From:          "Michael J. Barry" <>
Subject:       Re: playing a song...

At 09:56 PM 3/10/98 -0500, you wrote:
>I need some more pointers.  I have learned how to do scales, I do exercises
>after exercises in my Clark Technical Studies and the Van Cleave book, but
>when I pick up a hymnal to play a song I wear out.  I mean, my muscles in
>the face just give out after a few minutes.

        I used to have this same fact, I didn't *really* resolve it until  the summer _after_ I finished grad school.  I had gotten to the point where I could play through Charlier etudes and play them well, but I was always on my teeth by the last few notes.  In fact, playing a bunch of hymns would waste me quicker than anything else I faced.

        I finally solved the problem when my teacher explained to me that I was blowing incorrectly when I played the hymn-type pieces.  Apparently, my mind was saying "soft and even, therefore not a lot of air intensity is required" and I would fold on the piece.

        We hear and talk a lot about eliminating excessive embouchure tension, but going too far the other way is just as bad.  I had this problem as well during lyrical pieces, and combined with my pooty airstream I'm amazed I did as well as I did during that time.  Vince DiMartino taught me that the best way to find a good feeling or set for my chops was to slur from 4th space E to G above the staff (a minor 3rd).  I noted the feeling, and then proceeded to use that set throughout the register of the trumpet, down to low F# and up to double G or so.  That way, changing registers becomes very easy, stepwise or intervalic (both ascending and descending).  This was the key that finally fixed my problem...I got to the point of being able to easily play through 4 or 5 Charliers in a row.  Vince is at the point, and has been for many years now, where he can do a 3 octave G scale,  double-tongued.  It's almost enough to make you wanna cry...  :)

        Sometimes this problem really hides itself well, though.  I never had an endurance problem playing lead trumpet, which puzzled my teachers when I complained about my legit endurance.  But, if you think about it, it makes sense why it wouldn't materialize during lead playing....I was blowing well and my chops had to be firmer to hold together with that much air passing through them.

It's gotta be the same way when you play soft....  :)

Hope this helps...

Mike Barry