"Splitting" the notes E thru G

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by oldlips48, Jul 25, 2009.

  1. oldlips48

    oldlips48 Piano User

    Mar 1, 2007
    I'm currently having an issue with tonguing the notes E (above staff C) thru G (top note on the staff). I have a tendency to "split" these notes. By that I mean, if I want to play G on top of the staff, I'll tongue to start the note, and I'll hit that out of tune open A for a fraction of an second before I slide into the G.

    My feeling is it's a matter of technique. Once I get to A above the staff, I'm in my "upper register" mindset and my technique and tonguing (for lack of a better phrase) gets "smaller" or more precise. From E on the staff downward, my tonguing and technique is "bigger".

    What exercises or approach can I take to get this "transition area" E to G under control? For reference, I have a useable range (by useable I mean I can use this in concert) to an E above high C.

    Thanks for the input folks (Rowuk, work your magic).
  2. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    I'm not Rowuk, but I would think that you might want to work on lip slurs and flexibility studies that work into those notes. Scales might also help you to center those notes. Whatever I worked on I would start it slowly and softly and work it from there. This is hard for any recommendation when we aren't one on one with you. Another idea might be to get to a good competant teacher and work with them.
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006

    I don't know about magic, trumpet playing is simple biology, psychology, religion, physics, economics, history and math.

    I have described my "circle of breath" several times here at TM. It consists of visualizing your breathing as a big circle. The left side is inhale, the right exhale. At the top and bottom there is a SMOOTH transition between the two states. No holding air in, no taking a set with the diaphragm.

    Try and breathe that way without the horn. Practice until it works (can take 30 minutes+).

    Once you have it down, replace exhale with "play". Play long tones with no tonguing. This is the low impact way of playing. Spend some time with it. In the beginning you will be lucky if you can play low C to second line G reliably. You need to work on this until you can play long tones let say up to that G on top of the staff. NO TONGUING! keep everything open - just like inhale/exhale!

    You are most likely not supporting the higher notes and depending on your tonguing to provide the "explosion" that gets the note started. That collapses after the "explosion" and cracks the note.

    My circle of breath will get the note sorted out with NO tongue. Once this works we add only enough tongue to square off the beginning and end of a note. Once your air is big enough for those high notes, they come cleanly without strain in spite of the "missing" tongue!

    This is most likely a BIG deviation from your present method but it requires no embouchure change, special mouthpieces, mirrors or other magic, just a bit of patience.

    To build power, we start the note with the circle and go into lip slurs. I use Earl Irons lip flexibilities.

    Remember the circle, it is ROUND, no angles or bumps. For louder or higher, we use a BIGGER circle.

    If you were my student I would probably have you stop tonguing for the next month or so to make sure that you started building circle habits and support without the tongue. By then you would have the start of usable habits and the next steps become very obvious. You can play Clarke, Arban, Irons and tunes without the tongue. Put artificial breaks in the music to allow enough time for breathing. Later on we can speed up the inhale breath - IF WE DON'T PUT A BUMP BETWEEN INHALE AND EXHALE. In the beginning we just want big but relaxed!
  4. ltg_trumpet

    ltg_trumpet Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 21, 2009
    rowuk... biology+psychology+religion+physics+economics+ history+math= MAGIC :) jk
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Sorry, that is another "myth". Magic implies that somebody can wave a wand and fix the problem. I maintain that there are tons of players that CAN'T achieve any real type of proficiency.

    The reasons:
    1) inability to LISTEN (common but not reserved to young males):thumbdown:
    2) lack of dedication (I won't get started on my take on the nintendo generation):shhh:

    3) working in the wrong direction (problem with many DIYourselfers):dontknow:
    4) Too much time posting at TM..........................:-P

    The first two get students sent home after 5 minutes of a lesson. I will not listen to an unprepared student. If they don't get something, they have my telephone number and can use it any time of night or day (the day before a lesson is not a good sign though.....). I do not run a baby sitting service and my students do not purchase a time slot. They buy into a partnership with demands for both parties. I can only get away with this because I privately teach. Nobody has ever quit because of this "pressure". They learn that MY TIME is also worth something.
  6. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    Try practicing two octave scales softly, one and two octave arpeggios up and down, usually your problem is caused by using different embouchure's for different registers and the notes you mentioned are in between your low and high range.
  7. oldlips48

    oldlips48 Piano User

    Mar 1, 2007
    Thanks Al, S.Coomer, and Robin. These were the "software" type of suggestions I was looking for. I will definitely give Robin's "Circle of Breath" approach a try, as the visualization of "no angles or bumps" sounds like a great psychological reinforcement to the exercise itself.

    I am thinking there's some embouchure difference, Al. "Gear shifting" going on, perhaps. I'll try the scales and arpeggios as well to try and get that smooth transition.

    Thanks again for the help.

Share This Page