Octave slurring

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Blind Bruce, Jul 13, 2009.

  1. Blind Bruce

    Blind Bruce Pianissimo User

    Apr 17, 2009
    Winnipeg Canada
    I just noticed when I slur from low C to A to middle C, my jaw closes as I slur up and drops again when lurring down. This doesn't seem right to me. My instructor is still on vacation so I am asking your opinion please.:dontknow:
  2. Bachstul

    Bachstul Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 25, 2009
    This is correct.

    Up high, you're jaw is saying "EEEEEE", when you play.
    Middle, you're jaw..."AAAAAAh", just not like at the Dr.s office!
    Low, "OHHHHHH", like wide open.
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    playing trumpet requires many things to happen at the same time. When our sound is properly supported by a big relaxed breath, the amount of movement of the face is minimized - but still present. There is nothing WRONG with the jaw moving, but your focus should be on that big relaxed breath. The rest will develop as all of the individual factors get synchronized through repetition.
  4. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    As both Bachstul and Rowuk have pointed out, the forming of sound through a trumpet is a complex interaction. The best sound results when all of the components (tongue, jaw, lips, face muscles, air passage, mouthpiece, etc) are in alignment and working together. But, as Rowuk said, if you start fixating on any one of them, it may cause you to lose sight of that alignment (Note: I am a flight instructor and the same principle applies to controlling the airplane, all controls must work together and if the student fixates on one of them the rest go AWOL in a hurry). So, it may be best to wait until your teacher returns to review these factors so that (s)he can reassure you and/or correct you using the proper balance of all factors.
  5. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2005

    One other thing...make sure that if there is movement in the jaw, it's only up or down. Do not develop the habit of kicking the jaw in or out (forward or backward) while playing...this is a nasty habit and to be avoided.

  6. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    Hi Blind Bruce,
    A little jaw movement is not a bad thing. The key word is "little". With that said, you don't want to look like you're eating a sandwich when you do slurs. Minimal face movement is what I recommend. Watch downloads of great trumpet players and see what they do with their faces when they play.
    I like to think of octave lip slurs (or any slurs) as tongue slurs. When you go from low to high the oral cavity should change from aaaaaaah to EEEEE, right? The tongue causes the oral change from aaaaaah to EEEEEEEEEE.
    Just play your slurs soft and I would suggest listening to someone who knows how to do octave slurs very well. I would recommend Alison Balsom's Bach works for trumpet.
    Part of the mechanics of playing something that involves sound is getting the sound in your head. The Concerto in D minor (Gigue and Sarabande) will offer great examples.
    You can get it fairly cheap on amazon "used".
    Good Luck
  7. mrtrpt

    mrtrpt New Friend

    Sep 23, 2007
    A slur is just two notes connected by sound. The key here being: "two notes" and "connected".

    I think many people subconsciously think of a slur from one note to the next as "one note that changes". So if you are slurring from a C to a C (octave "jump") you are kind of thinking that the top C is some sort of "change" from the bottom note, that you are going to take that bottom note you are playing and change it into the one an octave higher...

    This is not what you want to do... you want to think of going from one note to another, not changing something from one note and getting another.

    So how does this apply to the question? If you are slurring from a C to an A to a C. First play each of those notes separately, with a good breath, attack, and beautiful sound. So now you know where each note "is". Now all you are going to do is connect them (no problem right... :).

    When you are "slurring" them... connecting them, each one should sound and feel the same as when you played them individually. (you don't actually have to do this every single time, this is just the concept... although it wouldn't hurt if you are having trouble...)

    Now, if you try to slur and miss, that's o.k! and it should probably sound pretty bad! That means that you are just going for it and not trying to control anything. It's like a baby learning to walk: walk, walk, walk...bam! fall flat on their face! That's the kind of approach you have to take. If you try to be cautious, not sound bad, and "control" what is happening you'll never be really good at it. If you try and "control" your slurs with your face in anyway you won't get very far... it'll work for easy stuff, but you'll never get past a certain point.

    To connect the notes you need to have a good air flow from one note to the next. If the airflow is good then your lips will learn to adjust accordingly without conscious effort by the player. It won't sound perfect the first time, but that doesn't mean that you should start interfering with this natural process...

    Think of a water skiier. If the boat is going fast (therefor the water is moving...) then the skiier can easily stay up with little effort. If the boat starts to slow down, the skiier will start to have to "wobble" around to keep his/her balance and will feel like it is taking a lot more "effort" and "muscle" to stay up.

    The same is true with the trumpet. If you have a good air flow, it is easy to keep the notes "up". If the air flow isn't "good enough" then you have to do lots of extra work and "wobbling" just to stay up.

    It's better to miss completely with the right mindset and approach than to get it and sound mediocre using the wrong approach...

    When practice this way, you have a natural model for what your mouth is doing... yourself! If you play the three notes and it is easy and you "look" fine, and then when you try to slur them your face is doing crazy things, you are probably not keeping the air flow constant or trying to hard to interfere with the process.

    Just take a good breath and keep going for it...!

    Last edited: Jul 14, 2009

Share This Page