Playing in the Center...

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trjeam, Mar 15, 2006.

  1. trjeam

    trjeam Pianissimo User

    Dec 5, 2003
    Yesterday i was watching the Jens Lindemann webcast masterclass and he was talking about the most resonance occurring when one plays in the center (but he called it the sweet spot). Anyhow, I remember you telling me the same thing.

    But my question now is what are some of the things that I could do to help me play in the center more consistently? what are some of the things that you can practice to develop this?
  2. Alex Yates

    Alex Yates Forte User

    Aug 11, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    Mainly do lip bends. Sustain the note and play through it, waving from the top of it to the bottom of it - i.e. a very wide and slow vibrato. Do this several times and in a certain place the note should ring or sound clearer. THAT is the sweet spot and that is ideally where you want to play every note.
  3. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    Well, Jorge, it's all about knowing what a centered sound sounds like, right? If you know what evey note you can play sounds like at its optimal best, you'll have no trouble because you'l always know what you're looking for.

    Hearing a centered sound is like knowing what a familiar object looks like from all angles. If you can hear it your face will do what you need to do to produce it. After that, it's a question of exercising the sound every day.

  4. W Scott

    W Scott Piano User

    Dec 8, 2003
    Carson City, NV.
    Well, you can do the exercise Alex mentioned, but I'd encourage you to do it with a tuner. Get a simple Korg tuner off E-Bay. Then, play whole notes and scales very slowly while checking the tuner to make sure you're in tune. Sooner or later, you will notice that there is a 'spot' where you are in tune and the horn vibrates or rings. You will also hear a bright, crystal type of quality to the sound from all of the overtones. This is the sweet spot.

  5. MrClean

    MrClean Piano User

    Oct 22, 2005
    Yes, except that I can push my slide all the way in and lip the notes down (low of center) to where the tuner tells me I'm in tune. If you want to use a tuner, you'd have to get one of the old strobe type for that purpose, which also shows overtones.

    Listen to as many examples of good trumpet-playing as you can. Try to emulate that ringing sound. Centered sounds are easy on the ear - they don't sound pinched, and they don't sound dead or flabby.

  6. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona

    You need to underline this part of Manny's advice! In my own playing I found that when I got away from doing this, I began to encounter issues with sound production.

    Craig Morris talks about a balance / centering session each day. Take this very seriously. It's about spending time cultivating this sound so that it will be available to you whenever you need it.

    Everything that has been mentioned so far is very important, but spending time with this sound everyday (and not just for a few minutes), is the key.

    Whether you use Caruso, Stamp, James Thompson, Bill Adam (or other approaches), doesn't matter. Choose one, be diligent, and spend the time playing to the center!

    You may want to read through the article that I wrote on Resonant Sound. I tried to touch on all of the aspects that I have researched and gathered in one place.

    Get busy!
  7. lonelyangel

    lonelyangel Pianissimo User

    Nov 8, 2003
    I think its important to realise that playing in the slots or on the sweetspot is not the same as playing in tune. You can play in tune with your tuning slide all the way in or pulled out twice as far as normal.

    Discovering the resonant sweet spot is about learning to play in tune with the instrument - not with other people. That is why we all search for a trumpet where the intonation is good - that is one where the sweet spots are closer to true pitch.

    When you are bending the notes I would suggest that you most definitely do not use a tuning device. What you need to do is listen very carefully. As you move through the sweet spot on any given note, more overtones will resonate and the sound will become richer; more complex in nature.

    However - and this is very important - it will also be discernably louder too. make sure that you concentrate on keeping the air speed and pressure constant as you bend the notes. The temptation is to compensate for the smaller sound and decreased volume on the margins of the pitch bend by increasing the air speed or reducing the pressure to allow the lips to vibrate more. If you can control these variables and only move the pitch of the notes tyhen you will be able to find the part of the pitch that is the loudest - the pitch that the trumpet itself wants to play.

    At this pitch you are working in sympathy with the instrument, rather than fighting against it.

    Now if this sweet spot is 15, 10 or even only 5% louder than the pitch just slightly above and below - then it follows that to play at a given volume in the slot will take less effort than to play either side of it.

    10% less effort, spread over a 3 hour gig - is a result worth working towards. Your sound will be richer, fuller, more lively and have better projection - for LESS EFFORT. Fantastic news!

    I was introduced to this concept about 20 years ago through Bob Findley's teaching.

    Hope this helps.

    All the best. Noel.
  8. oj

    oj Pianissimo User

    Sep 9, 2005
    I see and hear people all the time use bending exercises, but not for centering the sound. Perhaps they think it is a kind of lip gymnastic ;-)

    Two weeks ago, I asked Bobby Shew (he had i Clinic here in Norway) about bending. He said that he did not use bending, but he had developed a type of vibrato exercise. It all started a long time ago when he tried to play like Clifford Brown. When he did the Brown type of vibrato he discovered that the sound "opened up".

    Some years ago I asked Hardenberger:
    What do you do when you bend?

    He replied:
    What happens is, that you make a small vocalising (sings halftone interval O-AA-O) – just a small change in the throat. You make no extra push with the air. If you start to push with air, you introduce a fight against the trumpet instead of letting the trumpet “walk†with you and let your mind control the trumpet. I use to tell a little metaphor: When I was a little kid we had a very big dog, a St. Bernhard, and when we were out for a walk, he was out walking me. In my relation to the trumpet I try to be different: I decide over the trumpet and not vice versa.

    More here:

  9. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    If I may throw in my .02: I was doing this (pitch bends) this morning. It is very important to do this in as live a room as you can. If the room is too dead, you won't be able to hear the ring (at least I found I couldn't, anyway). Also, if you are in a band room, stay away from the timpani, cymbals and mallet instruments, as they ring in sympathy and can set up a false sense of resonance. Move to a more live room and it's easier to pick out. I was using Schlossberg #1 and 4 because they start in a nice comfortable range and are easy to hear. Also important: don't try to force the dynamic (as Noel pointed out). Play comfortable and relaxed so you are not battling the horn.
  10. jdshankles

    jdshankles New Friend

    Nov 28, 2005
    Rochester, MN
    So once you have found the center of each note without using a do you suggest one find the best spot for the tuning slide as well as other slides for the appropriate notes?


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