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Advice for comeback players



 
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sdr93trp
Regular Member


Joined: 29 Mar 2021
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:51 pm    Post subject: Advice for comeback players Reply with quote

Hi all,

New user here and comeback player. I've lurked around here a lot but finally created an account recently to post this. I played in high school and college and studied with a couple professors that most in the academic would recognize immediately. I won't drop their names out of respect. But, long story short, I quit trumpet after 3 years of being a trumpet performance major, got an economics degree, then had a lackluster professional life that fell apart completely when covid hit. So, out of options and with nothing to do, I decided to pick up the horn again.

This time around I resolved to actually fix some of the issues that always plagued me back then. I was a decent player and even made all-state in high school but had a lot of bad habits that never got fixed. Multiple embouchures, excessive rolling in on high notes, excessive pressure, etc. So this time, I decided to use the power of the internet to learn everything I could about the mechanics of playing the trumpet.

So here's the point of this post. I'm going to share the resources that I found that have helped me tremendously. Some of these give information that is contradictory in some places but, I found all of them helpful. I hope this helps other comeback players in their search. Most is free but some of it is paid. You don't have to buy the paid stuff, but I think it's worth it.

1. YouTube- By far the best resource. Many professionals have done masterclasses in the last few years that have ended up on YouTube. Guys like Jens Lindemann, Roger Ingram, Jeff Purtle, Roy Poper, and Wayne Bergeron all have masterclasses on YouTube now. Once you start watching them the algorithm should kick in and keep recommending more to you. Also, Malcolm McNab has a masterclass on hip-bone that's like $10. He was a student of Stamp and talks a lot about pitch center which I found helpful. All of them mention things that can lead to rabbit holes. Don't be afraid to go down the rabbit holes. I'm serious.

2. Claude Gordon/Jeff Purtle books. Buy Brass Playing is No Harder Than Deep Breathing and then buy Jeff Purtle's book Hit it Hard and Wish it Well (if you have an Apple device). Jeff was a student of Claude's for many years and expounds on his ideas in this book and I found it helpful for learning how to construct practice routines and essentially become your own teacher.

3. bbtrumpet.com. This is Pop's website. This guy is simply prolific and I've learned heaps by simply reading all the free stuff on his website. I also picked up a couple of his books and I think they're worth every penny. He also has a free 900+ page re-written version of the Arban book. Download it. Use it. Did I mention it's over 900 pages of free stuff?

4. Experiment. There's a ton of info out there and it will take you a little bit to synthesize it all into a package that works for you. But I'll give you hint. Most of them are saying the same things in different ways with just a few twists here and there. Once you start seeing all the common threads it'll begin to make a lot more sense and you'll hear massive improvements quickly.

5. The tonal energy app. It's only a couple bucks on the App Store and gives you the ability to analyze your "harmonic energy." Most smartphones have good enough mics now that they can detect the overtone series of your notes in relation to the fundamental. The first few overtones should be at least as loud as the fundamental. You should also record yourself regularly. At least once a week.

After just a few months of working hard, most every aspect of my playing is better than when I was a trumpet performance major. My sound is better. My range is better (although a bit squirrelly still above high D) I can hit a double G and have slid up to DHC and the D over that a few times just messing around. Could never do that before. My flexibility and articulation are both better too. My finger technique and endurance are about the same but those were never really a problem before.

I know this is a long post but I hope someone out there finds it helpful. Being a comeback player is tough but there is hope.
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This advice may be free. But remember, you get what you pay for.

Yamaha YTR-6335 HSMV
1936 Buescher Aristocrat Tru Tone
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john4860
Regular Member


Joined: 08 Jun 2017
Posts: 44
Location: Toledo Ohio

PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2021 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just wanted to say that your post was definitely helpful to me and backed up many of the same things I've noticed since getting back into playing again.

Re: YouTube; this is a great resource just watching really accomplished players will tell you so much and the master classes you've mentioned are also extremely helpful.

Experiment: Absolutely don't be afraid to do something different. I lowered the placement of my mouthpiece just a little bit and it made a tremendous difference in range and endurance.

I like and agree with your hint that most of them (pros and teachers) are saying the same thing with just a few twists and turns. A lightbulb moment for me was tying the low, middle and higher registers together. In my case lip slurs are very beneficial.

When I play now it's the same embouchure from low f# to high c. Another thing that is super helpful to me is really concentrating on tonguing and diligently practicing tonguing everyday. This helps to focus my embouchure and increases endurance and range etc.

And your last paragraph is especially relevant: Working hard, you've got to be able to put enough effort into playing the trumpet that you figure out what works for you and practicing is the only way to get there.

Thanks for putting your ideas out there, definitely appreciated!
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sdr93trp
Regular Member


Joined: 29 Mar 2021
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2021 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

john4860 wrote:
When I play now it's the same embouchure from low f# to high c. Another thing that is super helpful to me is really concentrating on tonguing and diligently practicing tonguing everyday. This helps to focus my embouchure and increases endurance and range etc.


Pops calls it "Lip Setpoint" and has drills for it in his New Arban that involve a lot of interval training. It was also something I heard both Jens Lindemann and Malcolm McNab talk about in those videos. I think I picked up the bad habit of multiple embouchures along the way because when I started working on my lip setpoint, things started rapidly improving.

I've also found soft breath attacks and bends to be really helpful too. That seems to be another one of those "common threads."
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SDR

This advice may be free. But remember, you get what you pay for.

Yamaha YTR-6335 HSMV
1936 Buescher Aristocrat Tru Tone
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lschofield
New Member


Joined: 27 Jul 2020
Posts: 3
Location: Silver Spring, MD

PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2021 7:38 am    Post subject: Total agreement Reply with quote

A really good list; I'm five years I guess into my "comeback" after a 20 or 25 year layoff. I have repaired a number of issues from the constant loud playing of marching band in high school and playing commercially for a number of years, although too much pressure is still a chronic issue that requires a lot of concentration.

I would also suggest the "Flexus" book. Its been very helpful for me for getting to better flexibility and endurance as an older player.
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FatSebastian
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Joined: 26 Apr 2021
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to the OP and respondents for starting a very helpful thread!
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