trusting yourself

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by schleiman, Aug 18, 2012.

  1. schleiman

    schleiman Piano User

    May 12, 2010
    Austin, TX
    I have been breathing completely wrong for such a long time. I think I've had a breakthrough here but I don't want to count my chickens. :) Relaxed breath. Sounds like such a simple thing, but I have had lots of tension in my breath from the beginning. I am really concentrating on relaxed breathing and just letting the clams happen. Cool thing is, they are starting to go away and I don't get tired as easily as I used to. I never fully trusted the release of the air. I think the "circle of breath" concept is finally starting to make sense to me. I was trying to control and restrict so much.

    The ball finally dropped the other day when I watched this trumpet lesson with Mark Gould. He likened the drawing and release of breath to the pulling back of the string on a bow. When you breath in all the way you release right away, you don't push. All the tension and pressure you need for those notes is there, you just have to trust yourself that the notes will happen. I never trusted what came out of my horn. It was always a battle along the lines of "Ok, what type of butchery will I perform today?" I was pinching the notes off and not relaxing my embouchure, forcing air, huffing and puffing so much I could barely make it through a phrase. Now I can play through entire pieces without being fatigued. Well, let's be real, at least I don't feel exhausted. :) And instead of my chops feeling stiff, they feel loose and tingly, like muscles after you lift weights. I'm sure in the last three days I have done more for my chops than over the last 6 months.

    Also what is so cool about this experience is that by trusting my instrument and my breath, we are becoming very good friends very quickly. I've always enjoyed our time together, but I'll admit, some days I would not want to practice. Because I felt that I sounded bad and would never get better. Now I look forward to it, and practice longer. I'm going on 3 hours a day again! And that's after being at work for 9 hours! I finally feel good about playing again. It was rough for a while, but I feel back on track.

    Wind band is starting up this week and I'm so excited to play Tuesday night and see everyone again. Our principal left to play with the Austin Symphonic Band, so I think I'd like to give 2nd trumpet a go again.

    Also, I recently switched mouthpieces. I was playing on an Austin Winds KF model .600. It was a medium shallow cup, very bright sound. Two weeks ago I switched to a Curry 600 series 610M. I really like this mouthpiece so far. I will probably go a bit bigger after some time on this one, but it feels pretty good all around. Very comfy mouthpiece. Anyways, thanks for reading my rant. I welcome criticisms and any kind of responses from you lovely people. I hope everyone is well. Take care!
  2. Chuck Cox

    Chuck Cox Forte User

    Oct 3, 2008
    Cary NC
    Breathing can take a toll on a trumpet player that plays solo with little or no rests. I'm talking about church gigs playing a hymn or 2 for offering or the anthem. ESPECIALLY when you play 2 verses. I'd much rather play all night with a blues band where the trumpet plays little phrases every 15 or 20 seconds maybe.
  3. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

    Jan 9, 2010
    East Yorkshire
    Just a thought that really helped me out and I always recomend, (especially to brass banders who can have interesting breathing techniques) Grab a couple of singing lessons. I trained inpart to sing tenor and boy when I took playing back up again had it hepled.
  4. patkins

    patkins Forte User

    Nov 22, 2010
    Tuscaloosa, AL.
    At least you are playing & breathing naturally. Thats the ticket. Keep it up & you will bound to get better!
  5. mrsemman

    mrsemman Piano User

    Apr 8, 2010
    Congrats on your breakthrough. I know how you feel. A few months back, while recording myself, I realized just how bad I sounded. Relaxed breathing solved that problem. Now I have to work on being able to read the music. Keep up the great work.

  6. fuzzyhaze

    fuzzyhaze Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 22, 2009
    Newcastle-Upon-Tyne UK
    Thankyou for a very insightful post. I am someone who struggles with these issues too. I am playing on a fairly large mouthpiece, a Greg Black BP (16.7mm I.D and fairly deep V) and I have found it so much easier to get notes with ease but still have to sort out so many other issues. It is always work in progress for me. Anyway it was nice to read your post and found it very informative.
  7. schleiman

    schleiman Piano User

    May 12, 2010
    Austin, TX
    Actually it's funny. I've found that trumpet playing has dramatically affected my singing! Just the opposite. But no matter what you are doing musically I think staying relaxed is the key. Now I'm not talking about being complacent or lazy. I just mean finding out where one's unneeded tension comes from. For me, it started with my breathing. Because I have been told from the beginning to "breathe from the stomach." The way my brain interpreted those words was not what was intended by my mentor I'm sure. I was sort of closing my throat and sucking the air in to expand my stomach. (weird I know). This was also a problem because breathing this way made making quick breaths extremely difficult. Any draught of air in resulted in more tension. And subconsciously because I was so tense, my embouchure would pinch and squeeze off notes. It was just a hot mess. Now I open up my throat and no matter what comes out of the horn, I am concentrating on the breaths being relaxed.

    This concept has dramatically improved my playing in just a few days. But again, it was also a trust thing for me. I wasn't trusting the horn to do it's job. I was thinking I had to force it and control so much that I was just a ball of stress when I played. Now I breathe in and exhale and the notes are just there. It's hard to explain but I don't feel like I'm pushing, I'm just letting the natural compression from a full, relaxed breath do the work for me. My embouchure feels amazing too!

    thanks for all the thoughts everyone! I hope you are all having as good of a time as I am now. Maybe we can play some duets. Anyone live in Austin?

  8. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Never! This is why teachers and professional feedback is essential.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2012
  9. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    I concur -- a few days ago, someone offered me a gig - next July (well at least I still have time to get some practice in) --- but the whole point is the offer was for me to play solo on the stage!!! Solo, is a difficult thing to "pull off" --- Oh, I have pulled them off --- but that will really screw up your breathing if you let it, because the rests are usually limited in the songs -- and if you put in a 15 bar rest to catch your breath ---- it looks funny.
    yeah the OP here -- should make sure breathing becomes totally natural, and consistent ---- and then in front of a LIVE audience or in a performance that is ONE LESS thing to worry about!!!!
  10. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Maybe if you play [solo] such that no one can her it...:dontknow:

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