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1890 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  blindside398
Hey all, I'm primarily a sax player, but I decided to get a handle on the brass instruments too as of late. Anyhoo, my first instrument in the brass family to tackle was the trumpet, and I was wondering if anyone had any embouchure tips for me.

My low C comes out okay, and so does my high C. My middle C struggles, as does all of my middle notes (on the staff). It's actually kind of ridiculous, I can play my high notes PERFECTLY, very clear, and my low notes really well and pretty clear. But I really struggle in the middle :/.

I think it would also be suiting if I told you I've only been playing about a day >.< I know practice is my best bet, but I was just wondering if anyone had tips so I don't screw up my embouchure and start off with something bad. Thanks :).

Also, anyone happen to have an extra 3C laying around that they don't want? :D
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Play long-note slurs in and out of those regions. i.e. low C up to G -hold the G- back to C, and the reverse: high C down to G -hold it- and back up. Use intervals in the overtone series, i.e. the same fingering for each set of notes.

Also get a standard flexibility exercise book like Chas. Colin and play these slowly, using them more as long-tone exercises.

High C as a beginner with no problems and clear as a bell? I hate you! :D
Thanks gary, I just kind of wish I could play the middle notes well ^_^.

I think I have fat lips :D. But I'll make sure to get one of the books. And about the 3C, I like that it has a bit of a bigger cup. I used my friends at school and got a LOT more clear of a sound. Thanks again.

Here's a little sound clip of it (even though it's terrible, the mic doesn't do it justice :D).

As you can see, I have a lot of trouble going between notes...but not always. I think that has to do with my air flow, and I need to make it a lot more steady. Also, I feel like I literally have to change my embouchure to play from staffed A and higher. Like I use one embouchure for a low A, then I have to change it once I get to middle A, then at high A I'm just blowing freely lol. I'm weird =[
Longtones until you can do them no more!!

and also lip slurs like gary mentioned
I suspect part of your problem is the tongue and part is the requirement for higher and steadier pressure from your diaphragm with only moderate contact pressure on the mouthpiece. These things are different from what you experience playing the sax. The tenor and sop saxes are very easy to blow. The trumpet is easy once you get used to it and learn to play with as little effort as possible. But it takes a lot of effort to get to that stage where you can relax a little.

The good thing is horns do not interfere with your lip muscles for sax or vice versa. But you will have to develop specific muscles for the brass horns.

Practice buzzing on the trumpet mouthpiece by itself. Make a nice tone. Gradually learn to reduce the pressure against the mouthpiece.
Thanks, Tom. I know it's only been 5 days, but I've made leaps and strides towards good sounds on this horn. I started playing graduation music with the freshmen at our school, and one of them today said, "Dude, you've been playing less than a week and you already sound better than me", then he said something else that isn't appropriate for the forums =]. It made me feel good. I've been doing some practicing with my band director, and he gave me some good tips, and he also gave me a 3C because I "had potential", and he said I might even be putting away my bari for graduation and playing trumpet, because we really need trumpets that can play the music (I may not make it sound great, but I know the rhythms :D).

Anyways, here's my Bb to show how my sound has improved if you want to listen:

Oh, and yeah, Tom. I realized that about the relaxation. I've literally been playing for 5+ hours a night for the past 5 days, and I can honestly say I've figured out quite a bit about the horn. I have no lip swelling, or pain, so I'm pretty sure my horn is being placed correctly (I know little pressure is my best bet, one day I want to hit that triple C =]). I am having trouble switching on spot between sax and trumpet. The trumpet uses all different muscles than the bari, and when I'm switching instruments, I need about a 5 minute warm up period before I can play anything of value on trumpet - It's almost like my entire face needs to switch lol.

I've been doing long tones, lip slurs, and activities from a trumpet book for tone a surplus of 3+ hours a day, then the rest of the time has been put into reading music, memorizing notes (I know the chromatic fingerings now from G-C-G, not that I can play that high! :)), and just trying to make the horn sound good. Thanks for the help, everyone, and for whoever suggest trumpetherald in another post; this website has helped me out loads.
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I agree with Tom. Your problem with middle c may come from pulling the horn in too tightly. This is a natural thing to do on high notes, and it may be causing your poor tone through the middle. Relax ,and bear down less.
Buzzing through the mpc is an easy exercise,and it's easy for you to carry
the mpc around. Concentrate on steady, even tones while doing this.

Good luck,
I've been playing adamently since then, day by day, and I must say, my range has sky rocketed (I've gotten a lot of help from a good friend of mine, all state trumpet player), and my sound has gotten SO much better. Before school ended, my band teacher was letting me play pretty much when I wanted with the other bands on the trumpet, and even let me play lead for the freshmen band :D. I know the music isn't hard, but it was fun to play on a new instrument ^_^. Anywho, just thought I'd share back, things are loads better since then and they keep getting better =].
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