pitch center/making it ring

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by TrumpetMonk, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. TrumpetMonk

    TrumpetMonk Pianissimo User

    Jul 22, 2009
    West virginia
    Hey everyone

    I'm having some trouble with my sound. I can't figure out how to make my notes ring/get in the center of a pitch. I was taking lessons from a dr. but he has to leave for some time because of family matters. I would love some advice on how to make notes big and ring. I'm mainly talking about third space C to High C, notes after that don't matter to me much at the moment...

    If this is a dumb question, I'm sorry, but at the moment I have no where else to turn, thanks so much
  2. mike ansberry

    mike ansberry Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Clarksville, Tennessee, U
    I have a student teacher this year, and he brought with him an idea he got from Susan K. Smith. Play an easy long tone. Maybe a G. Hold the air steady at a fairly full dynamic. Open your jaw until you completely lose the note. Then slowly close the jaw until your teeth are clenched. Listen to the sound. There will be a point at which you get the most centered tone. Move the jaw open and closed to lesser and lesser degrees until you have the most focused point. Then re-attach the pitch with that jaw setting and hold it steady. Do this in a full range of long tones.

    I had never heard this idea before, but it really works for me and all my students. You should hear the sound my beginner brass are getting!

  3. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    First...clean your horn. When I feel like I'm losing my center, I clean my mouthpiece and (at least) the leadpipe and tuning slide. I usually feel normal after that, especially if it's been awhile...

    Tension will cause the pitch to go up. Effecient posture and breathing will help you get into the most resonant part of the note. Here are some picture and descriptions of good posture: David G. Monette Corporation

    One of my teachers had a little excersize for finding the center. Play a second line G, four counts. Lip bend (no valves) down to F#, four counts. Return to G, four counts. The last G is usually lower (most people ride high), and is more resonant. You can do this in any register.
  4. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    Here's what i do.
    play a long tone and bend it slowly. While doing this "listen" very closely. You should bend it up and down to the point where it almost cracks into the next partial.
    Remember, while you're bending the note, you're listening.
    What you want to listen for is that point where the trumpet seems to vibrate the most in your hands and the sound seems to come alive and ring or maybe better stated, its where the sound seems the "fattest" without playing louder. In addition, Pedal C suggested to clean the horn. You just can't beat that advice! You should always have a clean horn.
    Good Luck
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2009
  5. Sterling

    Sterling Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 22, 2007
    Marcellus, NY
    Listen to Pedal C. Clean your horn just for fun. About three months ago, I was complaining about my sound and my 13 year old son told me to clean my horn! Out of the mouths of babes! I ran a snake through my horn and a large gob of stuff was lurking in the bell curve. Problem solved. Another suggestion: My trombone friends use a Denis Wick practice mute and work on making their sound "ring" through the mute.
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Inhale deeply, then exhale (without the horn). Do not hold the air in in between, just in out big and smooth. Once you get that down, replace exhale with play. Do not use any tonguing - just exhale through your embouchure. There you will find the fat resonant tone that you are looking for. Limit your range to notes below 3rd space c for about two weeks. Get this exercize down. Once you get used to FAT in the low and midrange, you have a model for the rest.

    EXHALE, do not PUSH the air out forcefully. That causes tension and makes your tone worse.

    There are advanced players that work with pushing the air. They have very developed technique. That is why it works for them. You have a long way until then.
  7. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    Rowuk says:
    EXHALE, do not PUSH the air out forcefully. That causes tension and makes your tone worse.
    As with most things, playing trumpet has a heirarchy of what should be accomplished. What Rowuk is recommending is what you should know how to do first. You can bend notes till the cows come home and if you are using the air incorrectly (forcing it), its still gonna suck.
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    My circle of breath is something that every student learns in their first lesson. If they pay attention, the sound gets big and full before they learn what buttons to push.

    It is SO EASY. No embouchure change, no expensive method books, no risk of making a mistake. It is about as close to a body reflex as trumpet playing can have.
  9. work2fish

    work2fish New Friend

    Nov 22, 2010
    fabulous idea! Funny how you bump into something that supports what you think you just discovered yourself. Earlier today prior to reading this, I held a note, tilted my horn down and bit, and let my jaw go sort of slack and just "hang down" naturally like I was saying "well duhhh" in a sarcastic way. I was amazed at how the tone got full and true. Now I'm trying to play "slack jawed" and with a bit of an over-bite, but who cares? It sounded better to me anyway.
  10. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    I'm not sure if this is a useful analogy or not ....... But with singers, there's a very loud and resonant place where the vocal chords are ringing FREELY. There's no extra effort that's needed, just sort of riding on that spot when you're singing. I can't really do it after 2 years of lessons, but my ex's daughter, a trained opera singer can.

    At the time I was taking lessons, she took a few tuneup lessons from my instructor. I asked him how she managed such HUGE (it was big) volume when she weighs, literally, around 90 pounds. The answer was, she found that SPOT (where the chords ring freely) and rides it all the time. She never goes off it. The first time I heard her sing, she shook the windows of a large stone church in an audition.

    I think little or no tension was part of the equation too.

    Last edited: Nov 26, 2010

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