Self-teaching resources?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Fortepiano, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. Fortepiano

    Fortepiano New Friend

    Jan 5, 2010
    Hi all,

    I'm currently a high school senior in my 5th year of playing trumpet. I'm curious as to what kind of resources are available for one to teach themselves to play better on trumpet.

    I'm just going to say right here, that in no way do I pretend to be great at this instrument. I'm one of the better players at my school, not the best, but still decent. I'm fairly certain that every last person on this forum could absolutely blow me out of the water in terms of playing. However, I've got by far the most passion about this instrument out of anyone in my section at my school. I do not plan on majoring music, though I have thought about it. I merely plan on carrying on playing through college, preferably in wind ensemble, marching band, and drum corps.

    What my goal is here, is to be able to march with the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps next season. (I know drum corps is a touchy subject here, I'm not trying to start an argument) I auditioned for this year's season, but was turned down. I want to do something about that, marching band/drum corps is my passion and I'm not planning on letting a setback like this stop me entirely

    I've tried private lessons with my school's band director, and just didn't find it all that helpful, honestly. I've gotten more out of practice by myself, than out of private lessons. As an example, just recently I was able to correct my embouchure using some advice I found here. Previously, just by the way I was playing, I wasn't particularly in control of my embouchure. I was relying on pressure to play in the octave from 4th line C to high C. I can really hear an improvement in my tone quality, intonation, and accuracy just after a few months of working with backing off the pressure, playing softly, and practicing lip slurs. I've got several method books at my disposal at the moment (Arbans, Concone, Rubank Advanced+Intermediate, and a few other no-name books).

    What I'm looking for are any guides, any places that might have advice on how to further improve my playing. I'm good at identifying my weaknesses, and I'm looking for how to correct them. The primary areas I feel I need to improve on at the moment are my rhythmic accuracy (I have difficulty sight reading due to my lack of ability to accurately interpret rhythms on a page. Once I hear the rhythm, its not difficult.), upper octave lip accuracy, and developing a better sense of pitch.

    Thank you!

    A little more about myself:
    • Playing a lacquered Yamaha YTR2335 (Not a huge fan of this horn, I want to upgrade. The Xenos used by the Bluecoats spoiled me.) with a 3C Bach mouthpiece
    • Effective range of up to High C, occasionally up to an E above that
    • Currently working to master Arban's Characteristic Study #1
  2. bagmangood

    bagmangood Forte User

    To improve rhythm: play everything in time. Ignore notes - they'll come later, and easier to play once you get used to playing in time

    More than minimizing pressure - be relaxed. Everything should be sung. Musically.

    Search for the threads on sight-reading, there are quite a few of them and they can help
  3. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    Nothing you can do privately will help as much as getting an experienced teacher.

    Teachers have the experience to hear your weaknesses and offer critical feedback to help you. As an unexperienced player, you don't have a skill set that is developed enough to analyze and focus on what you need to improve.

    Even one lesson a month is beneficial.
  4. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Welcome to TM, Fortepiano!

    A good musician who teaches would be of great benefit. Your phrase "I'm good at identifying my weaknesses." is flat out wrong. If one is deaf or blind or stupid they just don't notice because they don't know differently. No shame intended, but to be one's own teacher requires years of study with a master.

    Find one. Live, love and learn.

    Have fun!
  5. tlc9988

    tlc9988 New Friend

    Jan 5, 2010

    I so agree finding a great teacher is the most important thing. Don't confuse that with a great player.

    A great teacher needs a couple of things I think are essential.
    1. Know what a great sound is and help you develop one. Also, what to listen for in others.
    2. Encourage you and not scold you or plant 'you can't do it' thoughts.
    3. Focuses on what you need at the time, not on everything. Any piece you play can have a thousand aspects to playing it wonderfully. The great teacher will focus only on what you are ready for and leading you forward.

    Trumpet and great attitude go hand in hand.

  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Some threads never cease to amaze me!

    I have been a systems analyst for many years and my job is to go into companies, figure out what is wrong and then organize the countermeasures.

    One of the most common problems in companies are the younger employees, fresh out of college that have a lot of energy and a career as an agenda. They come in as "know-it-alls" with elbows, have something to prove, and basically destroy any sense of "family", "team" and in the end, a lot of the older, more experienced workers just let them run into the knife. The kids burn out, leaving an incredible mess behind. It is very difficult to reverse this process as the older employees no longer trust young management who really don't know what they are doing, and the young, dynamics write off the experienced as too slow. What those younger managers missed is that a company is not a maschine. It is a living organism. Many times the situation is not repairable as management is not willing to place enough trust in the very people who built the business in the first place.

    Your post shows a lot of a young, inexperienced attitude. You mix up your energy as being able to replace experience, your lack of humility blocks opportunities to objectively look at yourself.

    I think the lesson here is that music is not sports. Success is based on ones ability to become part of the whole. More experienced players and teachers will focus on your weaknesses - that is a real problem when testosterone has more influence than common sense. When you are young, energy CAN move quite a bit. Once you have been written off, it gets VERY LONELY.

    My advice: go back to taking lessons. Learn to develop RELATIONSHIPS. Discover that every decent musician can offer something useful, some insight that you do not have. Not every teacher student combination works. One really needs to look in the mirror before placing blame. Just judging only from what you wrote in your post, I see where YOU played a major part in your lack of success. I can't defend your teacher as I do not know them or their methods. Even your post is a bit short for a real opinion. ALL of the clues do point in a specific, not really positive direction.
  7. Bixel

    Bixel Pianissimo User

    Jan 1, 2010
    Learning to play trumpet by self-teaching for sure is an adventurous challange.
    I myself did it just that way and I am not trying to say that it makes learning the trumpet easier than with the help of a good teacher.
    It does not.

    Since there are teachers around being helpful and others being harmful (and since it is you who has to pick without really having a clue) I'd like to confirm you in your ambition of self-teaching trumpet if the conditions following are fulfilled:

    - You have a strong idea of what your trumpet should sound like.

    - You have a strong idea of the kind/style of music you want to be capable to play.

    - You listen an awful lot to just that sort of music you are aiming for (your favourite style of music might change over time, but there always has to be a certain style that drives you crazy enough to be strongly motivated).

    - You have sufficient leisure to spend time with your instrument as you have no recipe given by somebody else that tells your practice schedule.

    - You use all sources available to get information (what you are just doing) and you can handle contradicting hints by sorting out by try and error what suits your individual person and what does not.

    Apart from learning to play the trumpet this is what everybody has to learn for life anyway: taking responsibility for your own way.
    So learning an instrument by yourself might help make you fit for life in general.

    To me your post reads as if you could give self-teaching a try.

    Whenever a really good trumpet player crosses your way in real life, beat all informations out of him that you can get though and don't hesitate to ask him for a lesson or two - or many of them if you can benefit!

    Good luck!

  8. simonstl

    simonstl Pianissimo User

    Nov 25, 2008
    Dryden/Ithaca, NY
    Fortepiano - you're brave! Entering TrumpetMaster and saying "I want to learn without a teacher" is kind of like entering the lion cage in a steak jumpsuit.

    DIY is not a popular notion here. Nor is the idea that you "merely plan on carrying on playing through college, preferably in wind ensemble, marching band, and drum corps" rather than devoting your life to the instrument. So don't worry too much about the barbs shot your direction - they just come with the topic.

    Generally I like Bixel's advice, but the one thing you didn't mention was your practice regimen. How often are you practicing, and for how long? Are you keeping track of your results, say in a notebook, or just kind of moving from practice session to practice session?

    _Regular_ practice seems to make the most difference for me, and when I can't get it, the results are painfully obvious.

    Good luck!
  9. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    Many will tell you to get a teacher. This is indeed a great idea, pending the teacher knows what they are doing. I've met many that didn't. All they did was teach you how to read music and take the money.
    I'm sort of from a different camp. I think that the only person that can teach you is you yourself, regardless of the teacher you have.
    Someone once asked Frank Zappa "How did you learn so much about music" Zappa said "I went to the library"
    With that said, here's some stuff for you to work on. Its up to you to teach your brain.
    For rhythm- sight read the rhythm by tapping it out or humming. Not the notes, the rhythm.
    For pitch- long tones which incorperate slowly bending notes. While doing this, feel the horn in your hands and feel when the horn is vibrating the most. Listen while bending to where the sound has the most "rub" or "buzz". That should help with getting the best sound.
    Self help:
    Brass Concepts-(can't think of his name but he played with Maynard. Its a great book)
    Intermediate Jazz Improvisation-Bouchard
    Jamey Aebersold play alongs: (ii V7 I) (Dom 7 Workout) (Turnarounds) (Good Time)
    Other self help:
    Listen to as many other trumpet players as possible. King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy, Clark Terry, Maynard, Arturo, Doc, Harry James Jon Hassell, Raphael Mendez,Alison Balsom
    Study their sound, study what they look like when they play(especially their faces),study how they make music and how all of them sound so different eventhough they may be using exactly the same type of trumpet.
    Good luck
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2010
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Simon, this is a real good post.

    I would offer however that the current practice in the internet age of googling everything instead of LEARNING things puts many unrelated tidbits in our head with no glue. When we tackle a project in a structured way, we get much more than over the next hindrance. We also learn how to learn in a more efficient fashion. We take advantage of someone elses experience therebye reducing trial by fire.

    In theory ALL trumpet playing is DIY as only WE can develop skills. It is not possible to buy pre-built and tested chops. I really push relationships as the #1 goal of making music. The teacher can get us prepared for what is next, help us through problems and perhaps even create or find opportunities for us to play. There really is no substitute.

    The finest casual players that I know look for opportunities with better players. Lessons can be duets, an orchestra rehearsal or formal training. All are FAR superior to cyberchops!

Share This Page