"The Metronome"

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by anthony, Mar 16, 2016.

  1. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    I've heard numerous comeback players comment that they can play things fine when practicing at home, but can't when they get to a band (or whatever) rehearsal. I suspect most of it is precisely the lack of practicing pieces at a correct, steady tempo. It's common to practice the easy stuff up to tempo and slow down a bit on the difficult stuff, and be sloppy about taking breaths. That doesn't work in a group rehearsal with a good conductor, though, so all of a sudden you can't play what you thought you could. Using a metronome while practicing is a great way to simulate a real performance so you're not surprised/embarrassed when you get to rehearsal.
     
  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    There are a lot of things that happen differently between a practice room and an ensemble. Pitch correction is something else that many players never deal with in the practice room. I do a TON of practicing with recordings. The wedding band I play with has a book where there are over 500 charts written for the horns, but virtually all of those charts are transcribed from, or are arranged to the original tune you'd hear on the radio, so practicing along is as easy as pulling up the recording in iTunes or YouTube, and reading/playing along. Not only that, but it's a great way to start getting better at phrasing and inflection because you won't sound right if your phrasing and inflection is off.
     
  3. anthony

    anthony Mezzo Piano User

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    Yes Dale my teacher noticed that I was playing quiet a few of the pieces in Arban
    " Rubato " which was fine but when I played it in strict time it was a little off. ....so back to the metronome which is cool with me anyway it the met. is also good when playing exercises.Also my tuner has a metronome built in
    ......which reminds me of the joke why is that fish on the piano. ...that's not a fish it's a piano tuna "
     
  4. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    You can tune a bass, but you can't tuna fish...;-)
     
  5. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    "Why?" Seeing the full score helps just to understand why the composer / arranger / conductor makes his/her own interpretations. Listening to recordings rarely reveals the conductor rotating his baton pointed at the ceiling with his left hand facing upward pointing at the trumpet section (or another section).

    So, with the street beat of 120 on drums, what happens when the pipe major blows the whistle and raises the mace over his head with both hands.

    Does the accepted rendition of Radetsky's March move along according to the score? I'll answer that and tell you, it does not ... and usually the conductor will turn his back to the orchestra part of the time.

    Point: being aware of what is happening elsewhere controls how you should play.
     
  6. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

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    When I was in college, all I had was a bulky Franz Electric Metronome. (I still have it.) I also had a record player for jazz records and Aeberold play-alongs. That was it ... a metronome and a turntable.

    Nowadays, I have a metronome, chromatic tuner, tablet, smartphone, audio recorder (Zoom H1), video recorder (Zoom Q2HD), software (like iRealB), play-alongs, and other tools, all of which I try to use to become a better player.

    Great advice!

    I record almost all of my gigs. I also record my practices. This works well, if you break up your practice (play 10 minutes, rest 10 minutes), so I can listen back during the rest periods.

    Also, I like Patrick's advice about Arban duets. I sometimes record one part, and then play it back while I play the other part. Alternative, I use the music-minus-one Arban duets (which were recorded by my trumpet teacher back when I was in high school).
    http://www.amazon.com/Music-Minus-One-Trumpet-Complete/dp/1596154241

    Keeping on the technology theme, another thing I've recently started is to practice intonation against a drone, which Brian Shook covers in his YouTube master classes and supplemental downloads (Brian Shook | Studio Handouts). Very revealing, and very humbling,

    Mike
     
  7. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

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    I have had the electronic ones and they are nice but I am really partial to the Seth Thomas. I know it has to be level and there are less gradients but I hear the click better and feel very comfortable with it.
     
  8. Dalecon

    Dalecon New Friend

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    haha funny you mention that, it was my experience, not in front of a band, but just when I decided to set the metronome up, dropping beats for breathing is allowed in practice by yourself, but not all that helpful of a habit to have. That being said my endurance is starting to grow as part of my comeback, and who would have thought wanting to play trumpet better is a reason to start up running again haha.

    Is the book published? If so what is the title?
     
  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Again I ask, what does this have to do with a player's internal sense of time and tempo? We're talking about a player's ability to play with a click track or metronome, which is independent of a conductor or ensemble, and has nothing to do with what else is in a score - it's simply not relevant, and I'm not sure why you think it is. When a player is playing in an ensemble, or they are being accompanied, there are other things keeping time for them whether the conductor is actually directing or not. A big band is a prime example of that - there's no need to for a conductor to be up front hardly ever, (with maybe the exception of a ballad that has a lot of motion) because once the band is started, the rhythm section takes over, and becomes keeper of the tempo. It's markedly easier for a person to play along with an ensemble, even if they have poor time, because they have other things pulling them back, such as another player on the same part who has better time than they do. You don't really get that with a metronome or click track - a person has to develop an internal sense of time, division and subdivision because it's not being handled for them like it would be in an ensemble.

    When I say "book" I'm talking about the list of charts that we play, virtually all of which have been transcribed and/or arranged by the bandleader. From my perspective, I consider it his personal, private intellectual property. It's a veritable mountain of material - there are over 500 charts written for the horns, and that doesn't include everything else where the horns don't play. It's over 800 charts at this point, and for every tune there are written parts for guitar, piano, bass, keys (often time just a chord and roadmap layout) trumpet, tenor sax, trombone. Also, for the vast majority of the tunes we do we also have backing tracks that were put together in his personal studio that contain (depending on the tune) bass, keys, a backup vocal part or two, sometimes supplemental keyboard horns, sometimes supplemental rhythm guitar - it's a massive amount of material that has accumulated over the last 20 or so years.
     
  10. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    Patrick, there is no doubt in my mind that a player's sense of time and tempo is relevant, but I don't feel that many ensembles are as concerned with such as they are blending with how others play ... I'd think of it more as instinct and awareness of what others are playing. Mostly, I read scores and see where the composers / arrangers often change the tempo or throw a dynamic at me vis "rit." (= ritard) as would slow the tempo down ... but often gradually. Too, I've often seen time signature changes. One just has to aware of the whole pattern or movement of the song. It is just an exception to a set metronome tick of x bpm, but still an element that must be learned.

    It has become a tradition in Radetsky, that while the composer wrote a diminuendo that when his troops heard such the troops stomped their feet until a loud crescendo was resumed. Now audiences substitute for the troops vis the conductor turns to them to attempt control of the tempo.

    Often in practice I use a metronome blinker as I do also in tutoring, thus such is not heard on my Zoom HN 4 recordings. There is just to much latitude in the terms such as "moderato" and I get thrown for a loop when I see "dolce". I didn't find peace playing with the Prince William County VA Symphony Orchestra which was an unpaid group of various levels of players.
     

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