The fireworks are in my horn!!!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by rjzeller, Jun 29, 2005.

  1. rjzeller

    rjzeller Forte User

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    Just finished the first rehearsal for our 4th of July concert here in Roch...and I think my lips have swollen to twice their original size.

    WB -- I don't know how you do it!!! Every single piece pushed the top of the range (well ... for concert band, anyway). Three hours of rehearsal and the other 1st looked at me:

    "You know," he said, "I'm starting to think this was a bad idea."

    I'll say.

    Why is it I can handle 3-4 hour jazz gigs playing lead, but a three hour concert band rehearsal that goes no higher than high C just blows my chops all to h*ll?

    I got a lot of compliments for my play, but they must have just been trying to be nice. I DID hit all the right notes ... eventually ... but you could certainly tell the other first and I were totally gassed at the end.

    It was a lot of fun, and the concert is going to rock. July 4th Silver Lake Pool 8pm just before the fireworks. But bring your earplugs -- I have a feeling they won't be needing the PA system for this one.

    Actually...I think a real part of the problem is that the brass section in this band treats every f as though it were fff and every ff as though you were trying to kill a herd of bison from 100 yeards away. We won't even talk about the fff's in 1812...

    It's a loud bunch, and that probably magnifies the problem. But really -- Warren -- how the heck do you keep going for three hours on those rehearsals without dying? How does anyone out there? I mean I can handle hour one, and hour two is okay if I pace the breathing a little bit...but getting into that last hour just kills me. How do you do it?

    Anyway, I'm not really complaining. Just couldn't help but think to myself, "my G*d, how does W do it?" Some spots there is so much playing, so high and for so long, that I earned the nickname "Submarine" last night because the rest of the section kept waiting for me to "come up for air" during the sustained passages.

    "He's GOT to breathe sometime...."
     
  2. Cornet1

    Cornet1 Pianissimo User

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    May 22, 2005
    Essex, England
    I KNOW I should'nt respond to this sort of post but I just can't resist it!.....

    Firstly, good band playing is about sound quality NOT quantity..if you are the top man of the brass section then why are you not exerting some leadership and getting the message over that everyone is 'over cooking' the louder passages??....presumably the musical director (I assume there IS one) does not care whats going on!

    Secondly, nothing is more indicative of an 'intermediate' band than poor control/'blasty' playing. Remember, that in wind/military band the woodwind sections are the suppliers of your smooth mid band sound palette and they need to be backed up/supported by the brass, not swamped.

    Thirdly, you make no mention of what the 'p' and 'pp' passages are like.....quite a bad sign in my experience! As an instructor with one of the UK's better youth military bands ( and 30 years as principal cornet in brass band, which is roughly 5 times more physically demanding than mil band!) I actively 'teach and preach' the conservation of energy during piano passages,..both to aid louder parts and also to build as large a dynamic in the band as possible. Exciting band performance is about 'light and shade' in a rich sound palette.

    Fourthly, you should not be having to work this hard...a clear indication that things are working poorly...I know there are only two of you playing the 1st part (why?) but you are NOT helping either yourselves or the band by playing like this. Band playing is, first and foremost, teamwork so if there are not enough teamplayers then you need to re-think how you're working....you can't get the best sound quality if you've got to 'blow your b*lls off'!!

    Doing what you are I'm not surprised you can't go the distance!...it sounds to me like you all need to go back to basics a bit!
     
  3. rjzeller

    rjzeller Forte User

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    OUCH!!!

    THat's quite a lecture C1, and I don't dissagree one bit. I have always maintained that this particular group plays VERY loud and could use some "quiet time" in out practices. We have a bunch of soloists and no ensemble players, it would seem. Everyone wants to be heard.

    But it is what it is.

    We're short handed in the trumpets for this gig -- only 5 of us, 2 on first, 1 on second (and you should hear how loud HE played last night!), 2 on third. This makes for some interesting arrangements of parts (often only 1 per part on the pieces with both cornet and trumpet parts). But we usually only ever have 2 on first even when we have a full 8 or 9 in the section.

    You should hear our trombone section!! I think they live just to see how much pain they can cause the flutes and saxaphones sitting in front of them. :twisted: Perhaps in other concert bands the first chair trumpet dictates to the trombones how they should play, but I'd only be inviting more trouble if I did likewise. Those guys truly have a mind of their own...

    Anyway...I kinda thought that WAS my point -- the group plays WAY too loud. Didn't think I needed to point out the state of the p or pp sections to establish that.

    Really, it was just a bit of levity aimed at a certain fellow player I know here who isn't available for the concert. He's got seemingly infinite endurance, and it wasn't until I had to suddenly cover for him this time around that I realized just how much power this group tries to pack into everything. It's like a caged animal unleashed, I was pretty suprised.

    Wasn't looking for advice, though I'll accept what you had to offer since I do aggree completely. I was just looking to have a little fun at the expense of the Rochester Civic Music 200 decibel all-stars band.

    Weigh in folks!!! But go easy on me. I'm just a lowly little mf player in a FFFF world. (band, anyway)....!! :dontknow:
     
  4. Ryan

    Ryan New Friend

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    Jun 13, 2005
    Nebraska
    Your band sounds exactly like our band from last year, we never seemed to understand dynamics. Didnt help that our section leaders loved to blast just as much as everyone else... Luckily they're gone and some more reasonable people are in charge now...
     
  5. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

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    Metro Detroit
  6. bandman

    bandman Forte User

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    Cornet1 -

    I think you went rather hard on our friend here. He was complaining about what was going on, and the lecture is probably wasted on him as he is probably one of the people trying to do things correctly.

    One note from your lecture that scared me. I disagree that you conserve energy during P and PP sections of the music. It takes as much if not more support to play the softer sections properly. Nothing is worse than to hear a band back way off on the softer sections and the tone and intonation basically goes to hell.

    I've never heard your band, just like you've never heard RJ's band. From reading his posts in the past I'm going to assume he is a good player and was not deserving of the lecture!
     
  7. ROGERIO

    ROGERIO Mezzo Forte User

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    Sep 30, 2004
    PHOENIX, AZ
    Cornet 1,

    We are American's....in America.
    Do you not read the news?? History books? Magazines?
    We do everything over the top here... right or wrong....
    We play to loud, to fast ... we eat to much, work to much, yet we waste a lot of time and food...

    Fireworks ??? We are so stuck on that single day from 200+ years ago that we shoot fireworks all over Phoenix... Yes, even when we have 3 days out of the week as Pollution advisory days and Fire Danger is at a high... but no, the fireworks must go on... next to the 1812 and a Stars and Stripes being played at FFF all the way through...

    It's still THE BEST PLACE IN THE WORLD TO LIVE IN.
    Sorry, maybe I shouldn't have been yelling.

    Just having fun with this folks.

    Of course, Cornet 1... you are absolutely correct. But I think RJ was just pointing out what happens when you try to put a band together during vacation time for a holiday concert. It happens all over America!


    CW,

    Nice new picture. Your daughter is really cute... ;-) You look young for your age... :-P
     
  8. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

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    Metro Detroit
    ROGERIO wrote:
    In the words of Buggs Bunny....
    "you realize of course, this means war!"


    I did rob the cradle though!

    -cw-
     
  9. ROGERIO

    ROGERIO Mezzo Forte User

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    Sep 30, 2004
    PHOENIX, AZ
    Bugs: Knock Knock. Guess who?

    Elmer: Uh, Betty L'Mar?

    Bugs: Nope.

    Elmer: Uh, Barbara Stanwick.

    Bugs: Uh uh.

    Elmer: Rosemary Lane?

    Bugs: Nope!

    Elmer: Uh, Olivia Dehaviland.

    Bugs: Nope, but ya gettin' warmer.

    Elmer: Say, you wouldn't be that screwy wabbit would ya?

    Bugs: Mmmm, could be.
     
  10. rjzeller

    rjzeller Forte User

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    Rochester, MN
    Okay, so we had another rehearsal last night. Remember that long solo I talked about where I have what seems like about 400 counts of sustained playing on one note? The guy next to me says, "I just wanna breathe FOR you..."

    anyway...it went a little better. Our 2nd, apparently feeling he had to do the work of two men, really cranked it last night. I suggested he might want to back off a bit.

    "I wasn't playing that loud...." I'm like, please, the Two French horns in front of you just moved down about three chairs.


    We did better, but the director went an extra 20 minutes for rehearsal. About five minutes into this overtime, you could hear the entire trumpet section cave in at almost the exact same time. Like a switch. Pretty ugly. Fortunately, the concert itself is only 1 1/2 -2 hours, rehearsal was three, so I'm betting we'll be okay after all.

    As for dynamics ... well, we DO play too loud. But as Rogerio pointed out, we ARE talking about the 4th here, and it's not a dedicated concert -- folks are really coming for the fireworks, we're just there to provide some entertainment before hand. That means there'll be about 10,000 people wandering around, talking, playing, listening, whatever. So the natural tendency is going to be about two dynamics higher than normal.

    The director doesn't help any. I have a part in 1812 that's mp. I know this piece almost like the back of my hand. I played it the way I would have in an orchestra. The director looks at me, and literally says this:

    "Ignore the MP marking. This was transcribed for indoor concerts and we're going to be outdoors. Play it out, nice and loud."

    Chr*st. OKAAAAY....(which had a doubly negative effect because guess waht a certain 2nd trumpet player interpreted that as.....).

    And I realized something last night -- we have the LOUDEST woodwind section I've ever heard in my life. Not blasty, icky tone-quality loud. It was clean and full...but just....LOUD. The Bassons and bass clarinets really were pumping the sound out. Clearly this whole group is just feeding off each other.

    but you DO kinda have to be loud on 1812 and Stars and Striped; they set the fireworks off while we're playing these, and the fireworks are close and LOUD. So in this case the big sound is not necessarily bad.

    Anyway...it'll be interesting to see what sort of followup I have to write after Monday night....
     

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