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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Trouble playing long tones in the General forums; It might be useful to explore how much muscle you are using in the embouchure and whether you are blowing ...
  1. #11
    Fortissimo User
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Greenfield WI

    Re: Trouble playing long tones

    It might be useful to explore how much muscle you are using in the embouchure and whether you are blowing harder to compensate and then tiring yourself out. "Exhale" instead of "blow" is something worth thinking of and trying to use as little muscle in the embouchure as possible.

    Guess who used to do a lot of that?

    neal085 and Kamyar like this.

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  2. #12
    Mezzo Forte User
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Ft. Worth, TX

    Re: Trouble playing long tones

    Many, if not all of the issues that I've experienced on the horn can be related back to breathing. I've been guilty of over-blowing, and also improper breathing - and I can attest that doing that caused tension and quavering.

    I would strongly suggest a read of Rowuk's Circle of Breath - you can probably just do a search for it on the forum - I think it's listed several places on here.

    One thing that I immediately noticed after starting to work on COB is that you can basically just breathe naturally through the horn and produce a good sound. You don't necessarily have to blow the thing.

    Sometimes I even do stretches before I play to get loose, especially when I'm playing early in the morning.

    Hope that helps.
    Kamyar likes this.
    “The minute you get away from fundamentals – whether its proper technique, work ethic or mental preparation – the bottom can fall out of your game, your schoolwork, your job, whatever you’re doing.”

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  3. #13
    Utimate User tobylou8's Avatar
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    Dec 2008

    Re: Trouble playing long tones

    Well tension was mentioned, I'll throw in there play as softly as possible. The louder you play, the shorter the longtone. A FFFF longtone may last you 6-7 seconds, maybe. With practice, a pppp longtone can last well over a minute. Long term, soft gives better control, tone, and that all important range.range!!!!
    Ed Lee and neal085 like this.
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  4. #14
    Moderator Utimate User Vulgano Brother's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
    Parts Unknown

    Re: Trouble playing long tones

    Quote Originally Posted by Trumpeter3197 View Post
    Vulgano Brother, I practice long tones by breath attacking each note, holding it as long as I can (which, as I mentioned, is not long), and going up from low F# to top of the staff F#. I start them around mf, decrease to mp and try to hold it there, then get as soft as I can for the last few seconds.
    Try starting the note at p, pp, or better yet, ppp. The easiest dynamic to play is mf, and we want to stretch the envelope. The quiver in your sound can be caused by one of two things--either the chops are having to work in a manner they have not been worked in before. If this is the case it is a good sign--because you've just discovered a major weakness in your playing. If the notes quiver only at the end, that can be caused by your abs getting overworked by blowing out the last of your air--this is also a good thing.

    Keep practicing intelligently and both your sound and efficiency will improve.
    Kamyar likes this.
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