Trumpet Grip

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by bluegill, Apr 12, 2007.

  1. bluegill

    bluegill New Friend

    Apr 6, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN

    I'm a 17 year old high school student and have been playing trumpet for 7 years now. I've studied privately for the past 2 and my teacher just informed me that I have what he calls a "death grip" on my trumpet with my left hand. I was just wondering how firmly you hold your instrument, and if that makes a large difference in tone quality. Thanks!

  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    I hold my horn lightly but firm enough to not let it fall out of my hand. My grip is a "two and two" left hand grip. I have long fingers, so, I can split the four fingers to a two and two. In other words, the horn "sits" in my hands rather than my feeling I'm "gripping" it.
  3. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Ideally, the horn will "rest" on the side of the left index finger, leaving the thumb and ring finger (whichever you choose) free to move the slides. (Please note the use of the word "ideally" to indicate that Vulgano theory and practice are not always the same thing.) We want to be as relaxed as possible, and the left hand is a great place to start. Just don't drop it!
  4. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    I use the ring finger in the third valve slide and also put my pinky above the slide, not below. I try to keep the right thumb under the leadpipe, agaist the first valve casing (I don't always succeed!). THe idea is to keep control of the horn between the right thumb and left index finger and the other finger are free to push the valves and move the slides. I can't say that I'm always this effecient, but that's the idea!

  5. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    Hmm..if I have to really dig and and put the pedal to the metal, then I actually do dig in to the horn; ring finger in in the ring, pinky on top of slide, palm right on the valve casings.

    If I need to play with more finesse, then I back out and get on finger tips.

    This is not a conscious thing...just something I do.

    As far as tone...well, could be in the long run with respect to endurance. If you grip tightly, you're tense and tight. Not a good thing. Remember: tension is your enemy.
  6. bluegill

    bluegill New Friend

    Apr 6, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    Hmm ok. Thanks for the insights, I'll try to mess around with some of those ideas in my practicing and see what happens!
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    If you have been playing well for 7 years, your DEATH GRIP is obviously not causing anything to die!
    The more energy you pump into things not musical (like too firm of a grip) the less energy that you have to make music! Playing is not always 100% relaxing, but the more we shake off tension, the better we will be!
    Don't mess around, analyse the source of the tension, make a plan to change and DO IT. If you have a plan, you will see the results or consequences. If you unmethodically mess around, you may "notice" nothing. Getting better is often hundreds of small steps - steps taken ON PURPOSE!
  8. Khora

    Khora Piano User

    Sep 17, 2006
    New York
    Some of the best advice ever - for any situation, any problem!
  9. bluegill

    bluegill New Friend

    Apr 6, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    Ok, thanks for your help! :-)

    I think that a lot of my problems are coming from hunching my shoulders up when I play. When I notice that I take 10 seconds off the horn to relax and it seems to be helping all around.
  10. mattdalton

    mattdalton Pianissimo User

    Apr 30, 2005
    Newcastle, WA USA
    In addition to the great advice you've received in this thread, you might want to check out this article on the ITG Youth web site: Get A Good Grip On Your Trumpet!

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