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

  1. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008

    I know I'll get yelled at here, but I'll suggest that the 4M might not be the optimal mouthpiece for lead playing.

    A Warburton 4M/7 is my mouthpiece for everything...except lead. It would take too much work for me to get through a gig/rehearsal playing a typical big band lead book.

    For lead I really like the Marcinkiewicz Shew mouthpieces. I think the 1.25 or 1.5 are GREAT (the 1 is too shallow for me). (I now use an Austin Custom Brass Lead 1.25 which is similar to the Shew 1.25 but with a softer rim).

    A mouthpiece isn't the root cause of your tension issue, but it could be a piece of the puzzle.
  2. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 5, 2011
    Hi reedy,
    You stated:
    "I have tried to think about it as much as I can when im practising. Im using the Clarke method 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.
    The exercise is to get you to realize "feel" the muscles group that needs to be used. If you've not engaged these muscles in a long while, it's going to take some time but it will be worth it.
    I guess I am trying to overblow, especially when im then getting tired! feels like im putting so much effort in and nothings happening!
    The Gman is right. If you're playing with a band that uses amplification on instruments, then you need mic-ed. You will never keep up volume-wise with electric instruments. However, if you are playing in a traditional big band without amplification, then you won't need mic-ed, never the less, you need to learn how to conserve. Only use what you need to get the job done.
    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
    Two ways. Learn to listen to the monitors, get personal ear monitors.
    So its more of a physiological part of playing and learning to relax?
    It's always mental first. Elaborate rehearsal and "paying attention" is required.
    Think of it this way.
    The brain is separated loosely into sections devoted to various tasks. The process of learning a new skill is found in one section of the brain. Once the task is learned, the information is found in another section of the brain.
    What do you guys do to relax when playing higher?
    But seriously, Pay attention!! It is easy for anyone to fall into or back into bad habits especially when they're tired. On long hauls, you have to learn to conserve and make sure you're not eating the mouthpiece and blowing so hard you could inflate a truck tire. A "Canary in the Cave" so to speak that you can monitor is the tongue. If your tongue is stiff and flexed when you play, chances are you might be blowing too hard. Absolutely keep the tongue loose and flexible. Here's something to try:
    Play a passage of music and notice how your tongue feels as you strike the notes.
    Now, take the horn from your face and stiffen the tongue as much as you did when you just played and sing "Mary Had a Little Lamb". Damned difficult huh? Yep!!
    So keep the tongue loose. One theory is that the tongue stiffens to hold back the excessive air pressure. A loose tongue can't hold back air pressure. Tongue like you tongue when you sing.
    Hope this helps.
  3. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    you should sit in the audience when someone plays the trumpet ---- THEY are usually heard even at lower volumes ---- for me, I have been practicing "softer" with my music --- if the music calls for p -- then drop it to pp, or if it is FF, then drop it to F or lower volumes. Record yourself ---- man I can't believe I am telling you this advice and you have a mic and a sound man -- you should be able to play everything 2 volumes lower and still be heard (of course, you would have to shoot for consistently lower volumes)
    --- I also found that holding the trumpet in "my palm" with the left hand -- and only stabilizing it with the finger in the ring and another on the valve casing, that I have a much lighter touch ---- after doing this a few times, you might find the "right touch" to alleviate pressure --- but definitely lower your volumes
  4. Lionelsax

    Lionelsax Mezzo Piano User

    May 8, 2013
    Well, I'm not really a brass player but what I understood is that you suffer of a lack of practise, playing music is like a sport, all musicians live oneday an endurance's problem.
    Maybe you should practise 10 minutes per hour your instrument, strange idea but it can work, then 20 minutes each 2 hours.
  5. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

    Jul 5, 2010
    Vienna, Austria, Europe
    Breath support has already been mentioned; what I can add is a variant on "get a teacher". It is "get yourself a good voice coach" and train specifically for enhanced breath support. Try and find someone who works according to the "open throat method" of Lillli Lehmann. That kind of thing will work wonders, not only for the voice, but for the trumpet as well (and you might catch a few singing gigs as well...).
  6. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Do you use earbuds? I have a setup where I can adjust my settings individually, myself on one volume knob then the rest of the band on the other. I can adjust as needed.
  7. ShaneChalke

    ShaneChalke Pianissimo User

    Dec 11, 2008
    Banner Elk, NC
    Some years ago I bought a pressure valve. Not sure where I got it, but it's made in Germany. It goes between your mouthpiece and the horn, and when you use more than the preset pressure, it dumps out the air before it gets to the horn. It's very Pavlovian -- works great. I play on it about once a year or so for a few days, and that fixes me up fine. Does anyone else use one?
  8. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

    Jul 5, 2010
    Vienna, Austria, Europe
    You mean the BERP.
  9. Littlejg

    Littlejg Pianissimo User

    Mar 31, 2011

    This is not intended as a silver bullet solution to your request, but I had the same struggles about 3 years back as you now describe ......I kept the Warburton 4M and found a 9* backbore shank combination does the biz for me.....with great results!....but ...try it ..just a thought..we are all different!...good luck, whatever you decide!.........jg
  10. ShaneChalke

    ShaneChalke Pianissimo User

    Dec 11, 2008
    Banner Elk, NC
    Nope... not the BERP. This is a sprung mechanical device that fits into the leadpipe, and then you put your mouthpiece in the pressure valve. You play through the horn as normal until you use too much pressure, then it opens a dump valve that kills the sound. Everyone who has tried it for a week straight has kicked the pressure habit.


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