Wednesday (12/21/11) 1:11am - ... wherein Peter posts trumpet-lesson notes.
Here are my notes from today's trumpet lesson:
Don't "blowfish" your cheeks. Yes, Dizzy Gillespie gets to do that, but he's a special case. Typically, blowing out your cheeks stretches your lips taut and leaves you with you less control over your embouchure.
Don't let your air die out on low notes.
When a low note switches from sounding pure & bright to sounding gravelly and growly, that's because you're not giving the note enough air.
Constant air all the time.
Don't push *too* hard on the low notes either.
Open your throat a bit on those low notes, to give your mouth a bit more of a 'resonance chamber'.
Order of events: set, breathe, play.
Set the horn in place.
Breathe in through your mouth.
Then play a note.
This makes you less likely to 'tense up' between inhaling and exhaling
Also, between inhalation and exhalation, you want to get your mouth positioned right.
As opposed to finding the embouchure *while* you're exhaling.
Breathe in through the mouth (not the nose) so that you get more air.
Also, it means you don't have to readjust from 'nose mode' to 'mouth mode', breathing-wise.
Breathe like you do for singing -- breathe deep into your diaphragm, and support the breath from your torso instead of trying to squeeze it out of your neck.
Also, support the note the way you support singing.
Don't be forced to do "football notes", where you ease into finding the note and ease off of it. You want to at least be *capable* of finding the note instantaneously. (This is true of both voice and trumpet.)
Types of buzzing:
Free buzzing: just buzzing your lips.
Mouthpiece buzzing: buzzing with the mouthpiece.
Instrument buzzing: buzzing with the horn.
When you free-buzz, note where the air is coming out.
Odds are, that's where the horn should go.
And the air's direction indicates the correct angle for the horn.
Note that everybody has their own location/direction
It's largely dependent on dental structure.
You want to get to the point where you can find the note instantly, instead of meandering towards it.
Sort of like hitting the correct pitch in singing.
To use the water keys:
Put a towel on the floor.
Aim the horn down at it.
Open the main water key.
Blow through the horn to blow out the spit.
Open the third-valve water key, and push down the third valve.
Again, blow through the horn to blow out the spit.
When you start hearing a 'ticking' sound in the note, that usually means the horn has gotten spitty.
Some people fall into using pressure, from the horn, against the lips, to make it possible to hit a higher note.
This can work (as a crutch of sorts), but it makes your lips feel awful, so don't do it.
For hitting higher registers (say the higher G), try lifting your tongue up a bit for faster air.
Note that "G" on a Bb trumpet is "F" on a piano.
Be sure you're holding the horn solidly with your left hand.
For me, curling the middle finger through the ring, putting the thumb behind the valves, and letting the other fingers curl in where they will seems to work.
Note: after you oil the valves, try blowing through the horn and make sure the air flows.
If it's obstructed, you probably put a valve in backwards.
A useful breathing exercise: try to blow over a sheet a of paper that's held at the bottom.
Try to do it with proper embouchure
Think of it as knocking over one particular dot on the page.
Figure out the location/direction of your air, so you can *aim* it at that dot.
Try it with the paper at further and further distances.
For next time, practice a C scale. Here are the fingerings for that.
Open (low C)
1st and 3rd
1st and 2nd
Open (higher G)
1st and 2nd
Open (higher C)
Some additional notes about scales.
Practice the transitions between pairs of notes to get muscle memory.
Don't change your embouchure when you go from one fingering to another.
You know full well you don't need to, but you'll still be tempted to.
Only change your embouchure to hit different fundamentals.
(e.g., raise your tongue a bit to hit higher fundamentals.)