Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Beginning TRUMPET Players Beware!

In the world of a beginning brass student (trumpet, trombone, euphonium, baritone,tuba), things look very overwhelming and the teacher seems to be the all knowing, so what the brass teacher says, usually seems as though it's the only way for things to be done.

Trumpet with sunlight streaming into Knox Chap...
Trumpet with sunlight streaming into Knox Chapel, taken during Christmas concert
(Photo credit: 

Brass teachers can tend to leave holes in the instructions to a young student as to the proper way for them to produce sound.  Most trumpet students end up with a pinched sound or extremely airy sound due to the lips not properly forming a relaxed embouchure.  This eventually leads to extreme frustration for the student and seems absolutely insurmountable because they can't find the answer to correct their problems.

Basically, by relaxing the upper lip, lower lip, and using the mouth corners to create the aperture the student can instantly create a relaxed open sound without having to over blow.

If the student is under the impression that it takes "talent" or a "natural ability" to play their instrument, this can also create a defeated feeling.  So it's VITAL that the trumpet instructor / brass instructor relay the message to each student that it is habit that is being created when practicing.  So if the student is careless in the beginning, they will have habits that they must fix or break in months and years to come.  I've found that sound problems usually indicate far more than just tonality issues.  A trumpeter's tone can indicate pinching, an overly open aperture, a lack of air usage, or a strained embouchure.  This will inhibit flexibility, range, endurance, and control of various volumes!

    Keith Fiala / Anna Romano
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