aaaarrgh - timing!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by revjames, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. revjames

    revjames Piano User

    256
    69
    Nov 14, 2010
    Anglesey, North Wales
    Having a few problems at the moment. Most of you by now will know that I am a returning trumpet player, been playing 2 years after a 30 year break having played through high school. Since school, I played drums, and then graduated to bass playing frequently in church and various small bands etc. Completely self taught and really like playing blues and 'walking bass' type rhythms. (more about the significance of this later)

    I am currently working on some jazzy pieces such as 'fly me to the moon' and 'all of me' 'pennied from heaven' etc as I have joined a local jazz club and they want me (and trombone playing neighbour) to play next month.

    Still with me so far?

    Well heres the issue, I can play the tunes, I can pitch the notes, I can just about work out playing in 2 flats.... but the timing is becoming a real issue. I seem unable to follow timing when I play them. I use a backing track from BIAB and even when thats playing loud I seem unable to work out when to come in etc and really mess things up.

    The trombone playing neighbour is very experienced and teaches and plays in brass bands and he is very patient with me but tonight we noticed something. When listening to the backing track I can tap my foot in time and follow every note and rest spot on. I picked up the bass guitar and added the bass line completely by ear and it was absolutely spot on in time despite being a walking rhythm.

    My trombone playing neighbour/ teacher says he thinks there is some kind of conflict in timing from what I already know from playing bass and the timing needed to follow many trumpet parts particularly jazz.

    Apologies for the long post but I really need some good advice,

    Thanks in advance


    James
     
  2. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    16,412
    7,537
    Dec 22, 2008
    Virginia
    You have a better ear (now) for bass than trumpet. Just keep working on the trumpet and it will come to you. Just push through the "suckiness" for now.
     
  3. revjames

    revjames Piano User

    256
    69
    Nov 14, 2010
    Anglesey, North Wales
    Thanks Tobylou, push though the suckiness - I like that. I guess what you are saying is play bass less and trumpet more! I am under a little pressure as I accepted an invitation to play at a local Jazz club (not as grand as it sounds) next month. My trombone playing neighbour and myself need to come up wiuth a couple of numbers that we can be confident with and then email the rest of the band so we can all play together (ish :)) on the night.
     
  4. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    16,412
    7,537
    Dec 22, 2008
    Virginia
    Well at least you have the pressure of a gig to make you practice!! :D Hope all goes well!
     
  5. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    5,010
    1,802
    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    When the music swings, the bass player usually needs to still stay on the beat. After all, that's why they call it a rhythm section - someone has to lay down the rhythmic foundation.

    Then along come the head players, swinging their musical butts off. They need to be ahead of or behind the beat to convey the swing feel. That means they begin and end their stuff at a different time than the bass player. And then, when the bassist solos, he swings too. Unless he isn't used to doing that, and this is your issue.

    I would have a conversation with the drummer and see if he can help you understand this, and perhaps can even help cue you, with a look of his hairy eyeball, or with his highhat or even his cowbell - if you need a loud cue.

    It is helpful to listen and sing along with the kind of music you are playing. Singers know how do do this and emulating them will help you.
     
  6. revjames

    revjames Piano User

    256
    69
    Nov 14, 2010
    Anglesey, North Wales
    Thanks, will put together backings on BIAB (just arrived!) for the songs in question - only have access to a drummer when I am actually at jazz club! It was strange really because the trombone player thought I had no sense of timing at all so I put down the trumpet, played the backing track and played it on the bass - spot on. Lots of work to do.
     
  7. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    3,751
    2,152
    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    When you're playing the bass I suspect you are not reading music at all. A lot of you guys don't. :-) When you play trumpet, you are?

    You may be so busy reading the music and trying to keep up that you get lost in it and you're not hearing the beat any more. It might be helpful to practice your trumpet music a lot more, especially with a metronome.

    Tom
     
  8. revjames

    revjames Piano User

    256
    69
    Nov 14, 2010
    Anglesey, North Wales
    Thats a good point. I dont follow any music even chord charts on bass and play it completely 'by ear' whereas when I play trumpet - I follow music and yes I have to concentrate pretty hard just to get the jist of the tune let alone follow the timing etc. I am always finishing bars too early/late, not counting rests etc. I really am trying hard but at least now I have identified the underlying cause - bass!
     
  9. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

    1,094
    329
    Nov 16, 2009
    Near Portland, OR.
    I don't think the reading is the problem but it might add to it. Sound emission on the trumpet is a pretty involved process, physiologically. It takes a number of concerted actions and the corresponding brain/neural processing. These happen in/toward the face, rib cage muscles, diaphragm, abdominal muscle, tongue, none of which was especially crucial in your previous ways of managing sound emission. They take a certain time and are not as familiar to you as the actions/neural processes used in playing bass or drums, and as a result you time them wrong.

    I think your neighbor is right. You're not mobilizing everything needed to produce the sound you need on a trumpet within the same time frames that you used with the other instruments. I suspect you may be late most of the time, and sometimes early by overcompensation but it does not have to be exactly like that to still be the root of the problem.

    If you have a teacher, that is definitely a good topic for a lesson. Experienced instructors participating here can hopefully help. Articulation studies could be helpful. Some French methods have a lot of emphasis on sound emission (Balay, Franquin), that could also help. Practice certainly will be key, you're rebuilding habits for which lateral transfer seems to be an obstacle.
     
  10. Rapier

    Rapier Forte User

    2,005
    1,312
    Jul 18, 2011
    UK
    Try to learn the tunes by heart and not worry about the timing. Once you know the tunes, you can listen to the band, without concentrating on the sheet music. Not that I could do it, though.
     

Share This Page