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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Playing really sharp in the General forums; Firs tof all I would like to thank everyone that reads this. Alright I seem to be playing really sharp. ...
  1. #1
    Pianissimo User
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    Playing really sharp

    Firs tof all I would like to thank everyone that reads this.

    Alright I seem to be playing really sharp. This problem started when I got my braces the very end of my freshman year. So im pretty sure the problem is related to that. im not at the beggining of my junior year and practice everyday but I have noticed that I have improved in every category except tunning. Even tone has gotten way way better even before I had my braced on but everything is so sharp. I have to play with a lot of bottom lip.

    So im sondering if this is braces related my private teacher doesn't know and my band director says that its most likely related to braces. Is it or is it just an air flow problem.
    "Pinch harder and use less are I guarantee the high notes will come out."

  2. #2
    Utimate User Peter McNeill's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    Melbourne Australia

    Re: Playing really sharp

    Pull the tuning slide out, that's what it is there for!
    Try a digital tuner to check your playing, and try to keep the needle centred.
    Use the slides (1&3 where necessary) on the bottom notes.

    Why do I like a bell that Points UP ?
    - because the spit does not run back into my mouth!

  3. #3
    Forte User bagmangood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Bostonish & San Francisco

    Re: Playing really sharp

    relax man
    I used to have a similar problem, but now that I've worked on relaxing and being a little straighter in my posture they its gone away

    To whether braces affect it - unless you're band director is a trumpet player who has worked with a fair number of students with braces (private students), I would take his word with a grain of salt. I have stopped playing as sharp since I've had braces. Having them allowed me time to rebuild my chops with a more balanced technique. Did you rush to get back to playing full out once you got them on your teeth?
    Bb: Courtois 305 "Elite", Holton Al Hirt Special (~1966), Benge 3x with Upturned bell (1973)
    C: Bach C180-239 (Akwright conversion),
    Cornet: Conn Wonder (1900)
    Picc: Selmer Paris, ~1971

  4. #4
    Pianissimo User
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    Re: Playing really sharp

    Quote Originally Posted by bagmangood View Post
    Did you rush to get back to playing full out once you got them on your teeth?
    @ Peter McNeill
    I realize what a tunning slide is for.

    @ bagmangood
    No When I got my braces on I had to make a slight embrochue change then I was playing fine without anymore practice that I did at the time which waws about 30-45min about 5-6 days a week. But my tone got better as a practiced and tounging etc.. just playing in tune got me. Also my band director is a trumpet player and has had student with braces in the past. I don't think my pricate teacher has much braces expirence.
    "Pinch harder and use less are I guarantee the high notes will come out."

  5. #5
    Mezzo Forte User
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Re: Playing really sharp

    Tension in your body or breathing can really send the pitch up. You might check out the body use and posture tips on the Monette site (good no matter what kind of mouthpiece you play)

    David G. Monette Corporation

    Taking a relaxed, full breath can help your pitch center, especially if you usually use a tense or shallow breath.

    When my pitch gets wonky, I like to push my slide IN a little, play with the best centered sound I can, then check it with a tuner, piano or another player. If I'm sharp, then I pull out. Sometimes if I start riding high on the pitch, I end up pulling out too far, then REALLY riding high and paying tense. You may find that you need to be in or out a little more than you expect, but at least start with the most centered sound you can get. Hope that helps a little.

  6. #6
    Forte User B15M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Monroe Ct.

    Re: Playing really sharp

    I think you are compensating for the braces.

    Too much pressure or not enough air or maybe the trumpet is in a weird spot causing the air stream to go in a weird way. Braces are tricky. You have to put the mouthpiece in a spot that doesn't dig in to your lip.

    I don't know if there is a fix other than the slide until the braces come off. As said above, relax, read the Monette stuff, maybe try some different jaw positions.

    I don't like to use the tuner, I like a tuning fork. Get the sound in your head and match it. At first you will have a hard time but it will slowly move.

  7. #7
    Moderator Utimate User Vulgano Brother's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Parts Unknown

    Re: Playing really sharp

    So is the problem that you have to pull your tuning slide a lot in order to play in tune, or is it that even with your slide pulled way, way out you play sharp? If the latter, you are making the common mistake of confusing timbre and pitch. Playing sharp adds a little "zing" and brilliance to the sound. You might want to consider moving to a larger diameter mouthpiece to get more overtones ringing.

    Good luck!
    "A tool good enough to be so used and not too good"
    C.S. Lewis That Hideous Strength

  8. #8
    Mezzo Forte User mchs3d's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
    Provo, UT

    Re: Playing really sharp

    hichez, Are you playing in the center of the pitch? This is probably the issue, and it isn't so much about intonation. If everything seems to be "sharp", the real problem probably is that you play above the center of the pitch. There are many exercises to help this, but I would recommend bending pitches down and then coming back into the center. Try lipping pitches down and you'll notice that they get louder without any added effort or air. That point where it gets significantly easier and louder is the point where it centers. I would talk to your private teacher about it. Best of luck.

  9. #9
    Mezzo Piano User lakerjazz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Re: Playing really sharp

    Braces are just a problem that you have to compensate for. In other situations, the posters replying would tell you to open up your embouchure, but because you have braces, it is okay to cheat. Pull the slide out. Remember, you are not always going to have braces, so what you do with your lips right now won't become a habit unless it is not a direct result of your braces.

  10. #10
    Fortissimo User SteveRicks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009

    Re: Playing really sharp

    Just play and don't worry about it. I've been playing for 40 years and have always played with the tuning slide about 1 inch out. I play with very little lower lip. You said the exact opposite in your case. Culd be mouthpiece placement is affecting both of us. Good news is we still have 4 inches of tuning slide left. It could be the opposite -playing flat with slide all the way in and no where to go.


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