First lesson report

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by jdostie, Mar 15, 2008.

  1. jdostie

    jdostie Piano User

    Feb 20, 2008
    So I had my first lesson today. I didn't know what to expect so I tried not to have any pre-conceived notions.

    This, I would characterize as a "let's see what we have" session - not for everything you understand, just to evaluate the most basic things. He didn't have me play anything I've been working on or anything, just sat down with his horn, and played and had me follow:

    1. Begin with some long tones and pedals. Pedals are a weak point for me, I can do some of them, but as we descend down I once we reach so low I drop way too far down. He gave me some alternate fingerings, and wants me to bend until I find the right tone. This could be a challenge for me at home because I have trouble "hearing" the right tone in the pedals. He suggested I go out to youtube or something and find some Claude Gordon samples to listen to.

    2. Play some more long tones, sustain that last note as long as you can . . . I sustained quite a bit longer than he did (to be fair, he recently had surgery), but the point there he made was that my breath support is "there." Now this is interesting in light of something I'll touch on later.

    3. Play F on top of the staff very lightly, no problem, up to G, no problem. "How long can you hold that?" "Till my breath runs out."

    4. OK, now the interesting part . . . I had mentioned to him when I first contacted him about lessons - my range extends to high C. Early in this lesson I said something like "well, sometimes it does." Begin at G above the staff - at a comfortable volume. Play chromatically up in long tones. If you can play that high C, you should be able to sustain it. So I begin, when I get to high C, it starts out nicely, then wavers off.
    "You are bunching or tightening your chin," or something like that. Let's try again, but keep your chin as when you start the note. I do this, and he coaches me as I am sustaining the note - when he sees me start to do whatever with my chin . . . Here I find that I can sustain the note, but I have to push more from my abdomen . . . I thought I had the air support there!?! It's there, but not in use!?! That's something of a revelation.
    edit to add - Apparently I was doing something with my chin to compensate for the lack of air support? -- end edit

    Now, all of this, and light pressure at high C. We didn't/won't try higher for a while. Now I wasn't fatigued, so that may have something to do with it, or not . . .

    So, he says my embouchure looks good, (it's not broke so don't spend a lot of time thinking about it).
    He gave me some exercises:
    Arban Pages
    41-44 (depending on how I progress)
    175 - and if I want to work on triple tonguing, go ahead and do that, but no exercises there - just ta ta ka or da da ga
    Then whatever I have been working on - keep doing what you've been doing.

    Finally a question about what I wanted to work on, range, tone, or whatever? I just answered that I am sure there are a lot of areas I need to work on, I don't want to limit to what I notice.

    So, all in all, I'd say the news is good. But, the big surprise was that the air support can be "there" without "being there" if you know what I mean.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2008
  2. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2005
    One of the most interesting things that happens to brass players as they progress, is that one day, out of nowhere, they suddenly realize that they are playing the full range of the instrument with ease. The feeling is that of every note just riding on a cushion of air. That's when your using the air column correctly. It's a wonderful feeling. I'm coming back from a several year layoff and everything is hard and clumsy.....thankfully though, I know what that feeling is, and how to practice to get to it! =:-)

    Whenever one is practicing and things seem to be 'bunching up' or tight. Stop everything and take inventory of your air column anus-diaphram-lungs-throat-mouth-embochure, you should feel that fundamental support all the way up the column, yet everything should be relaxed and expansive.

  3. Richard Oliver

    Richard Oliver Forte User

    Jul 18, 2006
    Casper, WY
    Congrats on the lesson. Keep it up!


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