Ohhh, what a sound....?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Castle Bravo, Oct 26, 2006.

  1. Castle Bravo

    Castle Bravo Piano User

    Nov 6, 2003
    Scheßlitz, Germany
    Manny -

    It has been a while since I've had to play truly 'legit' music. It has been a while since I have had any fundamental intruction. I have been playing mostly jazz for the past 15 years and I am now in a position where I need to do well in an orchestral setting.

    I was listening to another trumpet player practice, and was amazed by the quality of his sound. Not only on long notes, but every single note in a fast 16th run sounded big, full, wonderful etc...
    I don't usually have problems being able to reproduce sound tambres that I hear, but this is proving to be difficult. Sustained notes are easier than runs, but my big problem is how to practice.... I'm not even sure I know how to practice correctly anymore.

    So, I guess my question is how do you go about 'from scratch' building a big beautiful sound, a sound that is simply part of the way you play, every day??

    Thanx a million
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004

    I think one of the quickest ways to do that is to keep the tongue from interfering with the sound and airflow. Approach your articulated studies with a sense that the air is flowing and the tongue is a gentle intermediary, not a hardworking hammer.

    Take a breath, and blow out like you're gently blowing out a candle. Now, do the same and quickly,LIGHTLY, and repeatedly take a finger and tap the opening at the lips through which the air is traveling. It should make a "thup,thup" kind of sound. The tongue should work like that. Flicking not pounding.

  3. Don Herman

    Don Herman New Friend

    Jun 18, 2005
    Monument, CO, USA
    With apologies to Manny, a couple of thoughts that hopefully reinforce his:

    My teacher (a Chicago guy) and I worked up an analogy for tonguing (something I still work on, and probably always will). Think of water flowing from a faucet -- that's your air flow. Thick and rich, a nice steady stream! Now, your tongue is a finger flicking through the stream. It's a little flick, NOT a hand turning the faucet on and off! The flow is constant; the tongue simply passes through and interrupts it for a second.

    Regarding notes, think of a salami. It's got a tiny little part at each end, and is thick through the middle. Shorter notes are like slicing the salami into pieces -- the short notes are still just as big and rich! Practice some tongued eighth and sixteenth notes with that mental picture.

    Note that these are only my opinions, bolstered by my teacher's (David Zuercher's) mastery, and should not be construed as something I have mastered myself!

    HTH - Don (student for life)
  4. Tarter_trpt8

    Tarter_trpt8 Pianissimo User

    Jan 17, 2005
    St. Paul, MN

    That response about "tapping your finger on your lips while blowing out" hit home like crazy! I've never heard someone teach it like that. Wonderful!

  5. djm6701

    djm6701 Pianissimo User

    I would think that given how much the quality of the other player's sound struck you, getting out a whole pile of orchestral recordings and burning that sound back into your brain would be a good place to start.
  6. Jon Kratzer

    Jon Kratzer Pianissimo User

    Nov 27, 2003
    Oklahoma City, OK
    I couldn't have read any better analogies. Producing a sound is first of all, in your head. You need to sound like you want. Do you have that sound in your head? Can you hear the clarity and rich fullness...you have to know where you goal is. From that ponit remember to always use a very lush airstream and keep it moving. I think once you know what you want to sound like, in your head it will start to happen for you.

    Don't be afraid to get back to the basics either. Play some scales, long tones, and simple lyrical melodies. I still play 'Mary had a little lamb' every day in my private practise routine. It's simple, and it gets you back to those roots. Get your arbans out. Start playing the stuff from the front of the book and really focus on getting it right. I think when you listen closely enough you'll have a clearer vision of what you need to do.
  7. Castle Bravo

    Castle Bravo Piano User

    Nov 6, 2003
    Scheßlitz, Germany
    Thanx everyone for your advice; my audition went well, I achieved the desired result. :)
    Back to the basics is a good call. Any more advice on what and how to practice to get a velvety rich tone would be appreciated, not just for my benefit either.... it's amazing how most of the solutions we all look for wind up being from the 'back to basics' bag.
    Thanx again :)
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    When I have played cornet or flugel for a week, my approach to playing is softer, less aggressive. I have also used that with some success with students with miserable tone quality.
  9. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

    May 11, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    On the side Gary....

    Did you use that beautiful Extra Large Bell Red Eclipse? :-)

  10. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona

    First off, congratulations on a successful audition! It sound’s like your sound works well in many different settings.

    When I read through all of the responses to this thread, I ended up at the bottom and found that there is a “Similar Threads†grouping. I clicked on the Smooth Water post that I made a while ago and I think that Craig Morris puts in words what you are looking to do with your sound (it’s worth at least reading that link and see if you agree with the poll that I set up).

    As far as “practicing correctlyâ€, I’ve really enjoyed suggestions that Chris Gekker and Craig Morris have provided on-line. These articles constitute a fantastic overview of the building blocks that should be addressed each day.

    Fundamentally Speaking talks about Foundation and Skill Set practice. This is a very important distinction and I’m guessing that you may eventually find what you are looking for by spending more focused time in the Foundation category each day.

    If you haven’t seen Summer Practice and Notes on Practicing by Chris Gekker, you can find them on Ole’s Trumpet Practice page. Those articles are just packed full of great practice suggestions (especially geared toward sound production).

    I hope these are helpful references for you!

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