Musical Instinct

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by (Trumpet)(2009), Jan 28, 2007.

  1. (Trumpet)(2009)

    (Trumpet)(2009) New Friend

    Jan 1, 2007

    I am a sophomore in high school, I have been playing Trumpet for almost two years. I have noticed that as I progress in my knowledge of theory (although it is still very limited, it is progressing) and my abilities as a Trumpet player, my musicality has dropped greatly. When I was a beginner, musicality was something that came very naturally to me. I didn't have to think about, it just came. Most of the time, I was unaware of what I was doing with the notes, I just knew what to do, there was no thought involved. I was a better musician then. I am far better a Trumpet player now, but I was a better musician when was a beginner. Although musicality is still very important to me and I strive to make music in every phrase, every note, it is no longer second nature. I have to think through it. It has become more of a black and white, systematical, if this is written, do this with it, approach. And once I have decided what to do with the music, I then go through how I can physically make that happen, whereas before, I just knew what it should sound like, and I played that. Everything was so simple.

    My goal is to get out of this analytical, physical mindset. I have a very good musical instinct, and I think I should use that to my advantage. I think part of it needs to come from building confidence in my playing as well. I have become afraid of going with my instinct and instead I do nothing.

    Does anyone have any advice as to how I can change the way I think concerning these things? Any thoughts?

  2. trumpethack

    trumpethack Pianissimo User

    Jun 1, 2006
    In learning any skill it is normal in the beginning stages (which based on what how you describe yourself I would put you in) to go through these types of ups and downs on the learning curve. As one skill increases it is not uncommon to see a fall off in another. Often it is not really a "fall off", but the fact that you go better in one area has raised your level of awareness and thus you now view the other area as "worse" when really all that changed was your perception and the standard you expect from yourself.

    Just keep practicing, and keep the conceptual ideas about playing the music with a beautiful sound on every note and relaxed breathing in the forefront of your mind and things will work themselves out over time.

  3. note360

    note360 Piano User

    Oct 16, 2006
    In a room in a house
    "As I get better I sound worse"

    This is common (atleast for me). As I get better I think I sound worse, because I know what a good day should sound like and I become harsher on myself.
  4. OdieLopez3

    OdieLopez3 New Friend

    Jan 21, 2007
    You know I can relate alot on this subject. You see when I got to high school I notice that I had some skills that I wasnt able to do in middle school and when I got to my sophomore year in high school I made the top wind ensemble. I challenged and beat most of the people that were in front of me. I thought I was going up and higher, but I had my downfall. The summer going to my junior year I had a cut in my lip and my embouchure just was not working. So I went through hell but the wonderful thing about this experience is that I fixed my embouchure problem and started working on fundamentals from the begining and Im talking about from breathing to set up in the embouchure and mouthpiece placement and up to this date I've come out so much as a trumpet player that I tend to try my best in helping those who struggle like I did. Dont worry you need to relax everytime your gonna play. Just close your eyes take a big breath and let it out. Dont think too much about it cuz that is one key problem to many young players today thinking too much about it just go for it man and you'll do fine.
  5. (Trumpet)(2009)

    (Trumpet)(2009) New Friend

    Jan 1, 2007
    That is interesting, because I started out in the lowest band last year, but I challenged up to the second band and then this year I made the top Wind Ensemble. I think you are right. I am thinking too much about something that comes naturally for me.
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    If you have these problems in the 10th grade, I hate to think what college will be like!
    All kidding aside, you need a [email protected] teacher. This is not stuff that should be handled alone, it would get even more analytical. There is as much psychological as mechanical, so I really can't tell you where to start over the internet - your teacher should!
    In any case, lighten up, music is supposed to be fun - even if it is hard work!
  7. OdieLopez3

    OdieLopez3 New Friend

    Jan 21, 2007
    Most of the last two years of High School I fixed my embouchure and got stable on my own and when I got to college it wasnt as bad as it was. I'm grateful in finding good trumpet players and professors that guided me with some good warm up routines and fundamentals that just have helped get better and better as time goes on.
  8. barato

    barato New Friend

    Jan 17, 2007
    Somewhere in Ohio
    There is one thing about music that you have to have to be good at it. You must enjoy playing. Don't be hard on yourself. When you love it, it will come naturally because all of your experience will fall into place. I love playing but I am still hard on myself, thinking too hard on what others think about my playing. All that you need is to enjoy playing, and you will be better than anyone you know. Someone I know is a sophmore, and my school is very musically gifted, and this kid is 1st chair in symphonic (the highest you can go). You give him a piece of music, and a little time, and he will blast through it. All because he learned how to approach music, and enjoys playing. Just do that, and you will know what to do.
  9. beartrumpet74

    beartrumpet74 Pianissimo User

    Jan 17, 2006
    Trumpet (2009)

    First of all I would like to congradulate you on asking a wonderful question that more people should ask.
    There doesn't have to be a Diachotomy between analytical and intuitive music making in most cases. As you grow within the worlds of "trumpet playing" and "theoretical understanding" you will be able to better understand how the two don't need to be mutally exclusive. A great book on this subject is Kenny Werners "Effortless Mastery". It can be purchased from Jamey Aebersold Jazz among other sources.
    Depending on what kind of music you play ( although it doesn't really matter which kind eventually), you can find ways to use the theoretical information to better your natural music making gifts. The best thing about theory for me as a jazz player is learning something and then letting it go mentally and emotionally. Once I learn or practice a theoretical concept I try very hard to listen to instances of what I learned happening in music I listen to. When I find one of these little gems I make sure to internalize it to the point where I hear it first and see it later if you get my meaning on that phrase.
    Try to think of these theory concepts as buiiding blocks to expanding your arsenal of musical choices. They help you expand your ears and gain new insight into how the music is produced. I always thought that theory was a drag until I started writing music. I quickly realized that composing ( when done well ) was as close to pure total musical understanding as I could get. When you play your horn or learn a theoretical concept try to first hear it and then explain it in academic terms. ALWAYS HEAR IT FIRST!
    It sounds like you trusted your mind and heart or internal musical soul as I like to refer to it when you started playing. One thing learning theory does is that it often times makes you second guess that little voice inside that is your musical soul. Don't let it do that, because theory was never meant to do that to anyone in the first place. Pick any theory concept and then ask yourself the following questions always

    1. Where can I use this in my music?
    2. What do I have to do to understand intellectually first in order to execute this concept on my horn or with my pen(composers)
    3. How do I take this concept and make it such second nature that I forget I'm using a theory concept in the first place.

    As you progress in your playing you will find this interesting little place where you are practicing and you're thinking only of sound, but you realize soon after that (split second ), that you are actually executing something you learned theoretically whether it's trumpet technique or music theory in general. Basically your unconcious mind will have taken whatever concept you have learned and make it automatic. You are essentially doing without doing as one of my favorite taoist friends always tells me.
    You seen like a real smart young person so I recommend the following books

    1. Effortless Mastery - Kenny Werner
    2. The Tao of Poo - This one is a fun little book!
    3. The Heart of Buddhas teaching - Thich Nhat Han
    4. Zen and the Art of Archery
    5. Theory of Harmony by Arnold Schoenberg ( introduction is "must read" for every natural musician!

    I hope I didn't miss your point in the original post, but I think I hit on what you were asking. Sorry for any spelling mistakes, that has never been my strong suit, and besides... as long as you understand what I said... who cares right?
    best wishes
    Matthew Lawson
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2007

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