Peter Rogers's Blog
Artist-in-Residence at Chez Firth
Wednesday (1/18/12) 12:58am - ... wherein Peter has another trumpet lesson.
Here are my notes from my latest trumpet lesson.
- Currently, I'm hitting C fairly reliably, the G above that most of the time, and the C above that kind of rarely.
- ... and all of those notes are kind of out of control.
- Practice in front of a mirror.
- This lets you watch your embouchure
- You can see stuff you're doing wrong.
- Keep trying to change up your approach to playing.
- Playing on a new spot on your lips.
- Varying your embouchure.
- Hell, even raising your eyebrows.
- Keep trying new stuff.
- See what works and what doesn't.
- You already know not to "blowfish" your cheeks.
- You also don't want to blow out your upper or lower lip.
- Keep your lower lip/chin flat, if possible.
- That makes it much harder to control things.
- You can practice with a pencil.
- Grit your teeth.
- Put the end of a pencil up against the middle of your incisors.
- Purse your lips around a pencil.
- This illustrates which muscles you'll be using to make your embouchure.
- You're using lower-lip muscles to hold the embouchure.
- To change the note, change the size of the embouchure.
- They're *supporting* the embouchure, but they're relaxed.
- Don't do anything with the upper-lip muscles.
- Just let those sit solidly in place.
- You don't have a lot of control over upper-lip muscles.
- You can't really do much with them, beyond sneering.
- Try to keep your embouchure the same for all notes.
- Even a pro trumpeter will vary the embouchure a bit.
- Don't let your lips pucker *out*.
- Typically, you always want them a little "rolled in".
- Always make sure you're providing lots of air.
- Again, the 'growly' sound means 'not enough air'.
- Something to try: play really, obnoxiously loud.
- This forces you to play with lots of air.
- Opening up your aperture will let more air out.
- If you have an incentive spirometer, you can use that to show you whether you're providing enough air or not.
- Just plug a mouthpiece into the intake tube.
- Then, try buzzing on different notes.
- You can also do this with inflating a balloon.
- You want your embouchure to be *relaxed* in the center part.
- This is the 'aperture'.
- If it's too tense, it could keep air from coming out.
- Remember you want your mouthpiece-work to be about half-buzz, half-air.
- Watch professional trumpeters on youtube.
- *See* what a good embouchure looks like.
- This gives you something to *look* like while playing.
- Again, practice in front of a mirror.
- Focus more on scales than just hitting fundamentals.
- Use fingering charts.
- Make sure you're not using the wrong fingerings and then correcting for it with your mouth.
- Instead of shifting embouchure abruptly from one fundamental to the next, you slowly adjust it as you go.
- But don't radically shift your embouchure for every single note.
- Or for intimidating-feeling notes.
- Typically, don't go for the next higher note until you feel solid and satisfied with the note that you're on.
- Rest your tongue against the top of your incisors.
- Try to hit half-tooth, half-gums, maybe a *bit* more gum.
- The ratio actually affects the notes' attack.
- Now, say "da, da, da".
- Your tongue starts at that tooth/gum position.
- And then it gets out of the way.
- Maybe think "dha, dha, dha"
- The 'h' is aspiration -- where the air starts moving.
- It's a timing thing -- you want your tongue to get out of the way just as the air starts coming.
- Keep your jaw from moving as you say this.
- Perhaps plant your left hand on your jaw to verify it's staying still.
- You can now try that with the trumpet, playing notes.
- There's also double-tonguing and triple-tonguing.
- Use those for duple and triple meter.
- Be persistent.
- If something works, do it over and over 'til it's a habit.
- For the Renuzit mute, try shaving down the weatherstripping.
- It might stay in place then.
tired · Music:
I played trumpet for seven years and no one told me any of these things. Maybe I would have liked it more. Sigh.
Peter, you bastard, I just did all those things here at my desk.