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Trumpet bad habits forming



 
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chief757
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Joined: 22 Oct 2021
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Location: St. Louis, MO

PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2022 9:32 am    Post subject: Trumpet bad habits forming Reply with quote

Hey TH. There is a long post ahead so you don't have to read if you don't want to, most of it is me just ranting and getting it out of my system. I don't know whats been with me these past few months, but It feels like I've been addicted to the trumpet. Every time I practice I feel inclined to put the horn to my chops. Every time Im in class I feel the need to browse trumpet related topics. The past few years with me has been a struggle with the trumpet since I never practiced and didn't really care to focus. But ever since this school year started, It's like I was hit hard with a trumpet drug. All I want to do is play trumpet. And all this searching and playing, made me realize lots of weird issues with my embouchure and habits that I can see my self forming that are an issue. First off, I started the year with a center mouthpiece placement. Over the past months, I've slowly slid the mouthpiece to my right, because for whatever reason, it gave me increased enduance. If I try and play back to the center, it starts to tingle and my chops get tired INSTANTLY. Another thing that seems to be a red flag, is that when I play my jaw drops a lot and the mouthpiece rolls my bottom lip over my bottom teeth with the mp following the lip. I get embouchures can be unique to everyone, but this just feels highly inefficient. Today at practice I tried keeping my jaw normal without moving and my teeth aligned (I have an overbite) and it made my midrange easy but I just couldn't play the low or high range for some reason. Something else about my playing is that I cannot physically play higher or louder without flexing my abs. It's just subconscious but I still feel it. If I play high and quiet it feels the same as low and loud. I know this is actually pretty common in playing but I wonder if It restricts me. When I get to about 3rd space c, playing becomes demanding. To play any higher than a D, it basically becomes chance. I hate it. I hate how I want to play so much but can't because how bad I am. Practicing has done nothing. I can play a c or a d endless. But when I get over that, my chops get exahusted so fast and it takes so much air to even get the note out. Cracks galore. I've tried everything. It just feels like a roadblock. Being a sophomore and having the skill of a beginner makes me want to quit playing. I don't even care about range. I just want to play my band scores with ease. I get range will come in time but if I can't even improve my technical skills, whats the point? (Feel free to critique, Ive got nothing to lose at this point) PS. I did have a trumpet teacher, but I feel he wasen't approaching me right. He was pretty good but he was only 2 years older than me and I could tell he didn't have experience teaching. Finding teachers in my area is very hard so if anyone has recommondations for the St. Louis area, please tell.
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kalijah
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2022 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Something else about my playing is that I cannot physically play higher or louder without flexing my abs. It's just subconscious but I still feel it. If I play high and quiet, it feels the same as low and loud. I know this is actually pretty common in playing but I wonder if it restricts me.


Playing higher or louder requires more air pressure. The muscles of exhalation do increase the effort to achieve that pressure. With increase efficiency of tone production, you can do more with given exhalation effort.

But according to your description you are probably not very efficient. Requiring more exhalation effort.
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2022 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good Lord, chief757, ever hear of paragraphs?
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chief757
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Joined: 22 Oct 2021
Posts: 18
Location: St. Louis, MO

PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2022 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If my english teacher saw this, she would flip! Now, what's this thing you call paragraphs?
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2022 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I might have already mentioned this to you, I've got a short document of what I call 'Embouchure Basic Concepts' and I think it might be helpful to you.

I doesn't really tell you 'how to play', but about the basic things that you need to have your body DO. And you need to recognize when your body is 'doing it', and if your body is 'preventing it'. And make adjustments when needed.

http://users.hancock.net/jkosta/Embouchure_Basic_Concepts.htm

If your school music teacher is not good about brass playing, then ask them about teachers at other nearby schools. Music teachers usually have quite a few contacts and friends, and maybe your teacher can introduce you to someone who really can help.
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deleted_user_7354402
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2022 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Chief,
Before I got to college, I got hit with the trumpet bug. Once I got to college, I thought, “now is the time to live on this thing.” I spent hours upon hours practicing on addition to ensembles. When I look back and count, I had my horn out and was practicing for nearly 10 hours a day. I thought I was doing it great, putting in the time, and the trumpet would reward me.

Boy was I wrong. I developed so many bad habits, mostly out of practicing while tired. Some problems that crept into my playing from time to time were…. Lazy posture (my piston trumpet was almost turned on its’ side like a rotary), limited range (my chops were overworked, muscles gripping more than they needed, never got to relax), I developed a swollen nerve right on my lip…. Etc.

All that said, I wish I would have figured out that playing trumpet is physically demanding and your muscles need time to rest, rebuild, and recover. Not only that, extended practice leads to tired or disengaged brain practicing. The hardest thing to accept was that sometimes, resting is the best version of work on the trumpet that you can do for yourself. My guess would be that your embouchure setting up further and further to the right is a result of exhaustion. Either your arms get tired and the horn drifts, or your chops get tired on one side of your lips (left side or right side) and your embouchure is compensating. If it’s not excessive, the offset embouchure is probably fine. You can attempt each day to move it slightly over but that would be finding a decent teacher.

My suggestion is to email some of the bigger colleges in your area, or hit up one of the St Louis Symphony players and start there for lessons. They can advise better, and guide your practice, but also, that level of teaching can guide you further.

A couple suggestions about building good habits, set a timer
And stick to it. (Seconds pro is a decent app to make timer routines)Create 5-15 minute sessions of singular focus work. Rest for 10 minutes. Do a new 5-15 minute session, rest 10…. Etc. The more you do this, your body will get used to jumping right in and playing, you will get used to playing with fresh muscles and a fresh mind. To develop technique, the gains will typically come faster as you revisit each skill daily and build with little achievable challenges each day (as opposed to digging in for several hours on one concept. This is where I was guilty). Another option could be to record your 5-15 minute session and use the 10 minutes to listen back and reflect on what needs work. That’s a good way to use your muscle recovery time. Be careful about practicing with a tired brain though, if you try this route.

Happy practicing
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Andy Del
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2022 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are in school, and now want to play well. As a music program director I can ASSURE you going to the internet and searching or asking questions will NOT get you when you want to go. You do not know what you need to do to fix your playing. The internet does not know either. Nor can forums do anything but make wild a$$ guesses, even if they are educated.

You need a good trumpet teacher. That’s it. Go find one, preferably face to face, although good people can do online lessons.

As a teacher, I found I’m going to need some bass guitar skills this school year, so I pulled one out for the summer break. Having spent a year on bass on college, my next step was to contact a colleague who is a professional player for some lessons. Nothing he shared was in books, on YouTube, or in forums. Now, 2 months on, I am a beginner. Continuing the work is key… maybe next year I’ll be an average hacker.

This is the reality of learning an instrument. You have the inspiration. Now go get that teacher!

Cheers

Andy
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gwood66
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2022 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I lived in St Louis I would check out this guy.

https://garrettschmidtmusic.com/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19Kmtr3Usic

or this guy who used to hang out with Maynard

https://jimmanleymusic.com/
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Wilktone
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2022 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Over the past months, I've slowly slid the mouthpiece to my right, because for whatever reason, it gave me increased enduance. If I try and play back to the center, it starts to tingle and my chops get tired INSTANTLY.


Without actually watching you play the first suggestion I would give you to try out is to move your placement back off center and not worry about how it looks. In fact, it might be worth trying to see what happens if you move the placement even further off to the side and even try it off center on the left too, just to see what happens.

I can possibly give you some suggestions if I can see and hear what's going on. If you have the ability to video record yourself and post it I'm happy to take a look and see if I can spot something that way.

More realistically, I would need to spend some time with you experimenting with what's working and what's not for a while. Since I'm not in your area it would have to be through video chat. If you can meet up in person with someone near you that would probably be helpful.

Dave
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chief757
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Joined: 22 Oct 2021
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Location: St. Louis, MO

PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2022 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you guys for the replies. I can get a video later tonight if that's any helpful. Replying to wilktone, I have actually tried moving it to the left and that seems to feel weird. My sound is airy and it just doesn't feel right. Think of writing with the opposite hand. When you write with your dominant hand, for me it sort of "clicks" into place.


It seems that a teacher is my best bet. I'll talk to my band director about it. He's a good friend of Jospeh Pappas who composes music for a lot of bands so I think he'll have some connections.


Also, the placement I have is pretty off to the side so if I move it any farther it gets to the edge where my lips connect.
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Don Herman rev2
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2022 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The best thing I did for my comeback many years ago was to get a good teacher.

The worst thing I did was to wait too long.

There are several top-notch teachers in the St. Louis area. The suggestion to contact Jim Manley is a good one; his is a great player, super nice guy, and hopefully is still playing and teaching.
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Avan
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2022 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don Herman rev2 wrote:
The best thing I did for my comeback many years ago was to get a good teacher.

The worst thing I did was to wait too long.


I Concur !!!!
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HaveTrumpetWillTravel
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2022 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're having issues going from 3rd space C up to D and above on the staff as a sophomore, you really need someone to work with you. It sounds like you had help from an older student, but that's not enough. You likely have some core issues that need change, and then you could improve.

I do feel like a lot of this crop of students suffered during isolation, so don't take it personally. But you're at a stage where small changes can lead to big improvements.
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Rod Haney
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2022 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

St Louis, Jim Manley territory. I’ve only done Skype with Jim but it’s hard to find a nicer guy who’s an excellent musician, I would check him out.
Rod
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steve0930
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2022 2:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Chief

Context - I am 5 years a player - first three years I could struggle with e in the staff so I can emphasize with the OP. Chief 757 writes:
Quote:
It's like I was hit hard with a trumpet drug. All I want to do is play trumpet.

I am like you, the Trumpet is pretty much the second thing I think about every day. What ever advice you get you can consider, try, and keep asking yourself "is this helping maintain my very high level of motivation or not?" You have worked out quicker than me the need to experiment. You need something or someone ¹ to get you on the right track - cos then your playing will take off Big Time. So keep looking and keep listening to your gut instinct. For me the key was discovering Balance Embouchure, moving intuitively to a more closed set up and experimenting - even when tired - to feel that I was blowing air into the horn and not into my face. The one thing I wished someone had told me in those first 3 years is that more effort is very unlikely to be the answer.
I promise you, if you can maintain your motivation and use your intelligence to find answers (and personally I thing internet, YouTube and forums like this are a fabulous resource) you will succeed on the trumpet, and in life.

Best wishes, good luck, and as Robin Williams says in Good Will Hunting:
"Your Move Chief"

Stay safe, Steve in Helsinki.

Note ¹ You've got some promising leads from this thread...
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