Tongue Level

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

  1. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

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    If I understood Manny point right, he admits that the tongue placement is changing in different registers, but it is not recommendable to provoke this pupils/students by making them pronouncing different kind of sounds. The starting point is the sound conception and not theoritical conception of how this or that should be done. A teacher of mine (history of music, counterpoint, harmony and music analysis) was saying often that if the theory does not much the reality, then the theory is wrong and should be changed.

    Manny, it is better when the student is clever enough to change the tongue level to obtain the required result...but what do you do if he doesn't?
     
  2. trumpethack

    trumpethack Pianissimo User

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    I think it is important to realize where the term "tongue level" came from. I believe that many many years ago in was believed that the "lips played the horn" In an effort to get students to get out of that thinking a prominent teacher invented the term tongue level exercise to get the thought off the lips and more on the air. The idea is that the tongue channels the air. It seems to me in seeing so many "discussions" on this topic over the years that this simple attempt at a paradigm shift has been quite blown out of proportion.
    I think Manny said it best when he said, "when you whistle and change pitch your tongue moves...but to change the pitch you don't move your tongue, you just hear the pitch you want to go to." that is what happens when you play the trumpet. The real focus is on the air that is the whole original reason for inventing the term tongue level.... And even more important than that is focusing on the sound. air = sound.

    Man, I must be bored this morning, sorry for the ramble...

    Matt
     
  3. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Well, this is a delicate question because you're essentially asking about the difference between a talented student and one who is not. By talented I mean someone who naturally does what is necessary to produce the sounds on a trumpet. Now, talent producing a sound on a trumpet doesn't necessary mean great rhythm, intonation, phrasing sense... you see?

    It is my very strong belief that a student with talent for the trumpet will do the tongue activities without being told how.

    This does not mean that a talented student does not need refinement! We all do.

    ML
     
  4. KJaeger

    KJaeger Pianissimo User

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    So today I gave "Manny's way" a shot, i.e. I used the "tOOh" syllable regardless of register. I really focused on that with the C trumpet...

    Holy cow! :-o

    The notes spoke a lot easier and with much more resonance. I almost had this sensation of just the very center of the lips vibrating inside the mpc with a very focused aperture. It took a little getting used to, but the sound on the C was finally there. Backing off also helped quite a bit.

    Pictures Promenade on C that way sounded the best I've played it - much more in a singing style than I could manage before. :oops:
     
  5. Mr. G

    Mr. G New Friend

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    Manny,

    Greetings! This is my first post on this site. As one of your former MYS trumpeters, I've heard you say this before about using Tooh in all registers and know that it works. Now, as a band director, I encounter far more students that struggle with sound production on the trumpet than those that are naturally talented. For those students that do need some kind direction for how to produce higher and lower notes, is there anything that you would say to them that would be effective but not encourage them to move their embouchures/lips/jaw, etc. (which is the problem I notice with many of my students - this is my first year in this school and there are lots of struggling trumpeters!). Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks!!
     
  6. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Mr. G,

    Welcome aboard TM. I hope you enjoy it.

    My experience tells me that when a student has trouble negotiating the upper register it rarely has anything to do with tongue level. It's generally a faulty embouchure or great tension caused by a preconceieved notion about what it takes to play trumpet.

    If you have a kid that plays on the edge of one or both lips for no good reason, tongue level discussions will do no good. Teaching them to relax will do no good either. As I stated in this or another thread, if the embouchure is so corrupted as to inhibit any kind of decent vibrations, well, not much good will result.

    I'm afraid you're in for some remedial work with the kids that don't have a proper embouchure. Withouht seeing the kids up close and personal I have little else to help you, I'm sorry to say. It would be pure guesswork on my part or anyone else's.

    Good luck,

    ML
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2007
  7. Mr. G

    Mr. G New Friend

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    Thanks Manny. I see what you're saying and understand the embouchure needs to be set up right for any of this to make sense.

    I should have been more clear with my question - I mentioned too many different things. Originally I was thinking more about beginners. Is there anything that you would say to beginners to help get them started with finding the different partials? Thanks again!
     
  8. GordonH

    GordonH Mezzo Forte User

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    Here is my take on it:

    Having the correct resonance in the mouth and throat will help you pitch a note correctly first time. The only way to change the resonance is tongue position. Learning this made my playing much more reliable in the mid register.

    BUT you can't do the tongue level thing if you are tongueing the notes. In factthe person who taught me also emphasised the use of the consonant "H" and attacking the note from the diaphragm mainly rather than the tongue.
    You also have to be very careful not to overdo it or you strangle notes in the upper register.

    I use it as an aid to hitting notes that might be a likely mispitch.

    If you look at the first three notes of Verdi's "La Forza Del Destino" (its three solo F sharps on a Bb trumpet) I play that mainly fron the diaphragm and use the tongue to shape the end of the note.
    If I get the tongue level right its unlikely I will be able to mispitch the note.
     
  9. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    With all respect, Gordon, I would never approach teaching a beginner in that way and that's what, now, I understand Mr.G to be dealing with specifically.

    Once again, upon looking at a beginner and seeing that the basic embouchure is relatively normal and uneccentric, I would use ear-based exercises to motivate the student to play. Lots of singing and use of the mouthpiece (playing familiar tunes, bugle calls) as the real instrument. The ear finds a way eventually and some students are a quicker than others. Then, there's the realization that some kids are simply more talented and muscal than others, Mr. G. Not everyone's cut out to be a trumpeter.

    ML
     
  10. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Gordon,

    Let me also clear up some mischaracterization about body parts while I'm at it. The reference to the diaphragm as a part of any sound producing mechanism is a common mistake most people make because it's been done for such a long time. Singing teachers where the first to mischaracterize it and it's hard correct.

    The diaphragm, like every other muscle, only works when it's contracting. It contracts as we take in air. In fact, that is its primary function, to serve as the basic music of inhalation not exhalation.

    What you were reallt describing was the inner, secondary layer of abdominal muscles that contract as we expel air. Those are "invisible" to us but serve as the muscles that support tones whne we blow out. That's what you were describing rather than the diaphragm. When we blow, the diaphragm is in a state of relaxation and retunring gradually to it's state of non-contraction, readying itself for the next breath/contraction. It's during that, that the abdominal muscles are conrtracting, helping us get the air out.

    ML
     

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