100% precision

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Bloomin Untidy Musician, Mar 2, 2009.

  1. Bloomin Untidy Musician

    Bloomin Untidy Musician Piano User

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    Jan 14, 2008
    Staffordshire
    G,daye tmers

    As many of the regulars probably already know, i mainly play cornet with a little bit of trumpet. Over the next month it is the UK Brass Band championships and all the budding British Banders will be practicing their proverbial BUM off to get the best possible result. Over the next week alone my band will be doing about 10 hours of rehearsal on the one test piece. My question to you (from all the banding cornet players on this site) is, what way do you practice to ensure precision during a one time only, high pressured, and technically/musically stretching situation? To ensure no smart a** answers, i want strategies; not stating the bloomin obvious "lots of practice" answer. Afterall, lots of practice without intelligence could in affect make things worse.
    Currently, I am aiming towards playing the entire piece pp one/two metronome marks faster than what is written (of course with a metronome).

    kind regards



    B.U.M.
     
  2. BenH

    BenH Pianissimo User

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    Oct 14, 2008
    UK
    I hope this doesn't come off as smart a**, as it's not meant that way at all... Are you also practicing it at performance volume? One thing I really struggle with is endurance on ff playing above the staff, so being able to play the passage pp would still not guarantee a good performance (for me, anyway) and I suppose might lull me into a false sense of security. Of course, that assumes that the piece in question has ff above the staff.

    Ben
     
  3. Bloomin Untidy Musician

    Bloomin Untidy Musician Piano User

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    Jan 14, 2008
    Staffordshire
    I find that if i can play pp in a relaxed controlled manner (especially above the stave), i can play the ff s relatively easily, but i take your point that it is probably a good idea to do this as well. By the way my comment is not aimed at courteous people like yourself.


    Cheers

    B.U.M.
     
  4. BenH

    BenH Pianissimo User

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    Oct 14, 2008
    UK
    Interesting - I wonder what it is I'm doing (or NOT doing!) that means I can't play ff that high. Anything from G on the staff upwards I tend to 'drop off' the partial, whereas pp I'm good up to at least a Bb, more often than not a C, and occasionally D/Eb. Anyway, enough about me!

    As for the comment, I was just making sure, as I've learned the hard way it's very easy to misunderstand and be misunderstood in non-verbal communication. :oops:
     
  5. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

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    Sounds like you need a good teacher that can help you develop your embouchure.
     
  6. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

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    When I prepare for a demanding performance, I will play everything through at the required volume. My goal is to play through everything at least twice skipping the long rests.
     
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    BUM,
    I helped to produce a brass ensemble CD last week end. My second son was the recording engineer and I rehearsed the pieces before he turned the recorder on. I did not know most of the players and they were only moderately prepared. Here is what worked for me:

    Understand the music. Research the piece and make sure that every player knows why it is musically, historically and technically significant. It helps to know a little about the state of the composer when it was composed too. This is significant to know what picture is being sonically painted. Playing with the music always produces better results!

    Make dynamics work. To keep the sound transparent and generally pleasant, think of dynamics as color and not as absolute volume. You have ultra violet on the dark side and infrared on the bright. Play green and yellow instead of MP and F.

    Always tune the band precisely before playing. The power of two players resonantly in tune is much greater than the sum of their individual outputs!

    Balance chords. If the higher instruments are too loud, the result is annoying. Proper balance starts with the low brass and a very controlled upper brass section!

    Articulation! Do not be afraid to play short notes short. The little dot above a note should have major significance!

    Phrasing: breathing marks can work wonders for reliability. When a players breathing is out of sync with the music, accidents happen!

    Make sure that everybody gets enough rest 2 or 3 days before the competition. Concentration is a factor of mental power and lack of sleep is enemy #1

    Get to the location on time and acclimate to the room. Make sure that the band is complete at least 30 minutes prior to playing time and give a pep talk. Emphasize that NO ONE should feel obligated to try and SAVE anything. Aim to play exactly as in the rehearsal - NO EXPERIMENTS or HEROIC ACTION. Someone overstepping their bounds will only serve to spread uncertainty in the group sound.

    Do not play any passages of the competition piece before going in. If it ain't ready the day before, your preparation sucked.

    So with all of this common sense stuff, comes one last obviousness: If you are concerned about YOUR playing, play lots of duets with the best player that will play with you. That is the fastest way to strengthen ensemble skills!
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2009
  8. BenH

    BenH Pianissimo User

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    Oct 14, 2008
    UK
    Got me one of them. :-)
     
  9. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    Boy, that's the truth. What I've found that helps the most (after preparing the music, of course) is maintaining concentration during the performance. Let your mind wander for a second, and you could be in trouble. I did that this past weekend (didn't get enough sleep) and hit a couple of clunker notes, which is not the norm for me. It was embarassing, to say the least.
     
  10. bilboinsa

    bilboinsa Piano User

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    Jan 24, 2006
    San Antonio, TX
    You already have the metronome, so go get few of your buds to play it together. The more ears, the better, I would think. Also, get a good recorder (tape or digital) to help evaluation of pitch, volume, etc....

    Good luck!!!
     

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