Throat Closing Up / Upper Register

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Brent McBugler, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    now that post from Dr. Mark is something that I can understand!!!
  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    I'm not a fan of the "rock hard abs" method. It is possible that tightening up those muscles does nothing for us. They are a symptom and not the cause. We can easily tense those muscles without having any air come out and that "aaa-eee" can end up reducing the size of our throat. That is why I use the Vulgano RAY OF POWER and magic bubbles.

    The finicky thing about air is that, yeah, we must learn the mechanics but then forget about them, because under the stress of performance, as tension sets in, our bodies will lie to us, and it will feel like we're moving huge amounts of air, breathing deeply and supporting when in fact, we are not!

    For this reason, I rely on some Vulgano Voodoo and the RAY OF POWER. It involves the Root Chakra, which is located directly at the base of the spine, also known as the coccyx. The chakras have their own mystic qualities, I guess. I don't know for sure, but they do seem to be located in parts of the body where bunches of nerves meet. (The Vulgano version is situated half way between the places we do our number one and number two in the restroom.)

    In practice and in theory, imagine (and feel) a ray of some sort (red is the most common mystic color associated with the root chakra) shooting down into the ground while playing. For high notes, imagine (and feel) a more intense ray. If we practice this sitting in a chair, we can notice all kinds of muscles come into play, which happen to be the same muscles used to "support" the air stream. By taking attention off of the mechanics and experiencing the mysterious, magical and not yet patented RAY OF POWER we can avoid some of the tension involved in "trying hard."

    Nothing mysterious and magical here really, but the RAY OF POWER does permit me to play with a relaxed but working body.

    As for lip slurs and throat tension, forget the idea of "making" the tongue arch and try "magic bubbles."

    When we play a note, the air column inside the instrument has defined and mathematically predictable areas of high pressure and no pressure. In physics these are known as nodes and anti-nodes. The higher the tone, the more of these nodes instide the instrument. With a horn of sufficient light weight, we can play a long tone we can gently run a finger around the leadpipe and/or bell and feel some of the vibrations. Change to a different harmonic and that place will move.

    Now for the esoteric part. Playing a long tone, we can shift our awareness to inside the trumpet, and imagine/feel a point of resistance somewhere inside the horn. I call these "magic bubbles." To slur up, we can "blow" this magic bubble further away, backing off will allow the magic bubble to return to its place closer to the mouthpiece.

    Our body will memorize the feel of these notes and nodes much more quiclky than the cognitive control of several variables can. Remember that the embouchure is (or should be, in the Zen Vulgano philosophy)formed in part by the note that it is playing.

    Experiment a bit, and have fun!
  3. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 5, 2011
    Hi Kingtrumpet,
    You stated:
    "now that post from Dr. Mark is something that I can understand!!!"
    Thank you very much! I hope it serves to help the poster.
  4. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 5, 2011
    Hi VB,
    You stated:
    "The Vulgano version is situated half way between the places we do our number one and number two in the restroom."
    I think this is called the "Taint"
    Taint your peepee taint your butthole
    tobylou8 likes this.
  5. vern

    vern Piano User

    Mar 4, 2008
    Here are a couple simple exercises that helped me: 1) Play low Clarke exercises (study number two) several times through and then play a high one. 2) Play scales up to the limit and then play a long tone low G (below the staff) or several pedal tones. I try to get that same feeling of openness and relaxation on the high and the low. Improvement took me many, many, months. And remember, tension kills sound on the trumpet.

    Disclaimer: I am an amateur, however an amateur who has studied this for years. I would suggest reading carefully what the moderators tell you and.....good luck, hang in there!!!!
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2014
  6. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    He may not be a fan, but if he were, he'd have the Vulgano RAY OF POWER method on steroids. Let the lower physiology provide the energy (chi) to the mind energy (Root Chakra). Together you have the gmonady RAW OF POWER.
  7. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    The scrotum or the vagina?:dontknow:
  8. mrsemman

    mrsemman Piano User

    Apr 8, 2010
    From what I have read in your post, it appears that you may be inadvertently sounding the "eee" sound. That is, that your vocal chords are trying to assist you in making that sound. Whenever I find myself having the same problem, I stop and mentally concentrate on the sound of the note in my mind, and then use the tongue arch to achieve that note.

    Hope this helps.

  9. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Not sure I know where you are going with this. Could you please explain. And by the way realize you are explaining to a pediatrician that has just made it through one heck of a croup season, for which I spent most of my day fighting and wining the battle against material in the throat that was very much constricting. Thanks in advance.
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Getting back to the original poster:

    Your problems exist because your breathing and body use simply suck. The feeling that the throat is constricting is merely a symptom. The solution is to learn how to prepare your body for that big relaxed inhale, exhale without applying the abs in a serious way and develop the weak face/embouchure muscles that are forcing you to compensate by restriction. Then there is nothing that can "back up", then there is a more than reasonable high register, decent tone and endurance.

    Yes, it means pretty much starting over. You don't have to stop playing, but you do need regular local help. There is no "patch" to easily fix what is screwed up. You have to unlearn old habits and develop decent new ones - keeping in mind, the wrong way is hard wired in your brain by now. Not practicing correctly for a couple of weeks will let the crap come back.

    Your problem is VERY common and to be honest, I don't know of a lot of success stories because it does, like trying to stop smoking, require a lot of dedication.

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