tone dispair... please help

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by ltg_trumpet, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. ExtraTeeth

    ExtraTeeth Pianissimo User

    Nov 13, 2008
    Perth, Western Australia
    When you tune as an ensemble, do you have to pull the tuning slide way out? If not (compared to the others) then you're probably not lipping sharp. Interesting that things were ok until you got more practice and experience playing at greater volume in marching band.
    You really need to consult a specialist brass teacher but I suspect the rest of the section is playing in a dull, timid way. Trumpet is supposed to be bright.
    I don't think everybody is really talking about it. If they are, they must have very boring lives.
  2. Keith Fiala

    Keith Fiala Pianissimo User

    Feb 21, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    Here's something to think about that causes a lot of confusion... shallow mouthpieces can give you an overly shrill or bright sound. Rim diameters can hinder your range, endurance, attacks, etc. as well as cause an airy sound... some band directors confuse this with a dark sound. If you are playing on a rim size that is TOO large, it will basically be like trying to run track in shoes that are too big. Smaller rim diameters with a medium depth cup or deeper will NOT hurt your tone. No matter what the band directors say...

    What mouthpiece are you playing?
  3. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    Without seeing and hearing you play the only advice one gave give is to work with a trumpet teacher. Since you just started with one it may take several sessions to isolate the issue your band director has with your sound. Listen to teacher, take notes, ask questions. Stay in touch.
  4. ltg_trumpet

    ltg_trumpet Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 21, 2009
    hmm... intersesting ideas here... today i had my state solo... which i got gold on(yes!) and my director who was in the room said that my tone was incredible...? he said that when im in a small office my tone gets pinched but when i get into a large room my tone is great. is this some sort of weird form of lung claustriphobia? lol i guess you guys were right about it being mental... im just getting really frustrated cuz no matter how hard i think about my tone it just never helps... grr...
  5. samdaman

    samdaman Pianissimo User

    Jun 15, 2006
    Baltimore, MD
    Hey Itg,
    Awesome to hear about your solo. If you are still looking for ways to work on your tone, I would highly recommend picking up the Schlossberg Daily Drills and Technical studies book. When you open it up, it may look kinnda elementary and dull, but it is actually really hard. Read all of the beginning commentary and do what it says to do on the exercises. I find that after half an hour of practice my tone opens up and gets to where it needs to be. Do this everyday and it becomes second nature :-).
  6. ltg_trumpet

    ltg_trumpet Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 21, 2009
    thanks sam, ill look into that
  7. Rushtucky

    Rushtucky Pianissimo User

    Sep 15, 2008
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    I am surprised that your music director can not help or even work with you. Even though she is a percussionist, she had to learn all of the instruments in the brass and woodwind family. I can tell that frustration has set in. You need to relax and regroup.

    New equipment for a high school student is not the answer. Start at the beginning. Do long tones slowly and work at them. Listen to your tone. Do slurs in the mid to lower levels...lots of them. After about three months of steady practice you should have developed your chops that your tone will be consistant with the rest of the band. But it is going to take a lot of consistant practice time.
  8. mchs3d

    mchs3d Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 30, 2005
    Provo, UT
    itg, I'm going to tell you a little story. My current teacher has been teaching for decades, and he told me that he a young student one time who was not fortunate enough to have a band program at school to play in. He bought this student a music book with an accompaniment CD. However, this CD had only MIDI (digital trumpet sounds.) The kid loved it, but after a while, my teacher started to notice something. He heard a buzz in the kid's sound, and he could not get it to go away! He had no idea what it was until it just dawned on him. The kid sounded like a MIDI trumpet player! This taught me a great lesson. The truth is that you sound like who you listen to. If you want to sound like Itzhak Perlman on trumpet (which I certainly do!), then listen to lots of Itzhak. If you really want to sound like Marsalis, Hardenberger, Lindemann or anyone of the other greats, then listen to them every day! The changes will be subconscious, but they come over time and you'll sooner or later be happy with the results.

    Aside from listening, you need to work with your teacher on playing in the center of the pitch. This has nothing to do with real intonation, but it is an absolutely ESSENTIAL step in any trumpet player's life. What it means is that you are playing each note with the most resonant sound possible. Ways to work on this are do lip bends everyday, and play lyrical etudes. Also, think about taking a deep breath like you're yawning, and then try to let the air come out as freeflowing as possible. I'm sorry, but the Internet can't help you with this. This is why a teacher is necessary. Hopefully it helps.
  9. soloft

    soloft New Friend

    Jan 14, 2009
    My friend in high school had a similar problem. For him, my teacher (me and my friend had the same one) told him to open his teeth more as he played. Some people play with their teeth very close together behind their lips, but you need to have a fairly large gap. Two methods to see how much space you need are to 1) stick your pinky in your mouth and close your teeth around it, or 2) stick the end of your mouthpiece between your teeth. Of course, you can't have that exact space when you play, and you should stick with whatever is comfortable, but try to have a generally larger space there. Another fix (somewhat desperate) is to buy another mouthpiece. I have a Bach Megatone 3C that I use from time to time, and it does wonders for making your sound darker. On the downside to the Megatones, I noticed it made it a bit harder to play quickly.
    Working on range might have done it, I know when I work on my range my tone gets to be a bit more shrill, especially when I get higher. The key to working on range is not to get as high as you can as quickly as possible, but to make sure each note feels easy to play, sounds easy to an audience, and has a resonant tone. If you're not sure what you sound like, record on your computer and listen to it, or stick one hand in front of your bell while doing long tones. Without going into physics, your sound will go reflect off your hand back to your ear, singers use this technique a lot.
    Aside from that, ask your trumpet teacher what he thinks is best. Best of luck to you.
  10. Keith Fiala

    Keith Fiala Pianissimo User

    Feb 21, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    Switching to a bigger mouthpiece will actually make things worse! You subconsciously try to compensate with more space, and close your teeth. The best bet is to play with your teeth comfortably apart - it will change your tone / timbre, so gauge how open you want to be with your intonation and sound. Looking for "equipment" to do things for you is setting you up for serious problems down the road and mass confusion!
    Welcome to Brass Player Solution

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