So how do you respectfully critque another Trumpet Player?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Eclipsehornplayer, Apr 25, 2006.

  1. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

    Sep 14, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    Hello All,

    I have a situation that I’d like some advice on.
    As some of you may or may not know I am the section lead of the 3thd trumpet section in a community band here in Georgia.

    We are blessed to have some really strong players in our trumpet section; with Alex’s help I’ve managed to place myself among the top players in my section. Don’t get me wrong our 1st players can play circles around me. All of them played in college and one of them subs in orchestra’s around South Georgia.

    So here’s my dilemma. We are playing a piece called Broadway Show Stoppers Overture; it’s the kind of piece that contains many songs within itself. It’s a fun and challenging piece to play. In about the middle of the piece there is a song we play called On A Clear Day (You Can See Forever). This part of the piece has a very nice solo for about 9 measures that is played by one of our 1st players.

    So here’s what I’m looking for suggestions on. When this player plays this solo it sounds horrible. It sounds like he’s trying to stuff a 500LB canary into a straw. It’s pinched off and shallow sounding. I have a theory on why this is. He plays in the local big band and uses the Monette MF3 mouthpiece; a fine lead mouthpiece but I don't think it is well suited for a tune that calls for a full melodic sound. I can’t help but think that this is what is making his sound on this piece make me want to do great bodily harm to anyone within arms reach.

    How can I approach him on this and respectfully suggest that he change to a more open mouthpiece? Or should I approach him at all?

    Any thoughts?

  2. Jhorn229h

    Jhorn229h Pianissimo User

    Feb 17, 2006
    Re: So how do you respectfully critque another Trumpet Playe

    Wow, a BRUTAL description!

    Seriously though, I would just keep your mouth shut. Remember what you're dealing with. Community groups always seem to be a "mixed bag" of ability levels. You're there to have fun, right? Has the conductor commented on the solo? As we know from this forum, many players of ALL ability levels get suprisingly defensive about the horns and mouthpieces they play, even though we know they'd sound better if they tried something else. Nobody likes to be told what to do. I would just ride it out, and see if it gets better. Maybe the conductor will comment on it. Is is worth alienating this player over an 9 bar solo? When is the concert? Does this person know about the TM? If so, the cat may be "out of the bag."


    You could also wear ear plugs for that tune if it's as bad as you describe! :cool:
  3. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004

    If he's using a mouthpiece geared for lead playing, he thinks of himself as a high note guy and not a cornet soloist. He was asked to play lead in the band because he can play all the high notes and is likely very dependable at doing that. If he plays that mouthpiece for concert band, he doesn't think of it as wearing a different musical hat. "It's all the same, music is music." Well, obviously not.

    I think you best leave it alone and if it's not addressed by the conductor, yuo may be setting yourself up for an uncomfortable situation. He may feel insecure about playing a bigger mouthpiece, he may not "get" the importance of different sounds for different music... who knows?

    The best thing may be to just engage him in conversations about all kinds of music and see what he thinks. Let him draw conclusions from talking about music not equipment.

  4. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    I'm in community band also and I've seen more than enough hissy fits in different sections to last a lifetime. Ditto what the others said ... just keep it to yourself: if the conductor hears a problem then the conductor should sort it out... or the artistic committee... or someone from another section... anyone but yourself. Let your own playing do your talking; one day someone will say "Hey.... why don't we give John the solo this time".
  5. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    I completely agree with all the others.

    As Manny said... (basically)... sometimes it's what we don't say that carries the greatest meaning.
  6. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    John, remember something else: you're probably still the "damn Yankee". Tread lightly!
  7. Fudleysmith

    Fudleysmith Pianissimo User

    Jan 5, 2006
    Niantic, CT

    I can truly sympathise with you. I played in a community band with a 1st trumpet section leader who told everyone that "putting your hand over the bell is just the same as using a mute" and who tuned by looking at the tuner and lipping the tuning note into place - therefore being loudly out of tune as soon as he quit looking at the tuner! When I tried to gently talk to him about these things he became inordinately hostile. The tension was so bad that I now play 1st horn for that group. You cannot teach the unwilling. A word to the director is the only viable option.

    Sadder but wiser,

  8. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

    Sep 14, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    Re: So how do you respectfully critque another Trumpet Playe

    Well, brutal yes!

    I wanted to really convey what I'm hearing. Me and the Lead 2nd player have discussed this in private. He feels as I do that this player is a very strong player and plays the piece well. It just sounds like crap and we believe that is due to his equipment and certainly not him!

    The concert is this weekend, it's a very big formal affair. We providing the music for the cermonies of the band director's hall of fame. A great honor in my opinion. We will be guest conducted by some of the inducties and these are persons who have conducted groups all over the world!

    I have not let my peers know about TM I have my own reasons for that! So I'd assume that the "Cat is not out of the bag" If it were I'd have no problem with it as I make it a point to not write anything anywhere that I would have a problem saying.

    I think that based on the comments received thus far it's better to let it lye so I will. But it is so hard to listen to a nasty solo that would sound so much better if played on a larger mouthpiece.

    As for me, I do my best to let my playing do the talking. I'm not gunning for anyone's solo, I just want to have the best "musical" sound that we can produce. I know that this player is quite capable of playing the piece that's why he's playing it. I just wish he'd be a little more concerned with the style. It's not a screaming lead; so it should be played differently.

    Thanks for the tips, I'll leave it alone.
  9. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN

    Ditto what the others said.

    Focus on your own playing and making beautiful music. Be patient, non-critical of others and committed to steady improvement and people will notice. Opportunities will come and you will have earned them by demonstrating your ability on the horn, not by worrying about what other players are doing that bothers you.

  10. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

    Sep 14, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    So True! You bring up a good point.

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