tension tension tension

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by estarnes, Feb 8, 2009.

  1. estarnes

    estarnes New Friend

    Dec 16, 2008
    So as i'm sure this thread exists many times over, i will bring it up again in hopes someone can find a way to drill it into my head.

    In high school i always had a very bad tension problem (neck, shoulders, face, anything else you can imagine,) and its been a long process, as most things with the trumpet are. My low and mid range are in a spot where tension doesn't really exist but anywhere after f-g on the top of the staff it's so inconsistent its hard to have the will to play any lit. well.

    I notice in my basic work that i can warm up, (thompsons buzzing book) and feel great, and really i feel pretty loose all day. But as soon as I get out the ol' SCHLOSSBERG out i feel myself get tighter and tighter. I'd like to punch lip slurs in the face.

    (also, i do have a private teacher, i just think multiple ideas never hurt)

    This is my first post here, so as jumpy as this thread just turned out, any tips on tension?!?!?!
  2. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    The best cure for tension that I know of is to constantly practice anything that causes tension in my playing. The more I work it the better it becomes and thusly less tension. However, there are some things that I must work every day in order to keep them going smoothly and with as little tension as possible.
  3. Bear

    Bear Forte User

    Apr 30, 2004
    why does the tension creep in at an f or g? Do you feel these notes are "high"? A lot of tension problems with students I've encountered either mental or they do not have a correct (fundamentally sound) concept of what is happening physically. Something I would try is to sing those passages in a nice relaxed fashion, then mpc buzz, then throw on the horn, see if that does anything for you. Always try to imagine yourself relaxed with plenty of extra air in your system. A sencond line g is the same as a top space g, the only difference being the vibrations of the lips are twice the speed. Lol, Easily said huh?
  4. lovevixen555

    lovevixen555 Banned

    Nov 5, 2008
    Why are you nervious??? If you are holding tension it is due to fear of something? Only you know what you are afraid of. Get rid of the fear and the fear responce will go away it always does. Fears are not rational yet we all have some. Adress the fear and everything else will fall into place.
  5. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land

    Have a wander through the Monette website under mouthpieces - there is some very good advice there - but you will have to sift.
  6. Pete

    Pete Piano User

    Nov 17, 2007

    I sent you a PM.

  7. et_mike

    et_mike Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 16, 2007
    Chesapeake, VA

    Yep, Bear has got it!!

    OP, From your post it sounds like you are causing tension because you allow the negative thoughts you have for Schlossberg, lip-slurs and top line F's dictate your feelings, and in turn your physical state, before you play them. Next time you are warming up with your buzzing book, pay attention to your thought process and how you feel. Then imitate that when you play the other stuff. I'm sure you have hear this a thousand times, but there just isn't much other way to say it, RELAX!! Clear your head of any other thoughts and just play the music, if you mess it up, no biggie, try again. I was working with a student a couple of years ago that couldn't play Clarke studies to save his life. I photo-copied a page out of the clarke book and mixed it into the rest of his practice music.... when he got to that page during his next lesson, he played it fine.... made it through at least.... and he didn't have a clue he was playing Clarke!! Remember the trumpet is only 10% physical... the other 90% is mental.
  8. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    Deep breathing exercises will help you relax the tension you feel , be it playing the horn or taking a big test or attending a big board meeting, deep breathing always helps, trumpet is a wind instrument, if you breath correctly there is no limit to what you can accomplish.
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    a glass of plain tap water (no ice). If you notice yourself getting tense, take a sip.
    Always exhale fully before taking a breath.
    Do a search here on "Circle of Breath". There I cover the basics of a relaxed approach.
  10. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2005
    If you're tensing at a certain point (f-g) while entering the upper register it's likely that you're simply not breathing correctly, or supporting the breath correctly. I recommend some sluuring and octave exercises for this.

    Play the note one octave below your first trouble note (f?). Play a long tone and check that you are relaxing and 'riding' the air stream with plenty of support. Now slur up the octave (no break or breath) and attempt to play and maintain the upper note with the same relaxed posture as the lower one.

    Start with moving your base-octave note up a 4th in half steps for each exercise. Rest plenty between each exercise.


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