WindWorks Trumpet Academy Forums WindWorks My Staccato is bad!

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    • #23048
      fmaziers
      Participant

      Hi all,
      Although I play correctly slurs, legato, with a relax embouchure with the help of the aahooh shape.
      When I try to play shorts notes (staccatos) I feel that my shape gets disorganized and so the sound is not very precise and I have a tongue-in-cheek sensation.
      Can someone help me?

    • #23053
      johnelwood
      Participant

      Hard to say, other than if you are having difficulty tonguing freely / naturally in all registers (generally) then you must be doing something that is unnatural–that is to say against the most efficient way of playing.

      I recall early on having difficulty tonguing a bit myself. I don’t recall having a tongue-in-cheek feeling, but I recall feeling that I was better at slurring than tonguing–that my newfound range was not useful in that I couldn’t articulate.

      So I started doing some scale exercises that went through all registers I could play and worked on playing some music that involved articulation.

      Before too long, it wasn’t a problem anymore.

      I have found that less seems to be more–that when I overthink things or try to take a linear-straight line approach to playing, I overdo something and get in my own way.

      When I stay relaxed, only do the minimal amount needed (air, tightening the corners), my sound, resonance, flexibility and range are best.

      I have limited time to practice as well–I am an amateur with a day job and family responsibilities, so I try not to spend 100% of my time doing harmonic slurs throughout my range and trying to push the envelope the whole time (“gladiator trumpet”)–I have caught myself doing that and that has led me to bad habits, which seem to come quickly and be hard to get rid of.

      I think I’m getting better and identifying when I am tensing / pinching my lips.

      I also think I was playing with too forward or puckered of an embouchre early on–I could only play deeper mouthpieces, when I tried playing a shallow mouthpiece I bottomed out. I’ve been playing a shallow mouthpiece for the past couple months and it feels natural now and good and I think it’s helping me play with a flatter (I think) and more efficient (I think) embouchre.

      Perhaps you are overthinking / overdoing the pucker thing a bit, perhaps like I was. The aaah ooohh is critical in mindset in ensuring that I tighten the corners (only as little as necessary and slightly/gradually) rather than clamping down top to bottom in the middle and cutting off the vibrating surface, rather than letting the top middle lip vibrate freely in the air column. But it’s more of a feeling of being relaxed than being puckered and forward the whole time–Greg doesn’t play with a pucker / forward embouchre 100% of the time in all registers.

      Good luck–hope you work yourself through this temporary setback. I know how frustrating those can be. Perhaps play some music and focus on the sound and experiment with what gives you the most resonant, open sound and allows you to articulate freely–that may help give you a clue into what’s going on.

    • #23098
      fmaziers
      Participant

      Hi John,
      Thanks a lot for your reply.
      It’s very clear and helps me a lot.
      Kind regards!

    • #23154
      Daniel OLeary
      Participant

      Fmaz, can you do one clean staccato ?
      If so can you do two in a row ?
      If you can do two in a row I’m betting you can do 3 pretty easily and if you can do 3 , just do 3s, don’t even try to do 4. Just do threes till your so tired of doing threes you wind up doing fours just to take a break from doing threes.

    • #23158
      johnelwood
      Participant

      You’re welcome, fmaziers. I’m no authority–I’m on this journey as well but hopefully my sharing my experiences with you was helpful.

      At the end of the day, I think specifically what we need to do to play as efficently and as well as possible depends upon our personal physical characteristics (i.e. lips, teeth, etc.), gear (trumpet, mouthpiece) and what style we want to play in.

      Ultimately, we’re interacting with an air column that is flowing through our body into the instrument–we need to do whatever we need to do to get our lip(s) vibrating at the velocity it needs to vibrate at to achieve the desired pitch. If we do too much (i.e. tighten too much, blow too hard, clamp down top-to-bottom), we interfere with that vibration.

      What I need to do specifically may be slightly different from what you need to do.

      Changing from a deeper to shallower mouthpiece has given me a different perspective a bit. Yesterday, I played my deeper mouthpieces for a bit and was able to play them and they felt good. But when I switched back to the shallow mouthpiece, I was able to play that as well.

      Your post got me thinking about articulation–I played some scales yesterday.

      You might want to experiment a bit with slightly different settings to see what works best for you–what gives you the best sound and feeling when you’re playing.

      Greg mentions the 1% rule–everyone, now matter how great, should strive each day to gain increased efficiency and the best sound possible as ultimately that’s what it’s all about. Playing a high note that sounds like $%&*# isn’t what I’m looking for and I think it’s important we focus primarily on the sound as that will keep us on the right track.

      If what you’re doing is negatively impacting your sound or ability to articulate, you might be overdoing something and may want to experiment with subtle changes that ease that up for you.

      The Aaaahhh Ooooh is, I believe, more of an approach or mentality to get us focused on tightening the aperture (slightly, subtly, only as much as necessary) from the corners inward without clamping down from the top/middle–which cuts off the vibration as that is (I believe) the vibrating surface.

      I try to think of the top middle of my lip vibrating in the air column as I’m playing and trying to keep that free by trying to keep that part of my lips relaxed.

      You may also want to experiment with the various tonguings that Greg demonstrates as well–one of those may help you improve your staccato.

      Good luck!

    • #53496
      Tomvanleeuwen
      Participant

      Hi fmaziers

      I’m replying to a quite old post, I know, but I relate to what you’re describing (you’re shape getting disorganised when you start doing staccato). I just found out that I also got to the point where I had a good shape after the aa — ooh, but when the staccato starts, my corners seem to relax with every note I play (going back to the relaxed aaa-feel). So I focused on that this morning, keeping the exact same shape/tension during the 16th notes (very slowly though) and I got a whole new feeling about how a staccato could feel and sound like.

      Maybe this could help (as far as you didn’t resolve it already).

      Very curious myself what this will lead to!

      Good luck,
      Tom

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