Picking the horn back up

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by MARKMC, Mar 3, 2005.


    MARKMC New Friend

    Mar 3, 2005
    I studied trumpet from ages 11 to 17, and am now picking it back up at 40. As I cannot afford private lessons at this time, I hope to rely on this forum for answers to some basic "get me going" questions:
    1.In picking the horn back up, I noticed a tendency to center the mouthpiece more on my lower lip, especially in the upper register. I recall that this may have been a problem in my past and I don't want to repeat the same bad habits. Any views on proper mouthpiece placement?
    2. I've heard that one should be able to play the horn with it "laying on a table" (i.e. no pressure) and it seems too much pressure was a problem previously. How important is this and how can I alleviate it?
    3. I've been "buzzing" a mouthpiece to and from work, but don't want to develop any bad habits. Is "buzzing" generally encouraged and is there any thing I should concentrate on?
    4. I learned with and have always used a 7c mouthpiece. I'm curious if another mouthpiece might be better suited for me. Any guidelines or resources regarding mouthpiece selection?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
  2. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    First, Mark... WELCOME BACK!
    Second.... You are sure to get more opinions (some might even be contradictory) than you have questions. You'll need to decide which advice to accept and which to reject!
    Now, I'll step aside and let someone like Manny answer your questions. :D

    Edit: Darn, I always confuse advice and advise! Maybe "advise" (the verb) should have been spelled "advize"!

    Also, you aren't the first person who has asked those questions. Just go to the forums page and click on the "search" function. Enter the search word "comeback" and I'm sure you'll find a lot of this stuff has been debated ad nauseum!
  3. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

    Nov 2, 2003
    As long as it is not in the red you should be fine, you will at some point try to pay higher than you are ready to really play, this may cause shifting that will led to bad habits, take it slow and never play higher than you can get a good sound.

    Pressure is a fact of life for trumpet playing and studies have found that amatures and pros use virtual the same amount of pressure. The main thing is to not increase the pressure as you play higher, maintain the pressure that you start with throughout the range that you play.

    YES! Buzzing is a good thing. Buzz melodies and make them sing!

    I would say use either a 7c or a 5c. what ever you decide should be kept for a while.

    I would suggest you get with a teacher as soon as you can it would be worth you time and save you a lot of frustration.

    MARKMC New Friend

    Mar 3, 2005
    Thanks for your reply.
    I'm not sure what you mean by "in the red" in your response to my first question.
  5. joey

    joey Pianissimo User

    Nov 19, 2003

    Congratulations on picking up the horn again. There's nothing more enjoyable to do.

    1) Without seeing you, it's virtually impossible to know if your mouthpiece placement is okay or not.

    2) It's amazing how the 'no pressure' stories stay around. If you use no pressure, then as soon as you start blowing, you'll blow the horn off of your face. Too much pressure can be a problem. Let your sound be your guide. If your sound is full and clear, it's unlikely you're using too much pressure. Too much pressure will usually cut off sound and flexibility.

    3) There are plenty of people who buzz their mouthpieces every day, and plenty who never do. If it's a way to get some time in when you don't have an opportunity to play your horn; and it makes you feel good, go for it.

    4) Without seeing and hearing you, there's no way to judge what an appropriate mouthpiece would be.

    My advice is to find a good trumpet teacher in your area and set up a lesson. A good trumpet teacher will learn how you do things and what you want to accomplish as a trumpet player (even a recreational one), and be able to advise you on physical setup and equipment.

  6. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

    Jun 17, 2004
    Lebanon, TN
    "In the red" means on the lips. Generally, having the mouthpiece on your top and bottom lip at 50/50 is the best idea. However, if you find you get a better sound when the piece is a bit lower or higher, do it.

    Pressure is fine. Applying more pressure to cheat notes is not. When you work on sluring, especially pay attention to if you are trying to cheat. The name of the game is everything being consistent through the register.

    Buzzing, it depends on if you think it helps or not. I love buzzing. Some don't.

    Keep with the 7C until your chops are more developed, THEN decide what to get. How long do you wait until you start changing? Not sure.

    My two cents. Heh, can't help it.


    MARKMC New Friend

    Mar 3, 2005
    Thanks guys
  8. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Mark, congrats on coming back to the horn!

    About the only advice I can give you is to try not to slip back into the old bad habits. You should know what they are by now and if you can avoid them, by all means, do.

    As for buzzing the mouthpiece, there are mixed opinions on that. I have always found that too much mouthpiece buzzing for me was detrimental to my playing, but for some, it is very helpful in maintaining focus.

    You could also try doing some leadpipe buzzing where you pull your tuning slide and buzz just the mouthpiece and the leadpipe.

    Slowly and sytematically - if you approach your playing that way, you will have steady progress.
  9. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    1) Not necessarily a big problem unless your sound is very unclear. Is it?

    2) It's a parlor trick and has little to do with great trumpet playing. It's something that a non-musician could learn to do if he wanted to spend a lot of time developing that "skill".

    3) Buzzing for a recreational player should really be about playing melodies with the mouthpiece, Anything that you want that you enjoy. It's like showing up to a job without your horn and having to play well anyway with only a mouthpiece.

    4) Your face is larger than it was when you were 17, most likely, so, go to the music store with your horn and ask to speak with a brass person and try a variety of mouthpieces and have fun with it. That's the key, Mark. Everything you do with the trumpet is about enjoyment without the pressure, physical and psychological. You're in a better position than most of us!

  10. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Woohoo! AMEN TO THAT! Great comment, Manny.

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