Screaming with the TCE

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by EggNoggin, Aug 13, 2010.

  1. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Rowuk just turned up and will say that a lead embouchure does not start with TCE or even embouchure. Lead playing starts with an attitude and not a question. You just failed the first test.

    So, assuming that you get the attitude, you have a chops question and think that 6 months is enough. HeHe, I think you just failed the second test. It IS theoretically possible to change embouchures in a short time, I have NEVER experienced that in my over 40 years of playing (I haven't worked with every player on the planet though).

    Now is the question if an embouchure change will be of any benefit? I can't answer that question. Full time lead playing is a pretty special situation. When I was in the Army, I played lead in the dance band, after that I got jobs playing lead with several different types of groups, but not full time. I never needed TCE to do the job even gigs from 8 to 3 in the morning.

    Based on what you wrote (4 ledger G - 5 minutes - I won't even get into if I believe this or not), I think that your problem is probably too much pressure on the upper lip. That causes your range to stop at a specific note, and limits endurance. Why do we use pressure, because it works - at least for a while. We use it because our breathing and body use suck - if we were doing the job, our range would not "stop" at a specific note, it would just get thinner above a certain couple of notes. This means, before you start working on a new embouchure, it would make sense to straighten out the rest first. Strike 3.

    My recommendations:
    NEVER give up your dreams - even if some old ass that seems to know what he is talking about was perhaps a bit too blunt but honest.

    ALWAYS take measure of where you are now before figuring out where you want to go. After you know your present situation and what is next, you have a shortlist of things to work on. If you are honest, range is probably the least of your concerns.

    Screaming high notes beyond high C need superior body use and breathing above all else. Only the kiddies focus on the lips. You need to get a good local teacher that plays lead. There are only a small handful of players here at TM that should talk about lead playing. Their posts are immediately recognizable as they offer no embouchure tips.

    My body is wasted after a long big band gig - my face is not.

    Get your priorities straight, and you will probably be fine. If there is a grain of truth to your high G, your body and breathing could solve everything with no change to the face.

    Yes, with TCE a loud double C is possible to those that get along with that concept.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2010
    TrumpetMonk likes this.
  2. Pete Anderson

    Pete Anderson Pianissimo User

    Feb 27, 2008
    While there are undoubtedly some things that need tweaking, I think the big problem is right here in what you said.

    You are over-practicing, and your chops aren't getting a chance to recover. Your chops should never "go dead" in the first place - you need to stop practicing before they get to that point.

    Let's say you have a reasonably consistent high G. If at any point during your practice routine you cannot play a high F, you need to put the horn down, take a 5 minute break, and come back. If when you come back those notes are still not there, you need to put it away for a couple hours at least (if not for the rest of the day).

    This might mean that your 3-hour routine gets cut down to 45 minutes, and that's fine. 45 minutes of focused practice that doesn't beat up your chops is going to be a lot more beneficial. Spend the other 2 hours fingering scales and clarke, solfeging, and playing piano.

    Oh, and take days off. Theoretically, if you're practicing properly, you should never need to take a day off. But I have such a hard time not over-practicing myself and I always feel stronger after a day off.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2010
  3. Keith Fiala

    Keith Fiala Pianissimo User

    Feb 21, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    Egg -

    An embouchure change will NOT fix a current problem. If you're getting to G's above High C, your chops are fine. What you need to do is develop an intelligent and consistent warm-up, work DAILY on fundamentals (tonguing, fingers) and work on playing musically. There is nothing worse than someone blaring high notes with no musical concept at all! Maynard LOVED Italian opera - you can tell that when he's up in the upper register, he's VERY musical! Pointless otherwise...

    For more endurance and to build range, you have to strengthen your aperture and supporting embouchure muscles... much like a body builder would approach their workout to get stronger. Try practicing extreme softs to help develop this! Clarke's Technical studies is a great way to begin...

    All the best -

    Keith Fiala
    Chops Rehab Course
  4. Scatmanblues

    Scatmanblues Pianissimo User

    Jul 19, 2010
    West Texas
    Okay, I am going to to admit up front my knowledge of DCI is outdated by 10 years, but I spent 4 years in or around drum corps and players in them, including lead and solo guys for all of the top corps. There are two additional things to think about that I haven't seen developed above (but PAY ATTENTION to the chops advice):

    Who do you know, and how much marching experience do you have?

    DCI is a small world, and no top drum corps is taking a chance on an unknown player in a feature position. Like all music, there are dues to be paid and respect earned before opportunities at the top appear. The Blue Devils in particular like to "keep it in the family" and prefer to recruit players who come recommended by alumni or current members. If you don't know anyone in the Blue Devils organization, then you have your work cut out for you to get in. It is possible, but you need to be looking for ways to meet and greet the right people NOW.

    A great way to do it is to try to find a current or former Blue Devil to take lessons from. DCI is also a very different type of culture and musical experience. You'll learn more from someone with the specialized experience to prepare you for it than from anyone else (just like if you want to play jazz, take lessons from someone with jazz chops, etc.).

    My lesson instructor in high school was the lead player/soloist for Blue Devils in the 80s, and we spent 2 YEARS getting me ready to try out for and play lead successfully in a D2 corp (Nite Express, RIP) out of high school. By the way, in those 2 years we rarely "played" range exercises (and I mean maybe once a month we'd go higher than High C). We focused instead on building breath and body control and played endless lip flexibility and articulation exercises.

    Why? Because if playing a High G is hard standing still, imagine doing it in tune, with varying dynamics, and slurred from a B-flat below while moving laterally across the field at 6X5 at 120bpm. I had a High G in a show that I had to attack cleanly and then sustain for 16 counts with both a decrescendo and crescendo while moving at that speed. Rowuk was dead on about body control being more important that chops -especially for drum corps. You need to spend as many hours developing the muscle memory to support your horn and embouchure fully while moving as you do working on "playing" the part. And don't try to "free-lance" learning it. Each drum corps has a unique version of the "fundamentals" involved in marching, and you don't want to learn the wrong ones. For example, the Cadets march straight up with a slight bounce while Phantom Regiment carries their weight 60/40 forward and uses a glide step (at least in 1996). If Blue Devils is it for you -figure out how they march and start working on it -preferably with the same person tied to the organization that you've found to give you playing lessons.

    My instructor was blunt that if I wanted to play lead at BD (My dream at the time too) that I had to prove myself at the smaller corps. And that was after having spent 3 years as a soloist and lead player in a nationally ranked high school marching band that consistently made finals at BOA Regionals. Only after that season at Nite Express where I established my chops and ability (and stability -being able to handle the lifestyle is a mental feat in itself) did he say I was ready to try out for BD. Even then he warned me it could take a year or two because the lead positions typically go to players on the top end of the age spectrum (21 and 22-year-olds with more playing experience, some college instruction, and more time in the drum corps community).

    Also, are you prepared to make ALL of the winter camps in California and to give your life to the organization from May until August? There's no way they will be flexible with a new player about missed camps or not giving 100% ALL YEAR to getting ready for the season. Drum Corps is like pro sports -established players don't have to follow the same rules as new guys, and new guys WILL have to sacrifice and prove how dedicated they are before life gets at all easier.

    I'm not going to tell you it can't happen, because it can. You just need to know what you're getting in to and plan accordingly. It is much easier initially to get into the horn-line of a smaller D1 or D2 corps and get your feet wet than it is to jump in at the top. Also, even once you break in to the top 10 corps, you will likely spend a year or two playing 2nd or 3rd while they feel you out.

    You will definitely have to EARN a lead spot in any corps, so good luck and practice hard.

    Last edited: Aug 14, 2010
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Scatman, thank you for a VERY detailed and honest view of the situation. This should help ANYBODY looking at this type of playing a lot!
  6. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    well - I believe you and the high G for 5 minutes. I also believe you can fatigue the body/face muscles. I play about 3 hrs a day also. I work on high range every other day. Occasionally I overdue it -- when things are going great -- I push -- but then -- aggh, sometimes it is like 4 days before the high notes come back in view --but they are usually better sounding and easier though.
    I try to develop the embouchure from Low F# to at least Double High C - I think it is best that way.
    might want to look into an Asymmetric Mpc -- got big thick rim, seems to help me with less fatigue, and to focus the air -- that is if DCI allows them.
    oh gee I'm old too --45 --
  7. Keith Fiala

    Keith Fiala Pianissimo User

    Feb 21, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    King -

    You're exactly right about the 4 days before things return after pushing too hard. That exact problem is why I am writing this new book! I've interviewed 2 of the top players in the world, as well as a champion body builder and a Dr.

    Through doing so, I've learned that it can take upwards of 96 hours for a full recovery muscularly if you over do it! Age does come into play somewhat, but burning up muscle tissue and not giving them enough rest (let alone "proper" usage) is extremely detrimental!

    The book is nearly finished...

  8. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    That's because you are too young and inexperienced to know any better.

    Don't worry though - in 10 years you'll be able to look back and finally realize just how much you didn't know about playing MUSIC. :-)
  9. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    I think maybe yes.
    I use what would best be described as Arch Tongue and Hiss. I played that way in high school back in the 1970's and was able to play Maynard Charts note for note my jr. and Sr. years. I didn't know what it was called. I just lucked into it while trying to play along with MF on the albums. It wasn't until a few years ago that I came across an article on the internet called Arch Tongue and Hiss.
    I would suggest to keep playing the high notes and work towards refining your stance, mouthpiece pressure issues and air issues to increase your endurance.
    Don't forget to play in the normal register sometimes but if you have the gift to play in the stratosphere (which very few have), cultivate it.
    I did.
    Along with that, read scatman's stuff a couple of times. Better yet, print it out. It's a loose blueprint as to what to do to achieve your goal.
    Good Luck
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2010
  10. wolfmann

    wolfmann Pianissimo User

    Aug 19, 2010
    I enjoy reading scatmans posts.

    He truly passes on the knowledge.

    Thank you Sir.

    As for my own advice:
    Just get into the band and prove yourself,Sometimes politics get in the way of advancing but what you learn can be priceless.

Share This Page