Beginner Looking for Practice Ideas and Advice!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by garrettmarvel, Jan 23, 2009.

  1. garrettmarvel

    garrettmarvel New Friend

    Jan 21, 2009
    hi all - i bought a trumpet a year ago and am finally getting the motivation to pick it up on a regular basis, but being the beginner that I am, I stink.

    I can almost play a C major scale to the top C note, I try to pick out fun riffs to practice (otis redding's original Hard To Handle trumpet riff, Rocky movie theme, etc.).

    Can anyone give me some other practice ideas, tips, riffs, or fun exercises to bone up my practice sessions? Please keep in mind I cannot read music, but have a well developed ear from playing guitar and bass for several years.

    Any good online videos, software, other? Most importantly I'd like to find fun stuff to do/play if possible...



  2. Snorglorf

    Snorglorf Pianissimo User

    Nov 13, 2008
    A teacher is a must

    So is reading music.
  3. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    You might check out online lessons - Nick Drozdoff and Bob Grier come to mind. With 50 years of playing by ear under my belt (that sounds a little strange) I would say the best thing you can do for your musical improvement is to learn to read music. It is very good for your brain.
  4. Snorglorf

    Snorglorf Pianissimo User

    Nov 13, 2008
    It's like learning to read words. I mean, sure, illiterate people can make a speech. But you have to be a VERY good speaker to make anything out of yourself doing speeches while being illiterate.
  5. The Weez

    The Weez Piano User

    Dec 23, 2008
    Wichita, KS
    I learned to read from piano lessons when I in grade school. Not sure if this is the BEST way for someone who can't read to start, but something to think about. Entry-level piano lessons are cheap and there are a ton of teachers out there.
  6. simonstl

    simonstl Pianissimo User

    Nov 25, 2008
    Dryden/Ithaca, NY
    Congrats, garrettmarvel - you posted an intro message sure to rile up some folks here.

    No teacher, not even reading music!

    That's pretty normal in guitar, I know. It used to be normal in trumpet, even among a lot of the early jazz greats. A lot of folks certainly don't use written music when they play.

    Most everything I've seen about learning trumpet involves reading music. I went back to the Breeze-Easy books I'd used in 4th grade, which teach reading music along with teaching how to play - at a pace that mostly works for me. (But I already knew how to read music, at least treble clef, because I was coming back to it after a long time.)

    It sounds like I've worked my way up to about the same point you have, at C. I can play beyond that, but I'm moving very slowly beyond that. I was a pressure player, and don't want to get into those habits again. Developing embouchure muscles is slower than squashing the mouthpiece into my lips, but it's a better idea.

    For now, I'm playing mostly tunes that peak at G, since the bottom range on the trumpet, down to low F#, is easy for me. The more I play at that range, the easier my excursions beyond it get - it's becoming a lot more common that I can easily hit a E and occasionally a high G without pressure. I'm just not pushing into tunes that require them yet. I'm also spending a lot of time playing softly, which seems to help a lot.

    My advice would mostly be to go slow, but practice a lot. I don't have riffs to suggest really, but as long as you don't choose ones that push your range too quickly, you'll probably be fine. You might also want to check out Jonathan Harnum's _Sound The Trumpet_, which explains a lot of the vocabulary and basic techniques of trumpeting. I don't think it'll teach you to play, exactly, but it's made it a lot easier to understand what folks here are talking about.

    Good luck!
  7. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    If you are really interested in progressing in music and on the trumpet specifically you MUST find a competent good private teacher.
  8. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    The reason a good teacher is important is: on a guitar, piano, drums, etc. the instrument makes the sound. All you have to do to make a sound is pluck a string, press a key or strike a head. This requires no learning of fine motor skills. Of course if you realy want to play these instruments, that does require skill. On a trumpet the lips make the sound and if you don't develop the fine motor skills required your progress will be minimual if at all. You can not read about it or just learn from a book anymore than you can learn to play a sport this way. So if you want to just fool around with the trumpet go ahead. If you want to learn to play take some lessons. Oh and you HAVE to play at least 5 days a week for up to 30 minutes a day. i hope this helps put you on the right track and good luck and enjoy. Of course we all think that the trumpet is the king of instrumpets.:play: :thumbsup:
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2009
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    like with anything else in life, it is useful to have the cart behind the horse! With very few "notes" at your disposal, you are already talking about riffs. My personal opinion is to spend some time developing the raw materials to get more notes and technique and then find riffs that fit.

    Like most DIY posts, I have a problem with any players acceptance of mediocre and lack of desire to do a good job.

    I don't want to chase anybody off, but WHY CAN'T SOMEBODY POST AND ASK WHERE TO FIND A GOOD TEACHER AND REALLY TAKE THE BEGINNING OF TRUMPET PLAYING SERIOUSLY? Is the internet only there for the Nintendo Generation that can only win by downloading some cheat?
  10. simonstl

    simonstl Pianissimo User

    Nov 25, 2008
    Dryden/Ithaca, NY
    Learning and cheating are two very different things. Just because you don't like the question doesn't mean you need to throw around broad accusations of cheating.

    There's something underneath your question, in that the Internet gives lots of people a sense that they can find the information they want without going through traditional person-to-person channels. For a lot of fields - woodworking comes to mind - the Internet has given folks with a DIY attitude all kinds of information and support.

    Here, though, it sometimes seems that trumpet is a sacred art that should only be passed on from teacher to student. The Internet is where we should talk about where to buy the best trumpets, marvel at stellar performances, and talk about valve oil.

    I know it's harder to describe how to play trumpet than it is to describe how to put a board through a table saw. We don't have a great common vocabulary, and there's a lot of individual variation.

    It'd be a lot more polite, though, and probably more effective, to point out those challenges than to shout about people not taking things seriously and only wanting to cheat.

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