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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Alex (How Can I Break Through my Break?) in the General forums; Alex, Back in December you wrote these words in a post called Stuffy notes on a specific partial : If ...
  1. #1
    Mezzo Piano User Derek Reaban's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Tempe, Arizona

    Alex (How Can I Break Through my Break?)


    Back in December you wrote these words in a post called Stuffy notes on a specific partial:

    If you use Jim Thompson's approach to this problem, ironing through the breaks and making them further apart is the goal to fixing it. My breaks are currently low "G" and "C" above the staff (on C trumpet). The "C" is also compounded by the fact that my mouthpiece "break" also lies there. In general, it can be a squirrelly note, but with careful muscle training, it works.
    In December I had just recently started using Book 2 from Buzzing Basics (with Exercises 10 and 11). Prior to that I had done Book 1 (through exercise 9) for the past 3 or 4 years, so I was definitely ready to move on.

    Here is my current question: you mentioned that your current break is at the C above the staff. I’m finding the exact same thing that you mention in my own playing. When I buzz the mouthpiece, I get up to the C, but that’s it. It’s like I’m hitting a brick wall! When I play the same exercises on the horn (12 and 14), many times the E and F above the C come out with ease.

    I’m not frustrated about this. I realize that the benefit that I am deriving from this daily work has added so much depth of content to my tone that it’s worth every second that I spend on these exercises. I do wonder what Jim would say to me after being stuck at this high C for about 4 months. Would he just say, “Keep doing what you’re doing”? Or would he assign a supplemental exercise to target this “break”, away from the work with the CD?

    For reference, I do Book One and Book Two everyday (exercises 1-14) in one session (about an hour and 10 minutes). Prior to this I would do exercises 1-9 everyday and I have eased into Book two over the last 6 months or so. I never miss a day, but every once in a while I’ll only play through 7 or possibly 9.

    Any comments for me?
    Derek Reaban
    Tempe, Arizona

  2. #2
    Forte User
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    Hey Derek,

    My best advice is to play scales that approach and go beyond your breaking point - major and minors - paying attention to intonation and sound, not what your chops are doing. Also, play some etudes that linger in the upper register or even play some of your favorite lyrical tunes in keys that linger around the break. Sing - IRON - through the breaks. Doing that consistently with time will do the trick and will guide you in finding where to place those notes. Don't try to "fix" the hurdle with exercises. It just exacerbates frustration and tension. Use faster air to support your singing - ironing - and let the lips ride against it, staying supported.

    I am glad you are a fan of Jim's method. I find it to be an efficient way to keep things in check. I like to vacillate between Stamp and Thompson as my anchors.

    Does this help in the slightest? It is a bit late for me, but I didn't want you to think I forgot about you.

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