Tongue Level

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Principaltrumpet, Jan 28, 2007.

  1. Principaltrumpet

    Principaltrumpet Pianissimo User

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    This is mainly a curiosity question. Do you all believe the tongue position is what contributes to the note that comes out of the horn. All my playing life I have been taught that books like Irons and Colin shouldnt be thought of as lip slurs but should be considered "Tongue Level Exersizes".

    I am currently working on an Embouchure Change and I at first cracked notes more often when I articulated. I asked a teacher what he suggested he said it was because I was using a different tongue shape than I used to. He told me to pull out the Irons and slowly work my way through some of the exersizes until I could play them all acuratly with great speed. He told me to then do the same but tongue the notes. He explained it would establish muscle memory again and reinforce the tongue position.

    I am asking this more from a teachers P.O.V. so that I may assist students better as I grow older. Is the tongue level something we as players should be aware of? I know when we wistle in order to change the pitch we move our tongue (ah, ae, ee...) Is this the same concept that should be applied when playing the trumpet?

    Thanks, Josh Ritchie
     
  2. ptynan

    ptynan Pianissimo User

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    Since you are in the North Texas area, seek out Jay Saunders. He has amazing things to say about Tongue Level/slots and how it relates to air used.
     
  3. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    I am not an advocate of CONSCIOUS tongue level awareness FOR LIP SLURS. I believe a talented student will do what needs to be done without invoking a certain vowel. When you whistle a tune you do so based on how the tune goes and you don't invoke a physical awareness of the process. You just whistle.

    I don't advocate it be cause to do so often exaggerates a natural process and generally diminishes the tone in the upper register. I insist on my students "pre-hearing" tones and tone color and allowing the physical process to take a backseat to the musical.

    About the only remedial advice I give for consistency is asking a student to think TOE or TOOH when they're doing articulated work and I ask them to pronounce that throughout the range of the instrument.

    Does this mean I don't believe the tongue changes? No, of course it does. I don't believe it needs to be invoked any more than nature asks it to as a matter of context for playing trumpet.

    Flame away.

    ML
     
  4. Principaltrumpet

    Principaltrumpet Pianissimo User

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    That makes sense (not that I expected less), but just to make sure I 100% understand, you believe it is a natural sub-concious action that if emphasized too much can cause other things in your playing to become worse (like tone)?
     
  5. TheRiddler

    TheRiddler Pianissimo User

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    I think the main idea (coming from the Jacobs/Chicago idea) is to focus purely on what you want it to sound like (tone, color, etc.) and then your focus on this sound will guide your body to make the necessary changes. One of Jacob's ideas was to focus a brief period of practice time, ~30 mins, on physical thought of what you want your body to do... then the rest of the time focus just on music, and over time - those physical exercises will become habit in your subconscious. Some take this to an extreme... I really don't... I just follow my imagination of sound and let my my body do whatever it feels like it needs to.
     
  6. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Yeah, that's pretty much it. I had a bad experience in high school where I was made very conscious of thinkgs I did naturally and within about a weekmy tone got thinner and I lost a third of my upper register, no lie. I dispensed with all that and I got back to normal in short order.

    HAVING SAID ALL THAT, the so-called natural approach works when the embouchure is not corrupted to a point where playing is impossible. At that point, a good teacher has to intervene and set a student straight. There would likely be a period where the student neds to be made aware of certain things but I don't think tongue levels is one of them in most cases.

    ML
     
  7. trumpet520

    trumpet520 Pianissimo User

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    my teacher doesnt actually instruct it. but he does say that the shape of the tounge helps the air move faster and slower and when your in the lower register it should be diffrent than in the upper register./
     
  8. KJaeger

    KJaeger Pianissimo User

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    I experienced what Manny described here the last couple days - I just started playing C trumpet for the first time and the extra resistance got me focusing way too hard on consciously manipulating my embouchure. I got myself all turned into knots trying to push the tongue and chops everywhere to make the upper register work like it does on my B-flat horn.

    Today I went back to Irons and just played the exercises without thinking what was I doing - just concentrating on where the pitches in each exercise were supposed to be and keeping mind a bit of the syllables. IMO, one of the beauties of the exercises in the Irons book is the way they very simply and unconsciously steer you back to the right physical movements without having to think about them. Lo and behold, everything just fell back into place. I could observe what my tongue was doing in a detached way, but I didn't have to manipulate anything.

    Group 21 in Irons seems to be great for this - if I can focus on "hearing" each pitch in the sequence then I don't have to think about what to do physically. Irons' text calls that Group and Group 22 the most valuable exercises in the book, and I can understand why for that reason. You'll know everything is in balance when you can play that last arpeggio C up to the high E and back down in a very even and "under control" manner.

    (For the record, for me the tongue is definitely changing position as I move up and down the arpeggios - but the movements are very subtle, and when I try to physically manipulate the notes consciously then it doesn't work for me, it ends up feeling like I am choking the notes to death...)

    It's like a golf swing - if I try to consciously cream the ball with brute force or flood my mind with a lot of physical swing thoughts who knows where it will go - my longest drives and most accurate shots always result when everything physical is coordinated in sequence but I have maybe one simple swing thought at the most.
     
  9. camelbrass

    camelbrass Mezzo Forte User

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    Kevin,

    My experience has been almost exactly the same as yours and strangely enough starting to play a C with a good sound was also the catalyst. The key for me was in using 'TOH' as Manny has suggested and backing way off compared to the Bb.

    The realisation for me, like you, was that physical strength has nothing to do with it. It's all about synchronisation and balance.

    Good post.

    Regards,


    Trevor
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2007
  10. _TrumpeT_

    _TrumpeT_ Piano User

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    I think my teacher told me to think TOO for notes below C, TAA for mid register, and TEE for G on the staff and upwards. I tried to apply it and thought I was having success but couldn't be bothered to think all these syllables just for two and a half octaves (He considered the high C to be the top note except for the Haydn concerto). Now I think TOO (or try to at least for the upper register; it does arch for high F (with 3 ledger lines) and above quite noticeably) all the way. Apparently, Hardenberger did study Maggio exercises when he was a young boy (which invokes four different syllables quite strictly).
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2007

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