Non-pressure = impossible

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by redring17, Jul 3, 2007.

  1. redring17

    redring17 New Friend

    Jul 2, 2007
    As my name might imply, I use a lot of pressure when playing my hunk of metal. Range above a high G (I know, embarrassing) is difficult and inconsistant. I have great tone, just not up there. I have seen many teachers that tell me many different things, and was looking for help and/or thoughts. Thanks!
  2. Bob Odneal

    Bob Odneal Pianissimo User

    Jan 5, 2004
    Houston, Texas
    Check out this video from my site called

    Quick Time Movie
    Delicate approach with light grip.

    This is how I do a lot of practice in my method. You need a delicate approach with minimum pressure. Finger tip type grip helps. This is not the grip I use totally in performance.

    I hope this helps!
    Bob Odneal
  3. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    John Glasel had a great exercise for reducing pressure involving, uhh, long tones. We play a long tone and reduce the pressure until it sounds really, really bad. Then, using the muscles of our embouchure, make it sound better (just really bad, instead of really, really bad). We'll notice some muscles getting used we aren't usually used to, and get a good feeling for a big ol' "ring" of muscles in our face. The concept is that we'll (over time) reduce our overall pressure, not because of a conscious change in our playing, but because our chops don't need as much pressure to sound good. Frankly, this gives us a reserve--by pressing less for the lower tones we can save it for the upper ones.

    So much for the chops. The best way to reduce our need for pressure is by proper use of our air, which unlike the above exercise, goes part and parcel with our sound. Only by having a proper sound concept does breathing and blowing serve a purpose. In my opinion, the teachers that posess both power and beauty of tone can be best trusted. Good luck, and have fun!
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    It is always useful to know how long that you have been playing before offering any advice. I do not know any players that did not start with pressure, so what you experience I would call normal.
    The fact that you have a red ring does not automatically mean too much pressure. The fact that your range STOPS at g on top of the staff can have many causes.
    Getting 300 recommendations about how to solve the issue will not necessarily help you get better. IF you have seen several teachers AND they tell you different things, what have you tried and failed with. If you try each of the 300 ways for only one day each, you will not improve. To solve a problem, you need a plan of action and then preserverance!

    Pressure is a habit like smoking. People use it because it works. Breaking habits can be very tough depending how long you have been doing something, your playing schedule and your age.
    As VB posted, pressure is many times a symptom of inadequate chop strength and underdeveloped breathing skills.
    I never address "pressure" with my students before I am happy with their breathing and embouchure. Removing pressure before the rest works only succeeds in making the player sound bad and decreasing the range even more. Waiting until the rest has developed usually has solved the problem without ANY additional work!
    My suggestion: find 1 teacher that you trust and do what THEY say (for at least a year). Do not confuse your chops and brain with thousands of alternatives!

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