Could the trumpet be THE most demanding instrument when it comes to practice?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by reraom, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. SmoothOperator

    SmoothOperator Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 14, 2010
    Its demanding but in some ways also forgiving. In terms of tone and dynamics you probably never have to struggle to be heard and just about about any note sounds good, compared to a sax, guitar, or piano which don't have all that great of tone though just about anyone can sit down and play some notes. Personally I consider most the sounds that a trumpet makes as alright, you won't ever make someone shiver like finger nails on chalk boards, and there are some tones or intervals in saxs, guitars, pianos, violins that will definitely make you shiver. Part of the demanding aspects are that the expectations are a little higher, most people expect a lead player that can improvise over any form at any tempo and knows dozens of songs or can sight read anything that is thrown at them, however this not necessarily a bad thing. If you have ever played drums, the limitation to play recognizable songs is definitely difficult, though there isn't way to over come that expectation, except maybe move to Brazil.
  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
  3. duanemassey

    duanemassey Piano User

    Jul 14, 2009
    As far as physical difficulty, I would suggest the violin is the most demanding. I'd also put the oboe above the trumpet in terms of extremely disciplined muscles used. I also believe "it depends" upon the player and the genre.
    I don't find my tone or my technique diminishes during periods when I don't play my horn, but my endurance definitely suffers. I've known players who had to practice every day or their tone and range would suffer, but I also knew a player in college who literally only took his horn out for band rehearsals and always had a beautiful tone and technique. Sadly, he couldn't sight read very well, but he learned the music by the end of the semester. Not a jazz player, and had limited high range, but his embouchure was just a perfect natural.
    Certainly don't suggest practice is not worthwhile, just that we are all different in many regards.
  4. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    I think that the Shakuhachi flute is the hardest. It took days to even get a sound from it .... :stars:

    And, there aren't enough holes, typically, to get a chromatic scale, so you have to cover them half way or even a quarter of the way on some notes ..... seriously, it's even more impossible to do that. I didn't get that far though, because I still can't get much of a sound from one. Plus, only roughly half your air (or less) actually gets used and goes through the instrument, so it takes a whopping amount of air. Trumpet is plenty tough enough though, not far behind.

    I think trumpet is much more difficult, physically, than violin. That's obvious when you see 2 year olds playing violin (my ex had a prodigy 2 1/2 year old girl student that was really good on the smallest violin I've ever seen). Not many 2 year olds could even play the trumpet.

  5. Satchmo Brecker

    Satchmo Brecker Piano User

    Jul 19, 2010
    Not sure if trumpet is the MOST physically demanding, but it's got to be close. Besides facial muscles and breath support, you've got the fact that both arms are held up (unless you use that built-in shelf that comes with age). Personally I don't recall ever sweating when practicing sax (or bassoon). I definitely do when practicing trumpet. Obviously embouchure and breath support are important on any instrument, but trumpet IMHO exercises those muscles more, even more than a double-reed.
  6. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    Just because I'm 75, don't diss my mahl T-bar that I frequently use for arm support. Only recently, I was very dependent on it to continue playing due to a shoulder injury. One day you may become old or disabled and need something for support.

    With a double reed instrument (oboe or bassoon), the players embouchure is in constant change dependent on the varying cut and lay of the reeds from time to time. What I've noted is the control they must have over the air they use which I believe is more than that used on any brass instrument.
  7. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    When I first took up playing drums 8 years ago my thought at the time was that it was easier than playing the trumpet and that taking time off simply didn't matter to the same degree. At the time that may have been true - I was functional enough where I was playing in church band, but as I've progressed as a drummer, as my skill level increased along with my level of finesse and expression, I have found that I deal with some of the same issues as trumpet when I take a few days off. The first thing to go is the finer control and finesse. The second thing that goes are certain coordination/limb interdependence concepts. The third thing to go are basic chops.

    On one hand there are some advantages to playing drums - I've never chopped out playing drums, and having more latitude to structure my part as I see fit, if the coordination and finesse isn't happening, I can simplify and still be fine. I notice, but no one I'm playing with really does. Then again, the people I play with where I'm playing drums aren't the same caliber as the musicians I play with when I'm on trumpet - the latter group would probably notice.

    Anyway, I agree with Rowuk, in my experience, trumpet is not more demanding than other instruments.
  8. PatMurphy

    PatMurphy Pianissimo User

    Aug 9, 2009
    Cherry Hill NJ
    As to the trumpet's difficulty I can only offer that for me it is not difficult but my tone is not acceptable if I do not do 2-3 15 minutes sessessions starting in the morning
    BUT, as jazz player, what other instrument is so forgiving that almost all note sounded in a given valve position will be usable.
    AND, Most important What other instrument is so Cathargic. When you put your soul into the notes, proper or bent. The dynamices from a whisper to a blast, the phrasing that is possilbe and shear physical oneness with the instrument as your fingers, lip and diaphram shape the instrument to "sing". And you do not have to memorize the lyrics so it can sing in any language from English Pops, French love songs to Spanish Salsa.
    It is also easy to carry and cheap to buy. If you doubt this, swap with a bass player, drummer or piano.
  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I can vouch for that! Setting up, tearing down, and loading my drums are the worst parts of being a drummer - by far more difficult than anything trumpet related. And the cost! This is what I have involved in my drums, and keep in mind that my drums themselves are not considered upper level by any means:

    $1100 - Pearl SMX maple 4-piece shell pack
    $250 - snare drum (this isn't expensive for a snare at all)
    $1500 - Cymbals (two rides, two crashes, one splash and a set of hats - this is a fairly modest array. A lot of drummers have a lot more cymbals than that.)
    $650 - Hardware (cymbal stands, pedals, throne)
    $600 - SKB Roto-X cases + hardware bag

    That's $4100 worth of gear, (and I may have low-balled some of that a little) and that doesn't include sticks and heads which need to be replaced periodically - as much as $250 if I replace resonant heads too, although typically I just do batters - $60 for the toms and snare for a pre-pack, and about $40-$50 for a bass drum head.

    That $1100 shell pack was pretty modest too - it's not unusual at all to pay $2500+ for a 4-piece shell pack. (just bass and toms - no snare or hardware)
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011
  10. bachfella

    bachfella Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 11, 2011
    Claymont, DE
    Just my 2 cents, guys, but I don't think the trumpet is more or less demanding than any other instrument. They all require plenty of practice in order to play them well. I'm just getting back to playing after a 15-year-layoff, and right now, I'm going through the stage where at times, it almost feels like I'm fighting the horn, or vice-versa, but that's because I haven't played in so long. As long as I don't quit, playing will become easy again--just takes time.

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