Memorization / Cheating

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by tgl, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. tgl

    tgl New Friend

    Aug 4, 2010
    Hello Everyone!

    This is just a hypothetical situation at the moment but…

    What does a person do who wants to be a professional brass musician in a small group but has trouble memorizing music?

    I’ve “Googled” around the Internet looking for suggestions other than using a music stand, which I’m told is pretty much taboo for pros.
  2. AKtrumpet

    AKtrumpet Piano User

    Jun 4, 2010
    Personally I just memorize the riff or ostinato depending on the genre of music of a specific song and generally speaking that'll allow me to fill the gaps. Memorization is a much more simple matter in Jazz than in Classical because often times you're allowed to "change things up a bit".

    That's just my take, I am NOT a professional musician.

    In fact I'm a high school student!

    (and I tend to mention this often in my posts because I dont want
    people to take consideration of my posts over some of the more knowledgeable people on this forum.)

    Hope that helps! ;-)
  3. JazzGod

    JazzGod New Friend

    Aug 4, 2010
    I'm not pro but I find it easy to listen to something and if your trying to memorize it only look at the music once or twice try to break it apart piece by piece.
  4. Trumpet Playa

    Trumpet Playa New Friend

    Aug 4, 2010
    If only you were in marching band, this would be a

    Just kidding. But seriously, in marching band they teach you how to remember all that music. Take the music apart, and repetition is the key. Practice a few measures and remember. Then do the other measures and remember,. Repeat alot. In no time you'll remember the whole song.
  5. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    Keep in mind that ALL trumpet playing is done by ear. That is, even when you are reading the notes, you must go through these steps (this is explained in slow-motion, of course):
    (1) Look at the printed note & translate it into the proper fingering (from the fingering database in your brain)
    (2) Determine the pitch of the note (from the mental pitch database in your brain)
    (3) Set the embouchure for the partial corresponding to that pitch (this is where the playing "by ear" comes in - you must be able to "hear" the pitch and set the embouchure to match).
    (4) Blow to create the note that your brain "hears".

    This is very similar to singing except that it is the vocal chords that must be set to match the pitch that you "hear".

    Now, how does this relate to memorizing? Just think of a song that you can sing from memory. Did you try to memorize it? Probably not. You just listened to it over and over until the patterns of the pitch intervals and the words were "burned" into your brain.

    So, a memorized trumpet piece is simply one that you play by ear after having heard (played) it enough times. You need to memorize the key signature, the starting note, and maybe a few of the tricky intervals or fingering changes but otherwise you just play fingering patterns that you have used thousands of times since you started playing.

    Repetition and practice is the key. For a memorized piece, if you can't sing (hum) it, you can't play it.
  6. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    What does a person do who wants to be a professional brass musician in a small group but has trouble memorizing music?
    Become a roadie
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I play professionally and can count the jobs where I had to play from memory on one hand. It may be different if you are a combo trumpet player and need the standards, but even there, I see fake books all the time. Where is the problem?
  8. Bugler

    Bugler Banned

    This is an issue with nearly all the music my band plays so here's the answer:

    1. use whatever routine you do to learn the music as you would learn any piece to play in an orchestra, band, whatever. Perhaps play it 3 times every day until you can read the chart down flawlessly.

    2. Then play each piece of music (reading from the chart) once every day for about 2 weeks, all the while having NO INTENTION AT ALL to memorize it.

    3. 2 weeks have passed. At this point you already have it memorized, you just don't know it! Try playing it from memory and you'll be surprised!

    trumpet playing is 90% mental. don't worry about memorising the music. The shorter the piece, the easier it is to memorise and the example above pertains to 16 measure fanfares.
  9. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    tgl, are you talking about classical or jazz. Everybody uses music in pro classical ensembles. Even in jazz combos you can use a fake book until you really know the tunes. I've never needed to memorize music for a gig either classical or jazz. After I've played the piece enough I'll know it. Example: I can play most of the first movement of the Haydn with out the music even though it's been many years since I've performed it.
  10. tgl

    tgl New Friend

    Aug 4, 2010
    Thanks Everyone!

    Good Stuff!

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