Help me play fast

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by crowmadic, Nov 16, 2007.

  1. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 3, 2006
    (you can use any "fast" tempo to answer this question) Many things slow down when your 65. I'm a "young" 65, and a returning trumpeter that never liked playing fast, and never had a good teacher to help me with that aspect of playing. I know the main advise at these moments is for TMers to say GET A GOOD TEACHER. Why should I! I have some of the best teachers right here...I'm kidding. So i'm hoping my TM teachers will share their wisdom: What type exercises to practice, how to practice them, technical approach (lips, breath, finger technique, finger position, etc.), mental approach, tricks. OR IS IT TOO LATE FOR AN OLD BRAIN TO COMMAND THE FINGERS?................crow
  2. et_mike

    et_mike Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 16, 2007
    Chesapeake, VA
    Crow… Go with Clarke Technical Studies and a metronome. Set it at 100bps and learn to play all of the Study 1 and 2 exercises. When they are proficient, move up 5-10bps and do it again… before long your fingers will be flying! A pretty cool trick that one of my teachers gave me, (that he says he got from his lessons with Bobby Shew) is to learn to play the exercises with your left hand also, this trains both sides of your brain and subsequently makes playing with your right had easier! Good luck.

  3. brem

    brem Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 13, 2007
    Quebec City, QC, Canada
    To me, the fingering is not going to be a problem, it's the tonguing. when playing fast AND staccato (or mildly attacked), you have to work that tongue!

    I still can't go very fast. I can go fast slurring, but not attacking notes.
  4. westview1900

    westview1900 Piano User

    Nov 30, 2005
    Here is what Mr. Mendez recommended:

    Details on Mendez Clinic

    "There are no shortcuts. If you want to play fast, first you must learn to play slow."

    He demonstrated double and triple tonguing, and confessed it had taken a LONG time for him to learn them. He said his nickname as a child in his hometown in Mexico was "Mr. Tu-Ku-Tu," because everywhere he went, he was always verbally practicing the multiple tonguing syllables.
  5. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Crow, I hate to be the one to give you the bad news, but yeah, you are too old for your brain to command your fingers. The good news is we all are "too old!" Even with a slow tempo like mm80, playing 16ths, if it were done on a typewriter, would be a respectable 65 words per minute. It is only through repetition that we can ever play faster than we can read. In time, our brain will start seeing patterns instead of individual notes, and we can move beyond the cognitive to reflex when playing. Perfection comes from perfect practice, so keep the tempos slow, keep plugging away, and wait for the miracle to happen.
    Have fun!
  6. pbk917

    pbk917 New Friend

    Oct 11, 2007
    York, PA
    You were given some good advice here. Clarke's Technical studies are very good. Switching to fingering with your left hand has worked for me in the past. I was taught this by Ed Treutel (former Professor @ Julliard) many years ago. Always remember to be consistent, play at a tempo that will allow you to maintain all notes evenly. Don't overblow on the Clarke stuff, they should be played softly.

    Best of luck!
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    we need to separate a couple of things. Breathing / tonguing / tonguing-finger synchronization.

    The first prerequisite to fast tonguing is clean breathing with LITTLE to no tension in the throat area. I think of breathing as a circle - the transition from inhale to exhale(or play) at the top and the transition from exhale(or play) to inhale at the bottom. ANY STRESS in this process will limit your playing abilities. SO first we practice breathing until we have a perfectly smooth transition at the top and bottom of the circle. Once we have made a reliable habit out of this, we can move on to tonguing.

    Like a baby learning to walk, primitive tonguing is not very well balanced or coordinated. Many players do not advance beyond this stage because they have enough "functionality" to get through their ensemble work! After breathing we must learn to tongue lightly but decisively. This is very individual, but sometimes I need a different syllable like a "D" or even an "L" to get a student on their way. Mother language and dialect play a big role here! Once I have a positive but light attack, then we can move to double tonguing, which at first is also primitive!

    The double (or triple) tongue only works properly when the tongue can "ride on the airflow". If we use a forceful TU-KU-TU-KU-TU-KU more muscle than brain is in motion and that slows us down. Again here, the degree of lightness and precision gives us the proper habits to play faster. Clarke has us independently work on the KU side. The goal is not to bodybuild, but to increase the aerodynamics. Sometimes a gu instead of a KU helps lighten up the hammer like motion of the tongue. Taking a sip of tap water between exercizes helps reduce throat tension that always builds when practicing KU-KU-KU or gu-gu-gu.

    One the tonguing works, we must synchronize the activities with our fingers. This works best at SLOW speeds - the goal is perfection as any irregularity will multiply at higher speeds until FAILURE sets in.
  8. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 3, 2006
    Vulgano-Vulgano-Vulgano, what have i ever done for you to treat me so disrespectfully...(The Godfather)...something like that. THANKS TO ALL!!!! I had a hunch the brain was willing but disabled. I'm going to work that Clark book, and try the left hand playing as was suggested. The good aspect of my personal experience is that I don't have to play to make a living, but I'm having a helluva fun time and improving every day. The people I play for, and those I play with enjoy what I do... most of the time. Wait until they hear me play fast with accuracy! Thanks guys.....where's those female TMer's?..........crow
  9. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 3, 2006
    rowuk, Thanks for the detailed approach to playing faster. I will use all these suggestions. Improvement is what I'm after, and the ability to play pleasing music. I leave the hopes of "trumpeting perfection" to the young, while admiring and learning from those of you who have worked so hard and give us so much good music................crow
  10. Richard Oliver

    Richard Oliver Forte User

    Jul 18, 2006
    Casper, WY
    For good or ill, here's what I do Crow. I think you know, I'm 50, back at 2 years, community band player to give you background.

    For multiple tonguing, the drill is the same for me regardless of the exercise: single tongue, K tongue, slow multiple tongue, fast multiple tongue.

    I use a metronome for all of it. I don't move it up unless the articulations are crisp and clear. Gets tongue, breath, fingers and toes working together.

    Going too fast too soon is a deal breaker. I don't even much consider the words "fast" or "slow." If 60 bpm is where my 16th notes are single tonguing. So be it. Over time, facility is gained.

    "Improvement" is the name of the game for me.

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