Reaching that next level in my playing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by TheCoolBeat, Nov 20, 2010.

  1. TheCoolBeat

    TheCoolBeat New Friend

    Mar 13, 2010
    Hey everyone,

    I am a Junior in my high school's concert band and I will say I am pretty good. Dont have too many issues with techinique, range or anything like that. I definately have been working hard (practicing as musc as three times a day), taking private lessons, spending much time on the computer lookking at forums or videos that explain trumpet techniques and fundamentals.

    Well, I didnt get into the all-district band (which didnt bother me the last two years because i didnt really try) and I am kind of left confused. Could i have practiced a tad bit more, probably, but overall I came out of that audition believing that I have gave it my best shot and sounded pretty well. I had only a few technical mistakes and my sound was pretty nice (atleast according to my own judgement).

    So feeling that there was few technical problems to my audition, I am left feeling that now I have discovered a whole new nest of concerns. Was my sound mature enough, was my bravado too much, did I add enough expression? Now I am really confused, and disappointed and really just want to somehow reach that next level in my playing, get to the point where I am not worrying about technicality and am just making music.

    Unfortunately I really dont know where to start when it comes to practicing
  2. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    Ask the judges how you could have done better.

  3. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    read wynton marsalis's practice tips.
    also, like vetpsychwars said, ask the judges how you could have done better.
  4. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009
    Yes, ask what they would recommend you do better. Also, get with players much better than yourself whenever possible. Try to hang with the 1st and 2nd chair first players in the HS band. See what your band director's primary instrument was. If trumpet, then really listen to him (always listen to your band director-but if he was a trumpet major it is like getting private lessons).

    Why are you using vibrato in jr. high?

    If possible, record yourself and see what others are hearing. What they hear is often different from what you hear behind the horn.

    Best of luck!
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Reality Check time. Maybe your evaluation of yourself is way off. If you are good, you DO get into the better ensembles. If you "think" that you are good, most people are put off by that attitude.

    Preparation is the number one rule for anything. When adjudicating, I can normally sort out the players with the folloing in this order:
    1) attitude - are they confident without being arrogant
    2) rhythm - did the half and whole notes get proper preparation too? Can I tap my foot to the tune being played?
    3) self evaluation - is the piece being played within the realistic expectations of what this student can accomplish

    Almost never does tone come into play during the evaluation. I give tips afterwards but do not give minus or plus points if the rest is OK
    The same goes for small tecnical errors. The applicants are human and subject to daily form issues. As long as I have the impression that the piece is suitable, a clam does not change anything.
  6. larry tscharner

    larry tscharner Forte User

    Apr 30, 2010
    dubuque iowa
    All good advice above.....also keep in mind that it is music. No matter how technically accurate you make it if it is not fun it shows. As your skills and confidence matures so will your music. You are doing the right thing by being aware of all of the details and the dividends will pay off eventually when the music flows easily and fun occurs. Try
    again next year and I hope you are successful.

    I understand that you want to get to the next level of playing, but I dont think there is ever a clear line to the next level. Progress is measured in fractions of an inch and because you are so close to the action you can never stand back and see how far you have come already...its kind of like watching your hair grow in the mirror. We all want to get to that next level and if you are a life long player like some of us you will see that that desire never goes away, its what keeps us working to get better. Mostly it is a desire not to be embarrased in front of our peers who are often much better skilled than we are, and take it from me, there are always players that can run circles around us.

    Also in your practice time try to improve your mental state when it comes to each musical piece. I think you eluded to it in your question. Technically you are advanced enough to handle it but do you think about the composer and what he intended the music to sound like? Its kind of a zen-like thing that gives each piece of music a life of its own and the notes on the page are a skeleton that needs to be fleshed out by dynamics, intonation, etc. Its not a bad thing for someone your age to have this area mature last in their musical life, its prety typical. Becoming aware of this aspect of musicianship as you have is 90% of the solution. The other 10% is that fun factor that I mentioned above. And just like that next level line that doesnt exist, its a life long progression of maturity that is measured in bumps and smidgeons. Best wishes.

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