starting note difficult for me

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by songbook, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. songbook

    songbook Piano User

    Apr 25, 2010
    The starting note for Saint Louis Blues March is A above the staff. Why is it such a struggle for me to hit it cleanly? When I climb up to it, an A is never a problem, but to hit it as a first note I find I'm fighting with it and I can feel the unneeded mouthpiece pressure.
  2. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    here's a suggestion -- try to work your way up to octave slurs. C to C, A to A, etc. Use your air (faster air, more air -- whatever one wants to call it) -- but you shouldn't need to change the aperture to do those octave slurs --- when you get that down -- I am certain that you can pick a note like that A out of the air -- and play it, but it all takes time.:thumbsup:
  3. catello

    catello Pianissimo User

    Dec 14, 2009
    Winter Park, FL
    Starting notes can always be unnerving. We overthink them and, not necessarily from a lack of ability, we blow it as a result of mentally psyching ourselves out.

    One thing that really helps me to hit starting notes is to really HEAR it in your head before you begin to blow. Already have yourself playing the note - get yourself physically prepared and have good breath control - and be playing when you start. The note is already attained (in your mind) and the stress of having to hit it slips away.

    If you worry about missing the note, more often than not, you will. KNOW that you will hit it and blow.
  4. catello

    catello Pianissimo User

    Dec 14, 2009
    Winter Park, FL
    And if you're already noticing too much mouthpiece pressure, it's probably because you've already stressed yourself thinking "this is a HIGH note" and are trying to overcompensate. Relax. Set. Hear. Play.
  5. bagmangood

    bagmangood Forte User

    An exercise one of my teachers taught me is to play a quarter note on the downbeat of every bar at 50 BPM.
    Started this on C in the staff. Play about 20 of them (or 30 or 40), making sure that you keep the time slow. Relax between the notes (face, arms, body, whatever).
    Your goal is play each note as good as possible and with the same sound.

    After you get comfortable, try this with E and G (and whatever other notes you want).

    If you do this properly (and if you don't it may be my fault for not explaining it well) you'll find that your attacks become much cleaner :-)
  6. brian moon

    brian moon Forte User

    For a quick fix you could try hitting it with an air attack. For the cure contact me for Skype lessons.
  7. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    In addition to the good advice that's already been given, try playing it with the 3rd valve instead of 1 & 2 - sometimes it will pop out easier that way.
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    This is my workaround too - don't think about it, just use the third valve instead of 1+2. After you have done this for a week or two, post back. I'll explained what happened then.
  9. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

    Nov 16, 2009
    Near Portland, OR.
    Clean starting attacks in the high register are never easy (I know, for some of you, that A does not really qualify as "high register"). It definitely requires extra attention. For me, that's the test of how far my useable range extends. It was taken very seriously in the French superior conservatories; both Maurice Andre and Guy Touvron praised the method by Merry Franquin for its extensive treatment of the problem.

    Most contributors here are more qualifed than me to give any advice, but I'll throw in what works for me: first it is virtually impossible to attack the note without hearing it first, which might be the most important thing.

    Beyond hearing, the note must be fully conceptualized. By that I mean linking the imagined sound to all the physiological actions (working together harmoniously) that correspond to the production of that sound: air support, tongue position, relaxed throat, embouchure focus, etc.

    Once the full concept can be called upon, producing the note, whether as a starting attack or any other form, becomes easy. Of course, acquiring that full concept and memorizing it in a way that allows for instant recall in any circumstances demands lots of practice (I imagine, because I'm nowhere near that kind of mastery).

    I'm not saying I can get that every day. On a good day, the full concept comes easier and so do the notes. To practice for it, I do air attacks and bouncy balls.

    Just my 2 cents.
  10. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

    May 7, 2011
    My practice routine is broken up into 15-30 minute "sessions". I have different sessions for various things that I want to work on.

    One of my "sessions" addresses this specific problem... the exposed naked attack.

    Every couple days I practice one note attacks and what I call "punches"
    I sing the note out loud, then do a mp whole note. Pull the horn off, flap the lips, reset, do it again. I do them in time so there is pressure to meet a downbead deadline.
    Sing the note, Whole Rest, Whole note, 2 bars rest, then repeat. I start with F (top staff) and do them up to D-E-F depending on how the buzz is feeling. Like I said, they are mp, and on a 1-1/2 C.

    Then I rest a few minutes, swap to my leap MP and practice big band kicks... a big fat 1/8th note. Same method, sing, rest 1 bar, punch, reset, sing, rest, punch. I do these starting on top space G up to 4th space G. I usually play 3-5 of each pitch, then a 1-2 minute rest then the next pitch.

    The whole notes one takes 15-20 minutes, the punches about the same.

    I keep all my different sessions on note cards and write on the back when I last played that card.

    Some are technical drills, some scales, some tonguing, some flexibility, etc... There are about 45 different cards.

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