Trumpet Discussion Discuss I can't tongue in the General forums; I just changed my embochure (well not just...try 4.5 months ago), i pulled the mouthpiece up out of the red. ...
I can't tongue
I just changed my embochure (well not just...try 4.5 months ago), i pulled the mouthpiece up out of the red. So...now i can easily slur up to a decent concert C which i couldnt approach before. I have a wonderful sound and great intonation...a wide range of dynamics...which is all nice and good until i try and tongue something above the staff. Once notes cross F or G my articulation breaks down and nothing comes out. I dont really have problems slurring the notes, its only when im trying to tongue them. Im confused, my conductor (a trumpet player) doesnt understand it, and i think my private teacher is starting to get puzzled. I spend an hour or so, more if i cna, in a practice room. Im doing Clarke 2 and 3, Gekker articulation studies, tonguing long notes as well as playing lyrical etudes and trying to work up the Stevens Sonata. I also have 3 ensembles im playing in. Its not like im not getting enough face time on the horn. But no matter what i do i cant seem to be able to get past this block and until i do i cant play through any single piece of music. So i was just wondering if you had any suggestions as to how i might be able to go about improving my tonguing other than just tonguing a lot really slow and trying to line everything up and then increasing hte tempo. Cause ive been doing that for 4 weeks now and havent improved a whole heck of a lot.
Sorry for the excessive length, but thanks in advance for any advice you have
What's happening is that you are doing an inordinate amount of tongue arching as you articulate and it's tying you up.
Go to a book with some middle register exercises and practice using TOOH instead of the TEE you're probably using in the upper register.
Goldman's book is excellent for this. So is Arban's. It's not as problem to fix if you go about it calmly, methodically, and consistently. Consistent approach yields consistent results.
So, use a lower vowel such as TOOH, TOH, or even TAH.
It seems that unless your lips are larger than the average a 1C size should be plenty of room.
Here's what my experience tells me:
The people that have complained about the sort of thing you're talking about generally have something in common when they articulate in the low register. They tend to lose focus because they tongue differently in the low than the middle register. So, let's assume you are articulating with a clear, emphatic TOOH in the middle. I'll bet when you creep down to the lower range there is an imperceptible change that is occurring. Remember that the absence of sound is the absence of vibration. The lips must be well in contact with all mouthpiece for a solid sound.
So, try this: starting on middle c play a relatively slow scale down to low c play each note of the scale as four 16ths. What I tell people is to pretend they got a gig on Sesame Street and you are demonstrating the number 2. You're going to demonstarte the number 2 by pronouncing that as clear as day on the trumpet. So, play downward slowly enough for me to hear the number 2, clearly. You really have to play the part and act a little. The last thing you'll play will be five Cs, right? The last c is a sustained one.
Do the same in B major and so on and my guess is you'll discover that there is a subtle but important shift that wants to occur and using a consistent consonant and vowel will allay that. No undue pressing!
If you find this successful, it means you need to incorporate this into your warm up and practice using other etudes and pay attention to it. It goes without saying that all of these are preceded by as much air as you can take with a good, relaxed follow-through.
Let us know how it goes.
For those that are reading this today, I posted a problem I have been plagued with for years: whisper biscuits in the low end of the horn, around Ab and below at soft dynamics, and something similar to an angry duck with laryngitis at forte levels down there. I removed it to repost as a separate thread, but never got around to it.
So, what I feel happening in my mouth is consistent with what you are saying. (Playing differently than the middle of the range). Now I have to go get busy!
A few things I tried before reading your response: Arban #23, very, very slowly, at pp. I also tried it for A trumpet, Eb trumpet and C trumpet. Then went to Charlier, got out the C, and played using Bb transposition, switched back and tried on Bb using C transposition, then played it as written on Bb. Again, very, very slowly and as soft as possible. I am noticing improvement. I'm on my way to try the descending scales now. (My lesson groups are on a field trip today; I get some extra time!)
You are really motivating me...
Keep on keepin' on...
BTW, thanks for the reply Manny.
I am on... Week 5 of my embochure change. My problems now are
1: completely weening (Spell Check?) myself off of pressure, and
My studio recital is coming up in about 7 weeks.... Yay.
I plan on doing one of the Mahler lyrical sketches from the Thompson book (Wanting to do "Hans und Grete"). Range wont be too awful hard, tonguing wont be too bad, and (I think) I'll have a piano accompaniment. Not looking forward to it right now, but I still have a few weeks to get perfect(er).
Hi again, Manny. Been working the tonguing very steadily since, doing the excercise you recommmended. Things are improving. Good thing, too. We're playing Danza Final, I have cornet 1 and when I opened the part, I saw all e's, 4th space, 1/8 notes, 6/8, mp, muted, for 2 pages straight. Oh, I get 1 measure rest every 16 bars or so. Good thing I found out about your forum. Endurance is now going to be the big issue there. Hopefully I'll be able to trade off on that. I may be the only one doing it, though.
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