Advice for a returning player

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by ragsman, Sep 6, 2005.

  1. ragsman

    ragsman New Friend

    Sep 4, 2005
    Hello everyone! I played trumpet in high school, and after graduating in '85 I pretty much stopped playing. My son has now started beginner band, and I find my desire to play has returned! I have a couple of questions for you guys.

    My basic plan of attack is to first get back into playing shape. What are some recommendations for techniques/books/etc that could put me through a good exercise routine to get my chops back? Keep in mind I can play still, but I'm basically a beginner again and would like to NOT develop any (ok, many..) bad habits.

    Second, I'd like to continue technical studies somewhat, to learn the instrument better and get back to the ability to read and play music with some competency.

    Finally, my ultimate goal is to simply be able to play music with my son as he develops, and to play music solely for myself, for the enjoyment of it. Heck, I might even get myself a decent horn if I make it to this point!

    It seems everyone here recommends Arban's book, and many use Clarke's technical studies as well. Would these be enough to get me going, or are there better choices, specifically for the 'get back in shape' portion.

    Oh, and on a side note, my son dug up some of my old CD's the other day, including Wynton Marsalis, Chuck Mangione, and Canadian brass. Do you guys have any recommendations for artists that might really inspire a 6th grade beginning trumpet player?

    By the way, my name is Mark. I'm really jazzed to find a forum like this with the active participation of such super high class performers like Mr. Laureano, Mr. Wise, and Mr. Carroll. Fantastic!
  2. camelbrass

    camelbrass Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Dubai, UAE
    I pretty much had a similar story to yourself excepting that I was a Tuba player before picking up the trumpet when my son showed and interest. He subsequently gave up but much to my delight I've continued and still enthusiastic. Also like yourself I thought it would be something that I could do to entertain myself but 7 years later find myself playing in various ensembles and actually considering tackling my teaching qualifications, so go figure.

    To be honest most of it is in Arbans. If I had to have one book that'd be it...amazing considering that the bulk of it was written 150 years ago. Some of us use other texts to work on specific 'issues' we have technically. In any case I think trumpet and cornet players should have a copy of Arbans...especially for the tonguing excercises and the solos.

    In this regard, and maybe as an alternative, Allen Vizzutti has a fantastic method series that consists of 3 books. The first book in the series covers technical excercises and is a great way of getting a lot of the information that is currently spread across different sources into the one book. The excercises aren't copied but certainly 'nod' in the general direction and are designed to achieve the desired result. The other 2 books are more about putting your newly found skills to work but are also excellent.

    I, personally, follow Carmine Caruso's Musical Calesthenics for Brass as a method with the Arbans etc for technical excercises but there are many other phylosophies for trying to put a structure around the mechanics and the mental side of playing a trumpet . The Balanced Embouchure (Jeff Smiley) has many advocates as does the teaching of Dr. Rheinhardt (the Pivot Sytem). Claude Gordon was another teacher that developed a structure who's devotees are amongst the absolute upper echelons of the trumpet world. Clint (Pops) McLaughlin's books put a lot of information about the mechanics of embouchure as well as playing trumpet in general. A lot of this information is freely available on the web.

    Don't forget to play music as well as the excercise regime..that and a great sound is the whole point.

    Hope this helps.


  3. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

    Nov 2, 2003
    i think you should get a good teacher if you want to do things the right way.

    what part of georgia are you in? i might be able to help you find a teacher if you are intrested.
  4. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004

    One of the first things you might want to do is find your old trumpet records and give them a listen as often as you can. They should stuff you really like that you really listen to in an involved way, not passively or as background.

    Grab the mouthpiece and buzz along with the tunes you like, Don't worry that it doesn't sound perfect. It's not the point. Just do it purely for your own enjoyment not for any clinical reason. If it sounds like crap, well, that'll be your little secret. Just have fun with it.

  5. bigaggietrumpet

    bigaggietrumpet Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 23, 2004
    Nazareth, PA
    I agree with Diz. If it all possible, find a good teacher. Not to say it's impossible to do it on your own, but you'd be amazed at the difference someone knowledgable watching you play can make. There's just no substitute. Manny also has a great idea with buzzing to your albums.

    As far as books are concerned, I'm a Clarke guy myself, but I've heard wonderful things about the Vizzutti book. I've also heard that Arturo Sandoval's book series is good.

    Some recordings to energize your son? Hmm...I was a bit of an oddball. For me, it started off with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, followed closely by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Loved that stuff. Then I got into Doc Severensen. After that, my grandmother went to New Orleans and brought back two Al Hirt cds (oddly enough, they were the ONLY cds of Al in the entire city. Is that outrageous or what?). If he's really into swing, get him some Big Bad Voodoo Daddies and Glenn Miller Orchestra.
  6. ragsman

    ragsman New Friend

    Sep 4, 2005
    Thanks for all the replies, guys! I live in northwest Georgia very near Chattanooga, Tn. If there are instructors very near, I might get to the point to visit with them, but if it invovles lots of scheduled time, I probably would not do it simply because my schedule is not at all flexible. I'll most likely start on my own and make a decision if I need a teacher within a few months of playing.

    I will get Arban's and maybe a Clarke and start working with them. as for Carmince Caruso, Jeff Smiley, Dr. Rheindhardt, and pops McLaughlin, I'll look more into those and see if one seems right for me.

    Manny, I've already dug up a bunch of music from high school, and have been playing it, not just blowing it with the mouthpiece! Physically I'm bad, but I feel with practice and proper training my embochre will improve. I do like the mouthpiece Idea, though! I'll have to try it. Who knows, maybe it will drive my wife insane???!!!!

    Yes, the music one was an oddball, just wondering if he liked Chuck Mangione (he was my favorite in school) then maybe he'd like _____ whom I've never heard of. You guys could probably compare the ones I know and like (mangione, tijuanna brass, wynton marsalis, miles davis) with ones he as an 11 yr old might like.

    Again, thanks guys! I"ll keep you informed of my progress.

  7. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

    Sep 14, 2005
    Metro Detroit

    My story is the same as yours, except that I got back into it for me about 1 year ago.

    My favorite player was Chuck Mangione also, probably still is. But I've gained a whole new respect for Maynard Ferguson. I can't believe some of the upper register work he does cleanly!

    I found a community band here in the Columbus, Georgia area and joined. Figured the fastest way back to where I wanted to be was playing. I was a very good player in the early 80's, I always sat first chair in the Trumpet section. I am slowly getting back there, but I've gained a new respect for other parts in the section. When I was younger I would not have allowed my self to be sat in any other chair. I now am playing 3thd part in the Bob Barr Community band, but I'm having the time of my life. I play my own lead stuff at home.

    I also play in my church. So my point, PLAY! I have the Arban's book and am working through it.

    I love to play and am filled with a fire that I wish I had never lost. I just think about where I might be had I not put down my horn in high school. Damn peer pressure.

    Best wishes.

  8. ragsman

    ragsman New Friend

    Sep 4, 2005
    Well guys, since my last post I've gotten an inexpensive trumpet and flugelhorn (combo deal), and an Arban's book. Things are going ok, but I have 2 questions..

    I love playing that flugelhorn! I'd rather play it than the trumpet every time, but I'm concerned that it might hurt me in the long run by swapping back and forth. Will it? I am using a bach 7c on the trumpet, and the flugel has a bach 7c and a yamaha 12F3d. The yamaha one feels better, but it has a much deeper cup so I've been sticking with the 7c for now. So, first question, is it bad to swap around between horns like that? If not, would it be detrimental to use the deeper yamaha mouthpiece?

    Secondly, it's only been a short while so I don't expect my endurance to have improved much, but lately I've had a problem with the air escaping around the mouthpiece on the right side of my mouth on high notes. It's a lip buzz sound, not just air. By the way, high notes for me right now are only about G above the staff or lower. It seems after a certain amount of playing I just can't seem to keep my lips tight enough. Is this just out of shape lips? It isn't bad at first, but gets much worse the longer I play (as I get tired), and starts happening after only 15 or 20 minutes of playing. It's very frustrating. Maybe I should stick to lower stuff where this doesn't happen until I'm more in shape?

    As for the music for my son I mentioned earlier, I believe Maynard is what I was looking for. I bought a couple of his albums, a Dizzy, a Don Ellis, and today I got Arturo Sandoval. My son likes Maynard, but I'm really loving all of them!

    Thanks everyone!
  9. Alex Yates

    Alex Yates Forte User

    Aug 11, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    Ah the memories of listening to Maynard with my high school buddies. We listened to him constantly, went to his concerts and played his stuff in our jazz band. We couldn't get enough of him. Chuck Mangione was also a favorite at the time.....his "Live at the Hollywood Bowl" is a classic.

    As far as Maynard goes, MF Horn 2 is still my all time favorite.....Gospel John, Country Road.....nothing like those tunes. Chameleon is also another very popular album of his.
  10. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I agree with everyone that said to listen to some good trumpet music, be it classical, jazz, rock with horns...whatever.

    There have also been some great suggestions along the way of method books to work from and getting a good teacher, however, I find that all work and no play makes for a boring time after a while, especially if you aren't playing out anywhere.

    My suggestions would be to see if you can't find some "music minus one" stuff to play along to. These days you can find almost everything from current popular pop tunes to Jazz solo improv stuff to classical solos such as the Haydn and Hummel concertos. Put the music on the stand, pop the CD into your stereo and crank it! To me, there is little that is as fun as playing in an ensemble and until you actually become part of one, this is as close as it gets.

    Some on here know that I play drums too and I think that one of the reasons I like doing it so much is because I can simply plug my isolation headphones into my CD player, and I "become" the drummer of the band on the recording I'm playing to. On top of that, most of the tunes that I drum to were recorded to a click track, so it really helps to improve my time.

    While some might think that this is putting the cart in front of the horse a little bit, I am a musician for the very base reason that it's fun and I enjoy doing it. I didn't have a private teacher in my developmental years. I simply went to my band classes and band related activities, however, I enjoyed playing so much that during the school day, I would get up to the band room every chance I got to go play my horn - I believe that I improved as a player simply because of the bulk time that horn was on my face.

    I'm not saying that you shouldn't get a teacher too - that's a great idea as well, but I think that you should do whatever it takes to make it as fun as possible - you will hear your mistakes and weaknesses doing the "music minus one" stuff, and you will work to improve whatever needs to be improved, but you will also be doing the two most important things - making music and having fun.

    Good luck to you. It's great to have you on board! :-)

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