After beats

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Trumpet1Ohio, Jul 23, 2011.

  1. Trumpet1Ohio

    Trumpet1Ohio Piano User

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    Jun 22, 2005
    Columbus, OH
    For years I've been a jazz and commercial trumpet player. Recently, I was given an opportunity to join a top-notch brass band. I'm playing 2nd cornet and enjoying it very much. I'm getting my legit chops, reading and multiple-tonguing back...better every week. The one thing I am struggling with is playing after-beats on a up-tempo piece. I start out fine but lose it quickly. I'm struggling to keep from throwing the other 2nds off. It's really embarrassing for me. Any suggestions?

    Thanks!
     
  2. chapmand

    chapmand Piano User

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    Jul 26, 2010
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    Sorry for what is perhaps just a question of terminology, but what do you mean by "after beats"?
     
  3. stevesf

    stevesf Piano User

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    A couple of suggestions. First of all practice with a metronome. Moderate tempo at first then progressively faster. It can be any exercise or notes, be creative if you like.
    Start with quarter rest and quarter note. Then same in cut time. Then eighth rest and eighth note. repeat
    The next suggestion I have is to always sub-divide the beat. I mean, even when you are not actually playing on the beat , "feel" that you are playing the note. You can even sub-divide that even more. Say you are playing quarter rest, quarter note in cut time. Think you are playing eighth notes continuously. Obviously this becomes much harder as the tempo gets faster but it can be done.
    The last thing I suggest is to play as relaxed as possible. It is very common to tense up when playing successive up beats. Thinking you are playing every note in the bar will help this.
    I hope you can decipher my explanations , as it is hard for me to put into words what I could demonstrate in a live teaching session.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2011
  4. stevesf

    stevesf Piano User

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    He means the "pah" in "oom-pah". :lol:
     
  5. tptCarl

    tptCarl Pianissimo User

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    Although all the tips you have been given will help, why not ask a French horn ( tenor horn) player. They grow up playing after beats. A good friend suggests a longer first note and a correct length second note .... Try it. Then work to get both the correct length.
     
  6. chapmand

    chapmand Piano User

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    Thanks stevesf. I played French horn all through school and university and always called then "off-beats". Maybe that's not politically correct anymore!
    For me as a player I hear and feel in my musical mind and ear, the entire piece, therefore playing the after beats is simply playing with the entirety in my mind.
    I tend to imagine that I'm "setting up" the oom with my pah.
    And for God's sake, don't drag!
     
  7. chapmand

    chapmand Piano User

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    I would like to add that the actual lenghth of note should be determined by two things. First of all your director; right or wrong he/she is always right.
    Secondly the venue will determine note lenghth. (longer out doors and in "dead" environments, shorter in the echoing gymnasiums).
     
  8. stevesf

    stevesf Piano User

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    Very true about horn players, they get the brunt of after beat playing. ;-)
    btw Dale, I don't think "off beat" is too politically un-correct but if you beat off in public it may be frowned upon. ROFL
    I thought of another exercise to try.
    Play all the notes...accenting the up beats or in other words, soft loud soft loud with the softer notes getting progressively softer and the loud ones remaining the same. Eventually the soft notes will be en-audible yet "felt".

    Another tip: think of the music moving linearly in a forward motion, not up and down.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2011
  9. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

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    Hawaian homey
    OK, I'm maybe a little at odds with some of the advice above. But let me try some alternative suggestions. I try to keep it simple and not "micromanage" a technical problem. As Bruce Lee said, (paraphrase) "take what's useful, discard the rest", so do that here. It won't hurt my feelings. Here is what works for me as a French Horn player.

    - think of several after-beats in a group, not singly
    - - i.e. don't go one-TWO-one-TWO-one-TWO etc, getting bogged down on each after-beat, but group the notes in larger grouping, (one-two-one two-one-two-one-two), next group (one-two-one two-one two-one-two)
    - - - always think in a large, not small, group of notes

    - group those notes with an expulsion of air
    - - don't keep pounding on the up-beats, breathing randomly, but plan both your group of notes and the breathing out of your breath as one, integrated unit
    - - - basically, this keeps me from reducing my breathing and after-beat playing in too small of units, which can definitely slow you down

    - keep the tongue light!

    - listen for the snare drum
    - - if the snare drummer is an accurate player his/her playing on the after-beats can be a great help to you
    - - similarly listen for the tuba and bass drum to give you the down beats

    - now, this may sound a bit crazy at first, but don't necessarily listen to the rest of the Horn section, unless they are all playing precisely together, to play your after-beats in time. By the time you hear their notes, these notes are already dead and gone.

    - don't get frustrated. just keep your radar out (big ears), play well and have fun!
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2011
  10. stevesf

    stevesf Piano User

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    sorry you are right....if you have to think about it, then most likely you are too late.....like anything else the more you practice something, the more that instinct takes over and thought is just a few moments beyond....
     

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