Practices for better tone

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Flugellover, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. Flugellover

    Flugellover New Friend

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    Hey all,
    My band director recently told me that I needed to work on my tone. I know of long tones and lip bends, but that is all. I was wondering if anyone had any other daily exercises to improve my tone. Thanks for your responses!
     
  2. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    Any note you play should be accurate as to sound and that is what is meant by tone. I would tell you to practice with a tuner, but that first takes a little understanding if you are playing a Bb trumpet. Tuners recognize notes as if they were played by a piano or other C instrument. For verbal instruction a C note as recognized by the tuner would be a D as played by a Bb trumpet or two half steps higher. I say two half steps instead of a whole step to direct you to look for a sharp, as in the example I've given there is a C# sharp note which is the half step between a C note and a D note. Thereby, when you play a D note on Bb trumpet it registers as a C on the tuner. Good portable tuners cost about $35 to $40 new and are highly recommended for those who are learning. My own is a Seiko brand, but that doesn't mean there aren't others just as good. Now you should not need a tuner to tell me what the tuner will read when you play a third line Bb on your Bb trumpet. Reply with your answer.

    Too, it would help all here on TM to help you, if you would tell us exactly what grade you are in and how long you've been playing.

    Finally, it is my opinion that playing notes accurately is the most important phase in learning to play any instrument. For a brass instrument learn the fingering recommended for each note and just begin to play each slowly and do the best you can. Increased speed will come in time as you learn more and become much more familiar with your instrument and mouthpiece.

    We all know that at first accuracy is evasive, and some notes just don't want to be played accurately at first. As you progress you'll eventually learn about "lipping" and "valve slide adustments". There just isn't an exercise that provides "instant success".
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012
  3. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

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    Of course there is such a thing as a compensating tuner - Temby put a nice little electronic one out for about $40.
     
  4. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

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    I thought when people referred to "tone" they were referring to the quality of the sound and not so much the tuning. When I've warmed up on some long tones and some lip-setting range exercises I get to what I call my good sound which is 5 or 10 minutes after my not good sound.

    In my warmed-up state I am then in a position to better work on the "sound quality" I hear when I'm playing - and I usually record myself so I can hear better what my audience hears. Also, I almost self-consciously talk my thoughts on a phrase/tone/passage/whatever out loud which helps when I play the recording back (starting by stating which horn/mouthpiece I'm using, sometimes saying what my practice goal is, and if something "happens" (bad or good) then I try to remember to talk out at that point). That's what I do to work on tone - hope that helps.

    Some guys (and girls) I've played with seemed not to care about the quality of sound they produced and just banged through whatever they were reading, seeming oblivious to this. (Their phrasing/timing was usually a bit off too.) The band directors (those that cared) tried to get the message back to them but with mixed response. I never understood why these people played in these (mainly) community brass bands, except perhaps for the social aspects.

    --bumblebee
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012
  5. Flugellover

    Flugellover New Friend

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    In answer to Ed Lee, It would be an Ab4. Also, I am a freshman(9th grade) and have been playing for 5.5 years, participating in hon.
     
  6. Flugellover

    Flugellover New Friend

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    Sorry, ignore everything past the last comma, accidentally wrote that and forgot to delete it.
     
  7. sg19305

    sg19305 New Friend

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    Apr 1, 2011
    Hi all, I am wondering if any of you have any recomendation the mouthpiece for flugelhorn (just bought a flugel w/ mouthpiece), I am comfortable with 7C and 10.5C on trumpet.

    Thanks
     
  8. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

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    You might want to post this question in its own thread, and in a different TM forum: Mouthpieces / Mutes / Other

    --bumblebee
     
  9. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

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    Good tone is a result of proper air use. Sounds like you need to learn how to support the sound with the air. When you play any exercise think of blowing through to the next note. This will help you support the sound. But this is not the only thing to do to sound better. Can you give us more detail as to what you director thinks is wrong with your sound?

    Using a tuner will not help you. It's not what you need. Anyway unless you play with a good basic sound you can't play in tune.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012
  10. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    Bob, while I agree with you that the proper usage of air is priority, but without a target to know when you attain accurate tone I must disagree, and why I recommend a tuner.

    Still, the first element is to establish lip vibration to carry the air into the instrument as to create resonance. Seemingly the OP has read of "lip bends", but I am doubtful if he can yet utilize the same to improve his tonation. Yes, I know lip vibration is not initially constant until the facial muscles are strengthened to support this lip vibration and this is achieved only by diligent practice, or repetition if we must call it that. Such is my starting point with any sound emanating whether it be a note or not.
     

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