Screaming with the TCE

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by EggNoggin, Aug 13, 2010.

  1. RHSbigbluemarchingband

    RHSbigbluemarchingband Mezzo Piano User

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    Jan 17, 2009
    This is by far the best advice i've seen for someone interested in drum corps, I guess to get into Phantom by the time im in college (two years from now) the prep work starts now. Luckily their marching style is the same as my bands, according to that video of Defiant Heart on youtube (has the best close up of their style, IMO). Thank you!
     
  2. Scatmanblues

    Scatmanblues Pianissimo User

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    Jul 19, 2010
    West Texas

    No problem. Phantom is a laid back corps with a lot of pride. Two of my friends in high school and a few of my section mates in college marched Phantom, and they came out of those summers with some of the best fundamentals (marching and playing) I've ever seen. Phantom is also more open to young talent than some of the other corps (at least as of 10 years ago), especially if you don't mind playing a lower part.

    I want to qualify the two year remark I made. That work was within the context of an overarching set of goals to play effective lead in jazz band, marching band, and ultimately drum corps. The drum corps specific piece was an important, but not overwhelming, part of my routine. Basically, it involved marching practice in months NOT during football season, lots of practice standing up with good marching posture, and TONS of lip flexibility and other embouchure-strengthening exercises. Oh, and breathing exercises. I hesitate to add them as drum corps specific since you should be doing them anyway, but I learned them initially in the context of preparing for corps.

    All told, drum corps specific practice was probably 3-5 hours a week of my time outside of marching season. That was just enough to keep the marching fundamentals fresh and the posture where it needed to be.

    My lesson instructor also happened to be preparing me to play the lead book in the corps he was the musical director for, so he knew exactly what he was getting me ready for in the show. We spent two years preparing because I thought I would get to march between my junior and senior years, but my parents wouldn't let me go. I think anyone who works hard for a marching season and beyond into the tryouts can get themselves into perfectly acceptable shape to make a drum corps. If you want lead, then yes, two years of hard work should be expected.

    Beyond the folks playing lead books, most members of drum corps are above average high school players who love the marching and the challenge. You don't have to be a screamer to make even a top-10 corps if you are willing to put in the work to be a rock-solid third part player. Of my friends mentioned above, only one played the lead book at Phantom. The others went into the summer as good musicians with ranges around High-C, came back about the same but with monster endurance and projection, and went back to playing second or third in a good college marching band.

    Drum corps directors LOVE people who want to excel at the lower parts. The quickest way to get into any corps is to be humble, march hard, and show enthusiasm. A friend of mine in college who marched Cavaliers never had a range over G at the top of the staff, but he had great marching fundamentals and a solid sound and spent three seasons on the third book having a blast.

    The key is to define for yourself what you want out of marching drum corps. If you want lead at a top-10 corps, you've got a lot of work to do. If you want the experience and the fun, and you're not concerned about what part you play, then you still have some work to do, but the path and the attitude to get there are different.

    Feel free to ask any questions -I'll answer them the best I can.

    Scatmanblues
     
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  3. RHSbigbluemarchingband

    RHSbigbluemarchingband Mezzo Piano User

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    Jan 17, 2009

    Yeah the laid backness is why I love them, plus all their shows are outstanding, and they concentrate on the musicality of the shows, and pleasing the crowd, instead of pleasing the judges. I'm a solid lead in marching band, and my braces come off soon, so im hoping to jump into lead for jazz band, with them not my cutting my lips up anymore. My breathing is solid as it gets for my age, my projection/tone is good. As of now, my range is very comfortable to the C, I can go higher, but I just don't find the need really. What kind of range are they looking for in a world class corp? I will probably do a D2 corp as a warm up, and to see if I can handle it. I can see I have my work cut out for me. My fundamentals are solid (as per the words of my teacher, minus cleaning up minor things), and I don't use this TCE method for screaming. I kinda tighten my glutes, and use my diaphragm (this correct?) to scream, with the only thing holding me back, are my braces catching my lips.

    To narrow it down, what are they looking for in a lead player?
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2010
  4. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

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    Ditto, If you can now scream a 4th line G, CC isn't that far away, the partials are really tight up there and I think it is more a mental thing than an embouchure thing.
     
  5. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

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    hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!! Excellent!!
     
  6. Scatmanblues

    Scatmanblues Pianissimo User

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    Jul 19, 2010
    West Texas
    In short, a lead player must not only be able to play, but also LEAD. That means setting the example for the rest of the section in both playing and conduct. From reading your other posts about enjoying helping others, that suggests to me you've got the potential to be the best kind of leader -the one who inspires others to be better. You'll go a lot further in life leading from the front like that than being the cockiest, loudest, highest-playing sort of "lead" player. Any organization wants a leader who makes everyone else better rather than just looking for their own glory.

    Now, I could give you a really long answer about the rest of your question (chops, range, etc.), and I spent most of my workout at the gym composing it in my head...:roll:, but I think the best thing you can do is ASK THEM.

    The beauty of the internet is that you can do research, and there are few things more flattering to someone (or indicative of interest and initiative) than to be approached with respectful and informed questions by someone who wants to learn from them.

    So here is your homework (Sorry, the former high school teacher is coming out in me...:D):
    1. Look up Phantom Regiment online and figure out who the directors are. Initially, focus on the musical director.
    2. Once you know who the directors are, learn what you can about them so you know something about their history.
    3. Figure out if anyone is directly responsible for auditions or answering questions. There may be contact information on the site for someone whose job it is to answer questions.
    4. Once you know who to ask (if no individual is listed, email the musical director), send them an email introducing yourself and ask them about what they expect from a member of the corps and what the playing/marching standards are. Explain that you are a couple of years from trying out, but you really hope to play lead someday and would like their suggestions for what they expect from their lead players.
    5. Be prepared to be ignored for a bit. Most DCI people are also high school band directors or college directors and this is a crazy time of year. It may take a week or two before you hear anything.
    6. Don't ask anything that can be found on the Phantom Regiment Website. Period. There is nothing more frustrating for a super-busy director (or any other professional) than being asked something that can be answered by a five-minute read of a website. If there is an FAQ, read it. If there is a Phantom forum, find it and look at the stickies. The purpose of these emails is to start building a relationship with people in the organization and to show them that you are responsible enough to do your homework before taking any of their time.
    7. Once you have your answer, come back here and we can dissect it for you.

    Scatmanblues
     
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  7. EggNoggin

    EggNoggin New Friend

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    Aug 13, 2010
    Seattle, WA
    I love how this turned into a conversation about lead playing. :D

    I guess I should have mentioned that I got a lead sop spot in the Cascades (but couldn't finish the season, due to previous engagements). I marched for 4 years with my High School band, which is OBSESSED with DCI; one year we marched Cavies style, but it didn't go so well. :roll:

    My YouTube channel name is "DongleKumquat", if anyone wants to hear me play.

    But as of now, i've decided to stick with my regular embochure, and I am glad I did. I would be a LOT worse off if I had tried to switch; my chops would be absolutely destroyed. Now i'm focusing on posture and staying in tune while blasting.

    Thanks for all the advice, guys. :-)
     
  8. fraserhutch

    fraserhutch Mezzo Piano User

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    Novato, CA, USA
    Wasn't the first line of text from your initial post "I am a senior in high school and have aspirations of playing lead trumpet"?

    Many of us however, do differentiate between "screaming" and lead playing. Some of us believe it or not have little interest in the former but great interest in the latter, which likely accounts for why the weight of the thread moved there.
     
  9. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

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    You are correct. Being a lead player was in his first sentence. Thats why I thought his later post was odd and a bit sarcastic. Then "WE" turned it into a lead trumpet discussion. IF he was hitting/playing/screaming a high G, the info provided would help w/o an embouchure change. Smells like another player waiting the week or two before an audition and then looking for a silver bullet. Hope I'm wrong.
     
  10. wolfmann

    wolfmann Pianissimo User

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    Aug 19, 2010
    In respect to LEAD:
    The band as a whole has to RESPECT you.
    Its not a matter of just playing high notes.
    You have to GEL with the whole band,if this dosnt happen it might sound OK, but the band just WONT swing.
    By saying this I mean you get a very UP and DOWN straight forward sound.
    The band ISNT following the LEAD.
    As a Conductor you will see and FEEL the same thing.
    Going through the motions so to speak.
    You can hear the difference.
     

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