Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by FreshBrewed, Apr 8, 2004.
The lead player in the big band that I play with owns a G, but I've heard him jump on As, Bs, and even the occasional C, although those are never guaranteed when he goes for them. I'd say that 95% of the time he nails everything up to a G pretty much dead on, and with that being said, I think that is what you need to effectively play a big band lead book.
I can "hit" Gs and even the occasional A, but I don't own them, and because of that, I'm just not effective in the lead seat.
On the subject of the original question, now that you are getting it, I think that you should strive for the Double C, and that will give you solid, usable range to the G.
If you can get that, you will have more than most of us.
Thanks for the input. Now to answer some of your questions. I spend about 5 hours a day practicing and I try to use scales, etudes, BB charts, and anything else I can get my hands on to practice upper register playing. By the way Dave B., where can I get some info on Wayne? I also use something one of your students(Kevin) suggested starting on low C.....CDC, DED, EFE, and so forth. I usually do this at the end of my practice session and it is really helping to control my corners so my chops don't get blown apart when I crank up the air velocity. I do this until I can go no higher sounding good and then I usually go higher than what sounds "good". I do this so I get used to hearing those notes.
When I do play something high, I try to play it several different ways, i.e. tongued, slurred, etc. This helps me to work on my attacks and control of my air stream among other things.
As for my status, I've never been the type to be known for the high notes. When Gary and Jarrett come back from the desert, they will be leaving the band here. I WANT to step in and take the role of the BB lead player. That will be in about 10 months when they get back so I do have time. I know the high notes won't magically appear overnight and that I need to listen to as many lead players as I can to hear as many styles as I can. I am also playing in a German BB to help use the stuff I'm learning while "my band" is away.
Thanks for all of your advice. I will disect it and use it how it best fits my playing.
Well, it sounds like the question isn't 'how high', but how to get there. There's only one way I've ever found to do that and that is lots of lip slurs and playing veeeery low.
Arbans has all sorts of interesting lip slur exercises that will just wear you out. The toughest one for me (as of now) is slurring 'tenths'. Going from very low to very high and back again will teach you to not tighten your throat up and choke off the sound.
Then, look through the Arbans and play the many exercises that run up to 'A' and 'B' above the staff. Another book I like for exercises that push the envelope is Sigmund Herings '24 Advanced Etudes'. These go all the way up to the 'C' above the staff (high C) and are very tough to play. If you own a high C and everything below it, you're ready for just about any lead book.
How high is high enough ....to do what?
Mike - these answers are not meant to be flipant but rather to provoke thought and hopefully to provide encouragement.
My first thought was, high enough to do what? To play music?
The answer is that, whatever the 'limits' of your range you can already play high enough to make music - and that goes for everybody out there. You say that you can play F and G - therefore you have no worries the normal register for lead trumpet in a big band. However, even if you could play a whole octave higher than this you might not be worth 10 cents as a lead player.
Playing lead trumpet is not about playing high - it is about playing well.
Excellent intonation, an elegant sense of time, a complete and highly focused sound, control of dynamics, style, natural phrasing, consistancy, accuracy, musical understanding, harmonic knowledge, rhythmic awareness, authority, leadership, concentration, listening, flare, endurance, humility and courage are all far far more important attributes for a lead player to have than an ability to play higher than the next guy.
My advice - obviously without having heard you playing - would be to cut down on the amount of practice you do. Especially work designed to increase your range. Do a daily warm up/conditioning routine such as the Al Vizzutti warm up - which takes about 30 to 40 minutes - then later some technical studies focusing on the things you find hardest (possibly including high register playing) - again for about 30 minutes or so. Have a break and then move on to practicing performance related material - in other words 'music' for about 30 or 40 minutes. That adds up to about 2 hours of practicing alone. With the remaning 3 hours you have I would suggest you try to get to play in as many bands or orchestras as possible - or a brass quintet or a jazz quartet - in other words play with other people. This will improve your time, intonation, confidence, phrasing etc....
If you don't have somewhere to play on any given day then - give yourself a break - spend some time doing constructive listening. If you want to learn to play lead trumpet then steep yourself in the history of the art. Choose one track from an album with Snooky Young or Jon Faddis or Wayne Bergeron - whoever - and listen to it 20 times in a row. Try to write down exactly what the lead trumpet player is playing - not just the notes but the phrasing, articulation, dynamics, intensity etc. Notice where the player is coasting - where they are pushing - when they attack and when they blend in. What about vibrato? Mark every note that has vibrato and note it's intensity and depth. What point in the note does the vibrato kick in, how fast is it. is it air vibrato or more like a shake?
Finally, when you have a part written out you can turn the music up loud and play along with the track....
The other aspect of your playing which may be highly advisable to work on is endurance or stamina. We could also think of that as efficienct use of our physical resources. I don't know of a better way to improve this than using the Caruso excersises - but there are many other regiemes you could also follow. I say this because one of the demanding aspects of lead playing which may be easy to overlook, is the fact that you are consistantly playing in the upper middle register of the horn - from top line F up to B flat or C lets say. This can be very draining unless you work on building your strength in depth or stamina.
I think that faliure to work on playing efficiently and continuously in this register might be the reason that so many people complain about not 'owning' the higher notes that they find they can play in their practice. Personally I am not the kind of player who can squeak or squeal out some much higher notes in my practice room than I can play and use on the gig. For 10 years or more the very highest note I could play was a double C sharp and I basically played it every day that I practiced. I would also expect to be able to produce the same note when required in a performance situation - obviously those occasions are extremely few and far between - in fact I can only recall ever seeing that note written on one session that I played on. I guess I am saying that in my experience - or the way that I conceptualise my playing - there is no difference between being able to play a note and 'owning' a note.
However I do see what people are driving at when they make that distinction about their own playing. My advice though would be diferent to these people. I would say that rather than playing up to a double C to 'own' a double F, focus on consolidating and improving the quality of the C, D and E flat below the F. If you can make the notes of the upper middle/ lower high register joined together with the middle and lower register - they stop feeling like high notes and become easier to play. Focus on intonation, production, dynamics, clarity and projection - sound rather than volume or power. If you spend too much time playing in the extremes of your register - even above the range of the notes you consider able to play wqell enough to use on a gig, as has been suggested - I think there is a danger that you may distort, damage and over work your embouchure. All that hard work would be much more effective if concentrated in the register where you play 99% of the music.
Please bear in mind that all of the above are just suggestions for your consideration and most definitely come with the rider, in my humble opinion.
All the best. Noel.
Your useable range (end of the gig) is generally a third or fourth below what you practice to everyday. If G is as high as you practice, E will be there. Practice with a cushion in mind to allow you to play the range needed for professional Lead playing. DHC is not that hard to practice to, very difficult to own and few players really do. Have great players like George Graham as your model. George would work well above DHC so it would be very playable on gigs. How would us mortals look at this? Again, work towards a cushion above the notes you need for your work. If you play a fine high C all the time, then realize your G and A will always be there. High E, the C will be there etc.
The question was about how high is high enough. So many great players don't have DHC. So what? Ron Stout is one of the greatest trumpet players in the world. But he does not get hired to play Lead.
So if your interest is in Pro Lead Playing, practice higher than you have to play. Then be able to own that register by moving around in it easily. And being musical about it.
Re: How high is high enough ....to do what?
Noel and Dave,
Thanks for the insight and suggestions. Because I used to be a runner I understand the concept concerning what I have at the end of a gig and what I started out with. I used to run 12 miles a day to prepare for a 7 or 8 mile race.
I have quite a bit of BB stuff at home and listen to it almost every night. It annoys my wife that I put the headset on her belly for the baby to hear it too because then the little one does a dance.
Concerning the amount of time I practice, it's not because I believe in quantity over quality. I just enjoy playing trumpet and I stop when it starts to bother my chops.
The thing that sticks out in my mind is the word CONSISTANCY. That's the one thing that every lead player I have ever talked to says. I'm working on the other aspects one at a time. Some of them I don't have a problem with but others are a real bear for me to get under control in that upper register. The hardest one would probably be dynamics. I never really realized how hard it was to play an E or F above the staff at p or mf until I "took on this venture." Concentration is the name of the game.
I really appreciate the help guys. I'm going to disect and use everything and get back to you in a week or so with a progress report.
Oh yeah, hopefully I'll be coming to London soon so maybe we could meet at Leigh's shop and you can give me a tour since Leigh is so busy these days Noel.
I agree with Noel here for sure. You shouldn't just be practicing trying to extend your range. That will only get you so far.
On the flip side, it is the drive to push ourselves harder, to play not only higher, but even to nail the pedals stronger, that makes us better. While you should definitely put more of your emphasis on playing better and stronger within the range you have, if we were to just suddenly quit working to extend our range, what would that spell for the future of the horn? It is only by pushing ourselves that we can achieve even greater highs and increase our abilities.
Just my 2 bits. 8)
I took some advice from you guys and things already feel even better. My practicing was cut back by about an hour and a half. I found that it is easier for me to "get going" when I pick up the horn. Those Vizzutti books
are a great way to get going. I'm starting to really read up on the Caruso stuff as well. I'm also looking at the BE stuff but can't access the website. Where else can I order the BE book? Once again, thanks guys.