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Loud or Soft warmups?



 
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perigalacticon
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Joined: 02 Sep 2017
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Location: Detroit area

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:15 pm    Post subject: Loud or Soft warmups? Reply with quote

My question is, can I cause damage in a comeback situation by playing too loud?

I've read a lot about the importance of using a lot of air and letting the lips respond and resonate. In my previous period of playing I warmed up with soft tones. Restarting now I've found that "using a lot of air" is critical to maintaining sound production and tonguing accuracy, but it means I'm playing much louder. It also feels good like I'm relaxing the glottis (AHHHH!), so I'm wondering if my previous warmup was just not ever using enough air.

It seems some volume (forte!) is necessary to maintain steady continuous tone. It feels good because I'm using more air and avoiding pressure, but concerned playing loudly may cause other problems such as tone quality or endurance.
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OndraJ
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you should get a good, resonate sound. If you practice that frequently, you can get a resonate sound at soft volume too.
The challenge is to balance the use of air.
Too little air, bad intonation, bad tone.
Too much air, no efficiency, high notes gets harder if you play the low notes too loud, overblowing.

My favourite exercises are:

Breath attacks: blow just a minimum of air, get the tone started soft and ad volume until it resonates, than hold it for a few bars

Start on just the leadpipe (ala Bill Adam): Blow the tone that resonates best on your pipe. It should be around concert E in the stuff. The good thing is, that you can’t overblow the pipe. Give just as much air, the you get the sweetspot between input(Air volume) and output(good sound).
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Mike Sailors
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
My question is, can I cause damage in a comeback situation by playing too loud?


Yes.
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Tenor Horn Fellow
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Loud or Soft warmups? Reply with quote

perigalacticon wrote:
My question is, can I cause damage in a comeback situation by playing too loud?

I've read a lot about the importance of using a lot of air and letting the lips respond and resonate. In my previous period of playing I warmed up with soft tones. Restarting now I've found that "using a lot of air" is critical to maintaining sound production and tonguing accuracy, but it means I'm playing much louder. It also feels good like I'm relaxing the glottis (AHHHH!), so I'm wondering if my previous warmup was just not ever using enough air.

It seems some volume (forte!) is necessary to maintain steady continuous tone. It feels good because I'm using more air and avoiding pressure, but concerned playing loudly may cause other problems such as tone quality or endurance.


Warm-up should be soft but firm, gentle but not wimpy.

Loud before warmed up will just blow the aperture wide open.

Let the embouchure warm up and strengthen before you play loudly so that the aperture can withstand the force from the loud air.

Trust me.
I know everything.
I'm an old fart.


Mark
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zaferis
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 3:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

+1 What Mark wrote!

Playing loudly takes muscular work, effort, high energy... if you were pitching in baseball this would be like throwing your pitches right away, before being warmed up and loose. The pros don't do that, they hurt themselves.
But it's also not the softest that you can play- starting mid-ground both in dynamics and range, moving outward in all directions.
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Using the air properly", "let the air do the work" and other similar phrases do not mean you have to play loud to do it correctly. Not at all. Your warm up should be at a full, comfortable level - about at mf. You don't want to try to play too soft, as that can cause a less advanced player to pinch off the sound or get air attacks, but you also do not want to be playing particularly loud, either. Just practice your warmup at a mezzo forte, comfortable level.

As to your writing that you feel you have to play at a forte to get the notes to sound, I think this is related to the fact that you have only recently returned to playing and your embouchure has not yet developed the level of efficiency needed for it to respond well to less air pressure. Don't try to play so soft that you miss notes or lose the vibration, just play loud enough that the notes sound with consistency. With time and practice, the efficiency will develop and you'll find yourself able to play softer without risk of losing the vibration.

If you are practicing on an unusually small or shallow mouthpiece that could also be causing or contributing to the problem, but anything in the 7C, 3C or perhaps 1-1/2C range of mouthpiece sizes shouldn't cause a problem.

Best wishes,

John Mohan
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trombino
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Soft before loud
Low before high
Slow before fast
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dstdenis
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 2:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Loud or Soft warmups? Reply with quote

perigalacticon wrote:
My question is, can I cause damage in a comeback situation by playing too loud?

Yes.
perigalacticon wrote:
...Restarting now I've found that "using a lot of air" is critical to maintaining sound production and tonguing accuracy, but it means I'm playing much louder.

That's a problem. You should work on improving sound production and embouchure response especially when playing softly.

Sure, it's easier to get the trumpet to respond by blowing harder and more forcefully. But one can't develop the necessary skills to play musically until you have response working well at all dynamics. And with different types of articulation too.

This doesn't mean you shouldn't play loud either. You should practice from soft to loud and develop good response and a good sound at all dynamics.
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perigalacticon
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks everyone for your input, it is very much appreciated. I can't imagine the amount of experience that exists here.

I found after about of week of playing louder to get stable sound, that tone was suffering, and tonguing accuracy not getting too much better. But maybe it was necessary to get back some basic strength.

I cut back on the longer periods of louder playing, but still incorporated some into warmup and exercises. I am trying to decrescendo some to higher notes (for me, the 1st G above the staff). I can now lip slur accurately between E and G pretty accurately and it is getting easier and tone more clear. Adequate rest is absolutely necessary. I have been playing 20-40 min at a time with a minute rest or so between exercises (hard to do sometimes!), then an hour at least between sessions. Just thought I'd update if it might benefit anyone.

My main concern is anxiety! In my past period of playing it seemed I never knew how good I would be able to play on a given day, my skills were not stable or consistent, and I was often confused. I'm really sticking to a set of exercises right now. I can't help but to 'test' the high range all the time, because I'm never sure if what I'm doing is correct or productive.

After regular repeated exercises I have more confidence in what I'll be able to do from day to day when I pick up the horn and stare at the exercises, and that's huge. Picking up the horn, I would always have anxiety, would I be able to slur C to E today, clearly, with good tone, with ease and accuracy? Or would I fluff attacks and become disappointed and frustrated? Now I know I can play certain things after I warm up and that confidence is helpful, self-compounding positive feedback into ability. Trying not to overshoot.

I have a philosophical question, when playing exercises of any type, for endurance, range, accuracy... what do you do when you end the exercise? If it was a long set, do you just stop and let the embouchure hang and don't move your lips for a while; or do you consider playing some warm-down phrases for recovery? I can see that playing low notes and pedals will keep you relaxed and looser, and will recover low-range tone and clarity, leading to better support in the upper range. BUT, does warming down after exercises possibly negate the muscle-memory effect of the exercise? When you're done, do you want the successful exercise to just sink in, what do you do?
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perigalacticon
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I have been trying a lot of different exercises, even went back to the trombone briefly for a few days. The pedal C on the trombone was instant and easy! I was really happy with that. I found that my tone on the trombone was still good if not even improved. Going back to the bugle I don't think there was a noticeable effect on my playing, even after tiring out on the trombone a few times in a day. Maybe I had a little less endurance on bugle. I think what is limiting me on the bugle is the tips of my upper teeth dig into the upper lip. I have tried angling the mp down more and tilting the head up to compensate. This is giving a different feel in the embouchure, it feels like I am puckering more when I play, and endurance seems reduced. I have a small overbite, maybe 1/8" and my top lip has always had a pinched sensation when finished playing so I'll see what happens with this adjustment. Thanks for your help, sorry if TMI.
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Betelgeuse215
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Soft warm up is better. Any fool can play loud.
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RussellDDixon
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SOFT according to Allen Vizzutti; Arturo Sandoval; Eric Miyashiro ad nauseum. SOFT forces you to control through air.

Mouthpieces are like shoes. Don't let any so called expert tell you that you must play a certain size. Your sound and tone quality DICTATE your equipment etc. ... not some old, tired BS. Again, Allen Vizzutti, and Arturo Sandoval say the same thing in regards to equipment. It's an INDIVIDUAL THING as you are an INDIVIDUAL.
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razeontherock
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You want more of your mpc pressure on your lower lip. You might need the help of a teacher to arrive at the balance of all the various playing factors that will let you achieve this.

Playing low brass should only help you on upper brass.

On trumpet, excessive tension is much more likely to creep in and mess everything up. You want to avoid practicing that bad habit. If you have to play low notes all the time as you practice to keep from playing too tight, you might be overdoing it on a regular basis. That's very easy to do! You want to "build up, don't tear down," as Doc Reinhardt put it. It's the single thing that's helped my playing the most, over a 44 year period.
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