Working on range and tone

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by ButchA, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. ButchA

    ButchA Pianissimo User

    167
    177
    Apr 13, 2009
    Richmond, Virginia
    Hello again...

    I am a "comeback" player (see my post in the Greeting/Introductions section) http://www.trumpetmaster.com/vb/f148/new-returning-trumpet-player-here-45764.html

    Anyway, I have been practicing a lot lately (trying to make up for lost time), and discovered that I don't have the nice clear range that I used to.

    I can hit the high "A" but anything after the "A" starts to blow out on me. I find myself struggling to hit the high "C". :-(

    Confession: The last time I seriously played trumpet was back in 1979. :shock: Well, you know... I'd get out the trumpet and toot on it over the years, but was not dedicating any real time to it.

    Now at 48, I want to really get back into playing, but need ideas and tips on how to work on my range and tone, after all these years.

    I found this piece of sheet music on www.8notes.com and am only playing the first page to measure 16.
    Trad. - Folk Song Medley sheet music - 8notes.com

    This piece helps get my rusty fingers moving and will hopefully help get my range up to speed. What do you think?
     
  2. kayakdadj

    kayakdadj New Friend

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    Feb 14, 2009
    i too am a comeback player ill try your 8 notes out and see how it is i find my range is better now than in 1977 funny how that works
     
  3. ButchA

    ButchA Pianissimo User

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    Apr 13, 2009
    Richmond, Virginia
    Wow, your range is better now? Hmmm... I seemed to have lost a bit of range over the years (having some dental bridgework didn't help either). :-(
     
  4. bagmangood

    bagmangood Forte User

    Range and tone will come (ask any of the many come-backers on this forum)
    Just start out easy and don't try to force it - daily long tones and similar exercises will get you back and perhaps further than you were!
    A teacher can also greatly help in this endeavor
     
  5. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

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    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    Work on long tones, slurs, and flexibility studies softly. Playing soft is your friend. You also might want to look for a good competent teacher to help you with your comeback.
     
  6. heulwen

    heulwen New Friend

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    Apr 20, 2009
    Ipswich, UK
    Hello!

    I'm a comeback player too after two or three years off due to some Jaw problems! I'm using the Arban to start back at the begining and build up my stamina and control.

    I could force the high notes out now if I wanted to but they will come back on their own - what I found has helped me build up muscle control again is practicing low slow long notes, even below low f# to really get control over the mouth and lips again - also practicing dynamics, particularly good control over the notes at p or pp and looking at my tonguing again.

    I'm excited to be getting back into it! I forgot how much fun it is. :-)
     
  7. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

    8,188
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    May 11, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    Heulwen,

    I know you are new here and don't know the site yet.....

    But THAT kind of talk is not going to win you any friends here!

    You MUST mash that mouthpiece against those lips and pound out the highest notes you can....and then exaggerate how high you can play by at least 6 full tones.

    " practicing low slow long notes, even below low f# to really get control over the mouth and lips again - also practicing dynamics, particularly good control over the notes at p or pp and looking at my tonguing again."

    Oh brother........:thumbsup:
     
  8. ButchA

    ButchA Pianissimo User

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    177
    Apr 13, 2009
    Richmond, Virginia
    Thanks... My twin daughters (age 22, college students) told me that they talked to their old H.S. band director a few weeks ago in a music store, and told him about me getting back into playing trumpet. He gives private music lessons on the side and suggested I take some lessons from him! Wouldn't that be hilarious... My daughters' H.S. band director giving me lessons! :lol: He's a great guy and a trumpet player, from what I remember.

    BTW... my daughters? Yup... like a chip off the old block - they too played darn near everything in band (but they did woodwinds, not much brass - flute, clarinet, sax, bass clarinet, bassoon, and even french horn.)

    I will talk to their old band director and see if he could "brush me up" a little on trumpet and listen to my tone. Who knows... it'll probably be a lot of fun!
     
  9. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    Hi Butch,
    Here's what I recommend to students as it pertains to sound:
    I tell them when they play, they should always try to sound beautiful and not brassy or blatty. I also record them using a Zoom H2 (around $160.00 but well worth it) and then together we listen to see what the student thinks.
    Recording your lessons on the Zoom and listening to them when you drive is a great way to improve the things you wish to improve.
    Now that I've got the hardware stuff out of the way, here goes:
    SOUND
    a)"When you play, IMAGINE your sound coming out of your trumpet like a beam. In other words aim the sound at something.
    b)IMAGINE the sound growing out from your sides "make it fat"
    Both of these are done using long tones. Start your long tone VERRRRY soft and gradually get louder and then go back to verrrrry soft. This is done in one breath. Focus deep on your sound and notice when it cracks or starts to suck.

    Range:
    I equate playing the trumpet to whistling. I know, that sounds weird but before you boo hoo it try this. Whistle a tune and notice how your tongue changes the notes. Now play a scale or two on your trumpet. Notice how your tongue changes the notes.
    For range and endurance I recommend lip slurs or any exercise that goes from low to high focusing on your tongue and noticing how it changes the sound. A very good text is the SPIT book. While it's generally toted as a book for improvisation, it is also a great exercise for working the muscles and finger coordinations and consists of scales patterns inversions and triads.
    Finally:
    When you work on your range and your lips start getting tired from using pressure(and it probably will), focus on the tongue changing the notes "think whistling" and lighten up on the pressure. Pressure is the trumpet player's worse enemy. When the sound starts to suck, stop playing and rest.
     
  10. bagmangood

    bagmangood Forte User

    :-p
    must ... Play ... Higher ... *gasp*
     

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