Working on range and tone

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

  1. sdhinote

    sdhinote Pianissimo User

    Feb 3, 2006
    Palm Desert
    I'm pleasantly surprised by the wealth of good advice given amongst comeback players. Everyone's in general agreement (i.e., soft long tones & flexibility). A very refreshing change from the brag-fest that eventually takes place in most forums!
  2. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land

    IMO One of the interesting things about Mature Aged Students (Comeback Players) is their tendency to listen to what you say (then they generally analyse the crap out of your comments) - all this allows the learner to compare what they already know with the gems you provide. As we age our brains become less "flexible" compared to a youngster's brain - we don't learn as fast, but we sure learn smarter.
  3. Keith Fiala

    Keith Fiala Pianissimo User

    Feb 21, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    Hi Guys,

    Just had to chime in on this as I know how frustrating it is looking back at what you could do as a player in school, etc. and comparing to now as a comebacker.

    Some really good suggestions listed in previous posts, but what usually kills range and endurance for ALL players is a lop-sided approach. Using 80% chops and 20% air. The more you tense and pinch, the less you'll blow. If you reverse this and use 80% air stream (controlled of course) and 20% chops you'll get a better tone, better range, longer endurance, etc.

    Take this test - say your range caps off at an A above the staff as it was stated in the first post. Play a 3rd space C with your tuning slide pushed all the way in with a tuner. You'll find that you'll have to pull the note down. Chances are very good that tension is already building to achieve this note. Bend the pitch by pushing your lips more toward the mouthpiece and backing them up with air support. BREATHE into your abs!!!! Have good breath support... this will all be useless if you don't support the notes. Once you get comfortable with bending the pitch, try bending it down 1/2 step (in tune) and back up. This will help START a habit of playing more relaxed.

    It's NOT an immediate fix, but nothing of true value ever is quick / easy.

    Find out more - visit my site. Brass Player Solution: Lessons, Videos, Music Stands, Help for Trumpet and Trombone players

    Keith Fiala
  4. ButchA

    ButchA Pianissimo User

    Apr 13, 2009
    Richmond, Virginia
    Thanks for the all the replies....

    As a "mature aged student" - as Tedh1951 said, I am taking my time and carefully listening to myself. I have no intention of blasting the windows out or popping a blood vessel trying to hit the high "C" or even a high "D".

    I worked on lip slurs after dinner tonight and took my time, slowly listening to myself.

    Open: C, G, C, E, C, G, C..repeat
    1: low Bb, F, mid Bb, D, mid Bb, F, low Bb..repeat
    12: low A, E, mid A, C#, mid A, E, low A..repeat
    Then I went higher:
    12: E, mid A, C#, high A, C#, mid A, E,..repeat

    If I crackle on the high A, then I go back to the low lip slurs and keep practicing. Eventually, I'll get back in shape and get my clear tone and range. It's a lot of fun getting back into playing after all these years! :cool:
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    in spite of your "anxiousness" to play like you did in '79, keep in mind that we are creatures of habit and even playing the trumpet requires habits for things to become easy.

    My recommendation is a daily "routine" that you really play every day! There are 3 things that belong in there in equal quantity: Long tones, slurs and easy tunes (like out of a hymnbook).

    The long tones give you connection to control, the slurs build power and range and the tunes, well, music is really the reason that we play trumpet. The daily part gives you a frame of reference and stability after a month or so.

    This daily routine should be played as softly as possible as brute force actually slows down progress! I would suggest starting with this routine 30 minutes long (10+10+10) - EVERY DAY. If you have more time and chops, you can add technical studies at the end - and only at the end. Music (the tunes) should NEVER be practiced when your chops are tired. It deserves quality time, not what is left over!
  6. ButchA

    ButchA Pianissimo User

    Apr 13, 2009
    Richmond, Virginia
    Thank you... :thumbsup:

    That website I mentioned before is pretty neat. As far as easy tunes, I have printed out "Danny Boy" for trumpet, and play that very nice and slowly as it should be played.

    One thing that I know I shouldn't do - and have stopped doing - is struggling, wincing, and fighting my trumpet, to hit that high "C". It will come in time. Right now, like you said, I will work on long tones, slurs, and some easy tunes.
  7. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    What you will discover, is that you will continue and not seem to be getting anywhere - except that things will gradually seem more musical more often - then over nght, you will skip up to the next level, seemingly without effort - because you have done the foundation stuff. Work through the plateaux and rejoice in the sudden "ramp-ups" for they will surely come with work and time - and you will know you've enhanced your skills properly. I use Londonderry Aire (Danny Boy) as my reference piece - it's not as easy to play as it seems.
  8. heulwen

    heulwen New Friend

    Apr 20, 2009
    Ipswich, UK
    "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."

    How rude! :-P
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2009

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