7008861 trumpet trumpet course
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TRUMPET COURSE: PSYCHOLOGY
An effective practice session can only be achieved if the player has his / her full concentration on the task and a goal in mind.
a. Start by standing in front of a full mirror.
b. Focus your mind on trumpet playing with all your concentration. Do not be distracted by time. (set your alarm if you have an appointment to keep. Try not to watch the clock)
c. Settle into a good posture, square to the mirror and with the feet comfortably apart.
d. Relax. Hold your trumpet down to your side at this stage.
e. Inhale gently but deeply, filling the lungs to the bottom (see section 5 Long Tones and Breath Control) and exhale slowly by supporting the air stream with your diaphragm. Repeat this in a natural cycle until you feel relaxed and confident of a natural flow of air. Avoid any hyper-ventilation and over oxygenation. Keep your shoulders square to the mirror and check that they are not engaged in upward movement when inhaling.
f. Some lip 'horse fluttering' of the lips can stimulate the blood flow to the lip muscles and prepare (warm up) the lips ready for shaping.
g. Think only about trumpet playing....
MOUTH SHAPE AND VIBRATION: It is important to place the mouthpiece on closed lips. The lips must not be open or puckered thereby causing the vibration to take place on the inner part of the lip. Follow these steps to ensure a good foundation on which to play:
a. Slightly open the jaw and place it so that the bottom teeth are nearly opposite but only slightly farther back from the top teeth.
b. Keep the sides of the mouth tight together. Do not smile!
c. Shape the remainder of the lips to form an EMM syllable. Make sure you are not smiling and stretching the lips sideways. The red part should not be protruding in a pucker or 'kissing' shape.
Click on this image to see an enlarged representation...
d. Inhale a deep breath by dropping the lower jaw and, in the aforementioned shape, exhale through the closed lips.
e. The compression of the lip and the air force should create an iris type aperture and produce a buzzing vibration.
f. Continue this vibration until it is well controlled while maintaining the basic shape.
g. When you are ready, go on to the next step see the Embouchure.
The symptoms of a poor embouchure can result in the player requiring too much pressure on the mouthpiece resulting in little stamina and therefore no endurance, no top or bottom register, poor clarity and little flexibility over the playable range.
Follow these steps to help avoid any unforeseeable problems....
a. Shape the lips to the EMM as mentioned in the previous steps. Do not smile. Hold the mouthpiece firmly between the thumb and first finger.
b. Place the mouthpiece on the lip making sure it is centred horizontally (in the middle of your lip) and with between one half and two thirds on the top lip.
c. With the lips closed, the top rim should be just onto the white upper lip. (The size of rim is much dependent on the size and thickness of the lips but the principles of shape still apply)
Click on this image to see an enlarged representation...
d. To inhale, open the jaw downwards and the air will come in the relaxed sides of the lips. The centre of the lips will still be together in the mouthpiece..
e. Blow air through the lip aperture toward the hole in the mouthpiece.
f. Continue to do this until there is a natural cycle of air inhalation through the mouth and exhalation through the lips into the mouthpiece.
g. Gradually bring the lips together while blowing air through the aperture. When there is a fluent buzzing sound through the mouthpiece. Continue until there is no air left in your lungs and inhalation must take place.
h. Repeat this cycle.
i. You might like to try compressing the lip aperture, like making an iris diaphragm smaller, and blow a faster air speed. (Think of this as if you are blowing out a candle and the candle is moved further away from you. There has to be more air force to reach the flame) See if you can buzz a tune or scale.
j. You may be ready to go on to check out your Posture now?
a. Insert the mouthpiece into the trumpet lead-pipe.
b. Continue the original posture square to the mirror. c. Raise the trumpet to the playing position keeping the right palm away from the trumpet. Shape it as if your right hand is holding a ball. The fingers tips should be on the valves. The fingers ought not to be straight but curved over the imaginary ball.
Click either image to see an enlarged representation....
and the left wrist straight...
d. Make the EMM mouth shape. Do not smile!.
e. Place the trumpet with the mouthpiece on the closed EMM lips shape.
f. The trumpet should be either horizontal or just slightly under square to the face.
g. Inhale fully through the mouth by opening the lower jaw.
h. Blow through the trumpet making a vibration in the centre iris aperture of the lips as you did with the mouthpiece alone. Repeat this many times.
i. You are now ready to go on to play Long Tones
LONG TONES AND BREATHING:
The previous principles should produce a pitch in the middle of the trumpet range (C) from where flexibility up and down should come quite easily and quickly.
Breath Control: Blowing air through the trumpet is a fundamental requirement to making a sound. Inhaling air fully into the lungs is a basic necessity. One cannot happen without the other!
How do we inhale? The lungs are filled while the trumpet is still within the constrains of the embouchure. The player simply lowers (or opens) the jaw sufficiently which automatically allows air in through the lower corners of the mouth. Air is not taken through the mouthpiece nor is there a smiling action which spreads the lips towards the cheeks. The embouchure remains intact throughout this quick and simple movement. Both lips must stay in the playing position.
How much air should we inhale? It is important to 'suck' air to the lowest regions of the lungs. The lungs are pear shaped and need to be used in their entirety hence we should not inhale by raising the shoulders. Nor is it necessary to over-fill or take in any more air than is necessary to play the following note or phrase. The oxygenation process continues while inhaling through the mouth and exhaling through the trumpet.
How do I blow the air through the trumpet? Teachers speak of having good 'breath support'. What they actually mean is the power and speed at which the air can be blown out through the trumpet. It is very similar to the action used when 'huffing' on a cold window- pane. This expiratory movement is controlled by the abdominal muscles forcing the diaphragm upwards thus causing air to be forced out.
At what speed should I blow the air out? The circular 'iris' type aperture in the lip causes some resistance to the flow of air. A low note needs a larger aperture and therefore causes less resistance. A high note is played with a smaller aperture compression which needs greater air speed to get through the increased resistance. The air 'force' is controlled by the player. It is not unlike blowing out a candle which needs little air-speed. A candle moved further away needs a faster speed caused by greater force.
Playing long tones: Play long notes with full breaths until this first note is comfortable and clear. When the air supply has ended, remain relaxed and inhale fully towards the abdomen. Replay the same note.
Introduce some dynamic contrast into the long notes. Start pp (very soft) and increase to ff (very loud) over the whole duration of the note. Start the next note very loud and decrease to pp.
Keep repeating this until the note (C) is very clear, relaxed and well controlled before going on to improve your Lip Flexibility.
a. Slowly slur from your first note (C in the 3rd space of the stave) down to the next harmonic (G on the 2nd line) and back again. This needs to be repeated until the lip compression between the two notes is comfortable. Think of the iris aperture getting larger and smaller.
b. Play the same exercise slowly down through the chromatic fingerings of the trumpet - 0, 2, 1, 1+2, 2+3, 1+3 and 1+2+3
c. On the reverse, ascending, add a higher harmonic (E in the top space)
d. Build more exercises up to the top register and down to the pedal notes until the whole compass of the range is comfortable.
e. The size of the cavity in the mouth is important. This is created by the tongue being in different aspects of the mouth. For the higher notes the cavity is decreased because the tongue is high when forming the syllable ee. The middle register cavity is created by the lower tongue forming the syllable oo. The lower range requires the shape of ah
when the tongue is fairly central. (The Doctor always asked you to say ah as it opens the throat for his inspection)
f. As an exercise is played up and down so too is the cavity shape changed thus - ah - oo - ee - oo - ah.
g. The lip aperture must remain a circular iris diaphragm hole compressing smaller as the notes rise and relaxing larger as the notes lower.
h. Increase the speed of the exercises also.
i. Always try to improve your range and stamina in these flexibility exercises.
j. The breath is the most important part of trumpet playing. All the exercises above should be played with a good deep breath between each phrase. Play each fermata (hold) until the breath has been expelled completely, then breath deeply to play the next phrase.
It is important to REST between exercises. Take a break to let the lip recover before going on to exercise your Articulation.
It is important to exercise the tongue and to place it correctly behind the teethaccording to the syllable being formed and the pitch of the note.
a. Practice articulating rhythm patterns of notes in time and with a strong pulse. Play this example while keeping a constant count of 4 beats in each bar.
b. Play this exercise over the whole trumpet range. Note that for the higher register the tip of the tongue will be striking behind the top teeth. For the lower register the tongue will strike the lower part of the top teeth.
If your trumpet playing isn't to the standard you expect, you must explore the reasons why this should be? What symptoms of poor playing do you have? What is wrong with your posture? Have you an embouchure which causes you to play with pressure, or limits your range and endurance? Do you practice enough? Is your method of practising correct? To 'fix' things that need fixing is vital. To 'fix' things for the sake of change is foolhardy. 'If it aint broken, don't fix it' However, even things that aren't broken can still be improved ....they may be just slightly cracked...!
Self assessment of your playing is necessary but be prepared for some 'honesty' in your answers. The truth may hurt!
Here are some questions to ask yourself....and possible remedies.
1. REGARDING TONE QUALITY:
a. Is the sound I make on the trumpet pleasing? - If not, spend some time playing long tones at varying degrees volume. Experiment by changing the size of the cavity within the mouth. Maybe the lip vibration is too far on the inner part of the lip? b. Does it reflect the sound of the players I try to simulate? - If not, listen very carefully to the sounds you wish to copy. Note the amount of vibrato, volume, attack, the type of trumpet or bore and the compatibility of the mouthpiece with the trumpet. Practice emulating the sound. c. Can I hold a 'straight' tone without any vibrato? - If not, practice loud tones in front of a mirror. Listen carefully to the note production. Watch that the jaw is not vibrating and the trumpet is still. d. Am I able to apply vibrato to help 'warm' the tone of a note? - No?, then be careful how you introduce your vibrato. Basically there are three types. Volume vibrato done using the diaphragm, a pitch vibrato done with the jaw or a movement of the hand backwards and forwards. The jaw vibrato used in an 'uncontrolled' way will produce a 'nanny goat' sound. e. Could my sound penetrate through a symphony orchestra? If you cannot get a huge volume of sound then practice holding long tones, start very soft and increase, within one breath, to the loudest you can play. Try to hold this a little longer each time. Reverse this procedure starting very loud and decreasing the volume until you are holding a very quiet note. Each time you do this, try a little louder and a little softer and a little longer. Do so over the whole range of the instrument. f. Can I adapt my tone to compliment all sections of the orchestra? - This is the ultimate test of course. Adaptation of tone can be practised but the player must know what he /she is striving for. Experiment creating different sounds by altering the cavity in the mouth, the tongue position in the mouth and the jaw position. Desired effects will only come if there is a continued smooth air flow from the lower lungs, through the airways to the throat, mouth, lip aperture and eventually through the trumpet.. g. Is it a clear tone? Clarity can be gained by not having the vibration too far on the inner part of the lip. The embouchure should be centred on middle C of the trumpet range, not low C. If the embouchure is set to the lower range then the sound in the upper register is not only strained, but it has a 'musty' quality to it.
2. DYNAMIC TONE QUALITY....
a. Can I play a broad dynamic range of sound? b. Is my crescendo from pianissimo to fortissimo smooth? c. Can I diminuendo from fortissimo to pianissimo smoothly? d. Am I able to sustain a quiet passage? e. Can I play loudly for a continuous passage? All the answers to these questions can be rectified by the use of controlled breath support. Exercises to help control the breath should be done using long tones varying the degrees of loudness to the extremes, varying the 'weight' to which the diaphragm is used, varying the intake of breath according to the length of your note, always exercising the diaphragm by playing longer tones each time. Listen carefully for any impediment in the tone. Try to avoid sudden changes.
3. BREATH CONTROL....
a. Am I inhaling breath quickly enough? - Make sure your inhalation is done through the mouth by dropping the jaw. Do not smile! Do not inhale through the nose! b. Is my inhalation sufficient to sustain a phrase? - After deciding where the end of phrase is and how long it must be sustained, practice taking in air, through the mouth, as deeply as possible and in sufficient quantity to sustain the phrase. Remember also, we don't want to end a phrase and have to exhale excess air! c. Is my breath too shallow? - Inhale more air through the mouth to the bottom of your lungs. Do not breath into the chest or shoulders. d. Am I filling my lungs? - Air filled lungs expand all the way around your body. If your tummy and abdomen only are expanded then you are not completely filling the lungs. You ought to be able to feel the expansion from the front or the tummy, around the sides and to the back. e. Am I ventilating too often? - Too many unnecessary breaths will induce a state of hyper-ventilation. This happens when the brain has had an excessive amounts of oxygen. If you feel 'dizzy', stop, rest and, when you feel able, check out your method of breathing. f. Do I have difficulty in breathing deeply i.e. to the bottom of my lungs? - Practice inhaling through the mouth so that the lungs are full from the bottom and all around the sides and back. Exhale all the air through the trumpet. Do not stop until all the air is entirely used before inhaling deeply again. g. Is my breath able to support the top register? - The top register will develop quicker and easier if proper breathing techniques are applied. As in any other range, breath control, with support of the muscles in the diaphragm region, is vitally important. If the player develops a 'squeeze' in the upper chest or throat then air flow and support is infringed. This will cause a 'blocking' of the sound altogether. h. Am I 'blowing' the air through the trumpet or am I holding back? - Ultimately it is you, the player, who can answer this. If the sound is not focused or too 'intimate' then I would suggest you practice getting the air past any resistance and out through the trumpet. Imagine blowing a candle. Hold the candle only 20 cms from the mouth and blow the flame, not strong enough to extinguish it but strong enough to flicker it. Now move the flame away to 50 cms. To get the same effect the air flow must increase. Double to distance to 1 mtr. Again the air force needs to increase. Repeat this exercise until the candle is some distance away. Try to sustain the 'blow' to reach the flame and continue the flickering. Trumpet air support and speed is like this.
i. Maybe I'm 'blowing' too much air through and I run out of 'puff'? - This is possible also. There must be complete parity between the volume of air, the force and the aperture size in the lip. Exercise as in 1e.
4. MOUTHPIECE PRESSURE....
a. Do my lips retain a deep ring from the mouthpiece? - You are playing with too much pressure on the mouthpiece. Compression between the lips which alters the size of the aperture is preferable to pressure against the mouthpiece. b. Is there any scar tissue on my lips? - This is caused by long term excessive pressure on the mouthpiece.. c. Does my mouthpiece slip downwards when I play? - Investigate the possibility that you might be using too much saliva. Players who lick their mouthpiece excessively find that the mouthpiece slips and they have little endurance. d. Is my top lip slipping out of the embouchure? - You could be placing the mouthpiece too low. It need s to be at least 50% on the top lip but usually more. e. Do I find that I play further to the side as I get tired? - This can have a number of causes. The topic of my research is about 'sidedness' and 'lateralization'. My thesis is that trumpet players that play off centre have a neurological developmental difference in that they have a sense of centre which is 'off centre'. That is, a greater sense of 'feeling' to one side or other to a varying degree. Data is being collected on this and will be reported in due course. It will certainly be 'advertised' on this trumpet site. Other reasons for playing to the side can be dental configuration, jaw shape or some mishap or other that has happened to the facial muscles. Muscles that are stronger on one side or other can be a result of continual misplacement of the mouthpiece. f. Can I feel my lips in the mouthpiece cup? - This is a result of a 'puckering' of the lips. The player is forming the aperture too far inside the upper and lower lip. Re-shaping the embouchure will rectify this. g. Am I having to push harder to get higher notes? - You are using too much pressure. Exercise the flexibility of your embouchure. Lip slurring over the whole range (or as much distance within you experience) will help the compression of the lip and control over the muscles. Try to avoid pressing on the mouthpiece when doing the exercises.
a. Do I tire too quickly? - You are out of practice or you may be using too much pressure. Endurance comes with fitness and fitness is a result of thorough warm-up routines done regularly followed by intelligent practice. b. Can I get through the piece of music without taking a break? - This depends on what you are playing. However, I should think that a good rule for a performer to follow is this - practice it twice as long, twice as high, twice as loud, twice as soft, twice a fast and twice as slow as you need for your performance. The resulting confidence will stand you in good stead to perform at your peak.... c. Does my top register disappear as I get tired? - Whose doesn't? Try to pace yourself in practise and in performance. d. Do I need more stamina to continue playing well? - Stamina and endurance come from continual educated rehearsal, practice or training. As you increase your ability, increase the standard of your playing
a. Can I change registers with ease? - One of the worst faults with a trumpet player is having to stop, reset the embouchure, then start again in the new register. I have seen it with pupils. Of course, it cannot be an ideal situation. The best embouchure is one which copes with the whole range with flexibility an lasts for longer than you need. If one cannot do these things then with a change of shape is necessary or the player needs to train properly. b. Do I have to change the shape of my embouchure to change registers? - One of the worst faults with a trumpet player is having to stop, reset the embouchure, then start again in the new register. c. Am I finding difficulty in sustaining the same tone when I change register? - You might need to check out your mouth shape, cavity shape and tongue position. It is important to have the correct cavity behind the teeth for resonance in the tone. d. My cheeks seem to hurt when I do flexibility exercises! - Don't puff out your cheeks. get in front of a mirror and do your flexibility exercises without straining, changing the expression on your face or pushing on the mouthpiece. e. I am trying to 'smile' to slur upwards? - Smiling doesn't help much in trumpet playing.. All a smile does in to stretch your lips sideways giving the effect of a smaller vibration and higher pitch. It is a fallacy of course because there is a limit to how much stretch one can get from the lips. See the next question.... f. Is my aperture compression working? - It is important to have a 'round' aperture in the lip. Smiling creates a sideways stretch which gives an 'oval' shape to the aperture. It is important to compress the aperture from all directions.
a. I am having difficulty articulating a clear note? - Check out the placement of the tongue. Articulation must be precise and clear. The note should be started with the 'TEE' 'TOO' or 'TAH' sound depending on the range. Do not stop the note with the tongue. Stop the air. b. I'm not quite sure where the tongue should strike? - This depends on the cavity 'syllable' shape. Low notes should be formed using a 'TOO' shape. You will notice the tongue very low creating a huge cavity in the mouth. Middle range notes have the 'TAA' formation with the tongue around the middle of the mouth. Higher notes require more 'TEE' shape which creates a very small cavity in the mouth. The tip of the tongue should strike at the bottom of the top teeth according to the syllable sounded. c. Am I forming a cavity 'syllable' sound in my mouth? - The shapes required for a compatible resonance should be formed as explained in the last answer at 7b. d. Is the mouthpiece touching the lip when I start the note? - Adequate preparation time is needed before each placement of the mouthpiece. It is foolhardy to bring the trumpet to the lip at the same moment you try to start the note. Give yourself a chance to produce the best note, the most perfectly formed note, the most appropriately articulated note that you possible can. This requires a thought process and time needed in its preparation. e. What part of my tongue is touching the teeth? - Just as the whole range of brass instruments are articulated differently, so too is the shape of the tongue. Imagine the whole spectrum of orchestral brass from the tuba to the piccolo trumpet. Assume that the tuba is articulated with a 'THOO' and the trombone with a 'DAA' and the trumpet with a 'TEE', so also is the range within the trumpet articulated from 'DAH' in the lower regions to 'TEE' in the upper stratosphere. Think
also about the shape of the tongue from a vertical perspective. You can assume the lower instruments shape is very flat in comparison to the trumpet with a pointed tip. So too should these shapes fall within the range of the trumpet. f. What is happening to the back of my tongue? - According to the syllable shape in the mouth, the back of the tongue should echo the tip. Very low in the mouth for very low register, very high in the mouth for the high register. g. How high is the back of my tongue? - As just stated in 7f, it is important to shape the required syllable in the mouth. The high register TEE creates a shape with small cavity, the low register DAH places the tongue very low in the mouth.
a. Am I practicing enough? - A good rule for a performer to follow is this - practice twice as long as is needed, twice as high, twice as loud, twice as soft, twice a fast and twice as slow as you need for your performance. The resulting confidence will stand you in good stead to perform at your peak....Make sure you rest often. b. Do I give my lip enough time to recover after a long 'blow'? - Muscles need to revive themselves. Too much pressure on the lip stops circulation. Recovery is important to avoid scar tissue. Rest for as long as is needed so that when you play again you feel fresh after your warm-up. c. Am I warming up correctly? - Warm-up exercises are vital to the trumpet player. Lips are a combination of many many muscles. Each muscle has a job to do. Trumpet players put great demands on these muscles and sometimes treat them very badly. For a 'fit' athlete to train or race without 'warming up', stretching and 'coaxing' the limbs into a preparatory state would be foolhardy. The trumpet player is also an athlete in that the task requires great physical strength, training and muscular control. Each muscle needs careful preparation before putting it through too vigorous a workout. d. Do I spend enough time exercising my technique? - The fingers, finger muscles and the control of them need constant practice and exercise. Technique on the trumpet encompasses all the coordinative skills requires in playing. Breath control, forming the notes, blowing the air, articulating the note, shaping the lip muscles and fingering. Coordinating the fingers must be exercised as part of the daily routine. e. Am I considering the physical side of my playing enough? - A trumpet player needs to be fit. He needs to breath well, blow well, stand or sit well, control the fingers well and shape the mouth and lips correctly. I think it unlikely that a professional player would go on to the concert platform to perform the Hummel Trumpet Concerto directly after eating a huge roast meal with all the trimmings. This would be suicide. The physical aspect of playing starts with training correctly, in a good posture, exercising all aspects of trumpet playing. If one trains the physical being, surely this will be of benefit to the muscular co-ordination required in performance? f. How fit am I as a player? - Fitness can be defined as 'being in good physical and healthy condition' An athlete would define fitness as that which will enable him to finish the race distance (and win), a footballer needs to be able to complete the game and to keep up with the play all over the field. A trumpet player needs to have the physical stamina to enable him to play at his level to completion of the piece concert, dance, parade or practice without becoming tired physically or mentally and that the 'chops' are still able to be controlled and function properly.
c. Articulation and finger co-ordination must also be practiced. Do this over scales or scale exercises.
d. Double and Triple tonguing need to be exercised at this point also. Think about the way the tongue travels backwards and forwards to get the smoothest attack. (1) Learning to Double Tongue - Start by saying the syllable Ta Ka very slowly. Then practice saying it without moving the jaw or any mouth muscles. Only the tongue moves. Then continue doing this as you slowly close your mouth and get into an 'embouchure' shape. Now try doing while buzzing. Keep practicing this to a beat and gradually increase the tempo. Eventually place the mouthpiece on the buzz and practice getting a clean attack on both the Ta and Ka.
Arban's Method of Double and Triple Tonguing is excellent although I prefer to practice the TuKuTu as a slower triplet before speeding up to the faster TuTuKu
REST BETWEEN EXERCISES BEFORE GOING ON TO PLAY YOUR SCALES.