Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, just wondering if there are any piccolo experts or teachers out there who might have advice for me. I have a cupid's bow and have surmounted that problem on the flute, but on the piccolo it is causing problems on notes higher than high G. My lips come together and buzz like a brass player. I have tried making the hole smaller, playing out of one side (like I do on flute) but it just doesn't work (no sound comes out basically). Not sure if anything can be done but I would appreciate any feedback. Thank you very much!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,142 Posts
Have you tried taking a lesson with a piccolo player? I mean, it's sorta hard to suggest something without seeing what you are doing.

That being said, if I don't play piccolo a couple times a week, I can't get past G either. If it is on the practice rotation, it's not a problem, but if it is off the rotation, I frequently make a brass player buzz.

I think it is probably more an endurance thing than anything else. I'd suggest doing long tones on B to put to F for about 10 minutes before you add G. That usually is enough time for my lips to be warmed up to attempt high notes.

Of course, any practicing of long tones should be done using a tuner to see if you are keeping it in pitch.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
Joined
·
21,149 Posts
The Suzuki method for small kids uses uncooked rice. You try to spit it out the small opening in the lips. Never tried it myself!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks ericdano for the suggestion. Unfortunately I live in a small town with only one community orchestra (which I just got into as piccolo) and there are no piccolo teachers. But I will keep looking and try your suggestions--maybe it's not my cupid's bow after all.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
4,163 Posts
I think any piccolo player, cupid's bow or not, has troubles on anything above high G!

You don't need to find a "piccolo teacher"; I don't think they exist, since no one specializes in piccolo. What you need to find is an expert flute player. They will be able to give you guidance with piccolo.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Find a "flute teacher" (college level) and take a few lessons. By observation and questions, you'll be able to understand the basic concepts by seeing and hearing. DO NOT change your embouchure from the flute. Keep corners firm, not tight, descend chromatically from D2:line4: - D1:space0: keeping air pressure steady and gently "sqeeze a bb" keeping timbre as consistent as possible. Afterwords, then same exercise ascending D2 - D3 achieving timbre continuity. It takes work, after a month, you should hear an improve in ease and tone. PRACTICE THE FLUTE. Without one, you do not have the either.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
352 Posts
Not sure how the cupid's bow would stop you from playing that high on piccolo. How high can you comfortably go on flute? If you think of your upper register air on flute, and focus it even more, you should be able to use that concept for piccolo. I strongly suggest the Trevor Wye books, especially "A Piccolo Practice Book" and the "Practice Books for Flute".
http://www.trevorwye.com/books.page7.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
97 Posts
It sounds like you are tightening too much, you do NOT want to buzz like that. You do need air support. And earplugs.

I would also suggest flute lessons with someone who plays piccolo- our town has several flute teachers, and all can play piccolo, but one teacher is quite a lot more proficient on piccolo. In a big metro area, you probably CAN find a piccolo specialist, though they will definitely also play the flute. Perhaps you could travel once or twice a year to get a concentrated set of lessons from them, or possibly via skype or video on the internet.

Piccolo-specific books might be of some help, I like the 'Piccolo, Piccolo' books, Danielle Eden wrote/edited them. Trevor Wye would be great, also.

But you should NEVER pinch to squeak out any high notes, you will have to blow and support the air.
It could also be worth your while to have a tech look over your instrument.
 

·
Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
Joined
·
17,204 Posts
Same as high notes on flute.
Plenty air pressure from lungs. (I that what "support" means?)
Make the lip aperture really small by very slightly pressing the lips closer together.
Without the combination, you will not never get the slim, very fast, turbulence-free airstream that is required.
Without the second, you will not achieve good air pressure from your lungs to the back of your lips. (So is 2 what is meant by "support"?)
Don't pull the lips tight aginst teeth, nor pull the corners of the lips into a more pronounced smile.
If you buzz, then you will be practicing buzzing, and getting better at buzzing. That will be disastrous for both piccolo and flute playing.
If you buzz, then maybe you have not got enough lip control to be playing piccolo yet.
If you buzz, then you almost certainly need flute lessons from a teacher accomplished enough that he/she can play top notes soft and sweet.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member, musician, technician &
Joined
·
5,031 Posts
Plenty air pressure from lungs. (I that what "support" means?)
This is not support for playing woodwinds. A lot of people play with support, some don't. A lot of players who use support do it unconciously, or if not, are not aware of what exactly they are doing. Actually it is impossible to feel you are doing it other than getting a different result because it's using muscles you can't feel, sort of.

Support actually means two things that are both similar and also almost the opposite. It can be something that only goes along to help, or it can be something to offer contra. For example, the former can be fans cheering you, supporting you. The latter can be putting the other hand on the table while arm wrestling, for support. When playing, it's the latter. I can't explain it that great, but it's basically "resisting" the blowing with muscles. I'm not sure of the terms and names in English.

The best explanation I found of support is by clarinetist Tony Pay.
 

·
Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
Joined
·
17,204 Posts
The air that enters the mouth has various properties including moisture content, carbon dioxide content, warmth, etc, but the only quality that has any relevance to "support" is its pressure. That is imparted by the abdominal muscles and the intercostal (between the ribs) muscles, and possibly opposed by the diaphragm, whose actual function is to inhale, not exhale.

It also has the property of speed, which is relevant IMO only if the flow passes a constriction that at that speed, causes the air to become turbulent.

It also has the property of shape, which is highly relevant for reed players, but I doubt it has much relevance for flute/piccolo players unless it causes constriction - see above. After all, the sound of the instrument is created a few mm outside the player's body, and the mouth as a resonant chamber is separated from that by a very small lip orifice with pretty fast wind blowing out of it. so how would what is happening outside the body "feedback"/"communicate" significantly with what is inside the body.

All in my analytical opinion, with some formal fluid dynamics education behind it. :)
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top