what to do after destroying the face in band camp

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Cpt.Funk, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. DaTrump

    DaTrump Forte User

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    Metamorphosis ('10) and I was going to say take off the Octave key but not on a nicer horn.

    I would try putting your ring finger in the third valve ring and your pinky in front of that, not only does it look better on the field but using pressure will be a little harder to do.

    I know you ask D.C but try slurring in a no pressure grip and see how bad it really is. From there, do flow studies and long tones being acutely aware of pressure
     
  2. mctrumpet98

    mctrumpet98 Pianissimo User

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    I mean no offence to D.C. Al fine when I say this, but I don't think the phrase 'use more air' is very helpful with this kind of thing. What I believe he meant was support the air properly, and support your sound. Basically, keep the flow steady from the gas tank until you've run out.

    What I believe you need to do is learn to control your air flow. To go back to basics, don't blow more air to try go higher, as this usually just results in blasting and failure. Instead, blow faster air into the instrument. This results in the increase of frequency and reduction of wavelength in the sound waves, and thus a higher pitch. It has nothing to do with the volume of air being put into the instrument.

    Note that a lot of this has to do with the positioning of the tongue. To help me explain, try whistling a C major scale ascending and descending. Nothing too hard, you might be thinking, it just comes naturally. Notice how your tongue changes position when you change notes, and how the amount of air being passed through the lips and the support of the air is constant throughout. This is basically what we should be doing with a trumpet, except there is much more resistance and thus it's much harder to do cleanly and with control.

    When we play soft, we decrease the amount of air we allow to flow through the small hole we form with our lips to play the trumpet to a minimum. When we play loud, we increase the volume of air that is allowed to pass through our lips. Naturally, when we play louder, we support the air more and that often sends the note in tune or allows us to reach higher notes. By keeping this support the same, and instead changing the amount of air we allow to pass through our lips, we are able to manipulate the dynamics.

    So remember, it's not how much you've got, it's how you use it that really makes the difference. Best of luck! :D
     
    D.C. Al fine and DaTrump like this.
  3. Scatmanblues

    Scatmanblues Pianissimo User

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    I'll go out on a limb here and guess your pre-camp consistency, range, and flexibility were all developed and evaluated while sitting down.

    If so, then I would suggest that your issues are the putting of playing with marching. If you haven't been marching since last season (or ever, you don't say how old you are) -marching while playing is an entirely different beast than just playing the horn. Imagine trying to write a letter while riding in a car. It's a lot harder to do than writing at a table. Playing while marching is exactly the same. It takes a lot of fine motor control to play a trumpet well, and moving while doing it -especially without well-developed marching fundamentals- is putting a lot of unpredictable motion and pressure into the middle of the process. The better your marching fundamentals, the less "feet" in your sound, and the easier it is to play. It's the difference between trying to write that letter in a Cadillac on the freeway and an old pickup on a gravel road.

    I don't care how good a player you are, if you can't isolate your shoulders/arms and head from the rest of your body while marching you are setting yourself up for trouble. It becomes tempting to overcompensate by using excessive mouthpiece pressure to be able to play (basically, using your lips instead of your legs as shock absorbers), but that only works for a little while before the chops shut down completely.

    Quick test: Stand in front of a large mirror at attention with your horn in playing position. Now, march towards the mirror at 8/5 at a slow tempo without playing, but with your mouthpiece on your chops. Focus on a couple of things.

    Watch the top of your head and the bell of your horn in the mirror. If you see any bouncing at all, there is a huge part of your problem.

    Focus on the feel of the mouthpiece on your chops. If you feel your steps AT ALL on your face, or sharp jabs, or an uneven distribution of pressure that moves around as you march, there too is a huge part of your problem.

    If you've got a bounce in your marching step and you can feel the movement in your face, then essentially what you are doing is taking a large metal object and pummeling your lips while you try to make them do very fine-grained things with your playing. A bounce in your step will affect your playing and endurance dramatically.

    Your goal should be to march towards the mirror and have no visible bounce in either your head or horn. When you can do that moving forward, then do the same marching backwards. Then work crab steps. Then march forward and backward parallel to the mirror, but with your upper body turned towards the mirror going in both directions. Then practice making direction changes without letting the horn bounce or move.

    Now, some tips for how to get there:

    1. Your hips are key. If you lower your hips even a little while moving it will allow your legs to absorb more of the shock of the steps. Stiff legs = bounce. You can still maintain an upright posture in your back and shoulders while doing so.

    2. Stretch, stretch, stretch. The more flexible you are in your legs and lower body, the easier it is to move fluidly and twist into position. You'll be amazed how much easier it is to turn your shoulders perpendicular to your hips with a week or two of good stretching exercises.

    3. Build your core. Strengthen the muscles of your core with solid exercises (plenty out there such as Yoga, Pilates, or if you don't want to do that good old-fashioned push-ups and sit-ups) and they will improve your stability and allow you to march longer with less fatigue. It will also improve your balance -a key factor in staying stable while playing and moving. Another trick to work the core and improve balance -stand at attention with the horn in playing position. Now, pick up one foot and put it next to your other knee with your toe pointed down. Stay there for 5-10 seconds, then alternate feet and do it again. The goal -as always- is to be able to move from foot to foot and have no movement in the horn or head.

    4. Perfect your glide step. You want to move lightly ACROSS the field, not step ON the field. I don't know which type of marching step your band teaches, so I can't give you specific advice, but a universal truth is that the goal is to tread lightly, rolling from the heel to the toe smoothly, with as consistent a step as possible. You should be able to close your eyes, put your horn to your face, and march 8/5 for 10-15 yards and land within an inch of the yardline every time. If you can march that far and accurately with your eyes closed, you'll know you've smoothed out your step and balance.

    5. DON'T EVEN BOTHER PLAYING WHILE DOING ANY OF THIS UNTIL YOU HAVE ELIMINATED THE BOUNCE!!!!!! If you have to march and play at rehearsals, fine, but while doing this individual practice you want to build GOOD habits and only put the playing to the marching AFTER you have built a strong foundation of marching fundamentals. Even after you have gotten comfortable and stable you should practice marching alone every day to maintain the body and muscle memory.

    6. Introduce playing the horn slowly. Start by doing straight marching while playing long tones. Listen for wobble in the pitch from your steps and focus on being as smooth as possible. Don't move on until you can play scales in whole notes with no wobble while marching. Then, do the same with half notes, then quarter notes, then eighth notes, and finally your marching music. Do the same marching forwards, backwards, while making turns, with crab steps, etc.

    7. Plan to spend AT LEAST an hour a day working marching fundamentals if you want to see any real improvement in only a few weeks. Even then, it can take the entire season to really build the habits you want to develop. If you only march in the fall, and you don't have a long history of marching fundamentals behind you, you'll need to do this before every season.


    Oh and finally -discretion can be the better part of valor You don't have to play every note during rehearsal, and you don't have to play every note you have loudly. Back off a bit -especially if you feel tired or the chops hurt. Better to play the part down an octave at mf cleanly and build from the than try to force it high and loud and end up killing yourself before the season even begins.

    Good luck,

    Scatmanblues
     
  4. D.C. Al fine

    D.C. Al fine Banned

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    Funk,
    Holding the horn does not have anything to do with pressure. You can hold it any way you want and use too much pressure and use just right. I would go, and put the mouthpiece to your lips just enough so they are just on your lips. The mouthpiece is not pushing any of your lips into the cup of your mouthpiece. The mouthpiece is basically just sitting there, and then do simple scales. I am not talking a 2 octave Bb scale, I am talking the concert Ab scale starting on the low Bb to the middle Bb. Just work on your middle register with using little pressure then slowly go to higher notes. This is not something you will be able to do in a few days, it will take time.

    Once you use this in your everyday playing you will be playing the high C with the same pressure as your middle A. I know it is hard to do with marching band, but for concert it will really benefit you.
     
  5. Cpt.Funk

    Cpt.Funk New Friend

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    Thanks everybody; all very helpful advice! I think Al makes a valid point for a long term solution- but the day off tomorrow does sound enticing :D.

    Some more wood for the fire however- any thoughts on Advil/ibuprofen?

    I also have a device that sends electric impulses though the body to simulate acupuncture- opinions?
    Medi-Stim, Inc. - TENS Pro 900 TENS/MENS
     
  6. D.C. Al fine

    D.C. Al fine Banned

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    Your kidding right?

    When you go higher into your range you need to use more air. If you only use more air support then you are building up an area of pressure that will do no good at all.
     
  7. DaTrump

    DaTrump Forte User

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    Actually, Pressure = Force/Area, If you decrease the area, in this case the aperture, you naturally increase pressure. The volume of air increases the volume noise that is put out. However, high notes aren't all about tons and tons of air, if this was true, high note players would all die from aneurysms early in their careers. High notes are a BALANCE of pressure, when you find the right balance, the notes just sing.
     
  8. DaTrump

    DaTrump Forte User

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    Some grips are more prone to strong arming and using the octave key, the grip I suggested means that we pressure is applied, the horn will tilt making it more apparent to the player that an issue is at hand. Also, this grip opens up the arms and shoulders making it look better on the field anyway
     
  9. DaTrump

    DaTrump Forte User

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    I was going to suggest advil, ask Doc G about that though. Chop saver works well too before and after.

    That device might be a WEE bit extreme
     
  10. D.C. Al fine

    D.C. Al fine Banned

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    Yes, that is true. But that does not mean some grips have more pressure then others. I do a lot of grips depending on if I am standing, sitting, playing high/low parts, etc.
     

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