Getting student to PLAY OUT!!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Heavens2kadonka, Apr 25, 2005.

  1. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

    Jun 17, 2004
    Lebanon, TN
    Okay, I have been teaching this student for the past three months, and while I have seen improvement, I still have one big problem with him.

    He plays like a sissy little girl playing with her dollies. :twisted:

    Now, there have been upsides to this. For instance, his upper register is naturally much better than all my other students. In fact, he can squeal out a double G, a full whole step higher than my max range! :oops:

    But I have always hated his meek sound. Always tends towards being flat due to the softness, as well.

    I have been spending the past three weeks stuggling to get him to improve volume. Today, I think I may have stumbled onto something.

    I had decided today that using straight mutes may help his playing, because when you're playing well and ringing the sound, the mute is almost impercieveable. I was having second thoughts though. Didnt think it would work all that well.

    Was going through my case, getting the materials for the class ready, when I noticed I had a cup mute and a large cotton cloth inside. I suddenly remembered an old topic here about practice mutes.

    It was an epithany moment. MY GOSH! This might work!

    Put the cloth around the cup, and told the student to put it in. He was confused, of course. Pulled out Arban. The Art Of Phrasing. Picked a piece out, and he played.

    He got aggravated. He couldn't hear himself!

    "Well, if you blow enough air through the horn, you might!"

    Started playing. Stopped him.

    "Ring out the sound. It should be more like a sizzle due to the mute. A slight buzz in the sound. FILL UP!!!"

    Yep, he started doing it. Managed to work out a full sound even with that stuff in the bell!

    After about thirty minutes of this, got him to play without the mute.

    He was amazed at how it sounded. Full, lush. Like I've been trying to make him play for the past ETERNITY!

    Was curious how you teachers here got your students to improve dynamics? (I am also kinda patting myself on the back with this topic, haha!) :D

  2. dbacon

    dbacon Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Scottsdale, AZ.
    I go back and forth playing with/for the student. I play, they play, all the time. Eventually the sound changes dramatically.

    Or they are an excellent candidate for.....the oboe....... :shock:
  3. Jimi Michiel

    Jimi Michiel Forte User

    Mar 22, 2005
    I probably would have just put the kid on a strict diet of red meat for a few weeks, but it sounds like your way works too :D
  4. trumpetpimp

    trumpetpimp Piano User

    Dec 6, 2003
    Good job getting the student to play louder but be careful when you throw things like that out. It's subtle and obviously not malicious but doesn't have good connotations.
  5. rjzeller

    rjzeller Forte User

    Mar 7, 2005
    Rochester, MN
    I once had a student who had gorgeous tone but simply could not play out. No matter what I did she simply would never play above about mezzo-piano.

    I had her in large rooms, outdoors, playing with the bell stuffed solid, playing with me while I cranked it (that was a mistake, she simply stopped playing and cowered in a corner until I was done), and even had her spend a session yelling as loud as she could just prior to playing.

    No good. Beautiful, lyrical tone, but you wouldn't know if it you weren't sitting right in front of her.

    ...she plays baritone now....

  6. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Pianissimo User

    "clogging" the bell with a duster and getting the student to honk for their lives in order to hear themselves is on of Howard Snells methods for increasing dynamic.
  7. bigaggietrumpet

    bigaggietrumpet Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 23, 2004
    Nazareth, PA
    OH YEAH, WHO THE MAN?! I'M THE MAN! Ok, so I didn't create the idea, but I posted it, same diff :bleah:

    Glad to hear that the kid has realized the trumpet player within.
  8. Billy B

    Billy B Pianissimo User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Des Moines, IA
    Teaching trumpet isn't always about teaching trumpet. :-?
    Attitude is so important.
  9. uatrmpt

    uatrmpt Piano User

    Nov 29, 2003
    When I'm playing an excerpt at an ensemble volume rather than a solo volume, my teacher will put on a recording of the excerpt, turn the volume up and make me match the recording. Talk about an eye opener!
  10. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

    Nov 2, 2003
    How about approaching this from a different stand point.

    Instead of having two dynamic levels of which you are teaching ( soft and loud) introduce the concept of dynamics as a whole.

    Assign them exercises that such as long tones with crescendos and decrescendos marked and have them get louder and softer. If are playing at a soft volume with little tension and a great sound GREAT! Just create exercises that can expand on those things. If they are playing great soft I wouldn’t just jump in and have them play louder, doing so would lead to them forcing to get the louder volumes which is not good( that is why I wouldn’t put something in their bell either). You might also want to consider that they are playing soft because they have perhaps 25% of the air they need to play.

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