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Tone and range suddenly disappeared


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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2019 12:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Tone and range suddenly disappeared Reply with quote

IToles wrote:
I'm a sophomore in high school and have played trumpet for the past 4 years. My range usually extends to a D above high C. Around a month ago, I switched from a 7C mouthpiece to a 7EW. At first, it worked fine and was helping me. However, recently my range and tone have suddenly disappeared. Over the past two weeks, my range has fallen off and now I can't play above an F (on the top line of the staff) without sounding absolutely horrible. This is a huge problem because right now my band is in marching season, and I play first part (The majority of my part is right around an F or higher). My tone also has taken a turn for the worst and now all of my playing sounds extremely pinched and forced, even though I'm not pinching. What happened and how do I fix this?!?! In the past, I have had mouthpiece changes, but they have never affected me the way this has (If the mouthpiece change is even the problem). How do I fix this?!


I find myself subconsciously shaking my head. You were playing a good, common-sense mouthpiece and then you switched to a radically shallow mouthpiece and you wonder why your playing tanked. Really?

If the 7C is a bit deep for you (it is one of the deepest of the Bach C cup mouthpieces relative to it's cup diameter) and the rim is a little narrow and uncomfortable, a Bach 3C would likely work well for you. The 3C's cup diameter is about the same as a Bach 7C (note that the 7EW isn't just way shallower - it also has a significantly smaller cup diameter than a 7C), the 3C's cup is shallower than a 7C's cup, but not radically shallow, and the 3C's rim is a bit wider and more comfortable for most players than a 7C's rim, but again, not radically wide.

Even if you decided to try a 3C you ought to take Jeff Smiley's advice and go back to your 7C for now, at least until you can purchase a 3C, and perhaps you will find after getting back to your 7C you won't feel the need to spend the money on a 3C.

And don't expect your 7C to feel all hunky-dory right away. You've messed things up a bit and even the 7C will probably feel a bit foreign for a while. But in the long run, it or perhaps a different, but sensible mouthpiece will work for you.

Best wishes,

John Mohan
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HERMOKIWI
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2019 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

abontrumpet wrote:
HERMOKIWI wrote:
I doubt that this is a mouthpiece issue. The OP says that the 7EW was working fine and was helping. What changed? Certainly it wasn't the mouthpiece (unless it somehow suddenly got obstructed).

Problems like this virtually always involve some fundamental change made by the player. If the OP goes back to his 7C but doesn't make any fundamental changes I would expect him to continue to have the problems he reports.

It would be unrealistic to expect a mouthpiece change to correct severe issues like those reported by the OP, especially when the player had experienced success on the prior mouthpiece before the problems arose.


Alright.

If you play perfectly, aka fundamentally great, then you can manage to play an inefficient mouthpiece fine enough.

If you play fundamentally imperfectly, sometimes your equipment can actually help put you "in-line" a bit. If you play imperfectly and you switch to more imperfect equipment, then your imperfectness tends to compound and you get more and more out of sync with the system (unless you can continue to keep up the same amount of imperfectness which he managed to do for just shy of a month).

A 7EW would GREATLY hinder fundamental progress as it is a very inefficient mouthpiece for the vast majority of Bb needs. There's currently a 14A4a thread where trumpetherald basically hanged the OP for suggesting it, and that's a significantly more balanced mouthpiece for Bb trumpet than the 7EW. If anything this kid should switch to a 14A4a before staying on the 7EW!

Change to the 7C and get a teacher. And do what kehaulani said the second time.


The OP says "At first it worked fine and was helping me." So, apparently his fundamentals were equal to the challenges of the mouthpiece at first. What happened next is most likely traceable to him and not to the mouthpiece (because the mouthpiece stayed the same). Something about how he was playing the mouthpiece must have changed.

I have two questions for the OP: Did you change back to the 7C? If so, what happened?
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abontrumpet
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2019 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HERMOKIWI wrote:


The OP says "At first it worked fine and was helping me." So, apparently his fundamentals were equal to the challenges of the mouthpiece at first. What happened next is most likely traceable to him and not to the mouthpiece (because the mouthpiece stayed the same). Something about how he was playing the mouthpiece must have changed.

I have two questions for the OP: Did you change back to the 7C? If so, what happened?


I totally get where you're coming from, but I was certainly pretty clueless as to what was actually "worked fine and was helping me" when I was in high school. It could have been helping him get high notes just because of the shallowness of the cup. But maybe he was doing some wild things in order to do that and not being aware of them.

I also agreed with you in my quoted post that it is traceable to him but likely because of the radical shift to inefficient equipment. So he changed yes, agreed, but...well just reread my bit about imperfect playing.

This isn't Bud Herseth or Doc Severinsen posting "worked fine and helped" this is a high schooler without a teacher.

Just in case you're not aware, a 7EW has a 117 backbore (pretty huge). Usually reserved for piccolo, rotary, or Michael Sachs. For playing lead the upper register it doesn't have the necessary balance that a high efficiency backbore does (aka tight backbore) so you end up having to create a lot of tension to provide the balance and the brilliance. Which you can probably for keep up for max about, oh I don't know, a month, before things just unravel. I'm just guessing you haven't actually tried to play lead on that mouthpiece, or I don't think you would be suggesting what you're suggesting.
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HERMOKIWI
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not in disagreement that the 7EW is a horrible mouthpiece choice for the OP. I'm also not in disagreement that "At first it worked fine and was helping me" is highly subjective, especially for a player as young and inexperienced as the OP.

What I'm focusing on is the fact that the OP is no longer getting the results with the 7EW that he was previously getting with that mouthpiece. That leads me to believe that the problem is more with playing fundamentals than it is with the mouthpiece. If the OP's playing fundamentals are faulty no mouthpiece will overcome them.

What is most disconcerting to me is the lack of feedback from the OP to the many suggestions posted in response to his initial question. The OP posted on October 9. There have been 22 responses without a word back from the OP. So, if the kid is that lazy why should we have any interest in helping him resolve his problem? I see this lack of feedback from young players far too often on TH. I won't be posting again on this thread.
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abontrumpet
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HERMOKIWI wrote:
What I'm focusing on is the fact that the OP is no longer getting the results with the 7EW that he was previously getting with that mouthpiece. That leads me to believe that the problem is more with playing fundamentals than it is with the mouthpiece. If the OP's playing fundamentals are faulty no mouthpiece will overcome them.


I now see your point more clearly. Sorry for being a bit slow on the uptake. I agree with you.
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Bill_Bumps
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2019 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HERMOKIWI wrote:
Trumpet is a complex instrument to play.


This a point that is often overlooked.
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IToles
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2019 6:06 pm    Post subject: Extremely Late Reply Reply with quote

So sorry for not responding. My band director added more after-school practices and my classes have been overwhelming. For those wondering, I do have a teacher (I'm just an idiot and didn't mention this in the OP). I also ended up switching to a 3C (I originally meant to a say 3C instead of 7C in the original post, but as I've already said I was being stupid when I wrote the original post and didn't include all the information). So after switching back, after about a week some of my range came back (Up to an A). However, after consulting with my teacher, he had me do some fundamental exercises and said that he saw something wrong with my bottom lip (it was sticking out or something? Still not sure..). At the moment we've come to the conclusion that there are multiple things wrong with my embouchure (I use way too much pressure and play off-center). While these are fixable problems, what irks me the most is how this could have been corrected back in 6th or 7th grade but wasn't because my mom thought it unnecessary to get me lessons, therefore the problem was never addressed and only got worse (After Beginner Band my teacher, who is also the middle school band director, never had a chance to work with me because I wasn't in lessons).

Again, so sorry for never replying to everyone's advice. I just got really busy and never got a chance to.
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:59 am    Post subject: Re: Extremely Late Reply Reply with quote

IToles wrote:
... what irks me the most is how this could have been corrected back in 6th or 7th grade ...

---------------------------------
It seems this is a situation that many players endure - not getting instruction & training on the basic fundamentals of a 'good' embouchure. This should be a primary part of beginning instructions, similar to how to hold a violin bow, piano finger positions, golf grip, etc.

Perhaps it's the need for 'instant gratification' (another thread) that causes beginners to use whatever embouchure will produce a recognizable sound. It might be too frustrating for a beginner to be told that his embouchure is 'wrong' even though a sound is being produced?

Regarding "something wrong with my bottom lip" - yes pursue this with you band director, and possibly ask other players what sensation they have about where the mpc sets on their lips, and what type of 'lip position' they use.

My basic lip position is slightly inward pursed - no outward pucker. The mpc rim sets on the outer area, without any attempt to have lip tissue on the outer circumference of the rim.

Jay
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abontrumpet
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 10:49 am    Post subject: Re: Extremely Late Reply Reply with quote

IToles wrote:
So sorry for not responding. My band director added more after-school practices and my classes have been overwhelming. For those wondering, I do have a teacher (I'm just an idiot and didn't mention this in the OP). I also ended up switching to a 3C (I originally meant to a say 3C instead of 7C in the original post, but as I've already said I was being stupid when I wrote the original post and didn't include all the information). So after switching back, after about a week some of my range came back (Up to an A). However, after consulting with my teacher, he had me do some fundamental exercises and said that he saw something wrong with my bottom lip (it was sticking out or something? Still not sure..). At the moment we've come to the conclusion that there are multiple things wrong with my embouchure (I use way too much pressure and play off-center). While these are fixable problems, what irks me the most is how this could have been corrected back in 6th or 7th grade but wasn't because my mom thought it unnecessary to get me lessons, therefore the problem was never addressed and only got worse (After Beginner Band my teacher, who is also the middle school band director, never had a chance to work with me because I wasn't in lessons).

Again, so sorry for never replying to everyone's advice. I just got really busy and never got a chance to.


Don't change a thing about your embouchure now. Band Directors are usually given a very simple idea of what a brass embouchure is. When I was a doctoral student, I taught them future directors about trumpet and for some reason they love to fixate on the silliest details. I digress.

Things like playing off center are very normal and common. Fixing anything, especially something that may not be broken, shouldn't be done without a really top flight trumpet teacher. At the moment, with your limited knowledge, and the limited knowledge of your band director, just focus on playing with you best sound and having fun. Improvement and changes will often happen organically as you improve.

Don't focus on this new found (potentially wrong) knowledge.
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AtomicBasie93
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe you have overworked yourself. Try taking a day or two off and see where you are after that. If your band director forces you to keep playing, then you could injure yourself.
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