Ear Training/ Sight Singing.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by xjb0906, Jun 14, 2012.

  1. xjb0906

    xjb0906 Piano User

    May 2, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    It seems that the more trumpet lessons I take , the less I play my trumpet in the lessons and at home. My teacher is giving me a dose of music theory along with the actual trumpet playing. Apparently my physical approach to playing is fine and I need to develop the mental side of things. That is no big surprise. In an effort to develop the mental instrument between my ears I have been given the task of learning to sight sing and recognize intervals be ear. The thought of singing has always terrified me and I have been a little reluctant to try it, especially in front of another person.
    I am now trying out the singing and it is very taxing for me mentally. I am not as bad as had thought I would be. It is not anything another person would want to listen to but I think it will help me develop my ear and increase my ability to approach the trumpet in a more musical way. Being able to hear what is on the page before playing it is going to make playing so much easier.

    Sometimes the best medicine tastes the worst. Let's hope that this heals what ails me as a musician.
  2. trumpetsplus

    trumpetsplus Fortissimo User

    Jun 11, 2006
    South Salem, NY
    Thank you for opening this subject.

    No matter what your sound quality may be, if you can't sing it you won't be able to play it. Also, until you are able to sing confidently to an audience, you will not be able to play as effectively as you should.

    Unfortunately many people use their instrument as a shield between them and the audience, looking down, closing their eyes, or eyes glued to the music stand etc. Your best music will be played when you are able to relate strongly, e.g. with eye contact, to the members of your audience.

    Music should be a gift to the listener, not a self-indulgence of the performer. When you are playing at home, imagine that you are playing to your mother, or your sweetheart, or ...; every note, whether it be of a study or a sonata, is your gift to them.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2012
    turtlejimmy likes this.
  3. johnande

    johnande Pianissimo User

    Jun 3, 2009
    western Wyoming
    Ivan.... Well said. JA
  4. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
    On this subject, what has long amazed me is those with 'perfect pitch'. One of my friends is principal trumpet in our local symphony orchestra. He can tune one of his, or my horns without any tuning device. He just plays a Bb and moves the tuning slide. It is always perfect when checked with an electonic tuning device. UNCANNY!!!!!!!

  5. chenzo

    chenzo Piano User

    Jul 18, 2008
    How true this is ........
    Have witnessed and participated in singing my part at a Brass band rehearsal....if you cannot sing the part you wont be able to play confidently ...after all we striving to make music.
    After we get over the some of the members prejudices and some embarrassing moments, it became a fun time in the Bandroom in which it lifted our performances to no end.

    There is much more to playing the trumpet than putting it to your face and blowing.
  6. flugelgirl

    flugelgirl Forte User

    Jan 20, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    It's really amazing how many people don't understand how important theory and ear training can be to actual performance! Theory is important even if you don't improvise to be able analyze the direction of a line or you place in a chord. Ear training and sight singing help with everything from intonation and security on your instrument to musical expression and performance anxiety issues. I was fortunate to be blessed with good ears (had to work HARD for everything else!), but ear training and sight singing helped to cement my natural tendancies in place and make them work for me. I've watched others who struggled with it become much better musicians as a result of hard work on these subjects. Good luck - enjoy the study, and I'm glad you found a teacher who's taking you in a good direction!
  7. trumpetsplus

    trumpetsplus Fortissimo User

    Jun 11, 2006
    South Salem, NY
    I agree that these all help to increase the player's confidence in performance. However, performance anxiety is fear of the audience. It can be be camouflaged by hiding one's eyes in the music, or pretending that the audience isn't there, but to really overcome it requires engaging the audience and welcoming them to the performance. Embrace the relationship between performer, music, and audience.
  8. Steve Hollahan

    Steve Hollahan Pianissimo User

    May 31, 2011
    Charlotte, NC
    I would also suggest buying a soprano recorder. One of the greatest joys I had in Renaissance music in college was to just breathe into a recorder and play music. (I also played cornetto, different story. ) It greatly improved my musicality by taking out much of the physical mental process of making music on the trumpet. Singing is something I don't do, though I should. Also, sight reading a piece became easier.
  9. xjb0906

    xjb0906 Piano User

    May 2, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    Thanks. He is a good and patient teacher. It is almost as if I have decided that I want to skydive and want to back out at the last minute. The fear of looking stupid or untalented is real for me. This teacher is not going to push me out of plane, but he is talking me in to making the jump on my own. One of the hardest things I have done was singing in front of him for the first time. I had never made an honest attempt at singing in front of any other person until then.

    One thing I have learned from this current step to success is how easy it is to say that I want to do something. Making the commitment to take uncomfortable steps towards that goal is not so easy. Luckily, I am a person that thrives off of challenge. In most things I am either fully engaged or not at all. What keeps me going are the possibilities. I am playing things today that I would have thought impossible 2 years ago. Most of that improvement was through my own fumbling efforts. With direction I am seeing improvement at a much faster rate than before. These are exciting times.
  10. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    My sight singing was horrible, as in comically horrible. It made Florence Foster Jenkins sound good, it was so bad. Florence Jenkins massacres Mozart - YouTube
    My salvation was the mouthpiece, playing intervals, matching to a piano (playing a c on the piano, matching it with the mouthpiece, slurring to a g, and testing that against the piano. Later I added multiple intervals and ended up buzzing 12 tone tone-rows. Surprisingly, my sight singing improved, and not surprisingly, intonation and accuracy as well.

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