Is my horn holding me back?

Discussion in 'Horns' started by door_knob, Dec 2, 2016.

  1. door_knob

    door_knob New Friend

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    Dec 2, 2016
    I've played trumpet for 11.5 years now and have played the same trumpet for probably 10 of those. It's an Accent brand trumpet (I have a link below) which is a re-branded B&S horn.

    Since starting college 3.5 years ago, I seem to have plateaued. I know a lot of that has to do with constant mental and physical exhaustion from engineering school, but it's frustrating nonetheless. I don't go to a music school, but we are known for our music program. As the lead player in the top jazz band and the principal player of the wind ensemble, the plateau has come of a bit of surprise. Lately I've wondered if it could be, at least in part, attributed to my equipment.

    Is it worth investing in a better horn? It's been a great horn, but maybe it's time to move up. The valves tend to stick constantly no matter what I try, but that's another matter altogether...

    accentmusicalinstruments.com/accent/products/accent-tr941s-trumpet/
     
  2. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

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    Valves...any wear? get it to a tech to make sure that it is incurable or that's not the horn that holds you back ) No excuses, remember? Except the valves any other issues that may be caused by the horn? Intonation, tone or anything else?
     
  3. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

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    Get one of the trumpet profs or top players to give you an evaluation.
     
  4. door_knob

    door_knob New Friend

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    Dec 2, 2016
    Perhaps I was too modest in my original wording. I'm the top player at the university, but I suppose I could talk to the jazz director (who's a trumpet player).

    trumpetnick, I almost didn't post because I knew someone would say "no excuses..." I was trying to avoid that with my wording but to no avail. By your logic, we should all still be playing beginner horns.

    I guess my question is if I would see a benefit in changing horns in a way similar to the benefit from changing mouthpieces.
     
  5. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

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    You may benefit from another horn, that's one thing.
    Saying that the horn is holding you back and that you cannot progress with it is another thing.
    Identifying what exactly holds you back at the moment (your playing routines or deficiency of the horn) is what you need to do, in order to make the right plan of action.
     
  6. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

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    The main benefit in changing horns - usually - is not only the better (or better suited) instrument. In many cases, a new horn can push the player out of their accustomed groove or rut, and push them onto something new (at least, that's my experience with almost any N+1 horn. A horn that doesn't provide a zing factor will be on the resale list very shortly...). Perhaps you just - in your subconscious mind - think that you have achieved everything there is to achieve, and therefore have slackened off and whoever your trumpet teacher or coach is, their methods have probably staled a bit on you, contributing to your not going any forward but staying where you are. As I said, a new horn can sometimes give the kick into the right direction; but it is far cheaper to invest the money you would pay for a new hooter into private tuition with a new and competent teacher who can then lead you onto new paths. I would suggest a skype lesson first; Adam Rapa comes to mind who does very excellent skype lessons

    Adam Rapa Online

    I've done a few lessons with Adam, and he really can change one's playing to the better in a very short time. Within a week of my third lesson with Adam, I was promoted from 4th chair in my big band to lead...
     
  7. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

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    If you are the top player, then you can feel quite justified about a new horn. Yes, talk with others, especially a trumpet teacher. Another thing you might do is see if anyone has a horn you might borrow for a week, or trade horns for a week.
     
  8. Bflatman

    Bflatman Mezzo Forte User

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    Quite apart from anything else you are a top player, and as such should have a second horn, what happens if your main axe needs a repair, or is damaged by an unavoidable mishap. do you tell everyone im sorry I will have to miss the next gig, or hastily try to borrow a replacement.

    I have 4 horns and I can tell you the peace of mind when I take two horns to an important gig is priceless.

    Get a second horn its the professional thing to do.

    Now as for is your horn holding you back, yes absolutely, it is not performing well due to being in need of a service, so get it serviced and you will love it all over again.

    But what do you do when its away being serviced - oh lordy get a second horn.

    The second horn should complement your playing style, and maybe that horn will take you into the stratosphere, on the other hand theres no reason why you couldnt go completely mad and get a cornet.
     
  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    You're at a point where you may in fact be hitting a plateau - I was never better from a technical standpoint than I was at 21-22 years old, 10-11 years into my time as a player. I think that a lot of young players believe that their progress is linear, and that if they continue to work hard, they'll naturally continue to improve. You may be at a point where what it will take to push past this place is focus and dedication toward your playing, but if that's not your primary focus you may well have to accept where you are.

    A new horn might help here or there - it might slot better, or be a bit more open in the upper register, or be a bit more even throughout the range, but overall you're probably not going to get any kind of substantial bump from getting a new trumpet. That's just this guys thoughts about it though - opinions vary.
     
  10. Bflatman

    Bflatman Mezzo Forte User

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    Apology, I neglected to speak of plateaus, I am used to dealing with plateaus, I saw them in my students and recognised them in myself.

    A plateau is simply a part of the learning cycle, dont get in a pickle over it, a plateau is usually caused by the body or mind going into stasis after significant learning.

    The more advanced the student the larger the plateau and the longer it lasts. The plateau is not to be seen as a bad thing, it is the bodys way of assimilating change and development.

    When the plateau breaks, and break it will, if you keep practicing, you will see a massive improvement on the other side.

    Embrace the plateau it means you are developing.
     

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