Tonking it out

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Bloomin Untidy Musician, Aug 28, 2008.

  1. Bloomin Untidy Musician

    Bloomin Untidy Musician Piano User

    Jan 14, 2008
    Has anybody got any tips for playing long phrases of fff long notes in the middle to high register? I am playing some music in band at the moment which needs serious projection, good unforced sound with good intonation. I can play it easily at a mf volume, but as soon as i start pumping it, tension creeps in causing my embouchure to distort and my tongue to become tense (and of course my sound and intonation deteriorates). I have tried to constantly top up every two bars to keep my sound and decrease tension in my breathing, but this has the effect of breaking up the phrase and affecting the note lengths. Any tips anyone?


  2. Annie

    Annie Piano User

    Nov 13, 2003
    It may not be the tension in your breathing, it may be your breathing (i.e. the amount you are using). An exercise you may consider would be playing long tones in your upper range to build your muscle memory as to how to correctly play those notes without using so much air. Believe it or not - you don't need gallons of air to get all those high notes! It is all in *how* the air is used.
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    The best way is NOT to blow harder - point the trumpet up above the music stand instead of blowing angled down. THAT will get your sound even only at Forte above the band.

    Any challenge is an opportunity to review for best breathing practices though. My take is the circle of breath. Well documented here at TM
  4. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

    Jul 13, 2005

    Good advice above. Put your bell above the stand. Also consider an old Ghitalla trick if it works in this context: try playing eveything a bit longer. This heaviness, plus a clear field to the audience, might achieve what you're looking for.

    Cheers, Mate
  5. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    Think of playing with a fuller sound not louder and projecting not spreading the tone.
  6. iainmcl

    iainmcl Pianissimo User

    Nov 4, 2006
    New Zealand
    Also, don't forget that what you hear is only part of what is actually coming out of your horn. You might be at the correct dynamic level already, but not aware of it due to the rest of the band/orchestra around you. Chances are good that you're already cutting through, but just not quite hearing it yourself.
    It's tricky
  7. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

    Nov 16, 2005
    Vidin, Bulgaria
    As projection seems to be an additional issue, I would suggest to combine Rowuk's suggestion about bell above the stand with slightly shallower mouthpiece, assuming that this would not create a blending issue with the rest of your section. However, this might be a technical/chops issue, which can be better cured with the help of an experienced teacher to solve any breathing or chops issue in your playing, which no gear change can solve.
  8. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    There are breathing exercises you can do without the trumpet such as when walking inhale for two steps and exhale for 2,3,4,etc., steps. Don`t over blow it will only cause your lips to spread apart and give you a blatty tone with no center, rember don`t blast just play full.
  9. nordlandstrompet

    nordlandstrompet Forte User

    Apr 5, 2008
    "Although subjective, I believe we all recognize a good sound when we hear one, and we all strive to
    produce one. When I am pleased with my sound I also “feel the sound†resonate in my body. I
    experience an openness in my throat and a resonance in my mouth and chest. I am relaxed and my
    body seems to be in tune with the notes being played."

    -Excerpt from a very good trumpet book I have translated.-

    What does Mick mean with that?

    When playing a (brass) wind instrument, we are too busy about the technical issues
    that we forget to concentrate about the music itself.
    We build a lot of body tension, which obstruct us from making the music.
    As I am a BBB player myself, I've seen a lot of players who seems to go into
    a offensive movement when they get ready to play a difficult passage and
    build a lot of body tension, and face tension.
    The clue is to relax and concentrate about the music in stead of technique.
    Not easy, cause you need to know the music very well......

    If you take a look at this video of our superb young trumpeter, Tine Thing Helseth,
    you will understand what I mean. Look carefully at her face when she is
    playing, and you will not be able to see any face tension at all. Totally relaxed!
    Her excellent embouchure does the job.

    We are very proud of her. :-)

    YouTube - Tine Thing Helseth: Haydn Trumpet Concerto, 3rd mvt
  10. Bloomin Untidy Musician

    Bloomin Untidy Musician Piano User

    Jan 14, 2008
    Once again my sincere thanks for all the superb advice i have received on this thread. Some very interesting answers to this one. I will certainly be more conscious of my bell direction. It naturally plays across the band, and i do play a little bit into the stand. Annie a good suggestion there as well. I am currently working on high note muscle memory (without force) and it is starting to work well. Both as you and Nordland have suggested, my embouchure is a little tense, and i need to continue work on finding a more relaxed note center. By the way Nordland, i have never heard Tine play before. She is superb, and as you say relaxed. Actually another good clip on that page is Mendez. He always looks relaxed around the chops.

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