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Quick Fix? I hope so.



 
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Valerie
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Joined: 07 Jun 2006
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Location: Tacoma, WA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 1:18 pm    Post subject: Quick Fix? I hope so. Reply with quote

A trumpet player's parent from the community called telling me they hope I can help their middle school daugher improve her trumpet tone. She has braces. Eeeeewww, I'm thinking, there might not be much I can do with this, but I'll give it a whirl. I told them that I'm not a trumpet teacher, but wouldn't mind meeting with them informally.

They came yesterday evening and I meet this delightful, bright young girl, loaded with desire & talent. Her mom was right, her tone was horrid, very thin & airy, and her attacks were very messy and stutter like, even after a slow gentle warm up. Hmmm.... So I taught her to play some roll-out style pedal tones. It was very difficult for her. She said, my top lip doesn't vibrate. I said, this is exactly why this exercise will help you. We worked on the RO (off & on) for about 20 minutes until she finally got a tone. Then she played a little exercise and sounded better.

I thought we were done, thinking I didn't want to overwhelm her with TMI. But then, after she had already packed up her instrument, I stopped her and asked how she's tonguing. She told me some goofy sounding thing about behind the teeth but not to curve the sides of the tongue and some other such stuff that I didn't understand. So I told her to try tonguing by touching her tongue to her lips right where the air comes out. It was foreign to her & she couldn't do it very well. So.... I took her outside with some rice grains & had her spit the rice out one at a time. She could hardly do it. I kept working with her and she began to improve & spit the grains further & further. THEN we went back inside. She played another couple exercises and the difference was AMAZING! Her tone and her attacks were greatly improved. I was soooo relieved.

I told her to keep spitting rice grains for practice and to play pedal tones as often as possible. On the way out, her dad remarked, "She's sounds much better, so this must be a quick fix." "I hope so, " I replied!

Jeff Smiley, you make me look good! Thanks.

Valerie
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Valerie Wells
www.BEforHorn.blogspot.com


Last edited by Valerie on Sat Oct 18, 2014 3:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
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trumpetplanet
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Joined: 05 Feb 2012
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Location: Bristol, UK

PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2014 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a great story. It really is remarkable the crazy ideas that people come out with at times.

I do have a quick question for you though, if you'll indulge me...

How exactly did you work on pedal tones for 20 minutes?

[edited to remove pointless rant]


Last edited by trumpetplanet on Sun Oct 04, 2015 10:45 am; edited 1 time in total
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Valerie
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Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Posts: 910
Location: Tacoma, WA

PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your reply. I received some feedback from her mom today.
Quote:
"Thanks for meeting with her. On Wednesday she came home from school beaming. Mr. Mooth in class stopped and said, "is that Tammi? [names changed] I can tell you have been practicing." Her whole attitude has changed, and she is using your techniques and sounding better. She used to be first chair and went down to almost last, and now she says she thinks she can beat those top boys. Time will tell, but already I can tell she sounds and feels more confident. Thank you again."


Re: working on pedals for 20 minutes. We didn't work exclusively on the pedals for 20 minutes. I had her try it for a while, then we went on to other things, but I came back to the pedals. I also showed her how playing a few pedal tones can refresh her chops when they get tired. She was grateful for that and saw right away that it did make a difference.

In the beginning I didn't even try to get her to do the double pedal C. I told her it was just something fun and celebrated & laughed about ANYTHING that emerged from her bell. (Laughter is a great relaxer.)

And, BTW, when I told her to pucker her lips and demonstrated a "kissy pucker" it really helped. I told her that this crazy excercise will help her to get more "meat" in the mouthpiece.... which apparently is what she needed. (She had said that her top lip doesn't vibrate.) She has a naturally short upper lip, but she was able to pucker forward and get a pretty decent pedal by the end of our little 25-35 minute visit. (Not sure exactly how long it was.)

Anyway, I'm sooooo happy for this little gal. Every kid needs to feel successful at something.
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Valerie Wells
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trumpetplanet
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your response Valerie.
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Valerie
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Joined: 07 Jun 2006
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Location: Tacoma, WA

PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BTW, I had one trumpet student a few years ago with braces, a very protruding & short upper lip. We worked on RO#1 for months. We'd spend 5 or 10 minutes of each lesson on them. I also learned from trumpet players that when their tone gets rotten, if they stop & play a little RO, everything sounds better. RO is my favorite exercise for many reasons.
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Valerie Wells
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Valerie
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Location: Tacoma, WA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2014 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've since received feedback from her mom that her confidence is restored. Her band director complimented her just a couple days later.
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