Too much Chops?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by SmoothOperator, Aug 21, 2010.

  1. SmoothOperator

    SmoothOperator Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 14, 2010
  2. Pete Anderson

    Pete Anderson Pianissimo User

    Feb 27, 2008
    However, going along with the bike analogy, practicing track stands will immensely help your balance and probably make you a better rider than you would be able to become by simply riding (a track stand is when you balance on the bike while not moving). At the very least, it will make you improve faster than you otherwise would have.

    Cool videos.
  3. SmoothOperator

    SmoothOperator Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 14, 2010
    So, I did this at work today instead of the pencil trick.

    Very gently, I held a paper clip in between my teeth and lips, so that the lips sealed around the paper clip, but left a space between the two tines, then forced air through between the two wires, with my diaphragm.

    Then I came home and I could hit that high G above the staff effortlessly.

    Pedal tones were still troublesome but Oh well.
  4. SmoothOperator

    SmoothOperator Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 14, 2010
    Accidental double post...
  5. gdong

    gdong Piano User

    Jun 7, 2008
    LA/Lake Tahoe/NYC
    Over-practice is the enemy.

    Figure out what you need to practice and intelligently work on it without wasting time. Take plenty of breaks, and take a day off every once in a while with good conscience.

    Being smart about what to practice (That includes things off the horn such as the pencil/paperclip) and what the day of playing looked like has helped me tremendously.

    Becoming muscle bound is not good at all. Trumpet is about efficiency and sound, (with just enough strength to feel consistent). As an athlete, I did too much caruso and corner-clenching in high-school and basically got as strong as I needed, however the rest of the skills I needed to play the trumpet well were far behind my strength.

    now I'm playing the catch-up game in terns of finesse but am strong as a bull.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2010
  6. Satchmo Brecker

    Satchmo Brecker Piano User

    Jul 19, 2010
    I can see your point, because you want your practicing to have some context or relevance. I was kinda taking that approach until I read some great advice in this forum (Markie I think). And that was to hammer away at long tones and chromatics...endlessly. I've been doing that for a few weeks now, and then at the END of a week I do a little "check-up" on sheet music. Lo-and-behold my music playing is getting better and better. There's something about working every single fingering combination mechanically (and quietly) that just does wonders. And slowly working up the register...I can practically feel my muscles getting stronger without actually thinking/trying to do "face isometrics" (good one rowuk!).
  7. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight Pianissimo User

    Apr 7, 2010
    I am going to give you some advice in the hope that you can learn from my mistakes. There are a number of off horn exercise that you can perform that are “advertised” to increase your range and endurance. I submit that they are at least in part all baloney. Some of these exercises may be excellent for training the embouchure muscles when you are traveling without the horn, and I am very doubtful that this should extend beyond two weeks. I am now speaking from recent experience.

    I will relay just a small bit of experience. I saw both the pencil exercise and an exercise recommended by Bud Brisbois but demonstrated by another chap on YouTube. The later involved facing the ground and closing the lips around the opposite end of the mouthpiece so that all the muscle of the embouchure are focused around the single point. It is an isometric exercise to hold the mouthpiece with the lips as long as possible before it just slips or falls out. I actually got quite good at it. I loved the burning sensation in the muscles of the embouchure and though “wow, I am really going to increase my range”.

    After a while I started to feel a bit stiff around the corners exactly as Pops McLaughlin had warned against. It was only then that I had made a critical connection. Markie has recommended harmonic slurs. For kicks I set up a mirror to watch my embouchure muscles while doing this. I could see very tiny micro-adjustments in my muscles as I climbed up and down slurring the harmonic scale (i.e., 123). I saw these adjustments in the very areas that I was feeling stiff and inflexible. I actually got better at it as I “stopped” this particular off horn exercise.

    I urge you to just practice harmonic slurs as one way build your chops because Rowuk and Markie speak a critical truth. The muscles only need “sufficient” strength anything else is un-necessary. Sufficient strength comes from everyday practice of the basics. The most important part is coordinating the muscles of the embouchure with air support.

    Best Wishes,

    Last edited: Aug 27, 2010
  8. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    of course I don't always agree with Rowuk -- but he is giving good advice.
    I must say that range is a slow process for me - I'm 45. I found long tones really help me - long as you can hold each note, and then work up the scale. I try to do it all in practice, triple tongue, octave slurs, chromatic scales, intervals -- and that said --- DISCIPLINE to take an easy day --- every other day or so. Maybe cause I am old but sometimes I need 2 days of light, soft playin. BUT the third day -- everything is improved.
    6 months or so ago -- I would pop out a Double High C every day --- just cause I was never able to do it -- and couldn't believe I can now at 45. I wanted to check the range every day -- but when it wasn't there it was frustrating --- then I started to discipline myself to play like 75% of my range on a light day (and only 50% to 75% of my endurance time also) ---- vast amounts of improvement taking those "rest easy" days.
    I prefer playing -- putting my face to the horn instead of pencil holding --- but that is my opinion.
    hope that helps

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