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Yesterday practicing I noticed a high improvement over previous days in terms of sound and intonation, I could play all the harmonic series up to high E more or less properly intonated and with a good and full sound tonguing them.

The problem is that today, I picked up the trumpet and after a little time of practice I started to make notes very flat by default, almost more than one semitone lower and I was having a really hard time getting it up to the correct pitch. Also sometimes I get like a "farty" fuzzy sound from my lips like the sound of them clashing too much like if they were too loose.

I don't get why this is. I can think of my embouchure being too relaxed and lips not correctly placed on the mouthpiece and still have problems finding the position and alignment of my jaw

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    I don't know anything about playing the flute. I've had a similar experience on clarinet and other instruments. Some days are just bad days. There could be so many reasons: the weather, how much sleep you got last night, your diet, exercise, stress, maybe a butterfly flapped its wings on the other side of the world and that has thrown something off. I hope and expect a flautist will answer with better information and advice, but I wanted to at least say that everyone has off days that we can't explain and you'll definitely get it back. Sometimes even better than before. – Todd Wilcox Apr 9 at 21:11
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    @ToddWilcox, trumpet not flute, but point taken - could have been a bad day – Michael Curtis Apr 9 at 21:14
  • @MisterEquis, how long have you been playing trumpet? – Michael Curtis Apr 9 at 21:16
  • @MichaelCurtis but the basic point remains. There's also the principle of regression toward the mean: if you do anything where your performance might fall within a certain range, and on one occasion the performance falls near the better end of the range, chances are good that the next performance will be worse. – phoog Apr 9 at 21:18
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    @phoog More or less been playing for 3 to 5 weeks. I play slowly, focusing on sound and intonation and try to play all notes in the chromatic scale as well from C to High C at least. Higher than that it's still a bit of an effort to me. – Mister Equis Apr 9 at 21:50
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You're tired. Your 'lip's gone'. Don't worry, it'll be back tomorrow. Unless you got the high notes yesterday by pressing too hard and bruised the lip. Then it will take a few days. Don't over-think this.

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Up front disclosure: I don't play trumpet. I've been practicing piano for a few years. But my son has been playing for 3 years in a very good school program so I have some knowledge of the instrument. Keep this in mind when you read my answer and hopefully a trumpeter will add a better answer.

I think you may be feeling the effect of fatigue. Your mouth probably needs rest.

You may not perceive the fatigue. You may be taking rests while you practice, but that may only be enough for immediate relief and you remain at the cusp of exhaustion.

If you have a teacher, talk to them about it. If not, try feeling about the proper amount of rest you need. Take a day off now to fully recover then figure out intervals for playing and rest. Also consider that a variety of exercises can provide contrast and a sort of rest. Something like long notes in the low register to focus on tone and breath control should also provide embouchure relief from my high notes. "Buzzing" your lips off the mouthpiece is something my son mentioned for rest.

With only a few weeks in to playing, this type of fatigue makes sense to me. When doing something new we have lots of enthusiasm which can risk mental or physical burn out. Of course the enthusiasm is good, but we need to temper it with strategies for a lifetime of activity!

It sounds to me like you are developing a good practice routine and have a thoughtful approach. That's great! You probably need some rest and need to figure out how to not "over train."

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Other posts here suggest you are the cause of the problem. But it might be the instrument...

Intonation and 'slotting' all go haywire when the main water key doesn't seal properly. So check the spring that closes the water key on the main tuning slide. These springs do occasionally fail. Also check that the cork hasn't perished.

Check too that all the valve pistons are correctly aligned - when you remove a valve to oil or clean it, when you replace it rotate it gently until the alignment bump audibly clicks into the machined slot inside the valve barrel. Beware - some trumpets have two alignment slots, making it possible to align the valve correctly and 180° out.

Or perhaps the valves are inserted out of order. If you suspect this, visually inspect each valve. Hopefully each will be marked with a number. If you're unlucky and the valves are unnumbered, start by inserting a piston into the third barrel. The reason for starting with the third valve is that the mouthpipe connects to the third valve. Blow down the mouthpipe and the airstream should be unobstructed whether the third valve is up or down. Once you've established the correct third valve, move on to the second valve.

  • Thanks. in my case it could only be the water key spring or the cork since I haven't cleaned the trumpet yet so I did not remove the valves. – Mister Equis May 11 at 20:20

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