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Trumpet Discussion Discuss playing sharp in the General forums; been playing trumpet for around 10 months now and have found that my playing is quite sharp, even with the ...
  1. #1
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    Aug 2009

    playing sharp

    been playing trumpet for around 10 months now and have found that my playing is quite sharp, even with the slide adjusted. how can i improve my pitch???
    As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me.

  2. #2
    Forte User Al Innella's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Levittown , NY

    Re: playing sharp

    This could be caused by a few things.The first thing I would work on is proper breathing techniques.,which most times will fix other causes of playing out of tune. Long tones are a good place to start,keeping the tone straight and steady.

  3. #3
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    Nov 2006
    Greenfield WI

    Re: playing sharp

    Another thing to do with play with a drone and other people. I tend to play sharp as well when I'm playing alone.


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  4. #4
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Jun 2006

    Re: playing sharp

    Quote Originally Posted by daveblue222 View Post
    been playing trumpet for around 10 months now and have found that my playing is quite sharp, even with the slide adjusted. how can i improve my pitch???
    Easy, if you are sharp, pull the slide out even more. If it is "adjusted", then you are not sharp. Ultimately you will have to get your breathing and body use together, but that takes time and experience. For now, just pull the slide out more!
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

  5. #5
    Forte User larry tscharner's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
    dubuque iowa

    Re: playing sharp

    Not that Im a proponent of blaming the equipment for all of our problems....but....have you ever gone to a music store with your horn and asked to try any mouthpiece sets that they have? Since you are such a new player it could be that by "sharp" you mean you are unhappy with the tone or "pitch" that you have. You say that you adjust the tuning slide and are still sharp, can you adjust it till you are in tune? Are we talking about the correct terms here? If you can tune to a tuner and are unhappy with the sound in comparison to others in your section then maybe a change in size of mouthpiece can give you the sound that you need. Im not saying you need to spend a lot on custom mpcs, just that new players sometimes have the wrong equipment sold by unknowledgable sales people or from (shudder) the internet. If I have hit a few right cords here try some different mpcs and have the music store service tec give you his opinion on how you sound. He/she should do that for you for free. Best wishes
    Larry tscharner!
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  6. #6
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    Re: playing sharp

    All things being equal and you don't have a gaggle of bad habits, pull out the tuning slide.

  7. #7
    Utimate User Dale Proctor's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    Heart of Dixie

    Re: playing sharp

    Playing with a lot of tension and/or with poor breath support can make you sharp, as can a mouthpiece that's too small/shallow. As you build your embouchure through practice, you should be able to relax a little more as you play, which will help.
    Olde Towne Brass

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  8. #8
    Utimate User trickg's Avatar
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    Oct 2003

    Re: playing sharp

    You know, so often there are post topics asking a question - and I seriously mean no offense to the OP - that can be fixed with some work and common sense.

    In many cases, there is no quick fix other than to approach it with common sense, a diligent work ethic, and patience with the knowledge that some playing problems can't be fixed in a short amount of time - it is a process best measured in weeks or months.

    So, to the original poster, your problem might be caused from a few things. You might be playing with too much body tension or tension in your chops, you might be hearing the pitch high (are you playing sharp in context with other players, or are you simply playing sharp when you practice by yourself?) or it could be a number of different things.

    I want to tell an anecdote that I heard at a percussion clinic, of all places, but I think it applies in this situation. The guy giving the clinic was talking about his early days at college when he went to his instructor to ask how to improve his roll. He was hoping for a golden nugget of wisdom - some trick of technique that was going to magically make his drum roll better and more controlled. His instructor told him this:

    "If you want to improve your roll, then roll - 10 minutes a day, every day."

    Boiled down, he was basically saying that there was no shortcut - it was going to take focused, diligent, patient work on that specific aspect of his skills as a percussionist, and that it wasn't something that was going to be fixed quickly - it was going to take time and hard work.

    To the OP I say to do this - get a tuner, and work on long tones, relaxing into the pitch, making the adjustment as necessary to meet the tuner in the middle with your chops focused and centered. It's probably a matter of retraining your ear to hear the pitch at a slightly lower place, and there is no cure for that other than diligent, focused practice toward improving that endeavor. If you want to improve your pitch, then practice working on pitch - 10 minutes a day, every day.
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  9. #9
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    May 2010

    Re: playing sharp

    Quote Originally Posted by daveblue222 View Post
    been playing trumpet for around 10 months now and have found that my playing is quite sharp, even with the slide adjusted. how can i improve my pitch???
    It's a little difficult not seeing or hearing you play. Normally I look at the player first, and then equipment. However, if you play an overly shallow mouthpiece, this *may* be part of the problem.

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