Comeback player no more ... goals

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by kctrumpeteer, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. kctrumpeteer

    kctrumpeteer Piano User

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    So I picked my trumpet back up several years ago and actively playing as well as taking lessons and an interesting but seemingly obviously simple question came up of 'What are your goals?"

    Not sure I have a simple answer although historically it was that I want to continually improve my trumpet playing and have the opportunity to perform versus playing in my basement. :-P Sometimes my simpleton type goal might be as simple as if someone puts a piece of music in front of me I can play it and that isn't fully the case so much to work on there. Of course for a while working with a local working musician he had me working on all things improvisational and jazz studies which is in itself its own beast, and I feel like I am coming almost full circle back into more orchestral type playing situations.

    Now as I have progressed it seems difficult at times to really set a focus on what skills or attributes I need to hone in on or focus on for my playing ability. I have spent the past 3-4 months really focusing in on playing some pieces that stretch the ability for maintaining good tone quality and working on overall sound, but I often find my time dedicated to spending lots of time on technical studies.

    I start feeling like I'm falling into the 'now what?' and wondering what others do for reinvigorating their goal setting and improvement for playing?
     
  2. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

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    I think I understand what you're describing. I don't think I'm there though, because for me the answer would be: more 1st trumpet parts in band, more pieces to my little repertoire, more difficult pieces to get started, etc...
     
  3. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

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    "I start feeling like I'm falling into the 'now what?' and wondering what others do for reinvigorating their goal setting and improvement for playing?"
    Last time this happened to me I focused on learning some new music that was important to me but that was not standard trumpet fare. Example: movie theme from The Last of the Mohicans. This worked for me.
    Jim
     
  4. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Tough question kctrumpeteer! The origin of motivation is internal; inspiration, external. Getting motivated is a bootstrap operation, unless we are inspired. Inspiration and enthusiasm are darned close to each other in meaning, although from different sources.

    The big question is then, "How do I get inspired and enthusiastic about playing the trumpet?"

    For me the key is to listen. Listen to recordings of jazz soloists, chamber brass, soloists, big band, brass band and symphonic literature. As an example, in orchestral music learn to distinguish between Gil Johnson, Gerard Schwarz, Armando Ghitalla and Adolph Herseth.

    Then, try to emulate them. Doing this, we get away from the black and white "right note on time in tune" mentality and start working with colors. Way more fun to play an exercise once like Herseth, once like Miles, once like Doc. Great training to get out of our own heads and let the music play us.
     
  5. graysono

    graysono Mezzo Forte User

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    Here's what it is for me. I no longer care about being a "classical" trumpet player. I want to be the best jazz player I can be, including big band and small groups. Ergo, what can't I do? The list is very long. One example--a really big motivator--is to improve my ear. Therefore to motivate my practice, I pick a tune and per a suggestion from a James Morrison workshop I once attended, I hold down a valve and that is the starting note of the tune. In Wynton's words, I want to be able to play through the horn what I am hearing in my head. A goal might be to be able to play any tune I "know" in any key, by ear.

    So, on any day to get a kick in the pants, it's a choice of a new tune, and a potentially new key.
     
  6. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

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    Hi kc,
    You stated:
    "Now as I have progressed it seems difficult at times to really set a focus on what skills or attributes I need to hone in on or focus on for my playing ability.
    ------
    Yep, that's the way it is. To know what needs work requires a the ability to learn from your playing. In your situation, I'd recommend recording your lessons and listen to them while driving. Chances are, you'll be sickened by what you hear but don't be discouraged, this feeling is normal. Learn from what you hear from the recording and be sure to do this once a week to hone your skills. It will get better, I promise.
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    I have spent the past 3-4 months really focusing in on playing some pieces that stretch the ability for maintaining good tone quality and working on overall sound, but I often find my time dedicated to spending lots of time on technical studies.
    -----------------
    Tech and endurance, studies are important. However, what are you doing to cultivate your particular voice? One of my big pet peeves are universities that spit out trumpet players that all sound the same. Heck, I've set in with bands and couldn't tell when the first trumpet started and the last one ended. They all sound the same!! What a pity and what a frinkin' nightmare. Yes, a trumpet player in college should be able to sight read very well and know the aspects of music and the horn. Unfortunatey trumpet professors push for a particular sound which homogenizes the sound. The trumpet isn't a monoculture and to treat it as such should be a crime. Finding one's voice is rarely part of the university curriculum. What separates Balsom, Mendez, Smith, ect. from tons of other educated trumpet players? Their voice.
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    I start feeling like I'm falling into the 'now what?' and wondering what others do for reinvigorating their goal setting and improvement for playing?
    ------------------
    I work on me. Granted, some might not like me, but that's okay. I'm secure enough to not sacrifice myself to sound like something else.
    Hope this helps.
    Dr.Mark
    ------------------
    P.S. It takes a long time to become yourself.
     
  7. mrsemman

    mrsemman Piano User

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    KC,

    Goals epitomizes the values we set for ourselves. That is why we set long range, mid-range and short-range goals. We work on the achievable.

    For me, as a comeback player, was a unique experience. What I thought I knew, I did not know. I informed my trumpet teacher, who is 20 years my junior, that I wanted to be able to play jazz and improvise. After two years of teaching me scales, chords, jazz songs, play alongs, etc. I went back to the basics of tone, tonguing, tempo, scales, chords, etc. I may never reach my goal, but I consider myself a work in progress.

    ary
     
  8. EdMann

    EdMann Mezzo Forte User

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    Goal setting is fine, but I prefer to find a deep pool and jump in, and make surviving the goal. 5 years ago, I was only a year or so into my comeback and jazz solos were going nowhere. I found a couple bands to play who put me up front to solo. I had no choice. Sink/swim, run/hide. I wouldn't say the first forays were worth much to the listener, but I soon learned that the only way I was going to improve was to put stock in myself and throw caution to the wind. Take a risk.

    ed
     
  9. kctrumpeteer

    kctrumpeteer Piano User

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    Dec 23, 2009
    As a side note... I think my original comments might have been based on having a frustrated day / week with my playing, etc. Since then I can offer some additional comments...
    1. so far as goals ... interesting about college players, etc. because I stopped playing long before going to college so I 'missed' out on the whole college band experience. Minus picking up a handful of music classes for some electives or something fun to do on the side. so at times I wonder if there is a curriculum that a college student might follow where they have a definite start and finish and then you can map your progress .
    --- Reality is that progress is not always that easy ... it takes time and sometimes big jumps and sometimes small jumps... sometimes moving backwards before you can move forward again.

    In regards to the college discussion above and then Jazz / improv... I also start thinking about how much time should be spent on learning any theory that I may not know or be fluent in. With one guy that I worked with for quite some time he was a working professional musician, and his take on that was that I needed to learn all scales, intervals, thirds, chords, diminished, augmented, etc. across all keys signatures on both the trumpet and on the piano and to have the sound in my head and be able to sing it... then to eventually play a song by ear and convert it into every key signature on the fly... sure I did that with a couple of elementary school songs, but way beyond what I probably really need to do or have time to do... I still have a day job!

    My corporate band which I'm lucky to have in today's corporate world has been on break and we only finally start playing again a week from now for Christmas so I was probably missing out on that and feeling a bit of a void.

    New goals / new adventures.. .There is a local mega church 20K members that has a full orchestra that is very 'big' time in their productions and will be starting their Christmas program practices coming up soon. I'm now officially signed up to play with them and will be playing with that group on a minimum of 4-6 hours a week. That is now a huge commitment, but also a great opportunity to get revitalized.

    The other thing with goals.... someone mentioned finding a new piece of music and I have to agree... I have been focusing probably too much on all of the 'technical' drills and skills that I have started to lose focus on music and that is what should be the end goal anyway!
     

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