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The Trombone ForumTeaching & LearningPractice Room(Moderator: blast) How do you get more core in the sound?
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trb420
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« on: Jun 28, 2017, 03:44PM »

I notice that a lot of times, at least in my perception, my sound lacks core, and sounds "fluffy", or maybe not as intense as I'd like. It's hard to qualify a sound with words, but hopefully you get the idea. Is there any way to work on my sound, like other than just long tones, to work on getting more core in it? My intonation is solid, so I doubt it's an issue of tuning.
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harrison.t.reed
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« Reply #1 on: Jun 28, 2017, 04:34PM »

Tone is all about how you focus the air through the aperture, and also the shape of your oral cavity and tongue, AND also the fact that both of those things are somewhat related to one another. All of these things also are affected by the resistance that your trombone presents (or doesn't present).

These things all also change based on the register you're playing in. Your question might as well be "how do I get real good at playing a brass instrument?". It might seem cliche but in order to get the tone you want you need to practice, listen, tweak, practice, listen, tweak --- until you get where you think you want to be. Then you reassess...
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« Reply #2 on: Jun 28, 2017, 04:49PM »

Tone is all about how you focus the air through the aperture, and also the shape of your oral cavity and tongue, AND also the fact that both of those things are somewhat related to one another. All of these things also are affected by the resistance that your trombone presents (or doesn't present).

These things all also change based on the register you're playing in. Your question might as well be "how do I get real good at playing a brass instrument?". It might seem cliche but in order to get the tone you want you need to practice, listen, tweak, practice, listen, tweak --- until you get where you think you want to be. Then you reassess...

Interesting thoughts, harrison - but doesn't directly hit the nail on the head, if I'd been the one asking :D
I know at least for myself, doing lots of glisses from positions 1-6 and at all dynamics improved what I considered my 'core', in just a week - a more focused, more in-tujne, easier to control, brighter sound for much less effort.
It DID indeed get me to focus my aperture and moved me into a more puckered embouchure. Since then, I've been a bit slack with low brass, focusing more on trumpet, and I can tell that my lack of maintenance has caused me to LOSE what I considered to 'core'. Take this with s grain of salt, but it worked for me!
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« Reply #3 on: Jun 28, 2017, 04:59PM »

Dave, your answer also essentially said "practice more", since the act of glissing is not actually what creates more core in the sound.

The question is a tough nut to crack. I suspect if a teacher actually knew the one true answer, there wouldn't be so many different methods and teaching styles.
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« Reply #4 on: Jun 28, 2017, 05:28PM »

This may sound counter intuitive, but try getting the feeling of a smaller aperture when playing. I say feeling because it is not something you can directly see but is something you can experience. You might want to also try moving from the center of pitch to center of pitch. That's both visualizing it and hearing it. This tends to focus the aperture and gives more focus and core to sound. Experiment with this and see if you get results.
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trb420
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« Reply #5 on: Jun 28, 2017, 06:50PM »

This may sound counter intuitive, but try getting the feeling of a smaller aperture when playing. I say feeling because it is not something you can directly see but is something you can experience. You might want to also try moving from the center of pitch to center of pitch. That's both visualizing it and hearing it. This tends to focus the aperture and gives more focus and core to sound. Experiment with this and see if you get results.

What do you mean by moving from center of pitch to center of pitch?
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« Reply #6 on: Jun 28, 2017, 07:09PM »

Try and play down the middle of the note, focusing on the middle or center of each pitch as you play from one note to the next. Again, it's both something you can hear aurally and visualize. It may be something that someone else far more talented then I could explain, but I've tried it in my own playing and it seems to work (as an advanced amateur/low tier professional).
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« Reply #7 on: Jun 28, 2017, 07:37PM »

Another generic visual:

A teacher once told me to strive for an embouchure more vertical   |
than horizontal   _



Also:
"Air"
and
"Corners"

...are the two words I drill into myself if my tone is sounding flabby. There's obviously more, but it can be a good place to start.
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« Reply #8 on: Jun 29, 2017, 04:00AM »

I'm working on that now myself...My instructor tells me to "grip the mouth piece" with the edge of my lips.That gives me a more vertical aperture, and to minimize movement, and retain firmness...I have the tendency to change my embouchure too much for every note I'm attempting to play....That's my nickel. 

« Last Edit: Jun 30, 2017, 03:57AM by Nanook » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: Jun 29, 2017, 09:38AM »

trb420,  If you know how to make a "fluffy" tone, how do you think that you might make a nasal or pinched sound? Learn to adjust your aperture or "lip reed size" to suit; too broad or unfocused, draw it in. Too nasal or tight, relax it outward. And be sure to adjust for differing volumes.
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« Reply #10 on: Jun 29, 2017, 01:47PM »

I notice that a lot of times, at least in my perception, my sound lacks core, and sounds "fluffy", or maybe not as intense as I'd like. It's hard to qualify a sound with words, but hopefully you get the idea. Is there any way to work on my sound, like other than just long tones, to work on getting more core in it? My intonation is solid, so I doubt it's an issue of tuning.

Playing a simple melody and make it sound beautiful is in fact a basic method that's very effective. Imagine a bunch of trombone players listen it and make it sound as beautiful as possible. Or simply play a melody for a friend that is not playing any instruments. Try to impress him with a beautiful sound. Sometimes long notes or etudes doesn't work. Have a sound goal!

Leif
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« Reply #11 on: Jun 29, 2017, 07:35PM »

Playing short notes with lots of front or using breathe attacks can dial in the core to your sound. play a 3 or 4 octave scale at a fairly slow to moderate tempo playing a firm quarter note and then rest for a beat. Focus on immediate sound and perfect pitch. Practice Fortissimo at first and then try it softer.
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« Reply #12 on: Jun 30, 2017, 01:09AM »

Playing a simple melody and make it sound beautiful is in fact a basic method that's very effective. Imagine a bunch of trombone players listen it and make it sound as beautiful as possible. Or simply play a melody for a friend that is not playing any instruments. Try to impress him with a beautiful sound. Sometimes long notes or etudes doesn't work. Have a sound goal!

Leif

The best suggestion so far.
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« Reply #13 on: Jun 30, 2017, 03:58AM »

Playing a simple melody and make it sound beautiful is in fact a basic method that's very effective. Imagine a bunch of trombone players listen it and make it sound as beautiful as possible. Or simply play a melody for a friend that is not playing any instruments. Try to impress him with a beautiful sound. Sometimes long notes or etudes doesn't work. Have a sound goal!

Leif

How is trying to change a sound by imagining it, but without involving any physical change going to work? It's more efficient to try to understand the relationship between the components that create sound, good and bad, and then practicing to improve from that new point.
Practicing repeatedly from an erroneous position may feel noble, but it's a waste of practice time unless one gets lucky with a random moment of insight.
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« Reply #14 on: Jun 30, 2017, 04:43AM »

How is trying to change a sound by imagining it, but without involving any physical change going to work? It's more efficient to try to understand the relationship between the components that create sound, good and bad, and then practicing to improve from that new point.
Practicing repeatedly from an erroneous position may feel noble, but it's a waste of practice time unless one gets lucky with a random moment of insight.

I think you'll be surprised at what the body will do automatically to facilitate a sound, once you have developed a solid mental sound concept.  That's a primary reason why top level musicians sound the same even when they periodically switch instruments.  Or, conversely, when two different top level musicians alternately play the same instrument.  Each one still sounds like them.

To paraphrase Yogi Berra, "90 percent of music is mental, the other 90% is physical." ;-)

--Andy in OKC
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« Reply #15 on: Jun 30, 2017, 05:50AM »

That's a primary reason why top level musicians sound the same even when they periodically switch instruments. 

--Andy in OKC

What about the musicians who didn't become top level. Did they spent their formative years throwing (metaphorical) "mud" at a wall in the hope that some of it sticks?

I'll put my faith into a physical model, an adaptable flexible embouchure tuned to the changing needs of range, volume, and flexibility any day. But, hopefully guided by musical context etc.
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« Reply #16 on: Jun 30, 2017, 06:54AM »

Lots of good advice already. I'll add using vibrato. Using vibrato will help you develop a feel for where the center of the note is, and it will force you to keep your corners engaged the whole time. Its like when a hockey goalie hits the bars around the net behind him with his stick for a spatial reference.

I'm not saying to just use vibrato all the time. Use it as a tool.

Flutter tongue can also be useful in the same way. 

I like to work on sound quality while playing lots of slow slurs on the staff. 
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« Reply #17 on: Jun 30, 2017, 09:13AM »

What about the musicians who didn't become top level. Did they spent their formative years throwing (metaphorical) "mud" at a wall in the hope that some of it sticks?

I'll put my faith into a physical model, an adaptable flexible embouchure tuned to the changing needs of range, volume, and flexibility any day. But, hopefully guided by musical context etc.
You would be suprized over the number of players who spendt formative years throwing mud at the wall. Actually to think of a beautiful sound was new to them in the pratice room.
Many players have no idea about how they sound.
Of course some help with a physical model is often a help, If the physical model is understood right. Think of all the good tips you can read on TTF, and how you can follow the tip "exactly" as worded, with no luck. Any advice can be taken more then one way. Like simple things: the letter M, how many different ways are there to say letter M? Keep your corners firm. How firm, exactly where are the corners? And the tongue! well there you are.
And most of all, If you do all the physicle model things right, but with no sound consept, it wont work. If you have a strong sound consept you know what to strive for. Sure a good teacher is usually a good help. Do play some beautiful music and try to sound like the best player in the world. That is exactly what many good players have done.
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« Reply #18 on: Jun 30, 2017, 09:14AM »

The onus is all on you to control your sound, but you can add an ACCOUSTICOIL to your horn to help increase the horn's natural focus.  Sceptics abound, but it works well for many folks I know, including me. On an 88H that my college teachers all said I had a "POO POO POO" sound to articulations - meaning not well defined - the ACCOUSTICOIL helped me solve that issue!
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« Reply #19 on: Jun 30, 2017, 09:34AM »

You would be suprized over the number of players who spendt formative years throwing mud at the wall. Actually to think of a beautiful sound was new to them in the pratice room.
Many players have no idea about how they sound.
Of course some help with a physical model is often a help, If the physical model is understood right. Think of all the good tips you can read on TTF, and how you can follow the tip "exactly" as worded, with no luck. Any advice can be taken more then one way. Like simple things: the letter M, how many different ways are there to say letter M? Keep your corners firm. How firm, exactly where are the corners? And the tongue! well there you are.
And most of all, If you do all the physicle model things right, but with no sound consept, it wont work. If you have a strong sound consept you know what to strive for. Sure a good teacher is usually a good help. Do play some beautiful music and try to sound like the best player in the world. That is exactly what many good players have done.


Of course a sound concept, and the need to realise it. What would be the point of this whole topic without one?
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