Professionals do no always know what is best for recreational players

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpetsplus, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. trumpetsplus

    trumpetsplus Fortissimo User

    Jun 11, 2006
    South Salem, NY
    I was in Germany last week checking out some possible new bells for my trumpets. In the course of conversation, some information came out that I wanted to include in a blog.

    Here it is:

    Not Necessarily for the Recreational Player

    Or, in longhand:

    Less than 1% of all trumpet players need to play double high C, or match the XXXX Philharmonic/Symphony trumpet section, or have some other specialized playing need.

    Unfortunately, both instrument and mouthpiece developers use the most gifted players from this less than 1% as test subjects, even making signature models. This enables them to be able to declare that "(This player) plays X brand - therefore so should you".

    Maybe these endorsees do play such equipment, and, of course, these products will be very good, but that doesn’t mean that they will be best for every player, especially those for whom just creating a note is still a bit of a challenge. The particular professional cited has a highly honed skill which must be complemented by his critical choice of equipment, whether it be mouthpiece, trumpet or other.

    During a recent visit to one of my colleagues in Germany, they revealed that they had spent much time and effort in developing a 4 valve Eb trumpet for a world famous soloist. The result was an instrument that he was extremely satisfied with. However this trumpet was so specialized that the maker has not been able to find another player who is comfortable playing it! Sadly it has been withdrawn from the market.

    We have often used un-skilled or even beginners as part of the panel used to alpha test our Jaeger trumpets and mouthpieces, believing that if it is easy for them to play it will be easy for anyone to play. I have often quoted my young student, who, when presented with 2 different examples of my work (an early model and a current one) commented that one of them was so much easier to play, that it wanted to dance!
    gbdeamer likes this.
  2. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    Excellent point.
  3. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    Interesting thoughts, and I think you're right. One of my nephews decided he wanted to learn trumpet and play in the middle school band. My brother had my old King Cleveland cornet and mouthpiece, so he began on it. Same horn both my brother and I started on, and playing it a bit a few years ago, I realize it isn't a very good instrument - heavy, dull, and stuffy. Anyway, I bought a nice 1960's Conn Director cornet on eBay just because it was cheap ;-), and after playing it, decided it would probably be a much better horn to learn on. It just played easier and better. Next time they were in town visiting, I had him try it out, and the first words out of his mouth were "I like this's real easy to play." I gave it to him and he played it well, eventually becoming the first chair player in the section. Just goes to show that when given a choice, even beginners can tell the difference between a good and not-so-good playing horn.
  4. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Soooooooooo true Ivan. There are several that Always come up for discussion that not only are financially devastating, but of NO benefit to anyone but the 1%!
  5. songbook

    songbook Piano User

    Apr 25, 2010
    Thank you for sharing, and thank you for your wonderful book Melodies For Playing. I use it every day as my warmup. The songs are beautiful. Al
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006

    I will even question that the "specialized trumpet" is really the best thing for that player. Most of the pros that I know claim to "understand" the trumpet, but when digging a bit deeper, we discover that much of their "wisdom" is not current scientific fact, rather myths from yesterday. I personally think that the top builders know a heck of a lot more and that even the finest players would benefit greatly with a bit more humility.

    That being said, there are enough top players that DO NOT claim to have all of the answers and very readily accept help from the outside.

    When we are talking about teaching, we have a different scenario however. The chemistry that makes for a successful teacher-student relationship is far more complex than what we have previously studied or learned. Still there are certain teachers that have VERY consistent results with a great cross section of players.
  7. motteatoj

    motteatoj Mezzo Forte User

    Feb 23, 2013
    Tuckahoe, NY
    This IS me, and is so interesting.
    As a player who started at 45, I have goals and those goals need to happen before I drop dead, lol.
    Seriously, not only the instrument or mouthpiece, but the method needs to be considered. Balancing traditional methods with what the goals of the recreational player are is a constant balancing game. I certainly don't mean a 'fast track' but recreational playing would be so much more enjoyable if everything is geared for that player's success.

    Similarly, there are countless stories (not just about trumpet) about musicians who come up with no formal training, no ability to read music, and can play professionally and fantastically.
    New Orleans, for example, is chock full of musicians who learned from others, right or wrong, literally in the street, on whatever instrument they could get their hands on, as long as it made a sound resembling music.
    I have huge respect for these players, as by 16 they are better than i will ever be, no matter how many lessons, no matter what the equipment......
  8. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    One thing that working freelance trumpeters know that the recreational player may not know is that a total package is required. This means getting the appropriate sound and style out of the instrument while blending with the group, listening for intonation, note lengths and adjusting for such. A recreational player may fall for a mouthpiece that promises better range and endurance while sacrificing sound (the buzz-saw syndrome) or concentrate so much on one aspect (like tongue arch) that flexibility, sound and tonguing are ignored.
  9. mattiasc

    mattiasc Piano User

    Jan 14, 2013
    The pro has learned, by a lot of practice, not to think how he has to play while he's playing. Like James Morrison says choose the equipment that let's you do what you want the easiest way.

  10. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009
    Agreed. Yes, a shame Louis Armstrong didn't receive good training. He might have had a career in music if he had only had a chance. Good teachers provide a balance between recreation and forming good habits and technique.

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