Mark B's Comeback Thread

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Mark B, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. Mark B

    Mark B Pianissimo User

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    Aug 20, 2010
    Redlands, CA
    Another month gone by (almost) and time for another update.

    The biggest news this month was the purchase of a new horn! I got with Don at California Music Supply (via e-bay) and bought the Carol I have listed in my signature, a CTR-506 in lacquer. I am more than pleased with the horn and it certainly has made a difference in my confidence and in my playing. I'm really happy to get the quality of horn I wanted at a price I could afford. /shameless plug.ROFL Seriously, I've got no buyer's remorse and my chops have adapted pretty quickly to the new horn. SWMBO didn't give me too much grief. Of course, she gave me the obligatory rolling of the eyes, but there was no further punishment. Honestly, she could see the quality and there wasn't much to be said. She knows a deal when she sees one.

    Things continue to move right along. My teacher, I found out last week, posts on TM from time to time, so I have to be careful to not say anything bad. Not that I would, mind you... Just sayin'!;-)

    I think it a sign that my playing has improved that my teacher has assigned more work with difficult passages. Some of the stuff I have been doing has been real easy and I can master it in one sitting. This week, I've had to really work at it to make it sound presentable. Being that my lesson is tomorrow (Monday), I need to spend some quality time with Carol today and polish the rough edges.

    The improvements I've made are coming slow enough, now, that I'm not really aware of them all the time. Sure, sometimes I hear myself and think, 'WOW, that was pretty good!" Mostly, though, the confirmations come from friends that don't hear me play all the time. My neighbor to the north compliments me across the fence now and again. I've also sent off recordings to a friend of mine at various intervals and he told me there was marked improvement from the last recording I sent. I'm not saying I always need a pat on the back to keep going, but it's good to have benchmarks and when the changes start coming slower and more subtley, it's really a good thing to have somebody give you a listen. Of course, I have my teacher, but there is also a vested interest there in keeping me encouraged, so that only kinda-sorta counts.;-)

    I found out in the last couple weeks that the communty band I wish to join is having their first rehearsal on March 6th. This band does not play year around; their primary focus is the 4th of July and they usually don't start rehearsals until May. This year, they are doing some special event and will be starting up a couple months early. I'm excited and just a little nervous about this. I've been told I'm ready for this kind of thing and yet, there is a certain amount of uncertainty in my mind. I'm sure that once the music starts and I meet a few people, all will be well. Still.....

    I'm hoping this will open the door to some small groups I can jump in with. I'm not looking to get started gigging; nowhere near that... I would just like to jump in with a few people and play a little. I think that would be great fun and if it led to a gig, or two..... Who am I to complain?

    I'll fill you in again next month. By then, there will have been a few community band rehearsals and I can update you on how all that shakes out.

    Mark
     
  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Oct 26, 2003
    Baltimore/DC
    I think it's great that you are stepping up and getting out there - there is a world of playing outside of the practice room, and it will validate the hard work you've been putting in, and it will really open your eyes up to just how much fun and enjoyment, even beyond what you are already experiencing, that you can have with music.

    It's always good to get validation from outside sources too - take those compliments and use them as fuel for your internal fire and drive for making music with the trumpet. I'd be a big liar if I said that I didn't enjoy the boost to the ego I get when someone compliments the playing I've done, and there's nothing wrong with that - it's part of the reward for doing well with an instrument IMO. :D

    You really are continuing to make progress, and it's only been 6 months. Just imagine what it's going to be in a year!
     
  3. BrotherBACH

    BrotherBACH Piano User

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    Oct 5, 2010
    Mark B. Always great to hear the progress. I am jealous of the new horn. I am pulling the "turning 50 is a big milestone" to angle myself a new horn. SWMBO has already said sure, no problem. Now I just have to figure out what I want.

    As for starting to get out there. Good on you! That is terrific. I would like others who respond to tell me (perhaps you) how to balance practice at home with rehersal time and learning new songs. I found that difficult over Christmas, even for my simple rag tag grade school band concert in a church. Not putting it down. Just emphasing that even at the most begining level, I found it hard to keep up my usual practice routine with the addition workout for my chops that rehersals are plus learning new material.

    Keep on postn'

    BrotherBACH
     
  4. RGood

    RGood Piano User

    Age:
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    Apr 20, 2008
    Deep in the heart of TX
    Keep at it! And enjoy! The church orchestra has been a great outlet for me - luckily some great players in it - pulls my game up quite a bit - need to do more woodshedding at home - but great to be on the comeback trail.

    Sounds like you're doing just fine - remember to be patient with yourself too.
     
  5. Mark B

    Mark B Pianissimo User

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    Aug 20, 2010
    Redlands, CA
    BrotherBACH,

    I've been wondering how to juggle all that, too. I will consult my teacher on the matter and report back. I'm thinking it won't change much except he might incorporate the band's music into my routine instead of the regular music he assigns. He seems pretty flexible that way.

    Mark
     
  6. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    I think that as time goes on and you start doing more and more and become somewhat emersed in it, you will find that you won't need as much time to prepare certain things. He'll have the final say but I would tend to think that your teacher won't incorporate music from other projects into your lessons - that will simply be additional to what you are already working on. Besides, it's that pressure to perform and get it right that is going to push you and help you to improve.

    Years ago when I was a Junior in HS and Mr. C started having me perform at the Lutheran church, I used to think he was absolutely nuts when he'd pick out a new tune on Tuesday or Wednesday and want to perform it the following Sunday. I just didn't think there was enough time, but he'd insist on it, so I'd sweat bullets in the practice room practicing and preparing, and sure enough, Sunday would roll around and it would be good to go. Little did I know at the time that doing it that way is kind of the norm for gigging musicians, and that's why I think that your teacher is simply going to continue to pile on a healthy serving of the normal stuff on top of the new music you'll get out there in the community band. You may feel a pinch of pressure, but your learning curve will make a sharp upswing.
     
  7. BrotherBACH

    BrotherBACH Piano User

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    Oct 5, 2010
    That is EXACTLY how my trumpet teacher was doing it! I hated it. But, I will say this much. It really improved my sight reading skills. I could not go through all the new and constantly revolving music. Material that I could not practice because of tired chops or puffy lips, I would at least read and sing in my head to be prepared for key signatures and the rhythm.

    Thanks for sharing. At least I know now that it is normal.

    BrotherBACH
     
  8. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Baltimore/DC
    I'm not sure if this is "normal" so much as it is simply an accepted part of being a musician. There comes a point when one simply has to step up to the plate and take a swing at it because there is a limit to how much practicing a person can do to try to stay on top of the material they need to be able to produce on little to no advance notice.

    For instance, I hit my first Army Band asignment at the end of April, 1990. In my first couple of days I was handed a pouch of marches, (all three cornet parts and in some cases an additional two trumpet parts for each march in the pouch) a folder of concert band music containing at least enough music to sustain a 2 hour concert, and the same thing the big band book. I had seen some of the music at the Armed Forces School of Music, but not nearly all of it. May was the start of the busy summer season so I was on jobs within the first couple of days (rolled in on a Thursday, marched a parade on Sunday, with a sit-down ceremony of some sort early the next week) with concerts within the next couple of weeks.

    So what do you do? Well, you learn fast, for one. You've got no other choice. I know I practiced some of the music on my own, but there was no way I could cover all of that material in the practice room - it just wasn't possible. I polished what I could during rehearsals, practiced problem passages on my own time, and I read my butt off.

    Even now, gigging with the party band, we have 400 of our 700 chart library that have horn lines with about 140 of them being our "bread and butter" tunes. I just don't have the time to keep all of that stuff polished, so if I song comes up on the list for an upcoming gig that I know is a tougher tune, I can hit that tune individually, but mostly I just rely on memory and my ability to read.

    Bringing this back to you Mark, I'm confident that once you start playing with this other group that is starting rehearsals this weekend, you might feel overwhelemed at first, but it's that very feeling, putting you a bit on edge, that's going to push you. You'll play up to those around you and your reading skills will take a major leap forward, although don't be surprised if you leave the first few rehearsals with your brain feeling like mush by the end. :lol:
     
  9. Mark B

    Mark B Pianissimo User

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    Aug 20, 2010
    Redlands, CA
    My brain is pretty mushy on a regular basis. Remember, I live in a house with three females.ROFL

    I'm looking forward to it, even though it will add another commitment to my schedule. This is what I've been working for; all the hours in the practice room and the time spent fussing about whether my trumpet was up to the task... Now, it's come down to this and I can hardly wait!

    My reading, while it could be better, is OK. The advantage I have there is a pretty fair ear and excellent external resources to fall back on, if need be.

    I fully expect to come away humbled and no doubt overwhelmed. What fun would it be otherwise?

    Mark
     
  10. comosun

    comosun New Friend

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    Nov 19, 2007
    Vancouver, Canada
    Love your philosophical approach, Mark.
    I'm a comeback player like yourself (see Source For Comeback Trumpet Players - Home)
    and love to practice.
    I play in a couple of big bands, lead and jazz. And occasionally I take a lesson. I find that at my age (71) it takes a while to take in all the stuff the teacher taught me in a single lesson. It takes several weeks of practice before I begin to see improvement after a lesson. But improvement does happen. My useable range, just thru more efficient breathing, has gone from D above the staff to F#. I created my web site because there is so much out there on the net of value to students such as us. For instance, I was looking to download sheet music for Levy's Grand Russian Fantasia. I combd the web for three days - finally stumbling upon a Russian (ru) site. There was Grand Russian and a potpouri of other amazing concertos - all downoadable in pdf form for free. Wow!!
    Keep up the blogs,
    Gerry Deagle
    Vancouver, BC
     

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