Back to Square One

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trickg, May 6, 2005.

  1. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Manny, as you might remember, I recently purchased a Schilke B6 with the thought that the lighter, tighter, more-lively trumpet would be a much better horn to use for the rock and roll party band that I play with. I have now owned the trumpet for a little over three weeks and with 2 gigs under my belt with it, I’m still trying to get used to how it blows, and the gig last Saturday was ROUGH, in spite of the fact that I am practicing more now than I have in months! I was pretty much chopped out by the end of the second set with a full set left to go, and I’m not sure how I got through the 3rd set. You can imagine my frustration, especially considering the "better" trumpet and the additional practice.

    So, back at home in the practice room, I decided to try to get back to square one. To do this I started with checking my posture and body alignment and blowing a soft long tone on a G in the staff as relaxed as I could possibly play it.

    My thought was to see how focused my chops were and I was shocked by how much pressure I was using to simply produce a note! I started the G, and then gradually tried to pull the mouthpiece pressure (which was considerable) from my chops. I didn’t get very far before the tone degraded into a nasty double buzz, and from this I have concluded that I have been trying to force and muscle this horn. For the last several days, in 30 minute sessions, I have been doing a lot of soft playing, much of it long tones, much of it articulation, and a few easy lip slurs – all in an effort to get my chops to focus again without mouthpiece pressure. I even did a lot of this work in the dark and with my eyes closed so that I could better focus on what my chop were doing and how they were feeling, and I could focus on the sound coming from my bell. At this point I don’t want to work on anything off of a page and I’m choosing instead to play long tones, scales and arpeggios, and a few memorized exercises such as Clarke’s 2nd study.

    At present, my sound seems to be opening up and has a more solid core, and I can pull so much pressure off of the mouthpiece that air will start to hiss from around the edges and I can actually hear the buzz of my lips, but the tone will remain and only occasionally if I remove too much pressure does it break down into a double buzz. Of course the true test will come tomorrow night on the gig, but I think that I have improved the situation greatly from what it was just one week ago.

    So Manny, at this point, in your opinion, do you think I should continue to follow this line of thought and practice? So far, it seems to have helped, but if there is something else that you think would help even more, I am totally open to it. Sorry for the long post everyone! :oops:
     
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Patrick,

    To tell you the truth, I like what you're doing... I know exactly what you're doing and why it's working and why the other stuff didn't work but it sounds like you're doing it from a sound standpoint. You didn't like the way it sounded so you changed. You changed by doing some basic things but you were responding to how it sounded.

    Let that continue to be your guide, your instincts are good.

    It made me happy to read your post.

    ML
     
  3. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Thanks Manny, I appreciate that a lot.

    One of the reasons that I am taking this approach to get my chops going again is because I have used it in the past. When I was an Army Bandsman, part of the job required marching and playing loud marches on the field. For me, part of the solution to keeping my sound together while marching was to blow harder and to use more pressure, both of which were detrimental to my focus and sound, and in order to be functional in a brass quintet again after a long week or two of ceremonies, I would work on playing softer and with more focus, although I can't recall my chops ever being as bad as they were a week ago.

    One thing that concerns me now is that I'm worried about what I will do when I'm playing in an amplified, loud, exciting situation again tomorrow night. I don't want to think about it too much, but I have a feeling that I'll blow harder and crank on more pressure than is necessary. I'll just have to keep it in the back of my mind and continue to do some quality practice between gigs. The idea here is to get to where I'm playing smarter, not harder.

    Thanks again Manny. I'll continue with what I have been doing and post some updates along the way.
     
  4. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Yeah, and over a period of time you'll gradually replace the need for pressure with a need for a full sound that fits whatever style you're immersed in.

    Tomorrow night's my 70's "gig" at my friend house. I was just practicing Lucretia, Spinning Wheel, God Bless the Child, and Get it On... whew... let's hear it for Dave's lead pieces!

    Er... busy tomorrow night? Could use a little help...

    ML
     
  5. Mikey

    Mikey Forte User

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    If I give you my Sony Mini-CD recorder and stereo mike, could you hide it and leave it on during the "gig"?

    I would love to be a fly on the wall at this party.........

    :D
     
  6. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Spinning Wheel!? Man, I don't even want to think about the only time my band ever played THAT. I clammed all over the solo part of that. The worst part - we had one of the guitarists from BST on stage with us! :shock: :-( It was a private party in Philly for some organization he was a part of. Overall the tune was ok, but I was embarrased to say the least.

    I liked that song until that night. Now I hear it and I re-live the experience. *shiver*
     
  7. iguananaught

    iguananaught Pianissimo User

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    I get to play Spinning wheel once a year. I've gotten to do this for the last 8 years. I still don't play that freakin' thing right. You would think, after all the practice on it for 8 years it would get easier. Lew Soloff is my hero. So clean, such great lines! I too would like to be a fly of the wall for this private party! I would love to hear the lucretia solo! I am sure it will be a "blast"! All hail rock and roll......

    Patrick
     
  8. camelbrass

    camelbrass Mezzo Forte User

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    I have a best of BS &T CD that I listen to in the car. Great brass section.

    That Spinning Wheel solo just sticks in my head..has done since I was a kid. When you really listen you think the sounds a bit thin but then you hear the hang over on that last note and the sound's filling the studio. Considering it was done on a medium bore Bach I believe..Lew Soloff is an absolute monster. Good luck Manny!! Think I'd opt for the Chicago stuff myself.

    Regards,

    Trevor
     
  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    The funniest thing about that solo in Spinning Wheel is that to just listen to it, it's like, "ok, it's hip" :cool: and you go on your merry way.

    Then you see a transcription and realize that it's all over the place up to F# and it's like :shock: then :?:

    Then you take it to a gig, clam all over it and it's like :bash:

    you feel like the tune is doing this :bleah: to you

    Your band leader looks back :x

    you look back at him like :dontknow: and then :oops: or even :sorry: because when you went for the high stuff it was like :stars:

    (Of course, the other option is to pretend as if nothing is amiss :whistle: )

    meanwhile, the crowd is like :thumbdown: and inside you are still like :bash:

    Of course at the end of the night, you still get your check, go home, kick back and have a beer. It's Miller Time! :thumbsup:

    Sorry guys, but that was way too much fun. ;-)
     
  10. Mikey

    Mikey Forte User

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    :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D


    My finger is tired....................
     

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