Confused on which method to use!!!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Vessehune, Jun 3, 2004.

  1. dbacon

    dbacon Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Scottsdale, AZ.
    I don't know what it means either.

    I make my living as a band director. Very few days ever go by I don't make at least two hours for practice.

    You can't play the trumpet at the highest level without serious practice.

    There are no short cuts, only what you are willing to put up with.

    I'm not talking about chop strength, that's the easy part. It's everything else that takes meticulous preparation.

    Read Chris Gekker's material, that's what takes time and focus.
  2. JackD

    JackD Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 30, 2003
    Manchester / London
    It's all very well saying "practise for x amount of hours a day", but then there is a risk of getting into practising for the sake of practising.

    I'm not saying practising is bad (obviously not!), and more is great, as long as it's good practice. Practising just to fill your quota of x amount of hours will not be good for you: make sure you always feel fresh, and know what you're aiming for.

    I hope that makes sense, it's early.
  3. dcstep

    dcstep Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 27, 2003
    Brian (the original poster) doesn't seem to be a Trumpet Performance major. If he is, then he needs to practice several hours per day, IF NOT two or three hours per day, EVERY DAY, is too much except when he's preparing for a particular performance or working out a particular problem.

    If you "need to" practice two or three hours per day to maintain your range and endurance, then something's wrong with your embouchure and you need to learn to play efficiently. (Here I'm assuming a "mature" player that has a high-C range or better, not a developing young player).

    Pontificating that one must practice two or three hours per day can be very discouraging and unrealistic for the average comeback player.

  4. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    The only thing that I really gain by doing a lot of extra practice is accuracy. I can maintain both my range and endurance by doing a modest amount of practicing - roughly 45 minutes to 2 hours per day - I RARELY get more than 2 hours of practice in, and if I do, it's broken up into 20 - 30 minute sessions for three or four sessions. (I usually only get about 45 minutes to an hour 4 to 5 times a week.) Most of the time my "practice" is really what I would call an extended warm up where I'm doing long tones first, then lip slurs, then articulation exercises, scales, music excerpts, sight reading, etc, mainly to tighten up my fundamentals.

    I rarely go into a practice session with a specific goal in mind - my "goal" is always to clean things up as much as possible, which for me is more a matter of concentration and focus rather than being a matter of chops.

    With my life being what it is with all of the activities that surround a freelance musician who also has a full time day job, a wife, a house, two kids and all of the trimmings and trappings that go with, practice for me can really be a hit or miss proposition these days.

    Take last night for instance.

    For starters, I have been EXTREMELY busy with my day job lately and pulling a 10 - 12 hour day has become the rule, rather than the exception over the last couple of weeks, so I am mentally fatigued before I ever even step through the door after work. Last night was no exception.

    Combine with this the fact that my practice room in the basement is crammed full of other junk from my project of trying to finish the basement. Since I had drywallers coming in to put drywall over my wall frames, I had to clear out the rest of the basement and a lot of that wound up in my practice room, where it has been for about a week. Needless to say, with all of this stuff going on, I haven't practiced much lately but since I have a gig this weekend, I knew I had to get back on it.

    Anyway, all I did last night was play a G in the staff for 20 minutes (see "20 minute G spot") and I did some really light articulation stuff for about another 10 minutes. 30 minutes of light practicing was all I could muster last night, and I did this with no music in front of me, standing in the corner or my crammed practice room sometime around midnight.

    The point is, I'll do more of the same tonight, and where I probably won't kick any tail on the gig on Saturday night, I won't have too much trouble doing what I have to to get the gig done.

    For me, anything more than two hours is overkill, but then again, for the playing that I do, I don't have to have ultra endurance or be ultra accurate - it's a pretty low pressure gig.
  5. dcstep

    dcstep Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 27, 2003
    When I practice "extra" it's usually to get something "performance ready" or fix some issue I've been having.

    Once technique is "imbedded" in you brain, fingers and embouchure, a little "extra" practice will usually revive those techniques. I don't double tongue in performance much anymore, but I have been working on smoothing that out again. However, I've been doing that over a period of months, working a few minutes, several times per week.

    To gain techniques in the first place, I agree that a period of intense study over several years is needed, or the alternative is a little intense, daily study over a very extended period (several years). Which you choose will depend on what stage of life your in and what other demands have higher priority to you.

  6. londonhusker

    londonhusker Guest

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2007
  7. mheffernen5

    mheffernen5 Pianissimo User

    Have fun and play some pop music. Also maybe spend a little time with a serious book like Arbans for example.
  8. music matters

    music matters Pianissimo User

    Apr 26, 2004
    ON Canada
    I am a comeback player and have had long summer holidays to practice in as I am a teacher. One summer I practiced about 3 hours a day and by the end of the summer had improved considerably and the improvements kept coming for a period of time after that.

    I would work on techinical studies (Clarkes or Arbans) - you will notice improvement all the time which is very encouraging. Then look at repertoire and I would use this to develo endurance and range.

    Most of all keep it varied, structured and enjoy yourself - it has to be fun!
  9. pops

    pops Pianissimo User

    Mar 17, 2004

    Most of those focus on the lip curl as the MAIN means to produce range.

    THis has ALWAYS been a 2 sided sword.
    Go to trumpet stuff and listen to the lip curl artists (Roy Roman is a good example).

    This sound does not always happen BUT with curl as the main focus point it happens all too often.

    Another while helping in the upper register tends to be hard to control for many players in the staff and below. Plus you are a serious student and tonguing skills are hampered for most (I know someone will tell us that they are tonguing 600 times a minutes. I want to HEAR it.)

    Now I have had a lot of XYZ students in the past and granted if ALL of their playing objectives had been met they wouldn't have looked for a different teacher. But they ALL had very serious sound production flaws and BAD tone, poor flexibility and half couldn't play at all below second line G. NOT a note, a splatter or a hiss below that. (BTW I am NOT talking about people who read those books but people who took live lessons from the author.)

    The REASON is the emphasis is only on compression and range.

    (How can you learn if you tell the teacher "I'm having trouble with this part of the piece" and the teacher says "do it like this" and plays a DHC aimed at your face.)

    This really happened. The problem was there was NO DHC in the piece and his problem was tonguing low notes.

    Gordon isn't a system per say it is a lot of exercises that focus on air and tongue level. I don't care for the 1 octave arpeggios because so many people do embouchure shifts when the get higher. Gordon doesn't say to do this but if the music were written starting on G on the staff and then the arpeggios (every arpeggio starting on that note.) Then you wouldn't be able to shift.

    Mine clearly isn't a system.

    That being said ALL pro players share something in common:

    They worked long hard hours on basics.
    Sorry but range is the LEAST important aspect of trumpet playing. All the range in the world coupled with bad tone and sorry technique will never land a real job. But a great sound, solid technique, musicality, reading skills and a range to high C will land you work.
    Not every player in the band has to play DHC and above.

    Yes range can be built with POOR work habits if using an efficient embouchure but great playing skills can NOT.

    Spend time on Clarke as written pp>ppp
    This will help the open aperture.

    IF you really read my books then you know I push Arban, Clarke, Schlossberg, Brandt, Williams, Colin, Irons, Charlier, Voisin, Bitsch, Endsley and Stevens(Thomas Stevens NOT Roy.).....

    I even use those for people looking to improve range. The Arban 14 Char studies will do a LOT more toward making your range playable than arpeggios and feel good exercises that most SYSTEMS use.

    Asking questions of people is often going to lead to different answers. But remember many comeback players don't really know what a great player sounds like live. They have no idea how far from pro level they are. NO idea what skill level is required to get or keep a job. Or of how long it takes to get there.

    I say this because I've had online discussions with many and when they finally came for a lesson I was shocked that anyone who sounded like that would offer an opinion. They never knew how far from good they were. They never played with a pro. They never had to sight read hard music live at a job. Or read live doing a recording.

    I seen them offer advice on how to play the Second Brandenburg. When questioned about it found out that had they not only never performed it, never practiced it, and they had never even seen the music. BUT they had advice about it.

    If you are in school and serious 6-8 hours a day.
    I have friends that think 10-12 is more like it. Jeanne posted 10-12 on TPIN a few months ago.

    I did 3 a day at home while in JR High.
    I have a HS student here in the area who does 6 a day and already has all of the excerpts from the top 50 book memerised on Bb, C, Eb and Pic.
    He can play each on at least 2 different pitched horns.
  10. dbacon

    dbacon Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Scottsdale, AZ.
    You said it much better than I did, Pops. Exactly!

    All that surface tension that's created by too much lip curl will cause sound problems and response problems. The center of the embouchure (inside the mouthpiece) should be relaxed and supple, not tense. That way it will respond with the least effort. Much more efficient.

    Back in the day Phil Wilson showed me what he called the "jelly roll" which I've since discovered in Doc Reinhardt's book. It's just a little rolling in from the lower lip, not much. Took about five minutes to get it, half a day of practice to make it seem like I'd done it all my life and have used it ever since. Did'nt need a lot of in-and-out stuff, long tones and lips slurs, scales etc did it. He also told me not to let my jaw receed to much, get the pressure off the upper lip and more on the lower. 60/40 pressure on the lower lip. That added a lot to my chops and did not need to really change much.

    Mr Ghitalla was fond of saying, "There's nothing a thousand hours of practice won't cure!"

    Sure, if you are playing on the red of the lip a thousand hours won't do it for you. But so much is made of "embouchure" that guys loose sight of the goal and how best to accomplish it.

    Find the best private teacher you can, get a good basic set-up, good equipement, good music, good groups to play in, practice and have patience!

    And remember we are in the music business....
    not the trumpet business!!

Share This Page