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I'm confused about a couple of issues



 
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grumpie38
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Joined: 07 May 2005
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Location: Phoenix, Arizona

PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:04 am    Post subject: I'm confused about a couple of issues Reply with quote

About 8 or 9 months ago I decided to start playing the trumpet again after a 45-year layoffÖto the horror of my neighbors. Shortly after starting this project I found the trumpethearld which has been a tremendous help, and sometimes a detriment. The biggest problem has been one of my own making, and that is switching from one method. (school) to anotherÖGordon to Adams to BE to Chicago with a few others thrown in for good, (or bad) measure. I also bought the James Stamp book that has helped me with the exception of the free and mouthpiece buzzing routines. Every time I tried using these my chops were wound up as tight as an 8 day clock.

Last week I finally purchased ďRoy Poperís Guide to the Brasswind Methods of James StampĒ, but Iím still having trouble with my chops tightening up. As Mr. Poper suggests Iím using very little lip tension, (actually just enough to keep the corners closed), and start the buzz with a breath attack, but when I do the buzzing routines for a few minutes my chops feel as if they are made out of wood. Obviously Iím either doing something wrong, or as others have suggested Iím one of those people who because of some weird physical make-up cannot free buzz. I realize that since none of you can sit beside me to watch, and listen to me buzz I canít expect a detailed analysis of what Iím doing wrong, but if anyone has had this problem do you have any hints, tricks, etc. of what can be done to solve it?

One other area Iím having difficulty with, (and then I promise Iíll shut up), Is the concept on not putting the mouthpiece on your face until have taken in your breath. One of my bad habits thatís still with me after 45 years is something I believe is called the Valsalva Maneuver. This is almost like someone stuttering. My tongue becomes momentarily immobile and I cannot start a note cleanly. The method Iíve been using to solve this problem is to release the air immediately after inhaling, (no hesitation), and it seems to be working. By using James Stampís procedure I would be holding the air back with the tongue until the mouthpiece is on the chops, which I think will re-introduce the stuttering problem. Any suggestions?

Thank you for taking the time to read this rather long post. As you can see, brevity, (and patience), are definitely not my long suits.

Bill
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swthiel
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Joined: 02 Apr 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

grumpie38 wrote:
About 8 or 9 months ago I decided to start playing the trumpet again after a 45-year layoffÖto the horror of my neighbors. Shortly after starting this project I found the trumpethearld which has been a tremendous help, and sometimes a detriment. The biggest problem has been one of my own making, and that is switching from one method. (school) to anotherÖGordon to Adams to BE to Chicago with a few others thrown in for good, (or bad) measure.
I know zip about BE (I can spell it ), but I can tell you that my teacher uses materials drawn from a wide range of sources. The problem might not be mixing methods, but not sticking with any one method long enough to see if it's really a match for you.
Quote:
I also bought the James Stamp book that has helped me with the exception of the free and mouthpiece buzzing routines. Every time I tried using these my chops were wound up as tight as an 8 day clock.

Last week I finally purchased ďRoy Poperís Guide to the Brasswind Methods of James StampĒ, but Iím still having trouble with my chops tightening up. As Mr. Poper suggests Iím using very little lip tension, (actually just enough to keep the corners closed), and start the buzz with a breath attack, but when I do the buzzing routines for a few minutes my chops feel as if they are made out of wood. Obviously Iím either doing something wrong, or as others have suggested Iím one of those people who because of some weird physical make-up cannot free buzz. I realize that since none of you can sit beside me to watch, and listen to me buzz I canít expect a detailed analysis of what Iím doing wrong, but if anyone has had this problem do you have any hints, tricks, etc. of what can be done to solve it?
I had the same problem when I first tried the free buzzing and mouthpiece buzzing on my own. These are very different from playing the trumpet and it is indeed easy to get too tight if you're not careful with them.

A couple of suggestions:
1) Limit your free buzzing. I occasionally do a little of it, certainly not as much as in the Stamp book. If you can't figure out how to do it without getting too tight, drop it for a while!
2) Promptly follow up mouthpiece buzzing with playing on the horn.
3) James Thompson's book puts a real focus on getting a resonant sound, even on the mouthpiece. My personal experience is that tension works against resonant sound, so if you can figure out how to get a resonant sound on the mouthpiece, you might not tighten up as much. This might require some playing around. Don't try to get a really pure sound, that will tighten you up significantly.
4) You should consider finding a teacher in your area -- even if you only see him or her occasionally, it will probably do wonders for you!

Quote:
One other area Iím having difficulty with, (and then I promise Iíll shut up), Is the concept on not putting the mouthpiece on your face until have taken in your breath. One of my bad habits thatís still with me after 45 years is something I believe is called the Valsalva Maneuver. This is almost like someone stuttering. My tongue becomes momentarily immobile and I cannot start a note cleanly. The method Iíve been using to solve this problem is to release the air immediately after inhaling, (no hesitation), and it seems to be working. By using James Stampís procedure I would be holding the air back with the tongue until the mouthpiece is on the chops, which I think will re-introduce the stuttering problem. Any suggestions?
Valsalva has to do with what's going on with your abdominal muscles, not your tongue ... I know from experience! As I mentioned in a thread in the Fundamentals forum, I think this advice has a lot to do with limiting manipulation of the lips after the mouthpiece is in place. If the issue is tongue coordination, you might try practicing tonguing your air (keep the flow going strong!), then doing some tongueing while playing the mouthpiece, then playing the horn with the same articulation. If this is indeed a bad habit, you need to build a new habit to replace it.

Caveat: I'm not a pro, I'm just a guy who like the play the trumpet and has some Stamp in his daily routine. See a trained professional for more definitive advice. There are lots of people in this forum who know Stamp better than I do, and I hope they'll correct anything I've written here that's out of line.

Good luck!
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janet842
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To repeat what I wrote in Huggy Bear's thread:

The Stamp method is a progression of reduction of embouchure tension. You move from a closed embouchure when you are buzzing with lips alone to an open embouchure when playing on the trumpet (maintaining corner tension, of course). When you are buzzing with the mouthpiece, pull the mouthpiece off. When you do that, the buzz that is produced will optimally be an octave lower than the pitch generated while using the mouthpiece. The Stamp method moves you to a form of open embouchure playing.

If your chops are getting too tight, you are doing the Stamp drills wrong or are trying to buzz pitches that are too high for you right now. I'm guessing you may be pulling your embouchure back into a smile, using too much mouthpiece pressure, and not relaxing the center of your embouchure when playing the warmup on the trumpet. If you pull the mouthpiece off, is the resultant pitch the same as the note with the mouthpiece on? If it is, you are too tight in the center. If your pitch drops by a fifth, that's decent - but far better to hear an pitch that is an octave lower.

If you aren't used to it, the Stamp method can feel pretty odd as you need to keep the tension up outside the mouthpiece while keeping the center in the mouthpiece very relaxed -- and stay away from the "smile"!

I spend a minimum of 15 minutes in warmup, starting with the lip only drill (once through) as high as I can comfortably go, switching to the mouthpiece drill - again, as high as I can comfortably go and only once through. Next, the trumpet exercises up to (but not including) exercise 4. This is my daily warmup. If I'm having a good day - 15 minutes. Bad day, 20.

Janet
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cheiden
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My teacher studied with Stamp for many years and has some very specific advice with regards to both free buzzing and mouthpiece buzzing. He says that if you don't have a coach and the buzzing routines are causing you problems, don't do them! They often do more harm than good. I'm like you in that more than a little buzzing turns my chops to stone. You can make great progress without these buzzing routines.

I recommend warming up (on the horn) with something like Stamp #3 down to a comfortable pedal register then #6 up to a comfortable upper register. Then go onto which ever method you're having the best success with.
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swingintrpt
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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cheiden wrote:
My teacher studied with Stamp for many years and has some very specific advice with regards to both free buzzing and mouthpiece buzzing. He says that if you don't have a coach and the buzzing routines are causing you problems, don't do them! They often do more harm than good. I'm like you in that more than a little buzzing turns my chops to stone. You can make great progress without these buzzing routines.

I recommend warming up (on the horn) with something like Stamp #3 down to a comfortable pedal register then #6 up to a comfortable upper register. Then go onto which ever method you're having the best success with.


Right on.

I'd like to further add, on the subject of keeping the mouthpiece off your face until you've taken your breath:

I do it this way: The horn is up, but my embouchure is not set. The mouthpiece is near my lips, but not touching them. I breath in the most natural way possible, without any excess tension, and as I reach the apex of the breath, I set the embouchure. Ideally, the embouchure does not require any real time to set, just the moment to put the mouthpiece to your lips. You let the air flow out naturally, and that's all you need to do.
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trumpetherald
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Joined: 25 Oct 2001
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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Bill:

The most important thing about the Stamp drills is the sound you are producing, and how you're approaching them. Don't think of them as strength-building or anything like that. Your sole objective is to maximize resonance in everything you do with them.

Regarding the free buzzing, watch out. Some people can easily free buzz very high, while others struggle for a f above middle c. How high you can go is not really the objective. Simply work for a nice easy buzz. 2-3 minutes ... tops ... per day. If you're getting tight, don't buzz so high or simply don't do it. Lots of people who use Stamp's approach don't do any free buzzing at all. I personally don't think it helps everyone unless they're extremely judicious in how they use it.

The mouthpiece buzzing - take very seriously the recommendation on how to hold the mouthpiece - with two fingers at the end of the shank - this will prevent excessive mpc. pressure, which will cause tension & manipulation. Don't buzz as high as you can. Buzz as high as you can with a free sound. If you tighten up from the mpc. buzzing, pay more attention to the freedom in the sound. When the sound tightens up, that's your cue to get it off your face and/or stop for the day.

Mpc. buzzing is more strenuous in some ways than playing the instrument. Therefore, moderation is in order. Stamp buzzed all day, but he'd been doing it all his life. For beginners, 2-5 minutes is enough. If you're still tight/tired, simply do it only every other day for awhile. If you buzz the way Stamp advocated, you won't tighten up. However, in my experience all players have a different tolerance for mpc. buzzing, particularly at first.

As far as the attacks and not placing pressure on the lips before the attack, it's really a matter of synchronization. The basic point is not to be pressing on your teeth while you're breathing in. Have the mpc. near your lip or lightly touching while you're breathing in, then set it in the instant the air begins to move out. Your embouchure can be very quick about setting in this way. Just don't think about it too much and let your body find a rhythm while you keep the pressure off your lip as long as possible. With practice, you'll be able to make things happen much more quickly.

Concentrate on the sounds you're producing. If the lip buzz, mpc. buzz is not free, you're not helping yourself. Same thing is true on the trumpet, naturally. And remember that the buzzing is simply a means to an end - more efficient, centered trumpet playing - and not an end in itself. If you can you need to find someone who can give you a good model for the sound to produce on the mpc., this is the key.

HTH,
TD
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grumpie38
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Location: Phoenix, Arizona

PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all for your intelligent and helpful suggestions. It's nice to know that there are people "out there" who are willing to help without being critical.

I've decided to nix the free buzzing for the time being and to attempt to get a more resonant sound on the mouthpiece. I've also decided to lose my arrogant attitude of "I don't need no stinkin' trumpet teacher" and to seek out, (hopefully someone familiar with James Stamp's methods), a teacher in the Phoenix area.

Thanx again for you help.
Bill
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trumpetherald
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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When you try to get the mpc. buzz more resonant, don't 'focus' it. Leave some air in the sound, a 'quack' sound is not really what you want, easy on the volume, easy, relaxed resonance. It's hard to describe in words, which is why a good example is the best medicine.

TD
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Lex Grantham
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keep in mind that buzzing the lips alone, buzzing the mouthpiece by itself, and buzzing the mouthpiece while it is in the trumpet are ALL different in that various levels of resistance are experienced.

I have found that if a player will keep the center of the lips relaxed as much as possible and grip the mouthpiece with the corners during the Stamp workouts, he/she may experience a relaxed tone production without a "forced" effect. And as this technique continues to be developed over time, good habits will form, and the player should find that the tone matures along the way.

I am talking about my own involvement, of course.

Sincerely,

Lex Grantham
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