New Trumpeter Help, sound and pitch

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Flugellover, Sep 10, 2013.

  1. Flugellover

    Flugellover New Friend

    Dec 20, 2011
    So, here's the deal, I am giving lessons to a starting trumpet player and his biggest problem is that he sounds about a half step flat, sometimes more, and his tone sounds like he is bending his pitch a half step low. Any Ideas on how to fix this?
  2. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    Isn't this normal for a lot of starters? Doesn't it take a while to build a certain minimum strength in the embouchure, sufficient air support, and also a certain degree of confidence?

    Assuming there's no obvious physical problem like a hunched up posture or major overbite, maybe he just needs a bit of time to get going.
  3. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    I would work on his breathing. When sounding flat (and likely pinched sound) I am betting the student is not putting the right amount of air through the horn.
  4. amzi

    amzi Forte User

    Feb 18, 2010
    Northern California
    I agree with the Doc on this one--sounds like your student is restricting his air flow (most likely the throat). Teaching him to breath properly will probably help eliminate the problem
  5. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Can you, as a teacher emulate your student's playing? If so, what do you do to accomplish that? Based on that knowledge you can have a rather specific list of the thing(s) not to do. If you can get the student to play correctly in the lesson, have them memorize that feeling and practice that during the week, preferably with tunes he knows.
  6. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2005
    These kinds of problems are normal for beginners. Moving in an out of tune are symtoms of a) undeveloped embochure and b) incorrect breath support and c) possible unawareness of being out of tune. Here's what I would do:

    - make sure the student understands what correct breathing and air column support is when playing

    - make sure the student can tell when the intonation moves around

    - practice long tones (use the major and minor scales) at soft or medium loudness, and try to keep the tone in tune

    - after each tone, analyze the result -- did the tone stay in tune? No? Was is sharp or flat, or both? Being aware of the flucuations will make the student, as
    their embochure develops, more able to quickly identify the flucuations and respond to them.

    - also practice this on simply tunes (when you wish upon a star, etc.) -- it should be really obvious to them when a well known melody is out of tune.

    As the embochure strengthens and the air support is provided, this situation should improve within a couple of weeks.

  7. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    Obvious thing - finish with the things he's doing right and assure him that it WILL get better.
  8. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

    Jan 9, 2010
    East Yorkshire
    Ask him to simg the tune or the note he is aiming for just in case he is ane of those people who don't have a natural sense of pitch (tone deaf if you will) if he is it's not a problem he will just have to spend more time concentrating on learning a solid remembered pitch. Air support is one key thing as others have said, make sure he is using his diafram (I can never spell that word so I'll make a deliberate pigs ear of it.) I would also try to get him bizzing specific notes on his lip and his mouthpiece the through the horn. One other thing occurs have you checked his horn for leaks ? One of my lot had oiled her valves and got the valve in just out of kilter, this led to her having the same sound as when she first came to me after 6 months of useless peri lesson. So we spent a couple of minutes buzzing to get it right again (At first I had put the off sound down to her just coming back from a two week holiday)
  9. cantplaytrumpet

    cantplaytrumpet Pianissimo User

    Apr 2, 2012
    Perhaps his tuning slide is out a bit far? Just a thought.
  10. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    Perhaps play together. I was surprised at how "better" I played when I played duets with the teacher. (In other words, I don't suck as much as I think I do.)


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