Using less preasure when playing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Fusion2002, Jan 27, 2005.

  1. Fusion2002

    Fusion2002 New Friend

    Dec 11, 2004

    I've noticed that I've been using a lot more pressure when I play than I used to, and I think it's causing endurance/intonation problems. What would be the best method to start playing with less pressure? In my earlier years I always kept my pinky on my right hand out of the hook. In the last two years I have realized that I have started to use the pinky to pull the horn into my face. Since this realization I have stopped using the pinky in the hook. However, I have also realized that I unconsciously use a lot more force than necessary. What would be the best approach to beat the habit I've developed?

    Thanks! -Tom Henchal
  2. Bear

    Bear Forte User

    Apr 30, 2004
    I know you feilded this question to Manny but I'd like to suggest something just cause it's helped me out some with pressure playing....

    Try holding the horn with just your thumbs. Left hand thumb on the bell beside the bell bracing and the right hand thumb on the lead pipe by the valve block to even the weight... Now try to play an octave (or two, three, four, whatever) scale and avoid tryin to clamp down on the horn with the rest of your fingers. And don't let the thumbs slip under and get a hold of something to push on your face...

    I'm not sure if that all makes sense... ask for clarification if needed. It helped me quite a bit.
  3. Fusion2002

    Fusion2002 New Friend

    Dec 11, 2004
    I'm VERY open minded, I'll give it a shot and let you know the results. Thanks for the suggestion. I also took a posted note that says "NO PREASURE" and stuck it on my bell as a reminder when I practice.
  4. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    Dear Tom,

    There are two ways of approaching a problem like this: one is the band-aid method where you are treating the symptom and the other is to treat the root cause.

    Since you are relatively young and you say that you've noticed this as an onset problem over recent years I'm going to assume no recent trauma to your body. An accident or some such thing that has you using your body in an unusual way.

    Therefore, this symptom of using a lot of pressure often comes from a reduction of the amount of breath that you've been taking in and a less-than-efficient release of the air. In other words, you're probably not using your air properly. When you don't do that, you tend to compensate by using the lips more and you've increased the pressure to maintain lip contact instead of blowing efficiently and easily.

    What thinking "less pressure" is going to do for you is probably take your head away from the top of your spinal collumn and put your head more over your lap than over your spine.

    You're sitting at the computer terminal right now so try this:

    Completely relax so your upper body turns almost into the letter C and your chin winds up sort of pointing at the keyboard. Sort of your stereotypical "jazz pianist hunched" posiiton.

    Now, straighten and create that nice arch in the lumbar region of your back and put your head back so you look like an opera singer. You know, with a few more chins than you woke up with this morning. If you feel tension you're doing it too much. It should feel DIFFERENT, not tight.

    Do it again and try breathing in and out both positions. Of course the second is easier. You CAN breathe effectively enough in the first position to get through most of life but is it the optimal way? No.

    The point is that the pressure likely came from inefficient body use and ineffcient use of the breath and you need to sort that out. Find an Alexander Technique person at U of M, Morris and they'll tell you exactly what I told you. It'll fix the pressure thing if you attend to your body as a whole rather than parts.

    Good luck,


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