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rebeginning cornet

brass cornet upper range

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#1 ten left thumbs

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 23:16

Anyone else here play brass? I'm restarting cornet now, having been playing for about 6 months after a break of many decades. At school I had lessons for many years and played in the band and orchestra. I even have a grade 5 certificate somewhere.

 

What I find is (1) my upper range is pathetic and (2) I just don't remember how fast I progressed when I was 10 - so I don't know what to expect. I've been using the Boosey Brass book, which is great, and I've got to the point I can play upper C's. Fine. However, when I start to add C#'s and D's, not fine. Unsure how much I should push myself as I feel really knackered at the end of half an hour's practice. 

 

Any ideas?


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#2 Splog

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 23:38

Which C are you talking about?


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#3 UnnaturalHarmonics

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 08:18

Assuming you mean third space C, I understand why that would be frustrating! The most obvious thing that occurs to me (and this is only a guess, but the odds are nonetheless good) is that probably your adult sensitivity is getting in the way. Your subconscious is aware you don't sound like a professional cornet player, it doesn't entirely like the noise just yet and it's thinking about people overhearing you... you've got to ignore all that and play like you did when you were first beginning, as a child. That's really loud. Put lots of air through it. Take a massive breath and let the air do the work. Use it to get you up there. Maybe get a practice mute if you're not happy with the idea of everyone overhearing this! The problem is, if you're only practising mp you'll find a way of getting those notes that isn't sustainable such as too much mouthpiece pressure.

Long notes every day will help develop your embouchure and give you dynamic control. Start mp, cresc to ff and then diminuendo to nothing. The next day, start ff, dim then cresc. The next day do them all F. The next day sfp. Etc etc. Start on middle Cish and work upwards, but don't do them as high as you can go. Just as high as you feel comfortable. Then every so often try adding a semitone to see how it goes.

Half an hour at a stretch is plenty so don't worry about feeling tired. If you want to do an hour, do it in two half hour chunks. Oh, and listen to your lip. If you feel tired, have a rest! I usually find that if I've been hammering it a bit, the day after a rest day I make a much better sound and find everything sort of slightly easier than I did before. I think the brain and lip have a chat without me knowing and coordinate a few things between them overnight!

More air, though. Supported with muscles from your core (i refuse to say 'diaphragm' as it's not actually that one, but i don't know the name of the ones you do use). Stick your chest out like a proud robin. All this takes the pressure off your embouchure. You can worry about finesse when you've trained up your muscles a bit more.

If you're terraced, now might be a good time to take some home baking round to the neighbours.
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#4 UnnaturalHarmonics

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 08:20

PS if you mean the C above that, then all the above advice still applies. But you might want to take some *really, really good* home baking round to the neighbours.
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#5 ten left thumbs

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 09:16

More air. This is what I remember my teacher saying. OK, more air.

 

I'm talking about 3rd space C, not high high C. I did used to be able to play that. I play in a back room adjoining the neighbour's greenhouse, and their tomatoes haven't complained yet. Probably because it's February.

 

More air, use my core, listen to my lip. 

 

Got it, thanks. :)

 

When I start complaining I can't get high C, my neighbours have permission to shoot me.


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#6 Norway

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 09:44

Are you going to join a brass band? Just about everyone is short of cornets right now.


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#7 ten left thumbs

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 12:06

... which brings me to my next question.

 

So, I just practiced and managed about 20 minutes with lots of air. Taking the view 'if you can't play it 4 beats ff, you can't play it', my upper range is now down to a G (2nd line). Which is fine if I begin to see real progress. :)

 

Now, I did join a band, a non-auditioning one, and they are lovely and friendly. In the band, traditionally, everyone sits. How does anyone sit and actually breathe? Is there a trick to this? To breathe, I need to stand. Now, no one has said that you mustn't stand in the band. But I would feel pretty silly...


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#8 sbhoa

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 12:08

... which brings me to my next question.

 

So, I just practiced and managed about 20 minutes with lots of air. Taking the view 'if you can't play it 4 beats ff, you can't play it', my upper range is now down to a G (2nd line). Which is fine if I begin to see real progress. :)

 

Now, I did join a band, a non-auditioning one, and they are lovely and friendly. In the band, traditionally, everyone sits. How does anyone sit and actually breathe? Is there a trick to this? To breathe, I need to stand. Now, no one has said that you mustn't stand in the band. But I would feel pretty silly...

Sit up properly. Don't sit all the way back on the chair. Both feet on the ground.


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#9 ten left thumbs

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 12:11

 

... which brings me to my next question.

 

So, I just practiced and managed about 20 minutes with lots of air. Taking the view 'if you can't play it 4 beats ff, you can't play it', my upper range is now down to a G (2nd line). Which is fine if I begin to see real progress. :)

 

Now, I did join a band, a non-auditioning one, and they are lovely and friendly. In the band, traditionally, everyone sits. How does anyone sit and actually breathe? Is there a trick to this? To breathe, I need to stand. Now, no one has said that you mustn't stand in the band. But I would feel pretty silly...

Sit up properly. Don't sit all the way back on the chair. Both feet on the ground.

 

I do, and not too lady-like either, even so I don't see how to breathe sitting down. The rest of the band clearly manage it, as some of them are really good.


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#10 sbhoa

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  • Tameside

Posted 16 February 2014 - 12:13

 

 

... which brings me to my next question.

 

So, I just practiced and managed about 20 minutes with lots of air. Taking the view 'if you can't play it 4 beats ff, you can't play it', my upper range is now down to a G (2nd line). Which is fine if I begin to see real progress. :)

 

Now, I did join a band, a non-auditioning one, and they are lovely and friendly. In the band, traditionally, everyone sits. How does anyone sit and actually breathe? Is there a trick to this? To breathe, I need to stand. Now, no one has said that you mustn't stand in the band. But I would feel pretty silly...

Sit up properly. Don't sit all the way back on the chair. Both feet on the ground.

 

I do, and not too lady-like either, even so I don't see how to breathe sitting down. The rest of the band clearly manage it, as some of them are really good.

 

Practice playing seated sometimes.


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#11 ten left thumbs

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 15:01

 

 

 

... which brings me to my next question.

 

So, I just practiced and managed about 20 minutes with lots of air. Taking the view 'if you can't play it 4 beats ff, you can't play it', my upper range is now down to a G (2nd line). Which is fine if I begin to see real progress. :)

 

Now, I did join a band, a non-auditioning one, and they are lovely and friendly. In the band, traditionally, everyone sits. How does anyone sit and actually breathe? Is there a trick to this? To breathe, I need to stand. Now, no one has said that you mustn't stand in the band. But I would feel pretty silly...

Sit up properly. Don't sit all the way back on the chair. Both feet on the ground.

 

I do, and not too lady-like either, even so I don't see how to breathe sitting down. The rest of the band clearly manage it, as some of them are really good.

 

Practice playing seated sometimes.

 

Indeed. Will try tomorrow. And maybe I need to use my chest more? Who knows...


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#12 sbhoa

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  • Tameside

Posted 16 February 2014 - 15:49

 

 

 

 

... which brings me to my next question.

 

So, I just practiced and managed about 20 minutes with lots of air. Taking the view 'if you can't play it 4 beats ff, you can't play it', my upper range is now down to a G (2nd line). Which is fine if I begin to see real progress. :)

 

Now, I did join a band, a non-auditioning one, and they are lovely and friendly. In the band, traditionally, everyone sits. How does anyone sit and actually breathe? Is there a trick to this? To breathe, I need to stand. Now, no one has said that you mustn't stand in the band. But I would feel pretty silly...

Sit up properly. Don't sit all the way back on the chair. Both feet on the ground.

 

I do, and not too lady-like either, even so I don't see how to breathe sitting down. The rest of the band clearly manage it, as some of them are really good.

 

Practice playing seated sometimes.

 

Indeed. Will try tomorrow. And maybe I need to use my chest more? Who knows...

 

Think about filling your lungs from the bottom up  (that helps me).

How do you breathe when standing that is different?


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#13 Tenor Viol

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 16:10

PS if you mean the C above that, then all the above advice still applies. But you might want to take some *really, really good* home baking round to the neighbours.

:rofl:


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#14 Splog

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 17:43

Breathing exercises:

 

1. Put a hand on your belly button and another on your back and do a long "ssssss". Feel your abdomen tighten up, and your hands coming together. Once you have let out all your air, relax your abdomen. You should feel your lungs filling up with air without any effort. This gives the feeling of the bottom-up breathing mentioned above.

 

2. Imagine there is a lift-shaft inside your chest. As you breathe in, imagine the lift is going down into your tummy. You should feel this area expand, and as this happens, it draws the diaphragm down, creating a vacuum in the lungs, which then fill up with air.

 

Now sit on a chair, with your shoulders over your sitting bones.  Do these exercises again. It's fairly easy to breathe sitting down. As long as you are quite upright, so that your windpipe is fairly vertical, you should be ok.


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#15 owainsutton

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 18:02

There's some great breathing exercises here:


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