Why do partials give me so much trouble?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Hornlife98, Dec 14, 2014.

  1. Hornlife98

    Hornlife98 Pianissimo User

    Nov 16, 2014
    I slurred from Low C to High D just a second ago. I don't know what I did right. My aperture just felt rock solid a second ago. My playing can be comically inconsistent sometimes. I can't replicate the solidness of my aperture. It just HAPPENS. Wow, this piece of tube can be frustrating.
  2. musicman1951

    musicman1951 New Friend

    Dec 9, 2014
    Albany, NY
    Dizzy Gillespie on playing the trumpet: "Some days you get up and put the horn to your chops and it sounds pretty good and you win. Some days you try and nothing works and the horn wins. This goes on and on and then you die and the horn wins."

    If that's the way Dizzy felt imagine where the rest of us are. The good news is each note is in the same place every day. Another thing to try would be very slow slurs going from the middle/center of one note to the center of the next note. When you can immediately hit the exact center of each note you can start to speed up the exercise.
  3. tpopbop

    tpopbop New Friend

    May 1, 2012
    It just takes doing it successfully 10,000 times to gain the confidence that you'll slot those notes solidly and in tune. The first 9,000 times trying you'll have to analyze everything you're embouchure, air, horn, mouthpiece is doing. Even if we could give you the one answer to what's troubling you, you'd still have to go through the effort of trial and error, training those muscles to do what you want them to do.

    Air, air, and air is most critical. You may also want to check your mouthpiece gap if things slurs between partials seem "slippery".

    And, just wait. The higher you get and the closer those partials are together, the more work it takes to control those same muscles to get the notes you want without sounding like you're sliding on ice.
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    No foundation, no stable house.

    If you have trouble with lipslurs, you haven't been doing them seriously or properly. Generally the problems start when pressure against the lips is needed to play higher. We can't change the pressure this way fast enough to negotiate the slurs! The solution is getting our air together and letting the slurs float on air.

    I always start the students with my Circle of Breath to build the foundation for what follows. If there is no structure to what we do, the results are not predictable!
  5. edfitzvb

    edfitzvb Forte User

    Jun 10, 2008
    Woodlawn, VA
    To quote Aaron Rodgers, R-E-L-A-X!!!
    Nothing will make trumpet playing more stiff than tension. The more we obsess, the less we can relax and let the music flow. That is NOT to say practice is not necessary, but please... relaxed practice
  6. cb5270

    cb5270 Pianissimo User

    Jul 20, 2013
    I am not remotely qualified to tell anyone how to play but I could have written this post verbatim. So I'll tell you how I am overcoming this issue. Just work with 2 or 3 consecutive partials e.g. E-G or C-E-G and play them tongued, not too fast. Without over analyzing it, feel where your embouchure, tongue and air are for each note and without stopping, repeat as a slur trying to imitate the feel. E-G and up I need to add a slight "kick" to the air and tongue to make it happen. If you are playing the notes properly tongued the slurs will come along rapidly.
  7. Hornlife98

    Hornlife98 Pianissimo User

    Nov 16, 2014
    How much pressure is acceptable?
  8. Tjnaples

    Tjnaples Piano User

    Aug 30, 2013
    By saying "err" just enough to make a good seal. My trumpet teacher can hold his trumpet from the finger buttons (trumpet is dangling) and play a double C. A great example of good technique over power winning every time.
  9. Clarkvinmazz

    Clarkvinmazz Forte User

    May 11, 2013
    Oberlin, Ohio
    Ideally, as little as possibly. Too much pressure not only causes your lips to get tired much more quickly, but can actually damage them quite badly. Now, everyone knows that some pressure
    is needed and logically a little more is needed for the higher notes, but by playing with too much pressure you're reducing the vibration in your lips, making it much harder to play high or in some cases at all.
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    How much pressure depends on the quality of your body use, breathing and embouchure. Here is an interesting study on and how to measure it:


    then click on the PDF symbol on the upper right to get the paper (it is free).

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