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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Relaxed breath and valsalva maneuver, concentration and calmness in the General forums; Originally Posted by vern I've struggled with this problem of starting the first note (I call it "stuttering") for many ...
  1. #11
    Forte User gunshowtickets's Avatar
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    Mar 2015
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    Re: Relaxed breath and valsalva maneuver, concentration and calmness

    Quote Originally Posted by vern View Post
    I've struggled with this problem of starting the first note (I call it "stuttering") for many years and continue to do so. These are various techniques that have variably worked for me:

    1) Nod the bell as a visual clue
    2)Breath attacks on first notes during practice
    3)Toe or heel tapping on the first note
    4)Mentally imagine blowing out a candle when starting the first note of a phrase
    5) "Counting down" or counting off before the first attack
    6)Mentally picturing the breath as one continuous cycle in/out with no stop instead of a)in and b) out
    7)Take a very full breath at the start (one that would be difficult to NOT immediately exhale)

    I periodically go through periods of stuttering and need to try different techniques from time to time. I believe this is a very common problem and wish you the best of luck with it.
    I read a pretty good strategy for dealing with attacks on high notes. Write in (writing is the important part, you have to see it) a couple of notes on the scale of whatever key you're in before your entrance. The notes will be "tacit", but you're going to hear them, maybe even finger the valve combinations just before your actual entrance. E.g., piece is in G, your entrance is on C in the middle of the staff, write in G, A, B just before your entrance on C.
    It's worth a go, yes?
    vern likes this.
    Gian d.
    A trumpet's just a trumpet. The music's inside *you*.

    If what I've posted offends you, please feel free to leave your need for validation below.

  2. #12
    Piano User Msen's Avatar
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    Re: Relaxed breath and valsalva maneuver, concentration and calmness

    Quote Originally Posted by mptrumpet View Post
    I... I have problems when performing in front of strangers.. you know the usual stuff you face, but somehow the thoughts really turn against me (shaking, uncontrolable jaw movement). And I also think that over the past couple of years I embraced playing with fear of other people's (even my) opinion, also the fear of playing something wrong....
    Hey, try to relax. You play the trumpet and that's wonderful. Do not overcomplicate things. Trumpet is as easy as breathing. You don't have to teach yourselve to breath. You know how to do this from day 1.

    If you smoke try to not have a cig 2 - 3 hours before you pick up the horn.
    Have a drink, not tea. Make it a Long Island iced tea :)
    Go to a public place, and play there. I play in a park.

    I did that to overcome the fear of performing on stage

    Have confidence, in everything you do, not just playing the trumpet. What's the worst thing that can happen?
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  3. #13
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    Jun 2015

    Re: Relaxed breath and valsalva maneuver, concentration and calmness

    Wow guys! Never thought I'd get so many replies. I will try all of the above. I'm about to purchase the book ''The inner game of tennis'', read it and see what I get out of it. I'm going to vacation soon, where I'll have much time to think about air, calm down and relax a little bit. Just going to take my vintage rotary flugelhorn with me, to play some tunes for the neighbours. I really haven't done that in a long time. Maybe it will help. Thanks to all of you!

  4. #14
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Jun 2006

    Re: Relaxed breath and valsalva maneuver, concentration and calmness

    Tension is a root evil in most trumpeters and it shows in various ways. Reducing tension is most of what I teach and I think that it could help you.

    1) try taking a hot shower for 15-20 minutes and then play long tones and easy slurs while you are still "hot". Notice a difference?
    2) Vulgano Brother mentioned the circle of breath. This is a visualization that I use to highlight the fact that we should NOT hold our air in, we need to visualize our bearthing as a circle, the left side going up is inhale, and right side going down is exhale. Note that the top and bottom of a real circle have no bumps or irregularities. So it should also be with our air. The transition from inhale to exhale should be smooth and "force" free. If you have an opportunity to se a year old baby sleep, you can clearly see that this is a very natural way to breath that we have "unlearned". We need to return to this.
    3) daily routine: I firmly believe that we need a routine of long tones, easy slurs and easy melodies EVERY DAY. The simple melodies can be from a church hymnbook or for those interested in jazz, from a fake book. This daily routine should be performed early in our daily playing, where we are still fresh. After the daily routine, repertory is a great place to continue, at the end of our daily practice I recommend technical studies played very softly.
    4) life style: sleep is our friend as is eating reasonably minimizing sugar and salt. I find that salt makes our lips "less pliable". It takes more work to get them to reliably buzz.
    5) attitude: This cannot really be learned. If you don't have it, you just have to do things in life that reinforce how you feel about yourself. For many, attitude just appears one day. I have a system of rewards for achieved goals. This is VERY important! It can be a wellness day with a massage, going out to eat, a trip to some romantic place or simply a day without practicing. rewarding yourself for reached goals is a VERY good way of reinforcing good working habits.
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

  5. #15
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    Oct 2014
    New York City

    Re: Relaxed breath and valsalva maneuver, concentration and calmness

    Before I played brass I played woodwinds, and studied flute with the principal flutist of the Metropolitan Opera orch.
    One day he told me to not put my flute away but leave it in its stand, assembled, and to just pick it up once in a while throughout the day and blow one note only, preferable a higher note.
    I didn't figure out the significance of his instruction for a while, but aftwer doing it for two weeks the genius of his method dawned on me.

    From what you've described I think you might want to try the same thing with your trumpet. Remember - one note only. Tongued or not doesn't matter, but hitting the note nice and firmly without stumbling for it is what you're after.


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