Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2003 11:06:35 -0700
From: "Reaban, Derek" <email@example.com>
Subject: RE: [TPIN] whisper tones
Whisper tones appear to be unique to the teaching pedagogy of David
Hickman. I have not seen them discussed in any other method books.
The purpose of whisper tones is to fine-tune playing response (lip
vibration) for the most demanding performance situations (exposed pp
attacks). (I would suggest incorporating some breath attacks on the
mouthpiece/ leadpipe combination before trying the whisper tones to
make sure that your response is already working well, because these can
be extremely frustrating if you have "hitches" in your normal response).
The whisper tone exercises begin with an extremely gentle breath attack
so that only an air sound is heard and then "crescendos" to the edge of
where a regular trumpet sound begins. The ability to sustain this
quality without letting it break into a real trumpet sound allows you
to focus on response at a dynamic softer than you would ever have to
produce in performance (he calls it ppppp). This drill interspersed for
several seconds (up to a minute) occasionally throughout your playing
day any time response issues arise can help you get back to responsive
The real power however, is using them to be extremely demanding with
yourself in the practice room so that in performance pp playing is easy.
Start simple with say a G in the staff or a third space C and try to
find that break point between air and sound (these have to be done in a
room that is absolutely silent or you will not be able to hear what you
need to listen for). Once you are able to do this, move down
Once you are proficient at this, you can actually play etudes in
whisper tones. He has these in his Trumpet Lessons books. Start small,
though! A few seconds of these can go a long way!
Hope this helps!