Slurring the harmonic scale - helpful hints?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Dark Knight, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight Pianissimo User

    Apr 7, 2010
    A couple of weeks ago I wrote about changing my embouchure. There is the basic lip curl type embouchure I had as a kid my first time around. I started reading all kinds of things as part of my comeback and started reconfiguring my embouchure based on the readings or my “misinterpretation” of them. It did not go too well. I have basically returned to my original embouchure setting and feel like everything is “in synch” again. I am not saying that things are perfect. I just feel comfortable again, like I am on the right track.

    I had this general discussion with my teacher and she gave me a great exercise that I am grooving on. I am terrible at it now but it seems to be helping me make the connection of what I have to do with both my embouchure and air. I go to page 2 of Rubank’s Elementary Method to the Table of Harmonics. Starting on the last line is: low F#, C#, F#, A#, C#, E, and F# all with 1,2,3 fingering. I am suppose to “lip slur” from F# up and back. The long term goal is to work upwards through each harmonic exercise. I think this exercise is what Rowuk means by getting the embouchure to develop through “evolution”.

    Now, here is the question:

    I can set my chops for third space C# or even higher and go down by relaxing to low F# then immediately and go back up. BUT, starting from low F# “first” with the same embouchure set and just going up is near impossible. WORSE still, if I use an embouchure set that allows me to start at a low F# and go upwards, it is even more of a struggle because I cannot make the “small” reverse changes in my embouchure to slur up to the higher notes. If this normal and I just need lots of practice, OK. I am willing to grind it out.

    I can easily slur down chromatically from low C to low F# and play it very solidly. But, starting off on low F# and going upwards is not easily done. I do a lot of lip buzzing in the car, trying to play simple tunes (i.e., London Bridges, etc.). I have read that lip buzzing can make the chops inelastic. Could this be a problem with starting off at low F#? Am I at a stage where I might need a slightly larger (5C or 3C, versus my current 7C) mouthpiece so the lips vibrate more freely? Or, is there something technique-wise that I should keep in mind based on much more experience of others. Any helpful hints?

    Best Wishes,

  2. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    Think about changing as you go up by using the vowel sound AHHHH at the bottom and EEEEE at the top. Don't blow harder, just raise your tongue using the AHHH - EEEE.
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Start with F#/C# (G/D, Ab/Eb.....) as a slur until it works, then F#/C#/F# (G/D/G.......) after that works then F#/C#/F#/A# (G/D/G/B,......). Keep it simple until you have it down then add an additional note.

    You should not have various "sets" for different ranges. That is part of what lipslurs accomplish.
  4. fraserhutch

    fraserhutch Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 23, 2004
    Novato, CA, USA
    And your 7C is fine. Do not consider changing it until you REALLY know what you want, and right now you cannot. If you cannot easily do that exercise on a 7C, you cannot do it on any mouthpiece. it ain't the piece.
  5. Satchmo Brecker

    Satchmo Brecker Piano User

    Jul 19, 2010
    When I practice lip slurs WITHOUT changing from AHHH to EEEE as I go higher, it's pretty difficult, but I'm getting better with practice. BUT if I try lip slurs relying heavily on AHHH/EEEE it's very easy for me to hit G on top of the staff (been playing for about 6 months). seems like using AHHH/EEEE is cheating. I shouldn't be able to hit that G so soon.
  6. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    That isn't cheating at all. There is no set time playing/range ratio.
  7. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight Pianissimo User

    Apr 7, 2010
    That you very much all. It was VERY helpful. I am much better after a steady week of practice. I am far from perfect but I can at least attach the low f# and go up comfortably. I can not tell you how much I love this exercise and see its benefits.

    Best Wishes,

  8. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Before your first practice session each day play a medium high, medium loud note on your mouthpiece and test against a keyboard or your trumpet to find the pitch. Think of this as "home." If you do this day after day, you'll discover the same note (or dang close). If we start to think of the low F# as "home, it is like Sponge Bob sitting at the bottom of the ocean.

    Our real home is between the deepest depths of the sea and the top of the stratosphere. Knowing that the low F# is a low note that we aim for (rather than a default note) helps make the higher ones easier.

    Have fun!

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