How To Play Trumpet With Less Tension



  • Hi All!
    Attached is a very good video by Brian Davis on how to reduce tension when we play. I hope you find it instructional and yes, a discussion about "air" will be involved because that can often be the root of a lot of tension.



  • I used to think that to play higher, you had to go through forced, muscular gyrations. I found out later, that a lot of that came from visual hot-dogging by lead players; ego and showing off, rather than anything functional.

    I used to sit next to a first-call musician - studios, name bands - you name it. When we rehearsed or recorded, I saw almost no gyrations from him.

    Also, having played woodwinds for about 20 years, got me to changing octaves (especially into the high ranges) more like just flipping the octave keys on a sax than doing any extreme muscular movement.





  • I have always found a good Gin and Tonic lowers trumpet playing tension for me... Yep, that's the solution



  • @Dr-GO said in How To Play Trumpet With Less Tension:

    I have always found a good Gin and Tonic lowers trumpet playing tension for me... Yep, that's the solution.


    Yuck!



  • @Dr-Mark said in How To Play Trumpet With Less Tension:

    @Dr-GO said in How To Play Trumpet With Less Tension:

    I have always found a good Gin and Tonic lowers trumpet playing tension for me... Yep, that's the solution.


    Yuck!

    I am detecting some tension in your reply Dr. Mark. Something that a good Bombay Sapphire and Fever Tree could easily remedy.



  • @Dr-GO said in How To Play Trumpet With Less Tension:

    I am detecting some tension in your reply Dr. Mark. Something that a good Bombay Sapphire and Fever Tree could easily remedy.

    I'm Buying!



  • @Dr-GO said in How To Play Trumpet With Less Tension:

    I have always found a good Gin and Tonic lowers trumpet playing tension for me.

    Who said anything about tonic? 👹



  • @Kehaulani said in How To Play Trumpet With Less Tension:

    I used to think that to play higher, you had to go through forced, muscular gyrations. I found out later, that a lot of that came from visual hot-dogging by lead players; ego and showing off, rather than anything functional.


    Sooooooo true! Even the great Maynard Ferguson did antics for the audience. He sometimes looked as though he was blowing a hurricane through a straw. Did he need to do this? Well no but in Maynard's defense, he was there to entertain and we liked what we saw and for young trumpet players, some of us tried to follow in his footsteps by copying his antics which was not the best path to go down.



  • Good example. I used the antics from Maynard as the gospel on how you should do it. Not very productive in the long run.

    I did get Maynard's autograph though, after a concert - on the back of a girlfriend's photo, who had just dumped me. Maynard thought it was pretty funny. That and that I was loaded. Ah, youth. 🙄



  • @Kehaulani said in How To Play Trumpet With Less Tension:

    I used the antics from Maynard as the gospel on how you should do it. Not very productive in the long run.


    Yep, been there, done that and then, I had to learn how to play correctly. Jon Ruff's video on Jaw Placement and the Upper Register shows Jon playing in the stratosphere without the antics and is a good study about how to play in the upper register.



  • @Dr-Mark said in How To Play Trumpet With Less Tension:

    @Kehaulani said in How To Play Trumpet With Less Tension:

    I used the antics from Maynard as the gospel on how you should do it. Not very productive in the long run.


    Yep, been there, done that and then, I had to learn how to play correctly. Jon Ruff's video on Jaw Placement and the Upper Register shows Jon playing in the stratosphere without the antics and is a good study about how to play in the upper register.

    I play in the stratosphere without antics using the vertical smile (phwooo technique). It can be done without the theatrics by many such methods.



  • @Dr-GO said in How To Play Trumpet With Less Tension:

    I play in the stratosphere without antics using the vertical smile (phwooo technique). It can be done without the theatrics by many such methods.


    Sounds great! Here's a Maynard Ferguson play along minus Maynard doing McArthur Park. The sheet music is provided on the video. If you would, please record yourself as you've done in the recent past playing this piece so we can watch what you're talking about when you say "vertical smile (phwooo technique)."
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DluQRNV-S1k&list=RDDluQRNV-S1k&start_radio=1&t=37&t=37
    Thank you



  • Look up the definition of vertical smile on the internet. 👹



  • @Kehaulani
    According to Google;
    vertical-smile. Noun. (plural vertical smiles) (slang) a vagina.



  • I posted this elsewhere on TB. It's from TromboneChat.com, and it's worth a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMmJi6ssErc&feature=youtu.be



  • @Dr-Mark said in How To Play Trumpet With Less Tension:

    @Dr-GO said in How To Play Trumpet With Less Tension:

    I play in the stratosphere without antics using the vertical smile (phwooo technique). It can be done without the theatrics by many such methods.


    Sounds great! Here's a Maynard Ferguson play along minus Maynard doing McArthur Park. The sheet music is provided on the video. If you would, please record yourself as you've done in the recent past playing this piece so we can watch what you're talking about when you say "vertical smile (phwooo technique)."
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DluQRNV-S1k&list=RDDluQRNV-S1k&start_radio=1&t=37&t=37
    Thank you

    Mark, I posted my video now three times, and while it may be near the range of this example, you can see the technique in action. The day that someone video's my performance in that range, I will post it.

    And by the way: The lack of professionalism and insulting degradation of the individual posting this "challenge" is below the standards of TrumpetBoards. As a moderator, you should be better than this. I ask that you stop publicly demoralizing members on this forum just because you do not agree with their methods. Your innuendo of equating the vertical smile to that of a vagina crosses another moral line.

    Dr Mark, Please do not take your bias into the realm of obscene and insulting banter. You are better than this. I know, as I have met you, and I believe I know the real Dr. Mark.



  • @Dr-GO said in How To Play Trumpet With Less Tension:

    The lack of professionalism and insulting degradation of the individual posting this "challenge" is below the standards of TrumpetBoards. As a moderator, you should be better than this.


    Whoa, hold on.
    As far as looking up the definition of a vertical smile, that's was a cut and paste from Google. Google defined vertical smile as slang for a vagina, not me.
    Also, "YOU" are the only metric that exists when it comes to the unknown embouchure you call "The Vertical Smile". I've asked for you to present what you mean and, to educate the me and others that might be interested but you went into a lecture with pictures of facial muscles with technical names but no examples of you playing live to show us how it works. There is nothing on the Internet (and I've dug deep) and no example in my life that resembles "The Vertical Smile" embouchure that you advocate. In fact, literature suggests that a smile embouchure is to be avoided. Of what dangers does your Vertical Smile embouchure offer for some kid that wants to learn how to play in the upper register? Will it screw up their embouchure and as a result, they end up coming to a guy like me to help them fix what your advice created? Hopefully you can see where I'm coming from.
    I've offered you a beautiful Bach piece (which has a lot of really neat jumps in it!) for you to use to educate me/us but this fell on deaf ears. You then brought up the vertical smile embouchure again when discussing playing in the stratosphere so I sent a second piece, McArthur Park minus Maynard for you to show us what you mean and this too appears to have fallen on deaf ears. I understand that you taught muscle physiology but going into a mini lecture on how those muscles work just doesn't cut it. I can't speak for others but I don't want to spend time looking up every other word.
    Like I said, YOU are the only unit of measurement that exists as it pertains to "The Vertical Smile" embouchure. I'm actually on your side. Instead of boohooing your idea, I'm saying "show us", "educate us without the lecture".
    On a side note. You invented this unknown type of embouchure and you decided to call it "The Vertical Smile". Maybe you should have been a little more diligent in choosing a name if the definition of a "Vertical Smile" ( Vertical Smile is slang for a vagina) bothers you.


  • Qualified Repair Techs Credentialed Professional

    The reason that the world "embouchure" is banished from the lexicon in my teaching studio is that players will often think that xxx embouchure is something to strive for. No. One's embouchure is the result of doing things correctly for one's own body in the performance of trumpet.

    Compare it to aiming for the sub 4 minute mile, or the sub 2 hour marathon. Both of these are results which will occur given the successful implementation of particular actions.

    My heart sinks when I see students waving around the photos of successful trumpet player's faces and wanting to look like them. Visualizing their own embouchure! What a joke! The shape of the lines etc on a trumpet players face are merely the result of their having played the instrument in their own way for a long time.

    Do we copy a weight lifter's physique? No, we go the the gym and work out (or other people do!).



  • @Trumpetsplus said in How To Play Trumpet With Less Tension:

    My heart sinks when I see students waving around the photos of successful trumpet player's faces and wanting to look like them.

    In Philip Farkas' book, The Art of French Horn Playing, he's got a number of photos of top horn players' embouchures. The first thing one is hit with is that no two embouchures are exactly the same.


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