Practicing Quiet/Pencil Excercise

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by john7401, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. john7401

    john7401 Pianissimo User

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    When practicing quietly, is this absolutely all practice? I'm talking about even long tones, warm-ups, slurs, run-throughs, ect. Of course I also want to keep some of the dynamics when practicing songs though right? just keeping it all very quiet?

    If I am getting to the point where I'm starting to loose notes from playing too quietly, should I play a little bit louder untill I can go that quiet or push myself to go for that quiet point now?

    One last thing regarding the pencil excercise. I'm trying to work my way up to a full size pencil with this, but also found that I can get more of a "burn" in the corners of my lips by just tightening it as much as I can and holding it there, about a minute, and then relaxing. Is this good or bad for lip development? I tried to make it sort of mimic what the pencil excercise would do only without the pencil since my lips aren't ready for the full size one yet.

    *Edit*- How do you work towrds an open throat while playing higher? It feels like tightening my throat is changing something with the air that lets me get my range and I can't figure out how to play without it. I can get that open throat easily with excercises away from the trumpet but can't apply it to my upper register.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2009
  2. jcstites

    jcstites Mezzo Forte User

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    When practicing quietly strive to maintain the same vibrancy that you get in the sound at higher volumes. Keep the same color, just less volume.

    I used to to the pencil exercise...then i realized it felt nothing like how I use muscles when I play. So I stopped doing it. If you feel that it is working the same muscles you use to play, then do it. I find I play better when things are more relaxed than tight like the pencil exercise promotes. I think a better strength exercise is the really long G as it is only strengthening the muscles you need to play.

    Open throat? Just play schlossberg and work on not changing anything and keeping the same sound some low to high. If you can keep the same sound from low c to high c, your throat should be doing the right things. Focus on the sound, not the physical "problems". The more I think physically, the worse my playing gets.

    Not sure any of that really address your questions, but maybe it will help
     
  3. john7401

    john7401 Pianissimo User

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    I can keep the same good sound throughout my range, but there is no doubt that I am tightening my throat. When I took a video of my playing and tried playing in front of the mirror, you can definitely see my throat tighten and the vains start to pop out.

    *So instead of the pencil excercise you would suggest long tones?

    Also after messing around with my mouthpiece in front of the mirror before this, it reminded my of something else to ask to.

    I can't really buzz with just my lips outside of trumpet playing. I guess technically I can but it is not very controlled or a full buzz sound. Is this something I should work on? If I do I'm probably going to have to talk to my band director/instructor about how to go around doing this because last time I tried it and then picked up the horn, it messed with my playing a bit (in a not so good way with tone). I don't plan on trying it again untill I consult them but first I'd like to know if its something I should actually work on or not.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2009
  4. jcstites

    jcstites Mezzo Forte User

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    Without trying to sound rude, if you can see that much tension in your throat I really doubt the sound is great in the upper register.

    Yes, just hold a middle G for a few minutes. Go to livmusic.com and read the article Craig Morris wrote on this.
     
  5. john7401

    john7401 Pianissimo User

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    ok. I'm going to have to make a video of me playing to show you guys these problems as I describe them. My parents have a slightly older but not bad video camera...do you think even though the sound quality might not be the best on it that it could be sufficient to show you some of the stuff I'm doing? Its not near as bad as the sound of like a camera video but its not the best for sound recording. I think it'd work...I'll see if I can get some videos of some stuff soon. Do you think that would help alot more then trying to describe these things?
     
  6. kuismat

    kuismat New Friend

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    I'm currently working on Eric Bolvin's Tongue Level&Air. From Lesson 10 onwards the exercises include "glissandos", i.e. slurs up and down where you hit rapidly all the partials in between. Example: http://www.bolvinmusic.com/Tongue/ Level/Lesson 10.pdf. These have helped me greatly with what I think is similar to your issue.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2009
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Practicing quietly builds all of the "right" habits and should be the major portion of your practice time. If you are in a wind band, listen when the trumpet section has trouble: almost always when they have to come in softly.

    That does not rule out loud, but loud is not dynamic. Dynamic is a change in volume level. We have more tone colors at the soft side of our playing than the loud side.

    My circle of breath is a very easy and free way to get relaxed in any register.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2009
  8. john7401

    john7401 Pianissimo User

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    ok thanks to all comments. I think practicing quieter also naturally helps me keep a more relaxed throat and keeps me more relaxed overall.
     

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