Help for a trumpet teacher?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by jdshankles, Mar 14, 2006.

  1. jdshankles

    jdshankles New Friend

    Nov 28, 2005
    Rochester, MN
    Hey team,

    I've only been teaching trumpet for about a year now and I have a student that is starting from scratch. I think that he is doing remarkably well for having been playing for 7 months. He's got a great sound when playing loud (really loud that is), but when I try to get him to turn the volume down, the sound gets really stuffy and inconsistent. I am trying to get him to play with a great sound all the time b/c I know how difficult it is to change once you've been set in your ways. However, no I am realizing that we never work on music and he can only sometimes get an okay sound when playing
    mf-->f . I find that whenever we start to work on music, I always stop to keep working on the sound.

    HELP!! It feels as if my over analysing is hurting rather than helping...

  2. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Sounds to me like some long tones at lower dynamics c/w some note bending is in order.
  3. lonelyangel

    lonelyangel Pianissimo User

    Nov 8, 2003
    Sorry to state the obvious, but maybe you should play some really loud music. Make it fun; fanfares, ice-hockey band riffs, bugle calls, circus tunes, street band marches or shouting blues riffs. Play duets with him in these styles and start each lesson with a new tune. If you are playing some call and response music with him then you can gradually temper your own volume and play with more subtlety or grace and see if he can go with you. Imitation is one very good way to learn. Show him the possibilities rather than stopping him from playing. Encouragement based on making the music sound right rather than trying to analyse faults and correct them might achieve better results. His natural flair and the joyful abandon in his playing is something to share in and nurture - many people never achieve this after years of diligent study.

    I have always believed that it is easier to temper, shape and darken a bright, exuberant and even course sound than it is to try to squeeze some life and sparkle out of a dull or introverted sound. Maybe start with the story of the trumpet players who broke down th ewalls of Jericho; have a competition to see which of you can make the loudest, ugliest most frightening sound on the horn.

    Please forgive this stream of consciousness. I hope it is of some help. Please also bear in mind that I have the utmost respect for you - I have never dared to bite off the huge responsibility of teaching a beginner, feeling that it might well be far more than I can chew.

    All the best. Noel.
  4. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

    Jul 13, 2005

    Play "call and response" exercises (you play/he plays) as much as you can in his lessons and try to limit the talk. Eventually he will start imitating you and the volume will come down. Encourage him to trust his ears.

    Good luck,
  5. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    Those are very helpful responses, i thnk. The imitation is key as has been stated. What goes with that is letting him articulate, using adjectives, what makes a beautiful sound and what makes an inferior sound. Extremes are good in this regard. Just so you know what's going on, he's pinching his lips shut and that's what is causing the muddy sound when he's playing quietly. Throw in a litle abdominal tightness and you have an inferior sound. He doesn't need to know any of that but you can use that knowledge to teach him to think of trumpet sounds, large and small, as always open and free.

  6. jdshankles

    jdshankles New Friend

    Nov 28, 2005
    Rochester, MN

    Thanks everyone for your responses! :D You've given me some great ideas to go into our next lesson with. I am grateful...

  7. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    JD- Everything so far has been absolutely right on. I might add to that some directed listening excercises. Bring some of your favorite recordings of trumpets, and have him respond to the sounds (like it, didn't, and why). In order to develop a good sound concept, he needs to be exposed to various sounds to have them in his head.

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