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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Response Problems HELP!!! in the General forums; Lately I've been having response problems. This is a problem that has sprung up on me with no warning. I've ...
  1. #1
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    Response Problems HELP!!!

    Lately I've been having response problems. This is a problem that has sprung up on me with no warning. I've had my streaks in which my playing has sucked but nothing has ever lasted this long (2 and a half months). At first I thought my lips were simply spread and did a lot of soft playing to fix that. However, the more soft playing I did the worst my response got, the airier my sound became, and the harder it was to make a sound come out. I've tried taking time off but when I come back my lips don't feel anymore rested (they usually would after taking time off). Then I thought it could be my air so i focused on breathing but my sound just became forced or nothing happened at all. I need some new ideas- PLEASE GIVE ME SOME!!!

    In case some of you are wondering My warm up consist of breathing buzzing, some breathing exercises, long tones, and lip slurs.


  2. #2
    Fortissimo User veery715's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    Ithaca NY

    Re: Response Problems HELP!!!

    Problems which suddenly "spring up" can usually be traced to cause. You either changed something or something changed. If you did not change:
    1) diet
    2) sleep habits
    3) medication (even a different generic manufacturer)
    4) environment (air, lighting, humidity, new car, etc)
    5) stress level (incl. any psychological changes)
    6) partners/co-workers
    7) mouthpieces
    8) valve oil
    9) slide lube
    10) other ???

    then look at your horn. Did you clean it, or does it need a cleaning? Could there be something in it? Is your mouthpiece clean?

    If you changed nothing and your horn is the same - then go see a teacher who specializes in embouchure/breathing.
    Last edited by veery715; 08-28-2011 at 11:24 AM.
    Nothing is more contagious or tenacious than music. Once you are exposed it gets inside you and you can never get rid of it. It is also non-discriminating. It can be Ride of the Valkyries, In a Gadda da Vida, the Jeopardy 15 second thinking tune, your most disliked commercial jingle - it doesn't matter. Once triggered, off you go, like it or not.

  3. #3
    Ze is offline
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    Aug 2010

    Re: Response Problems HELP!!!

    It's worth trying someone else's trumpet/mpc combo for a few minutes, since such a simple test; that way you can quickly eliminate the small chance it's a hardware problem.

  4. #4
    New Friend AaronPlaysTrumpet's Avatar
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    Jul 2011

    Re: Response Problems HELP!!!

    We all have those weird random periods where nothing seems to work. Speaking for myself, I know I sometimes (oftentimes) tend to overthink things in these moments. Try to not think about it at all - listen to some good trumpet music, watch some good videos on youtube, then pick up the horn, think "i'm gonna sound just like that" and play. While it's great to be analytical and fully aware of what goes on when we play, we don't want to trip over ourselves, and it's often an easy trap to fall into. Sometimes it's just a matter of picking up the instrument and playing some good music like you mean it. Of course, I'm sure your playing won't magically return to "normal", but it's a refreshing mindset and I think it might help a it'll be fun :)
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  5. #5
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Jun 2006

    Re: Response Problems HELP!!!

    I am always amazed at the willingness to throw everything overboard during times of stress.

    How can it be that "soft playing" is a standard cure for problems that have not even been determined? The same goes for time off - why? Increase air? what does that have to do with this symptom?

    If the first step is grasping at straws, how much sensible routine can have been learned? What work ethic can we apply to this player.

    I think trumpet playing is basic math. 1+1 always =2. 1 is solid daily routine and there is NOTHING more important. Our playing does not get better by workouts on the face muscles or breathing apparatus, it gets better by LEARNING to organize various things. Learning starts in the head.

    My hunch is that you NEVER had a daily routine, that you pretty much played when you felt like it and that means when you got around to it, you beat your face up and that lead to the next stage.

    My recipe has been the same for over 35 years: a daily routine with long tones, slurs, scales and lots of tunes. This you play without exception EVERY DAY, not softly, not loudly, just comfortable. IF you have additional time (after taking breaks), then technical studies are useful. I could care less if your chops feel like leather or marshmallows - excuses only perpetrate the issue! Once you have built a foundation, then at least that won't blow away when the next Irene comes!

    Stability and consistency over time are the key factors. The brain, not the body the main focus. Once we get the stupidity of TRAINING out of our head and concentrate on ORGANIZATION, we have taken away all of the excuses. We play what is good for us EVERY DAY and that starts a logical building process of synchronizing breathing, chops, ears and brain.

    I do not recommend anything "new" except a logical approach. NEVER EVER throw away what has worked in the past. If you play softly without brains, you just twist your face and breathing to make it work - and solidify NEW and BAD habits. If you try and increase blow pressure, you just destroy what little synchronicity that you have had up until now.
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

  6. #6
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    Re: Response Problems HELP!!!

    I agree completely with Rowuk, however if you are already doing all of those things then I would clean the horn, mouthpiece, etc. and look for an equipment problem. I don't believe new equipment will help, but if you haven't maintained your equipment or kept it clean that could be your problem.

  7. #7
    Fortissimo User coolerdave's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
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    Re: Response Problems HELP!!!

    I am total agreement ..
    make sure the horn is fully functional..
    Find a teacher .. get a daily practice routine and stick to it...
    wouldn't hurt to throw in medical check up if you haven't had your hood checked under in a while
    all in all it's frustrating to go through
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  8. #8
    Moderator Utimate User Vulgano Brother's Avatar
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    Re: Response Problems HELP!!!

    Two things:

    I like the idea of trying a different horn so see if the problem still exists. I had some response issues on my old Bb, so ordered a new one; then cleaned out my old one and a pencil stub came out the bell--it played like normal afterward. Make sure your mouthpiece is clean, and I like the idea of cleaning your trumpet too.

    Secondly, I'm not convinced soft playing speeds response--it good for lots of things, but, say you are a tennis player and can't get the ball over the net--hitting it more softly won't help! I would suggest finding a dynamic where it does respond for you, spend some time there and then expand dynamics. If there is one dynamic you can get the notes to "pop," your body will memorize that feeling, and then you can start applying that to other dynamics.

    Good luck!
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  9. #9
    Utimate User gmonady's Avatar
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    Re: Response Problems HELP!!!

    I evolved to Rowuk's method over about my first 20 years of playing, and have used for the next 20 years. I don't plan on changing this method over the next 20 years either. So yes, I also agree with Rowuk. Don't let it take you 20 years to first arrive at this point.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Response Problems HELP!!!

    Maybe your chops are just stiff?! maybe you over did it the day before?! If i have to play numerous days of long playing, even with a decent warm down after every day i get stiff, and slows response initially. I got this little tip from a Wayne Bergeron master class on youtube! (oh the wonders of youtube!! haha) simply take out your lead pipe and do 'air attacks' (start the note without any tongue). Just my thoughts! i think what the other guys are saying are great ideas to take on board!
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