Playing louder

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by horn__blower, Apr 6, 2005.

  1. horn__blower

    horn__blower Member

    Just wondering if anyone had any tips for playing louder - some conductors always tell me to play louder. Its difficult because a i dont want to ruin my tone, and b, of course the solo horn is gonna be heard above 1st and 2nd, theyre playing higher notes!
    any hints anybody? i play a sovereign horn- used to play besson 700 (which i think was nicer) but this is sposed to be louder!
  2. drummergurl

    drummergurl Active Member

    erm put more air through the instrument?????

  3. Dave Euph

    Dave Euph Member

    Put a duster under a mute and shove it firmly down the bell! Try playing some notes as loud as possible for a few minutes and then remove.

    You'll find that your normal "comfort-zone" volume is significantly louder!
  4. Cornishwomble

    Cornishwomble Active Member

    Ryhill, Wakefield
    When Dave Barringer took Woodfalls for Yeovil and the areas, he had us playing large proportions of the practice with mutes in, this included the whole band including basses. He got us to play as hard as we could, with as much effort as we can.

    Once the mutes came out the effect was amazing, not only did we play louder wilst still maintaining quality of sound, we also found our pps were also dramatically quieter then before.
  5. Mrs Fruity

    Mrs Fruity Member

    North East
    Playing with a practice mute exactly as instructed by the leaflet - blow until you can feel it buzz (particularly difficult below bottom A). Much the same effect as the duster method, but a bit more expensive!
  6. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Why not try making your sound broader and fuller then building on that? A rich sound (not to be compared with a sweet sound) with overtones can project more than trying to blast, distort and create gale force winds wherever you are!

    Not a lot of teaching material on how to acheive this though! :eek:

    ... here's a light introduction to psychoacoustics ....
  7. lewis

    lewis Member

    Guildford, Surrey
    You could just shove a duster down the bell so it's really tightly packed and then just play long notes as loud as you can for about a minute. Don't do much longer because it can start to be quite painful. But when you take the duster out, because of the change on resistance, it'll seem much easier to play loudly. Do this everyday for a month or so and I promise you'll see the difference.
  8. zak

    zak Member

    St Helens
    No secrets to this one....... Just blow the ****** thing as my tutor told me!!!!! Simple as that :tup

    Grimey Band
  9. sudcornet

    sudcornet Member

    Breath, breath and more breath..................

    You don't say if you use the diaphragmatic method of breathing to support the air.
    It's the only way I've found to maintain a quality of sound at a high volume (and our fourth man down will testify to the volume bit).
    Playing using the upper chest only will mean as you try to push more air through that you have no means of support and you will tend to constrict your throat and the sound becomes strained.
    Pushing your belly out as you take your breath means you can support the effort using your stomach muscles, keeping your airways open, thus maintaining sound quality and increasing volume.
    There have been other threads on diaphragmatic breathing which you may find useful, just try a search of the site.
    Hope this helps.

  10. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    near Dublin
    I think the varying resistance methods mentioned above are useful. However, I would also point out that one of the most important ways to stretch your dynamic range is to blow until the tone DOES suffer. You'll know what your limit is. As long as you can back off again and get your tone in control you will stretch your dynamic range. Eventually, a volume that brought about poor tone before should stay within the 'good tone' range later. If you don't push the limit, then back off when 'it counts' then you can't really expand the volume.

    I honk out of control somewhat frequently during rehearses when we are first learning a piece, but as we get to performance standard (or play at a concert/ contest). I bring the volume back down to where I still get the sound I want, but am louder.
  11. Simon_Horn

    Simon_Horn Member

    I've had this problem before also (although these days i'm more often told off for playing too loud!) Unfortunately playing the instrument we do and at the pitch it is - in comparison with instrument types and ranges of the rest of the band -it is sometimes hard to be heard above a full band even playing mf when your on a solo part.

    Couple of things:-

    Mouthpiece - not sure what you use but something like Dennis Wick 5 is gonna help upper octave initially but perhaps give a thinner sound. 3 is probably happy medium and nice for pitch and volume if playing solo horn. 2 great for getting those mid-low range notes at good dynamic and recommended for 1st, 2nd or even solo if you don't need the extra help of a 5 in high register. I've tried them all and found that even though 5 gives you some security initially for higher register, after a couple of months there is no noticible difference of playing either 5 or 3 for high register but sound wise there alway is.

    Projection of sound - whilst getting improving how much air you can physically get down the instrument can help (duster method etc), I find that supporting that sound from diaphram and focus on the start of the notes can help improve sound. For instance improving the way you attach the note to start with can help with projection issues.

    Opening of airway - blowing for all your worth is one thing but if that column of air is going through a small tight airway then then the sound will still be weak and sound strangled (and you'll be going blue! :frown: ). On a physchological level thinking about having someting about the size of a golf ball in your throat whilst playing can help you to maximise this space - or so i've found.

    Instrument - no comment! After blowing a besson soverign most of my life i'm beginning to think about purchasing Maestro ....but more for the sound and intonation than volume!

    Also, rather than playing fff in your bedroom and driving the neighbours crazy, best way to improve volume range would be to sit in with a band that can really blow...!
  12. cornetshell

    cornetshell Member

    ....I changed my posture-

    I found that i played down- and was really sat sloppy-

    Try sitting upright- feet firmly on the ground- keeping a straight back, and hold your instrument like you are proud to be playing it. (this may hurt a bit if your not used to it...but it will pass!!) - i found i was more alert to people around me, and was able to breath easier, as i wasn't crushing my rib cage.

    its ok to say use more air- but try simple breathing excercises to expand your lung capacity [well get used to using it properly!] (** P.M me if you want more info-**)

    just breath in steadily for about 8 beats [do it to your watch- 8 seconds...] as if your lungs were a huge water tank, then hold your breath for 20 beats, and release in a fast stream for 4. try increasing the holding time- but if you start to go light headed cut back a few seconds until you are comfortable. --*Remember to breath normally between them!!*--
    I practice in the car! -

    try it. It makes a huge difference- and you are able to shift more air.....

    Hope that helps.
  13. Ali

    Ali Member

    Leek (Staffs)
    Practise mutes are ideal for this sort of thing. When I was at Tod, we used to do half an hour to 45 mins just using practise mutes and playing hymns. The results can be quite staggering if eberyone works hard.
  14. persins

    persins Member

    Reading, England
    Damn Right!! I can second that!!!

    It was basically a way to emulate practice mutes.
    It should be stressed that Loudness is not the key aim though! Anybody can play loud and sound like a fog horn!!

    The key is to have the Widest possible sound at a good volume without losing control!!

    Again, it comes down to a variety of things but most of all, Practice!!!!!!

    Long notes can help along with the resistence training. Try supporting the sound more from the gut rather than the upper chest and then just give it bags of welly!!!

    If only Keith (Woody's 1st Baritone!) was online here! He's a master at loud playing!!
  15. Cornishwomble

    Cornishwomble Active Member

    Ryhill, Wakefield
    Oh Yeah damn straight :metal:
  16. Soppy

    Soppy Member

    Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
    I'd just like to chip in here and make it more complicated!

    IMO, just keeping the air going won't necessarily stop the sound going thin and/or edgy. I am currently having this problem. I think it started when I stoped playing for 6 weeks to do my exams two years ago. Ever since, it's come and gone, and at the moment, it's a problem.

    When you play loud, the increased speed and pressure of your air will distort you lips. Your apature will change size, and you will require more lip tension. You need to get these to balance. I've found that increasing my apature (I'm on a Sop so this is hard t odo with the limited space) makes me really edgy. But increased apature=more air! Closing the apature (is that spelt correctly?) makes it sharp, reduces the volume by loads, dulls the tone, but removes a lot of the edgyness. But then to sort the tuning, I need to open a bit. SO it's kind of catch 22!

    You might not have to think about this though. I never used to. But now I have to and I'm finding it very very difficut to sort out, which is really annoying me and causing me great mental pain :( I sound terrible when I paly loud atm, when it never used to!

    So try the above suggestions first, but you may find that you need to consider other things as well later.

    And btw, if anybody can help me here, pelase do! I'm struggling.
  17. Braveheart

    Braveheart New Member

    Helpful Techniques

    I teach music and my method is to get people to breath in as much as they can and keep thier mouth and throat open, but keeping the air in. Sort of half way between in and out. Do that for 4 seconds and progress to 5 6 7 8 etc

    That will build your lung capacity and really helps until you get to about 30. If you do it right then you should deffinatly sit down while your doing it and if you get light headed then take a break before continuing, you don't want to pass out now. ;)

    Another technique Ive found useful is placing a piece of paper against the wall and blowing against it and trying to keep it in place using just the air forced from your mouth. This one is possibly for the more competitive player and I currently hold the record over my friends with 17 seconds. (Its hard!)

    (P.S. The only use for a soprano is that they play so loud and with such conviction that it sounds right.)
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