How can I improve? Reality check please!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by dorkdog, Oct 15, 2012.

  1. dorkdog

    dorkdog Pianissimo User

    Oct 14, 2012
    I just signed up on TrumpetMaster, although that certainly does not describe me. I ordered a trumpet last month and have been playing it off and on for three weeks. This is where I am today:

    Trumpet Solo - "Price Tag" - cover version by trumpet noob - YouTube

    I was an all-state bassoon player 'way back when' and doubled on baritone and tuba. So I'm no stranger to embouchures and the like.

    I have a music studio at home and decided to write myself some backing tracks. I picked the song I picked because it has a lot of intervals that have to be 'lipped' and made in tune. I'm getting better, but didn't realize that the trumpet seems harder to keep in tune - harder to 'slot' notes - than a baritone was as I remember.

    My upper note (comfortable playing) is D in the staff. I'll start to push that too, by raising the key of the accompaniment.

    Any advice on how to work towards better sound/technique? Anything obvious from the video that I am doing wrong? I do play 'long tones' and scales....

    Thanks for checking in with me!
  2. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    First of all, welcome to TM. Videos do help, but with the reverb so predominate, getting an idea of note attack and release will be harder to critique. My overall impression is you have the embouchure in good shape. I believe were you may find improvement in tonal quality (which really isn't that bad) is not to overblow. I hear the distortion that is present in some of your attacks on notes will go away completely if you do not put too much excess force into the attack. So in a word... Relax.
  3. entrancing1

    entrancing1 Mezzo Piano User

    Feb 16, 2010
    Buffalo, NY
    Invest in a few lessons, It is easier to develop good habits, than to break a bad one that is already well established.
  4. Rapier

    Rapier Forte User

    Jul 18, 2011
    Play with bent fingers and there is no need to take them off the valves.
  5. dorkdog

    dorkdog Pianissimo User

    Oct 14, 2012
    Yes, I had the same issue with guitar - once I learned to use the fingers to 'unmute' the note it worked a lot better. Have to apply that to this.

    I wasnt aware the reverb was dialed in so much on the lead - I do use it on the backing trax but I'll have to look at the lead - probably a remnant from using the track as a vocal track...

    Looking at moving into an actual instrument and not a toy perhaps that will help too. I've read about the undesirability of those little trumpets...
  6. Branson

    Branson Piano User

    Jan 16, 2011
    Outstanding work!

    Jumping from a double reed to a trumpet is a BIG jump embouchure wise. Your baritone background must have helped.

    Your pitch problems is mostly because of the horn. A better horn would help that area.

    One thing to be aware of is your subconscious nerve reactions.

    Check out you eye blinking...... every time you have a fast valve change, your eyes blink. This is normal under stress and eventually you will relax enough to out grow this.

    I do a lot of home studio recording for our group and listening to yourself on playbacks is one of the best ways to improve.

    Keep up your projects and also keep us informed.
  7. dorkdog

    dorkdog Pianissimo User

    Oct 14, 2012
    OK, so a lot has happened in trumpet-land these last few days. Thanks for of all for your replies and suggestions - I have been paying conscious effort to these things and have contacted a teacher, and that's where today's post/question comes in.

    So I call this guy, a retired Army (?) musician who freelances at a local small music store - he's been there for years and taught lots of kids in the school system.

    Anyway, he asks me a few questions, and gets to 'Do you have a trumpet now?" to which I answer in the affirmative. Then he asks what kind it is and I told him the brand name ("Hawk") and he says that he will not teach a student who has one of 'those horns'... he says they basically cannot be played. He basically told me to come back when I had a 'real trumpet'.

    So what to do what to do.

    I did some research and have devised a plan. I have a Les Paul I rarely if ever play anymore; I think I'll sell it and buy a better instrument. I'vew been looking at different options and have settled on Getzen as a preferred vendor. I picked them because my engineering background suggests that the valves, the only real moving parts, might be the place to emphasize, and from what I hear, at the level I am looking at, Getzen may be the best match.

    I am also not entirely sure I might not like a cornet. They sound the same to me - Pepsi/Coke, cornet/trumpet? and I have always tended to pick less obvious choices ( like bassoons, fountain pens and manual transmissions LOL)

    Definitely like the silver horns better than lacquer, and I like them tarnished.

    So, what differences will I notice when I put a Getzen entry level or similar horn in the place of my little blue trumpet? Is my plan solid and reasonable? The guy at the music store wanted to sell me some Allora trumpet that had no pop, no looks. A Getzen with a shepherd crook is maybe more my style.

    I know I sound like a politician trying to please a crowd --- but if you've read this post you've heard me play; I'm really very open to suggestions and flaming :)
  8. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

    Nov 16, 2009
    Near Portland, OR.
    Sounds to me he's a little excessive, but that kind of intransigeant attitude is not unusual among former military members. Your trumpet is a "pocket" type, only that should be enough for you to look for a regular one in my opinion. Pocket trumpets behave differently and are not the best to learn on. Your clip has a lot of treatment applied to the sound and it makes it more difficult to figure out what's there. You don't really need to invest a lot on a good horn: Olds Ambassadors can be found on e-Bay at very reasonable prices, they will not impose any limitation on you for a while. Taking lessons is almost indispensable for making good progress.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
    Peter McNeill likes this.
  9. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    Don't sell the Les Paul!!!!!

    The teacher you have has probably been influenced by a life-time of being supplied with Top line Bach Strads free through the Army :-)

    A good teacher may not like the fact that it is so hard to play the Pocket with good intonation, so maybe more worried about the development of a good ear for music, I don't know why he would not at least give you a first lesson to check things out. I have a pocket as well, and they are fun and easy to take places, and cheap.

    Hi Dorkdog,
    Firstly Welcome to TM, I hope you enjoy your stay here.
    You will find a thousand Olds Ambassadors coming up on Ebay and Craigslist in reasonable condition for reasonable money - probably under $100 if you are lucky. That will suffice to get you on your way. The Getzen Capri is an Intermediate and good horn as well if you want to spend a few more dollars for a second hand horn. Getzen 700 Eterna is sort of Pro level.

    Now back to where you are: You are doing very well for only 3 weeks, and all the comments above are very valid, and you obviously are smart enough to take the advice for a teacher, and know it is the fast track to success.

    If you can add where you live, as far as city and country, then someone here may be close enough to offer direct guidance. But seriousy, you are on the right track, and once you get a few lessons you will have a lot of answers around the type of horn etc that will suit. It is a little sad about the teacher's attitude, so maybe someone here can also help once we know where you are.

    Keep with it, don't sell the Les Paul - yet!
  10. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    welcome Dorkdog --- ANY TRUMPET CAN BE PLAYED, that being said --- some are easier to play than others!!! but you DONT NEED a $2,000 dollar trumpet to make you a player. You can pick up an olds Ambassador for a few hundred bucks off ebay, also King 600's, and a few others --- for 200 bucks or less --- you can search this site for recommended ones!!!
    play and be happy ---- your friend from the ARMY BAND??? ----- FORGET him, go tell that dude, if he wants to learn something - I will put him in touch with my friend George (he is a retired MARINE TRUMPET PLAYER) ROFL ROFL ROFL

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