Urgent Help Please

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Furn, Aug 23, 2007.

  1. Furn

    Furn New Friend

    Dec 11, 2006
    Hi all,
    I think I have "stuffed" up my playing. I have been playing really well (I thought) and progressing in the right direction. I have only been playing for 18 months and as a beginner adult was very happy. I sat my first practical exam about a month ago and gained a A+. My teacher has been stretching my range and I finally broke through the A-Top C above the stave. Extatic. I had a great lesson with my teacher playing all kinds of pieces taking me up to my newly found register with very little effort (so I thought).

    Then disaster......over the next few weeks I have barely been able to play C in the 3rd space!!!! My lips will barely buzz and my air flow has a plug in it!

    What can I do to fix this. Will a BERP help to unblock my lips? I play Flugelhorn not Trumpet. If A BERP will help does anyone know if it will fit a Flugel?
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Slow down first of all! You were playing ok before you started playing high - so lets go back there first. Forget about starting new things like a BERP or mouthpiece studies, you will only succeed in confusing yourself even more! You can start those things once you are back on track.

    Stand up with your feet about shoulders width apart. Without the horn, take a DEEP breath and when you are full, exhale immediately. Do not hold the air in and try to make the transition between inhale and exhale smooth and relaxed. Think of that cycle as a circle inhale going up one side, roll over the top into exhale. Practice that a couple of times until it works then pick up the flugelhorn and replace exhale with play. DO NOT USE YOUR TONGUE TO GET THE SOUND STARTED!!! Simply exhale through your lips and stay relaxed! You should in short time be able to play single notes in the staff (do not use the tongue yet) with a clean sound. Do this for a couple of days (NO TONGUE and NO HIGH NOTES!!!) until you are sure that you have it down. Then add the tongue using the word TOOH. Play long tones, starting them with that tooh until it works.

    To build range, I use lip slurs and my students do not force anything.

    If your basics were stable, a couple of high notes could not have destroyed your playing. Anything as drastic as you describe can either be a medical condition or an inadequate foundation.

    You need to get a solid daily routine that will let you build safely. If your teacher was not able to accomplish that in 18 months, either you are not paying attention, not practicing regularly, or their method is not good. I cannot diagnose that over the internet. I think you are at a point where self-help may have reached its limits though.
  3. Harold Zinno

    Harold Zinno Pianissimo User

    Jul 17, 2007
    First of all, a Flugel is supposed to be a beautiful melodious sounding horn. Why are you doing range studies on it?

    You should be practicing on a trumpet
  4. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Play softly for up to a week, too--real soft, as in having the tone "trapped inside the bell." This is the best antidote I can think of to get you back to "normal." If playing a few high notes messes your embouchure up that much, however, then you might well want to review everything you know about breathing and blowing before trying them again.

    I assume you've told your teacher about what happened. Good luck!
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Even a flugel can sound great up to high C - if you do not need to twist your face around to get there! With a good foundation just about anything is possible.
    Without meeting someone in person, you have NO IDEA why, what, how and how much they practice. The internet is very good camouflage.
    There is a lot of german wind band music with flugel parts that go to high C.
  6. OdieLopez3

    OdieLopez3 New Friend

    Jan 21, 2007
    Whatever you do you cant panic in this situation. Remember time and patience is alot so dont try to push it and hurry to get what you want. Take it a step at a time. You can do it, most of us have been in situations where we cant play something or sound cant come out so just relax and take your time with it.
  7. Clarence

    Clarence Mezzo Forte User

    Jun 23, 2005
    san diego
    Yeah slow down and try not to play, your just getting some new brake pads on the chops. you need to rest as much as you play.
  8. Bill Dishman

    Bill Dishman Piano User

    Nov 22, 2003
    Gainesville, Florida
    Tension your enemy. My take on this is that getting up into the high range may possibly have been with techniques that while they yielded high notes they did not allow you to stay relaxed and so either and extremely rigid embouchure/aperture or an excessively tight throat resulted (or both in combination) along with possibly inefficient use of the air stream.

    You may have achieved a certain level of success but in the wrong manner and now you are paying for it.


    Worry is you enemy! (It also causes tension.)

    Take a step back and go ahead and play with a very free sound in the middle and lower registers.

    Get the sound in you head (without tension) and then apply this gradually as you ascend in register. The moment a tight or restrictive sound occurs, let that previous level be your benchmark and work no hight until you have achieved a relaxed open sound.

    You shall overcome!

    Bill Dishman
    Gainesville, Florida
  9. BergeronWannabe

    BergeronWannabe Piano User

    Feb 6, 2007
    Absolutely, low register stuff- relax, and perhaps some pedal tones.
    Great advice.
  10. kozbob

    kozbob New Friend

    Aug 27, 2007
    United States
    I had the same problem once. RIGHT before a huge audition. Like those great guys above have been saying, softly and pedal tones usually works. I just hate that feeling when you work hard for those screamin notes, and one day they just dont come out, and your lips are all stiff and wont vibrate. It is just a stage, i believe, but it'll soon pass, i hope :-)

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