Attacks

  My first attacks are always bad. After the first one its ok. There are a couple of possible things going on here. Physical : Improper chop setting (too tense creates a seal that will not let air out) Not timing the elements of the attack together (breath, tongue,air support, air flow) Sensation (the student does not yet feel the note but relies on sound to make the proper pitch.) A drill combining sight singing and playing can help here. Mental: Nerves (I’ve seen people who were so concerned about being wrong that they could not play a scale in front of another person.) This is a tough one and takes a great deal of time. Being unsure (A sensation drill can solve this.) Both physical and mental : This is most likely the case here. Work on the sensation drill and on setting up drills. Play a note remove […]

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Reserve power

To break into the real power portion of your playing you either need to be superman or you must learn to economize. When I first went to ‘Jake’ I was ‘playing’ in symphony and lead in jazz band. I had already long since switched embouchures from Farkas, to Maggio to Stevens. With the Stevens I could ‘play’ super g at will. My first lesson was a complete let down. I was only allowed to play a simple lip slur from second line g to middle c. I was told that I would need to learn how to breathe and when to use support. He had me place my hand on my stomach and play the lip slur. I took a breath turned the air around and played a supported g-c lip slur. I was told not to use my abdominals on notes that low . He played a lip slur […]

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Air or embouchure problem

Are there really embouchure problems? Can’t air fix all of them? Proper breathing IS proper breathing. It does not matter if you learn from a sax player, tuba player, singer or even a trumpet player. I say proper because trumpet does have a few differences that are not related to the above mentioned musicians. For instance the sax does have a REAL octave key. The tuba in its upper register only needs 1/8 th the pressure that a trumpet player needs to play a high c. And our notes do go up from there. (Ever see a tuba player pass out while playing? NO a trumpet player should NOT pass out but it does happen.) In theory it does work in the same way so clearly a tuba player could teach air usage. However I think that a trumpet player would understand our needs and requirements more fully. As for […]

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Stomach lift and half breath

People always resist taking a half breath in the upper register. Do a stomach lift (without playing). Then you will understand why a half breath works and can use it quicker. Take a full breath, pull the stomach as far in as possible and try to lift it toward the lungs. You can’t do it. Take a full breath and blow most of it away. Then try the lift. It is easier to do. This way I can prove to you that a full breath PREVENTS the abdominal muscles from properly compressing the air for high notes. The compression (bringing the stomach in) will speed up the air. The lift (pulling the stomach up to the chest) will force air from your lungs. Practice half breaths and the stomach lift WITHOUT a horn. Just work on the breathing. Use both the lift and timed (half) breathing together. Be a breath […]

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Air vs embouchure

The power of air vs an embouchure change There are thousands of variables in trumpet playing. I have had and will continue to have people who add anywhere from a third to a fifth in an in person lesson. The octave is rare but does indeed happen. 2 octaves never. I know of other teachers who have had the same thing happen. Don’t underestimate the power of the airstream. I’ve seen players with degrees up to AND including DMAs receive great benefits from an AIR lesson. Also playing pros, teachers… This includes players with up to 60 years of experience. (My oldest student to date was 74.) My lesson on Monday did NOT add a single note during his lesson. I took the airy sound out of his tone, fixed his tonguing problem, taught him to relax and freed up the sound of his lower register. I helped him to […]

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High note endurance

It is not unusual for a H.S. senior to have endurance problems above high c. It is usually from a couple of sources. 1. AIR (you need compression for those high notes) 2. AIR (you need to blow faster air for those high notes) 3. AIR (you are overblowing) Most people confuse air speed with air mass. If you take in a great deal of air (big breath) it is TOO hard to compress the air and let the speed assist you in the upper register. Your breathing aparatus is overworking due to poor technique and it is a breathing endurance rather than a chop endurance problem. I say this because you describe such a STRONG high c. And a sudden loss of range from high f down to c. This overblowing is usually caused by…. 4. TOO MUCH embouchure tension. There is a mental image of high notes being […]

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