RE: How do I improvise to hymns without a written sheet note.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by tjer52, Oct 4, 2011.

  1. tjer52

    tjer52 New Friend

    Nov 24, 2009
    Thanks a lot but you guys are speaking way above my level here. All these theory and terminologies are foreign to me. I've only been playing for about 2 yrs. Let us simplify it a little bit, like intermidiate level. I prefered to stay with the key of F and G although I can do C and Bb if I have to.
  2. mike ansberry

    mike ansberry Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Clarksville, Tennessee, U
    The tenor line frequently makes a good base to work from.
  3. trumpetup

    trumpetup Piano User

    Jan 12, 2009
    Godley, Texas
    You should be able to get a recording of the choir so you can practice and learn at home. First figure out what key they are singing in on your trumpet. Run up and down the scale and some arpeggios of that key and see what fits. As you get more comfortable with it you will really enjoy it.
    Good Luck
  4. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    A lot of good information here. The most valuable of which is to listen. Then take it one further, hear. Hear what the listening has resulted in. Feedback from the choir will be so helpful, from which the term "Your preaching to the choir" truly applies. Play to their needs, hear their needs, they are your customer. Then with that said, take Rowuk's advice and refine them at home for rehearsal time. It would be cool to do this up front, getting a song list from the choir director, then go out and buy CDs of choir music OR find the songs on YouTube and play along with them. After this upfront rehearsal, you will come into the choir rehearsal more experienced. From this experience, you will be more prepared to adjust the style to match the needs of your specific choir. You will listen to the song, but then hear where it needs to go.

    One of the most appreciated experiences in my life was arranging a church series each Sunday for an area church, then come in and play with a Church quartet to play these songs with the choir, and as instrumental beaks that weaved in and out with the sermon, depending on the needs of the pastor. What transpired and evolved was the coolest blend of gospel, hymnal and jazz influences, such that I was integrating jazz standards having titles and feeling that blended so nice with the hymnal selections provided by the choir director and pastor.

    Good luck. This will be such a neat and memorable experience for you. I know this for a fact
  5. PatMurphy

    PatMurphy Pianissimo User

    Aug 9, 2009
    Cherry Hill NJ
    Listen to what Gmonady wrote above. All good. The idea of recording the choir and taking it home to play with is good.
    I play completly by ear and my advice is Listen and relax. It is all mental attitude. You are the best trumpet player they are going to hear. Have an idea as to what yu are going to do and how you want it to sound. Then just stand up and do it. Concentrate on tone and modulation. The neat thing about improv is you can turn what you perceive to be a mistake into just what you had in mind. The audience does not know the difference and unless you tel lthem. The trumpet is a very forgiving instrument. I find even a miss gives me a note I can work with. The miss is usually another note in the chord progression or a note I can slide/bend up to the next half tone that is almost always a good note.
    Listen, relax and let the choir's and your personality flow into the music
  6. Rapier

    Rapier Forte User

    Jul 18, 2011
    Don't feel too bad mate. I've been playing in bands for 30 years but if I have no music I can't play a thing.
  7. PatMurphy

    PatMurphy Pianissimo User

    Aug 9, 2009
    Cherry Hill NJ
    Don't feel too bad mate. I've been playing jam sessions for 15-20 years but if you just give me a sheet paper with black dots on lines and spaces and do not let me hear the tune, I can't play a thing
  8. PatMurphy

    PatMurphy Pianissimo User

    Aug 9, 2009
    Cherry Hill NJ
    F and G, sounds like you been hanging out with too many blues guitar players
  9. leftmid7

    leftmid7 Mezzo Piano User

    Sep 21, 2010
    Franklin, TN
    Um, unless you have impeccable timing and style(which chances are not from just 2 years), improvising with a church choir sounds like a possible disaster. For one thing, genre-wise, church choir music does not lend itself to that unless you are just talking about functioning more like a keyboard doing 'pads'(long tones) and adding color. The other thing that could work is echoing, once again tastefully, or filling in space when they are not singing.

    Chances are the choir has sheet music at least for rehearsals. You need to get the score from the director, transpose everything up a step for you, learn the melody and where the space is. When in doubt 'LESS IS MORE.'
  10. tjer52

    tjer52 New Friend

    Nov 24, 2009
    Thanks for all the good advice, it's really appreciated. I think I will give it a try, I know it wont be easy at first but that is how we learn. And hopefully they wont expect too much from me at least for now.

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