 4th builds POWER.

    After a while I started playing parts of my routine (Clarke, Arban, Kopprasch......) an octave up on the picc. That was when I picked up precision to double C. The amazing part was: once something was down on the picc, I could play it up an octave on the standard Bb without having to acclimate.

    The high notes that we play are only significant in the MUSICAL CONTEXT that we can offer. Higher pitched trumpets CAN offer us new possibilities to stretch our range.
  7. commakozzi

    commakozzi Pianissimo User

    Oct 30, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    Well, and you bring up the point that I forgot to mention when I started this thread. My motivation for upper range is very largely driven by my love for the piccolo trumpet. At my last lesson my teacher asked if I had a piccolo. I don't have one right now (sold my Yamaha many years ago because I'm retarded). But I understand what he was getting at, because at the time I was having a hard time focusing the embouchure in the upper range. It's been a while since playing picc, but I think I remember that playing the picc well WILL increase your range on the Bb considerably. And I think that he was trying to tell me that the picc would force me to develop a more focused embouchure. And like we've talked about before, I worked pretty hard on playing in the upper register with a relaxed approach and usually at pp. Eventually, this did teach me to relax and develop a very strong and focused embouchure.

    Here's a funny story: when I was probably 15 or 16 years old my parents bought me this Laserlight CD (it's a company that makes these collections of excerpts of instrumental music, maybe you've heard of them). They're usually cheap CDs, but they have snippets of really great music. Anyway, this particular CD had a lot of Baroque and Classical period music with a lot of piccolo trumpet. I fell in love with that CD!!! My favorite piccolo piece to this day is Bach's Brandenburg No. 3, the Allegro Assai. Anyway, at the time I didn't know what a piccolo trumpet was, and it did not indicate anywhere on the CD notes that this was a picc. So, I thought that these guys (Ludwig Guttler was the main one) were playing regular Bb trumpets! So, I practiced playing the Allegro Assai from Brandenburg No. 3 up an octave on the Bb until I could play it. It wasn't pretty, but I could play it. I felt pretty stupid when I realized that it was an entirely different horn!!!

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