Getting to the next level

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Nealium, Jan 13, 2015.

  1. Nealium

    Nealium New Friend

    Jan 9, 2015
    Hello, I'm currently a senior in high school. I'm going to college next fall with the intent of getting my music ED degree and attempting to get my masters in trumpet performance and my D.M.A. so I can teach trumpet on the college level. I've made All-State band this year, and several district bands in high school. My problem is, most of the time, I'm self teaching. I pick up things if directors say them to me, but I've spent a lot of hours watching instructional YouTube videos, reading about the subject, spending time sight reading in Arban's, etc.

    This past year; however, I seem to be hitting a wall. I don't feel like I'm improving at all. My range goes in and out from a high G to a D on a weekly basis, my articulation is still spotty, making music ABSOLUTELY perfect is still a massive challenge. I know that I would be improving a lot more if I had private lessons, but I don't want to wait another 6 months to get to my University to improve. Are there any good books out there? Maybe a change in how I'm looking at my practicing? Any basics I should go back to to improve myself as a whole?
  2. trumpetsplus

    trumpetsplus Fortissimo User

    Jun 11, 2006
    South Salem, NY
    Hello Neallum
    Welcome to ™
    You need to get yourself one on one with a good teacher.
  3. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Welcome to TM, Nealium!

    I'd suggest Harold Mitchell's Trumpet Method or Harold Mitchell on Trumpet, both the same thing. You might want to start somewhere around the middle of Book 2 (of 4). It is kind of like a multivitamin for trumpet, and works on acquiring a solid, musical technique and range. When you make it through book 4, you are truly DMA material. (Harold Mitchell was a first call studio player for many years.)

    That aside, also do tons of listening to classical music, practice singing and piano playing.

    Good luck, and have fun!
  4. Furcifer

    Furcifer Pianissimo User

    Jul 26, 2010
    There are a LOT of good books out there, LOL! Which ones do you already have? Regardless, it certainly helps to have a good teacher, and that's where most of my small library of good books came from. A six month shot in the arm, especially from a teacher that is at least somewhat familiar with the trumpet studio that you are headed into, would most certainly be advantageous.

    Hey, congrats on making State, and it's good to have such goals, but take these things one step at a time. I can remember well being in your shoes, and while my main goal never changed, my circuitous path to getting there certainly ensured that almost every "sub-goal" along the way, did. There are a lot of things that I "enjoy", and teaching is one of those things, but I figured out that my passion is for playing, and not only do I not need to teach to do that, but I also don't need a degree for it, because at the end of the day, you get gigs for how you play, not how many letters follow your name. At some point, you may have to nail down what your passion really is, because a full-time student course-load can certainly serve to twist your priorities up when you get a bit overwhelmed. Question your own motives for each and every item you just mentioned and ask whether that's really what you want to do, or is it a stepping-stone that you *think* is necessary. There's no better time than NOW to learn the answers to those questions, before you get 4 semesters of upper-level classes built up that won't transfer!
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Hmm, a fix for a not defined group of problems - over the internet - with no teacher to monitor. I would say that your chances are somewhere between 25 and 30%.........

    Why? well, because you most likely have a lot more than one problem and a tweak will not solve them.

    There is a basic foundation of playing that guarantees consistency. That foundation is easily and quickly taught to beginners, but can take a year or more for experienced players with bad habits. It starts with body use (posture, breathing, attitude) and after those things are predictable, moves on to understanding of music, chops and discipline. I will say forget an unmonitored approach. You are making excuses for not getting with a teacher immediately where your chances could at least double.

    Again: inconsistent playing means that there are various things not going right: breathing, daily routine, diet, discliplined practice time, not beating your self up while playing. Anytime that you change one thing, everything else goes with it. Drop the excuses. get professional one on one help'
  6. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

    Jan 9, 2010
    East Yorkshire
    I'd add one word to Rowuk's post, "Get professional one on one help" NOW!
  7. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I agree with Rowuk's post, although I do think that barring some actual embouchure problems, there is some things that you could do on your own that might make a difference in your playing.

    It has been a general observation that many musicians tend to practice in a very generalized way. They'll warm up, do a little articulation, do some flexibilities, maybe do some long tones, and then move into running through some music - either with some exercises, or with music that needs to be prepped for some reason or other. The problem with that approach is that in the time allotted, almost nothing gets fully worked before the time or the chops are up.

    In my early days as a military bandsman, (and keep in mind that this was back in the days where if you were a solid HS level player, you could get into the Army band program, so it isn't like I was an amazing player) I started working on the various technical aspects of playing structured in a way where I was only working one particular aspect of technique per day. When you think about it, what is trumpet playing but a combination of some basic elements of technique such as tone production, articulation, fingering and flexibilities?

    With that in mind, I'd take a day where I did nothing but long tones in the mid register of the horn. Sometimes it was just about maintaining the tone in an easy way for as long as I could hold it, and sometimes it was starting at ppp with a slow crescendo to as loud as I could go while maintain control of the pitch, and then back down to ppp, all in one breath. I'd also focus on attacks - what good is a long tone if the attack is muddled or sloppy?

    The next day I might do nothing but articulation - lots of tonguing and double tonguing, almost all of it done ad hoc without music in front of me.

    The day after that I'd do nothing but lip slurs.

    It's amazing how quickly the technique tightens up when you are working in a very focused way on just one aspect of technique in a practice session, and it's also amazing how when you start getting a good handle on those things, just how much easier it makes playing music in general. You get to a point where you can really focus on being expressive and not wondering if you are going to chip notes, or lose control of the pitch, or worry about whether your articulation is clean enough - it just happens the way you hear it in your head.

    Something that Rowuk says a lot, and it's something I'll echo here, is that success is not measured in days or weeks - it's measured in months and years. If you start putting in the focused work and have a teacher to monitor your progress, it's not unrealistic to think that you could enter your freshman year of college a markedly different player than where you are now, but you are getting a bit late to be starting this kind of work. Unless I'm mistaken, don't most colleges hold auditions for the fall semester in February? You won't get there in a month, but you could have a good start on it, and be a fairly changed player within 6.
    Dean_0 likes this.
  8. Nealium

    Nealium New Friend

    Jan 9, 2015
    Thanks, everyone. I definitely agree that I need a good teacher with me. The problem is, I have a fairly large band program. I actually have a director that got his masters degree in trumpet, and played professionally for a lot of years. I've tried setting up lessons with him, pushed him on it, and alas, I have no lessons. Bar that, I don't have a vehicle to get me to the other trumpet buff around here. It's not that I don't want a teacher. I've been trying to get a reliable one for about 4 or 5 years. Had one for about 6 or 7 months (made an amazing difference to my playing), then he got a job teaching high school.

    As for what books I have, I use Arbans and Clarke. Usually one or the other for about 30 minutes a day. I just recently started using the Clarke. It's been slowly building up my dexterity.

    I will say this; I realize that trumpet playing is not a week of intense concentration and you're a whole new player. Most of my progress has been steady getting to here, and I realize that won't change. I'm just asking for advice on what I can do on my own given my situation. There are always new things I learn every week that seem to have a great effect on my concept of sound, my sight reading, my range; I want to learn more of those things. I've already been accepted at every college I had an interest at. Namely, University of Kentucky and Murray State University. I just want to improve as much as possible before Dr. Swisher or Dr. Doval begin regular lessons with me. 6 months is a lot of time to burn until then.
  9. Dean_0

    Dean_0 Piano User

    Jan 21, 2013
    Iv'e been around here for a while ,never could figure out what focused practice meant ........until now :D THANKS :roll:

  10. Gendreauj

    Gendreauj Piano User

    Aug 26, 2013
    Not a trumpet related answer, but proficiency tests(CLEP,DSST, AP etc) answer. Find out how many classes you can test out of using either CLEP/DSST/AP or your college's proficiency tests. Generally college proficiency tests are free to students. CLEP/DSST tests will cost $80.00 dollars for a test and possible test center fee. Still cheaper than a semester's tuition. Most college allow 30 credits or more of test credit. Could save you at least a year of time and money.

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