How many trumpet players actually use dynamics when they play?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Markie, Mar 30, 2010.

  1. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    The more I meet and teach other trumpet players, it seems that often I hear only one volume setting, "LOUD!!".
    Most of the trumpet players I hear in person and some that I have taught tend to skip past sounding beautiful and go right for the the shock and awe of volume and power.
    Granted, this is not all of them, but a lot seem to fall in this category.
    Rowuk, How do you get students to understand that the trumpet is most beautiful when it's soft. Practicing soft doesn't seem to do it. We recommend it all the time but there often doesn't seem to be a transfer from the practice room to the stage. How do you explain that if the trumpet takes big balls (balls=courage) to play, then it takes really big balls to play sensitive? Would a Tazer be in order with particularly difficult students?
     
  2. gglassmeyer

    gglassmeyer Piano User

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    I try to get them listening to recordings of music to show the whole spectrum of trumpet colors. Some crazy screaming high stuff, some technical classical, some lyrical ballads... When working with them give them positive feed back when you hear them play with a nice pure tone, and get them to strive for that sound. Band directors should be aware of balance issues and communicate to a section if they're too loud/soft and get the group to watch dynamics. If possible maybe find a professional recording of a piece of music that your student is playing and then record them individually (or their whole band/orchestra). Then play the 2 recording and show them how much difference there is in the details. Dynamics, balance, precise attacks, playing the notes for their exact duration, etc....
    Once you show them that it does make a difference, they will likely believe you.
     
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Markie,
    it is actually very easy. I give full hour lessons, I play phrases first and the kids play back. We face each other so their ears get a clean shot of what is coming out of my bell. We never have to talk about posture, tone or dynamics. They just imitate what I just got done playing. We have competition who can hold long tones out longer between us. Of course, they win quite a bit. The Irons lip slurs need to be played softly to get through them a couple of times, Clarke too. They get praised big time for controlled piano scales. They learn to use FORTE like a flame thrower. Waste everything in a short blast and then get back to cruisin. We also play duets starting with the 3rd or 4th lesson.

    I also have them prepare their band stuff for me and we go through it during lessons. The band also has rehearsal weekends where I go in and work with the brass. Of course my kids are prepared and they realize that without me having to say so.

    So, my secret: the teacher plays more and substitutes explanations(talk) with initiative (playing). I do not ever play recordings during lessons. They get the real thing. When their musical tastes have developed, then they don't need the recordings for sound (they have their own that they are proud of!) rather only for style!
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2010
  4. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    "How many trumpet players actually use dynamics when they play?"

    Just the good ones do...
     
  5. sdhinote

    sdhinote Pianissimo User

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    Everyone's previous posts are relevant. Rowuk, I fully believe in playing in front of students and having them follow suit, but I also recommend listening to all forms of playing styles and usually have something playing in the studio before they walk in to see if it peaks any interest. It is hard to break the "let's blow loud" syndrome for some and unfortunately the habit is never broken as I witness players in community bands that I've been involved with always being admonished by the conductor to play dynamics.
     
  6. RichJ

    RichJ Piano User

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    I thnk the most common default dynamic is "mezzo nothing," which is neither soft nor loud. I concentrate as much on developing a true orchestral forte as much as a solo pianissimo. It is extremely frustrating to play with others who never get below mezzo nothing...
     
  7. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

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    I hate mezzo nothing. An unfortunately common affliction.
     
  8. cloudnine

    cloudnine Pianissimo User

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    I try to model my use of dynamics around early-to-mid-60s Miles stuff. To me, this is the peak of his mastery of the trumpet as a dynamic voice - he could go from soft and heartbreaking to loud and heartstopping (often heartbreaking as well) through incredible control and shaping of the sound, timbre, and volume that was coming out of the bell. Not copying, you understand; just using the same aesthetic and trying to develop the same kind of ability to completely control the sound.

    I try to use dynamics a lot. I find I get ear fatigue when I hear a trumpeter go on for more than a couple of minutes at the same volume and often the same dynamics of line construction. I'd rather hear a trumpet player shape his sound than throw hot licks into the audience one after another.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2010
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Mezzo nothing was developed for recordings being played on AM radio.

    Dynamics are contagious. I have never had a second trumpet or student not be cooperative when we play together. That is the key - work with players better than yourself. Alone you will never know if you are really doing what you THINK that you are.
     
  10. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    I think Dale Proctor got it right.
     

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