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Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpettrax, Sep 9, 2009.
Hey Ed! Good to hear from you too and good points.
Question one: Yes.
One example: Branch, Harold, Pedal Tones, Harold Branch Publishing, 1973
(probably difficult to get)
Question two: Yes.
If you have never played pedals, the first exercise by Branch is a good start. (He uses F - C - A - pedal F as a start. On pedal F you play the same fingers as on the low A above, finger 1 & 2).
Some beginner methods also has things about pedal notes.
Btw, Eric Bolvin has a demo about pedals (in mp3):
Regarding the Gordon Systematic Approach to Daily Practice I'll relate my own experience -- I had always had a very difficult upper register, even following what my college teacher had taught me. Then, about 25 years ago I was playing in a town band and a man who smoked like a chimney and smelled like a distillery joined the band, and he would pull out his trumpet play a few notes, including some pedals, and then would play gorgeous high range stuff. I was incensed, because this man obviously abused his body and yet he could do all that stuff, yet I, who had stopped smoking years earlier and had stopped drinking about the same time, couldn't do that. So I asked him, and he told me about the Gordon book. I had known about it but it had never really seemed like it was worth investigating. He told me to get it and follow it religiously, week by week, doing each "lesson" for a week and I'd begin to see results. So I did that, and he was right. My upper range opened up and became a lot easier, and I've never had the problems with higher notes (other than finding the time to stay in shape) that I had up until that point.
The most important thing in all this "pedal-tones are good, no they're not" debate is that when moving into the pedal range you must keep your embouchure as it is for all your other playing -- don't reconfigure it just to get the pedal tones because then working on them won't help you at all. But if you follow the Gordon book, or start using the Stamp Warm-up Book or even the Thompson Buzzing Book, they all work in a manner which keeps your embouchure as it is for the non-pedal as you play down into the pedal range, and that is what helps some people.
Remember that nothing works for all players -- you need to try things and see if they will help you. For everybody who says that playing pedal tones helped their upper register you'll find someone who never played pedals and has a higher register with better tone, and the opposite is true.
That's one of the hardest things in finding a good teacher -- don't find someone who will make you do what they did, since there's no guarantee it will work for you. You need to find someone who is aware of all the different techniques and teaching methods and will help to determine what will help YOU improve.
And pedal notes may be the key to helping you improve. Or they may not.
My 2 cents:
A trumpet player friend of mine used to be the music director at a church in Chicago, and Phil Smith came with an ensemble to perform at the church. My friend asked him how he has so much strength and power throughout the entire range. Phil told him that, in addition to the usual long tones, lip slurs, etc. that moving in and out of the pedal tone range was a big part of it for him.
I'm not saying that EVERYBODY should do them or needs to do them. Just relaying what Phil Smith told my buddy.
I started doing Stamp's warmups just a couple weeks ago. I haven't been doing them long enough to say that they help, but I do seem to play bigger / more open after doing them. Could just be a psychological thing, not sure yet.
I can go down to C# pedal without changing my embouchure, can't get the C yet. Will keep trying.
Speaking of Phil Smith....
If you get the book 20 minute Warm-Up Routine - you can play along with Phil on pedals (the last exercise - #15).
Btw, this is not a beginners book (either on pedals or on the rest) !