Pressure!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by reedy, Mar 20, 2014.

  1. reedy

    reedy Piano User

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    Bit of background:

    been playing 16 years, been to uni to study music etc, left 2 years ago play mainly jazz and big band work I play on a warburton 4m with a QM or a 7 backbore on a selmer concept TT trumpet

    I practice around an hour and a half a day in half hour slots ish..
    and vary my practice to try and include everything!



    now I've played in a few commercial bands but recently ive been been playing in a function band with a horn section- me sax and bone

    and I always get very tired at the end, so tired that I blow and nothing comes out! my lips stop buzzing

    the same happend tuesday night I played lead at big band, I was screaming up top E's and F's really happily with a full big sound, but 5 minutes later I could bairly play a middle C!


    Im putting this down to way to much pressure, although I dont feel it at the time!

    I play cat andersons 20 minute G around once a week at pppp with very little pressure


    any other excersises or tips for playing with less pressure, especially in the upper register?
     
  2. Rapier

    Rapier Forte User

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    I have to work hard to play high on the 4M, the 5ESV works better for me. Just a thought.
     
  3. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

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    Hi reedy,
    You stated:
    "now I've played in a few commercial bands but recently ive been been playing in a function band with a horn section- me sax and bone and I always get very tired at the end, so tired that I blow and nothing comes out! my lips stop buzzing
    the same happend tuesday night I played lead at big band, I was screaming up top E's and F's really happily with a full big sound, but 5 minutes later I could bairly play a middle C!
    ------
    Without seeing you, it's hard to make an informed decision. With that said, here's something to try:
    There's a good chance you are overblowing and using a lot of unnecessary tension to get the job done.
    Find a mirror in your house and play a C scale going from low C to high C (in your case F or G above high C) and back down. While doing this, pay particular attention to your face.
    After doing this a few times what did you notice. Did your face go red once you got to a certain register? Did your face scrunch up the higher you went? I'm going to guess that at least your face became flushed once you got into the upper register.
    Now, let's try this:
    Play the same thing again but this time don't let your face go flush. A person can feel the blood rush to their face and when you feel this happening, ease up and blow easier. You are using way too much force to get the job done.
    Next the lips:
    This could be at least two general things:
    1.Using way to much mouthpiece pressure which is shutting down the lips.
    2.You are lowering your jaw to the point that it is causing the lips to stop vibrating.
    For pressure, you need to understand what that means. Here's something to try:
    Play a long tone third space C and while doing this, begin to pull the horn away from the lips while maintaining a good sound. When you're pulling out, you may notice that muscles you've not used in a while are being engaging. Do your best to remember what those muscles felt like. Those are the muscles you want to work. As you pull further away, there comes a point where the seal is broken between the lips and the mouthpiece and it's over. The so what of this exercise? To get a relative idea of the muscles in the lip and to assess the pressure you're using. When you practice (I mean a good workout) your lip muscles should be tired and maybe even a little achey. That's okay. However, if after a good workout, your lips are sore because you've used too much pressure, then that's bad. Knowing the difference and what that difference feels like can take you a long way.
    For the jaw. Try to not chew the notes. Keep the jaw steady like as if you are a ventriloquist and the trumpet is the dummy (or in my case, my wife assures me it's the other way around). You don't want the audience to see your jaw move.
    Something to try:
    Pretend to blow out a bunch of candles with a soft steady stream of air. Notice what your jaw did. It went out just a little. Now, remember where that position is and play your trumpet. Do your best to maintain that position and see how that works for you.
    I hope this helps and good luck
    Dr.Mark
     
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  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    If your development is not up to the job, a patch is not the answer. Sure there are body issues BUT from the little that you have written, I get the impression that you turn your brain off when playing. That is a much bigger challenge as no amount of fitness can survive brainless waste.

    My advice is not a trumpet teacher, rather a psychologist or yoga teacher. You need to get your attitude fixed and maybe everything else is already taken care of!
     
  5. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Not sure I can offer any advice as there is so many factors at play in your specific case. All I can give is what works for me.

    I am currently playing in a Quintet that has charts more demanding than any Orchestra, Pit Band, Big Band, Funk Band, Marching Band or Rock Band with which I have performed. And lately I have been playing 4 hour gigs back to back with this band and making it through the gigs without harm or pain. What I do is launch into at least an hour and a half of practice playing and working through the song book, piece by piece until the hour and a half is up. I hone in on the runs,and patterns and play and replay them until I am satisfied with the tone (I concentrate on NOT straining when doing this) and sound, then I improv around the chords, again until I am satisfied. Then move on to the next chart until the hour and a half is up. Then for the next half to one hour, I play VERY RELAXED in a methods book, Arbans, Clark and more recently, the Art of Jazz (which uses jazzy versions of the Clark book). This practice schedule FOR ME has worked well to keep me in shape for the gig demand of the quintet.

    Please be aware, I NEVER let myself over blow, and I NEVER let my control of slotting notes take over the rehearsal time. If ANY of those events would occur, I stop cold and wait until the next day. It took me a while to get to this schedule, as I would let control set my time limit, then I would hold that time limit for 6 weeks until I could advance. I have been at my current level for about a year now, and have no need to advance the schedule at this time, as I am happy with my current performance level, and would rather have the extra time to play with my doggies.
     
  6. reedy

    reedy Piano User

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    I have tried to think about it as much as I can when im practising, im using the clarke methord as well and have been pulling my trumpet away from my face to try and fix it... but in the heat of the moment on a gig its different.

    I guess I am trying to overblow, especially when im then getting tired! feels like im putting so much effort in and nothings happening!


    I also like to be heard, and playing with the commercial bands I have the whole mic situation to deal with- I guess its all about self control and not playing loud all the way through the night to be able to be heard


    so its more of a physiological part of playing and learning to relax?


    what do you guys do to relax when playing higher?
     
  7. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    First of all, let the mic do some of the work for you. Relax and move in close to the mic. Make sure the person doing the mix has your level up and that you have a balance with the monitors.
     
  8. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    There is physiology in relaxed playing, it's called breath support. Let the force from below do the work for you. If you have good air support, the lips can relax more as you let the force of the air column do the work for you, and do not "push" with your lips, which has the tendency to happen when you tense up at the urge to support a note and the air support just isn't there.

    Again, I take in a deep breath by relaxing the diaphragm and lifting my rib cage, then push from my center chakra using the "ray of power" technique described by Vulgano Brother. I concentrate only on that center as well as hearing the note, being the note a micro-second before I play the note. When you have all this behind you slotting becomes essentially a 100% mental process.

    Finally, when I am demanded to stay in the high range (fortunately for only 10% of our song book tunes) I switch over to using my Jet Tone Studio B mouthpiece. Very shallow and very comfortable and lots kinder to my lips.
     
  9. reedy

    reedy Piano User

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    I keep telling myself the same thing at the start of every gig, but just end up playing louder and louder- so sound man turns me down!

    I always try and chat to sound man before and get him to turn me up in my monitor and ive got a clip on mic which helps a lot aswel
     
  10. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Tell the sound man to stop doing that or you will have to hurt him.

    I also find a fixed mic system helps out the control man before it comes to fisty cuffs. I use an AMT clip on system with a Shure Remote set up that works great.

    [​IMG]
     

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