Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by jazzfreak, Nov 9, 2014.

  1. jazzfreak

    jazzfreak New Friend

    Nov 5, 2014
    I am in 8th grade and I have a decent tone. my tone hasn't really changed since the 6th grade. I was listening to different trumpet players and I realized that they all have their own unique tone while I just have a "flat" tone, not dark or bright. I was hoping if someone could tell me how to create a tone.
  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Welcome to TM, jazzfreak!

    Long tones help to develop our sound, as does extremely quiet practicing. The best way to develop a good sound is to listen to great players and then emulate their sound. Over time our own sound will develop. Based on your description of your high range, it may well be that your lips are too far apart, which can contribute to a dull sound.
  3. Tomaso

    Tomaso Pianissimo User

    Oct 2, 2014
    New York City
    Acceptable tone is not something you physically do. It is a concept - a "sound" if you like - that you hear in your head from listening to others and yourself.
    The idea is to trust your body to do what's necessary to achieve that 'sound', and if you don't interfere with a lot of frontal lobe input and analysis of what you are "supposed" to do, it will happen over time.
    When I was young we called it "bel canto trumpet playing".

  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    We get tone when we stop trying to conquer/hit the notes. That requires breathing habits that have nothing to do with age or size of the player. Your playing has to "float" on air. No one can explain over the internet how this works. You need to simply spend time with a trumpeter or other musician that has "tone". If you have a really good teacher, duets could be enough. If there is not a really good trumpeter in your area, a really fine soprano could be as helpful.

    This is a VERY intelligent question. I wish we had more younger players thinking at this level!

    My take on tone of course covers the mechanical part of playing, but as influential is our style. Learning style needs ensemble playing, duets, Trios, quartets, quintet, band, orchestra. I envision music as fabric, and the trumpet is woven in and out of the fabric, but still always part of the whole. Blasters do not get this and basically destroy anything that they touch.

    Grab a hymnbook, practice power and glory, repentence, soul searching. We need everything from clouds to flame throwers. Go for it!
  5. Culbe

    Culbe Forte User

    Jul 25, 2014
    I grab a hymnbook when I don't feel like playing Clark. I'm never disappointed, but I know it doesn't help in the long run as much. :oops:
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    If you are paying attention, it can be every bit as rewarding! You also need to play Clarke like music and not like a machine, but with Clarke etudes you have no "Power, "Glory", "Somber", "Tragic",........ You have to have those skills and they are as hard if not harder to get than learning the technical side.

    Don't EVER underestimate the power of a simple tune. It is just like underestimating the power of simple words...........
  7. mchs3d

    mchs3d Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 30, 2005
    Provo, UT
    This is what Tine Thing Helseth said, just in other words.
  8. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    I've said it before, but will repeat it again ... when I started my comeback 6 years ago, Rowuk's suggestion about hymns was the best advice I received on this forum.

    My daily routine contains some type of lyrical music, whether it's a hymn, an Arban duet, or Concone.

    I've since changed by approach to practicing from a hymnbook. Now I play the hymns in several keys. For example, I start with Holy, Holy, Holy. I play it in C, then in Db, then in B, and continue going up and down another half-step until I get to F#. This is to help me play in-tune and lyrical in every key.

  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Actually, I never claim to be an original source of anything, but I do often feel very "alone" when posting some things that are clear as light to me.

    Actually, I have a VERY simple philosophy: strip all the fat away and all you have left is lean meat. Strip the fluff away and you are closer to making real music.
  10. dangeorges

    dangeorges Pianissimo User

    Oct 20, 2010

    You don't say if you have a private teacher or not. If you can afford to take private lessons, do it. Find a teacher who can help you define your tone.

    As others have said, listen to pro trumpet players - don't limit yourself to just one genre. I listened (and still listen) to a lot of them: Doc Severinsen, Maynard, Dizzie - but also legit players like Maurice Andre, Michael Sachs (Cleveland Orchestra).

    I essentially taught myself trumpet (already played piano), so the only thing I really needed to learn was how to make a good sound. Listening to how the pros sound is one way to help - try to imitate their sounds.

    Some tips:
    • Long tones (quiet -> loud -> quiet), lip slurs up the harmonic sequence and then down again - slowly - listening to each pitch and giving it full attention.
    • Listen for the "core" of the pitch and sound that's being played. That "tunnel" of sound that defines the pitch of the note. Then widen and narrow the outer edge of the "tunnel" (open your throat) to get a fuller or thinner tone. Play with the concept. You should be able to hear overtones (e.g., octaves, thirds) if you listen hard enough.
    • Try to produce the same tone throughout your entire range. Work up to it with lip slurs and long tones.
    • Play in a relaxed way. In other words - don't force the air through the horn. Breath in and then exhale, allowing the air to come out naturally.

    Good luck - and get a private teacher!

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