Mental barriers

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Mental barriers Empty Mental barriers

Post  scatanas on Fri Nov 02, 2012 3:39 pm

Hi Mr. Vizzutti,

thanks for answering questions on this forum, and I wanna say that I really enjoy your playing and watch your YouTube videos all the time, because they're inspiring.

Umm, so my question is about "mental barriers". Have you ever experienced one? I feel like i have such a thing going on with range. I've been playing for about 8 years and I STILL get intimidated by high notes and I always regard them as "high" (by high i mean anything over the A on top of the staff...).
Although I've been told that i have a very good, solid sound on the staff and below, range is just not something that came naturally to me so i've always had issues with it.

One time I spoke to Wynton Marsalis and he said something to me that kinda stuck: "You're only gonna be as good as you THINK you can be..." Was he right??
And if so, how do i break this mental barrier of range??? It's frustrating bc i feel like i've tried everything (improving on buzzing....playing a song and taking it up a semitone each week...long notes....lip flexibilities...but still i can't get those "high" notes..)

Any word of advice would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance,



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Mental barriers Empty High Notes and Mental Barriers

Post  Allen_Vizzutti on Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:48 am

Thanks for you nice comments. Here is an excerpt from my "High Notes" book available on this web site.

"The basics of trumpet playing are not complicated. The combined elements of personality, physique, equipment and concept create myriad variations affecting how successfully, (or often unsuccessfully), we achieve a consistently high level of trumpet performance. Regardless of how long you have been playing trumpet, and for the sake of clarity, I believe revisiting some relevant basic concepts and physical facts regarding trumpet performance is important.

Consider the following list:

1) Air flow / breath support
2) Mouthpiece on lip pressure
3) Mouthpiece placement
4) Aperture size, (the opening between the lips)
5) (Managing your), State of tension / relaxation
6) Tongue placement and
7) Mouthpiece size

The correct BALANCE of the listed elements is essential to successful tone production. Ponder that. All elements listed must work together in the correct proportion. None of the elements can successfully work alone. None are static during tone production except number seven, mouthpiece size."

I wrote 40 pages of text on the subjects you address and more - in this book. I get these type questions a lot. Each of the 7 items listed above are discussed in detail.

Over blowing or practicing too much in terms of making one stiff can inhibit progress too.

Herbert L Clarke said 90% of cornet playing is mental.

Its very nice when you feel confident and very unnerving when you don't. Yes, I go through this too. Things that help me are:

1) Perspective. This is not life or death, illness or tragedy. We're just playing the trumpet. And anything little thing we do beautifully will make people feel good.
2) Stay in present time. Concentrate on the note or notes immediately at hand, not on notes missed or notes coming up.
3) Warm up.
4) Observe progress however gradual.
5) Don't expect to have great range and endurance on a Bach 1&1/4, (or equivalent), mouthpiece.
6) Let the symptoms of performance anxiety flow freely through your body, dry mouth, shaking hands, spastic moments and all. Don't fight it. Fighting causes tension. Tension is our enemy.
7) Remember the times you do well. That kind of ego is positive. "I am a good player. I am a musical player". You're not saying you are a better person than anyone else. Just being confident like the quarterback of a football team or an F1 driver.
Good luck. AV


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Post  scatanas on Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:04 pm

Thanks for the insight. I will specifically keep these things in mind as I practice/perform from here on. Thank you.


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