Raising Your level of Performance

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by talcito, May 10, 2005.

  1. talcito

    talcito Piano User

    Feb 18, 2004
    As an advanced player how do you go about measuring progress or improvement.

    As an advanced player I often find that I find myself practising to "stay in shape". I find that I am like an athlete training for weekly battles. Tonight I will do a loud latin gig, tommorrow morning a recording. I am more concerned with going from one gig to the next with as little damage as possible.

    With playing schedules like the above I know I am becoming a "smarter" player but not necessarilly a "better" trumpet player.

    As great as you are, I am sure you still strive to play better. What do you do to "raise your level" of performance?

    Thank you for your help!
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004

    I think you are on to something. Depending on what a player's schedule is like it can be a challenge wondering whether you're improving or just doing what you can to stay with it! It's gotten like that for me at times.

    One way to measure is your comfort/enjoyment level at gigs. I really mean the part about enjoyment. Your happiness at a gig tells volumes about where you are in the business. You like your colleagues, style of music, venues, bosses/conductors/producers... whatever.

    The comfort means you're taking care of business, chopwise, and you rise to the challenges you meet in a relaxed way so you can... enjoy it.

    Arnold Jacobs used to advise eople to try to keep a four or five piece recital of tunes at the ready. That's a wonderful idea, that at any given moment you could have an hour or so of rotated tunes that you could perform. That's what I try to do during the summer months, learn new tunes, perfect old ones. There's an indicator for you!

  3. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Pianissimo User

    In lessons I had with Howard Snell, he used the sporting analogy too. Your daily routines should keep you in shape, as in your "fitness to play". I like the idea of working on repertoire too as Manny has suggested.
  4. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    I must use the "M" word.
    Music. Trumpet players are quite often respected for the pyrotechnics of the instrument but rarely as musicians. The most difficult things to play are often, at first glance the simplest. Take Reinzi, it begins with just a trumpet playing an A in the staff, many guys have met defeat here.
    I am still working on tone color, nuances of articulation.
    I strive to be a better musician.
  5. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Man! You said a mouthful there and succinctly put into words an idea that has been running around my brain for a year or so regarding my personal situation as a trumpet player.

    About a year ago I got to a point playing trumpet that I was so frustrated and unhappy with how I was playing, that I gave some serious thought to hanging it up altogether and going full-tilt in pursuit of my "other" area of interest as a musician - playing the drum kit.

    Part of it was due simply to not putting in enough time on the horn to even maintain what I had, and part of it was because my gig got harder due to a personnel change in the band which caused a major shift in our core tunes, making them much more chops intensive than what I had before. I also had a lof of other stress in my life (of my own choosing I might add) that I have cut out, and I believe that was also taking a toll on my personal growth as a musician. It had gotten to the point where I had completely forgotten about trying to improve and it became all about not losing what I had, and simply making it through the gigs. My band leader has been very patient with me during this time and I have thanked him for it.

    As you can imagine, playing trumpet had lost much of its luster for me.

    An event that sort of turned a switch on for me was when I went back to my hometown in Nebraska. Traditionally, I have always played at the Zion Lutheran church when I go home to visit. They have a substantial pipe organ in that church and my mentor and friend has earned all of the degrees from the AGO - the American Guild of Organists, so there is virtually nothing that I could play that he can't easily handle as an accompanist. This trip was to be no exception, and I arranged to play the Vivaldi duet with the local high school trumpet playing hotshot, as well as a couple of other things. Because I didn't want to embarrass myself I put some time back in on the horn. I came back from that trip playing better than I had in a long while, but things soon went back to the status quo of my struggling and being frustrated.

    So, I made some changes - not all of them sudden, but I had to make some sort of a change. I stopped playing drums for the church rock and roll praise band, (there is a LOT more to that story - ref: the aforementioned stress) I have purchased a new trumpet - my first trumpet purchase in 8 years - and I have committed myself to a regimen of daily, structured practice. It's slow going - my chops have degraded to the point where practice on the fundamentals can be a challenge, but I am improving again and I hope to regain the consistency that I had when I was an Army Bandsman in my early 20s. I have a long way to go, but I believe that focus, consistency and determination are going to be key factors to my improvement as a trumpet player. I also have to think outside of the box and look into working on some things that I have never worked on before.

    Wilmer made a great comment about becoming a better musician and I think that the more I get my fundamentals under control, the easier it will be to express myself musically.
  6. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    Deleted...didn't want to sound as if I was hi-jacking. Sorry. :dontknow:
  7. talcito

    talcito Piano User

    Feb 18, 2004
    Comfort and enjoyment at the gig---You are right,that is is great measuring tool.

    Its those parts or "styles" of playing that cause anxiety on a gig that are the best indicator of weakneses in ones' playing.

    I have found that when I record I will find out my weaknesses the hard way! Especially when the sound engineer says "lets do another take" for the 10th time! :dontknow:

    In the past I have taken up lessons with different teachers just following a recording session.

    Those recordings are like taking a lie-detector test on the trumpet.(Especially if the sound engineer happens to be a trumpet player who did not get the gig :x )

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