Notes from a New Boy

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Old Bugle Boy, Apr 1, 2015.

  1. Old Bugle Boy

    Old Bugle Boy Pianissimo User

    Jan 8, 2015
    North Yorkshire
    When I made my introduction back in January, someone suggested I post an update on how I was getting on, so here it is for anyone interested - hopefully not too long-winded.

    Bit of background:

    A late starter being 63 years old I started playing trumpet about 11 weeks ago in Jan this year
    Only prior experience of playing anything was playing the bugle as a boy with a Cadet Corps of Drums (1963-1968)
    No prior knowledge whatsoever of music theory - didn't need to know that for bugle, only 5 notes to learn and no valves.
    Ambition - to play reasonably well, from music scores and/or by memory, for my own pleasure and maybe entertain family and friends eg at parties. Perhaps join a local band.

    Practice Routines:

    I spend about 5 to 8 hours a week practising, an hour or so on most days. I also spend further time using mainly online resources studying music theory. My practice routine includes the following (but not necessarily the same every day):
    Warming up, mainly low notes from C below the staff down to F# - a few minutes, seems to get the lips working nicely.
    Long notes until I run out of breath - a few minutes.
    Learning/playing the basic major scales, up and down, tongued and slurred. So far I only have C & D major in memory but every few days now I set about learning a new one. Later I'll move on to learning the minor scales.
    Chromatic scale(Just C at the moment) - so I learn the flats and sharps
    A couple of arpeggios - intention to progress with these but not sure what they're all about
    Tonguing - some basic double and triple tonguing techniques using a metronome, gradually speeding up the tempo.
    A couple of the early practice pieces in my copy of Arbans. Only got this a few days ago (years of work in there!)
    Then, for the last 15 or 20 minutes, I learn a simple song from a selection I've downloaded from Got to be some fun in there right? A few examples are:- "My Way", "Somewhere (There's a Place for Us)", "My Heart Goes On", "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", "Silent Night", "Those Were the Days", "You Raise Me Up", "Il Silenzio" and a few more.
    Up to just recently I've been writing the fingerings onto the music score sheets. Just a couple of days ago I started trying to play the songs (above) without this - limited success but early days yet. The fingerings to notes association is slowly beginning to bed in to the little grey cells.

    My First Lesson

    So, that's what I've been doing. So far so good. Yesterday I had my first lesson with a tutor, which was a good experience and we've booked more sessions together. The tutor is a professional (ex Army Bandmaster) specialising in brass instruments.
    We spent over an hour altogether. We talked through my practice routines and then played together, sometimes on my own, some simple tunes, mainly focussing on timing - he spotted my weak spot straight away! He got me demonstrating the scales I've learned and a couple of the songs from my small collection. He was quite astounded when I played him 'Il Silenzio' from memory (and almost without missing a note.) My favourite all time trumpet tune so I had to get that right!
    We talked some about embouchure but he commented that I had no problems there and thought I was a strong player and with good tone and a great range already. I can play reasonable quality notes from F# below the staff up to C above the staff (but that C only on a good day!)
    Anyway, he's recommended some further learning books and we talked a bit about the ABRSM exams, which I might consider at some point. We've booked our second session a fortnight from now. All in all a good experience although I was a bit nervous. I found it good fun playing with another person.

    So that's my little story, thanks if you've read it this far without switching off. I thought it might be mildly interesting and maybe useful for any other members, also new to this game, to see what others do. Anyway, onwards, practice, practice, practice and all that. Cheers ...
    Vulgano Brother likes this.
  2. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    Hi Alan,
    Thanks for the update. I reckon the bugle helps to build both tone and projection. Your progress is impressive.

    Great story. Speak with your instructor, but I reckon if you can still hit those 5 open notes, and have a reasonable tone, then get into a local community band. Making music with others is a real motivator 4th chair is a good place to start, and makes you work hard for harmony - so helps the ear to listen to the rest of the band..

    Again keep us up-dated.
  3. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    BTW exams are for kids...

    Playing Music is about playing with others - you already enjoy playing with your teacher. I'd skip the exams, but maybe do the syllabus, just for the exercise. Skip the nerves and anxiety of exams.
    I have found a lot of fun playing with a group where we just have the simple written tune, and chords, then share solos. It is a blast. We play in a local church, and the church only asks that we perform 2 Jazz services a year in payment for the church use, and we pay to get the church piano tuned yearly.

    There are plenty of ways to get a group together, and share your playing. Your teacher should be able to introduce you to people as your skills develop.
    Good luck
  4. Old Bugle Boy

    Old Bugle Boy Pianissimo User

    Jan 8, 2015
    North Yorkshire
    Thanks Peter. I reckon you're right about the bugle. I have one here and now I find after learning on the trumpet, I can play the bugle just as well if not better than I could as a lad all those years ago. I may well volunteer my services for the Last Post on Remembrance Day later this year. My tutor also suggested joining a band. He conducts a local band and I'm tempted to go along next Tuesday night.
    Cheers for the comments, advice and encouragement...
  5. Rapier

    Rapier Forte User

    Jul 18, 2011
    Well done, that man. I'm with Peter, don't waste time and money on exams. You can learn a lot from being in a group of players, so go along.
  6. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    Not so sure Peter, although I have never done any exams, my mate in his early 80s last year got an honour in grade 8 Tuba.

    Regards, Stuart.
  7. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    Hi Stuart,
    That's good for him - and I do join you to congratulate him. I just think that the AMEB exams that I did, were designed to lead me to either a Music or Performance level for entry to the Conservatorium. Great if so inclined, and nice to get "Honours" - but if he plays Tuba with a Band, why does he need the "Certificate"? I found I liked Jazz after playing in a Youth Orchestra, and there was nothing in Jazz on offer at the Con at the time I was learning ( and STILL LEARNING).

    I just see little value added for the effort and expense - usually 6 months invested into a series of tunes, scales, etc then a pianist for accompaniment etc. It just does not make sense to me, as the journey will not lead you anywhere - maybe a good way to have personal satisfaction for a lost youth dream - but the judge for older players is surely the Orchestra and the audience. It will not matter if I had 3 degrees in Music and performance, if I sucked as a player in a Band. Learning to play in a Band is a better investment of time. It may even lead to a trip to China!!!!

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