The Princess and the Princes

Discussion in 'EC Downloading' started by Derek Reaban, Oct 20, 2005.

  1. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    609
    1
    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona
    About a month ago my 3-year-old was invited to his buddy Melanie's 3rd birthday party. He is one of three boys and does boy things. Girl things do not interest him at all!

    Melanie's party was a Princess party and my 3-year-old did not want to have anything to do with it. I said, "there will be a Princess and several Princes there". He yelled, "I don’t want to be a Princess!". I said, "No. I mean you will be a Prince and there will be one or two other Princes there". He yelled louder, "I don’t want to be a Princess!!" I said, you get to be Prince Ali from Aladin and then I started singing the Prince Ali song and got him to start laughing. Eventually he was excited about getting to be a Prince!

    I started thinking about this…

    Princess vs. Princes

    For those of us that are English speaking and have been spelling for longer than we can remember, the difference between these two words is very clear, even when spoken. For a 3-year-old who can't distinguish the subtle difference between these words, it means wearing a dress out in public! No wonder he got mad at me!

    Relating this back to trumpet playing, how many players who hear a trumpet sound are unable to perceive the difference between a loud sound versus a resonant sound? They would fall into this same position of not understanding the subtle difference between the two sounds, just like the 3-year-old with the word Princess and Princes.

    In a recent article by Craig Morris, entitled Fundamentally Speaking he discusses the importance of spending time every day with “foundation†exercises. He mentions James Thompson and James Stamp and says that, "this book is perhaps the most misunderstood and misused book in the trumpet community. When done properly, though, these exercises can be a great way to establish balance and center in one’s playing."

    It took me years to understand what to listen for in my own sound to be able to distinguish a "loud" sound from a resonant sound (and finding my center). I felt very much like my 3-year-old when my instructors would model a sound and then have me play. The would say, "There! Do you hear the resonance? That's what I want!" The problem was I really couldn't "hear" what was different from behind the bell. Princess…Princes?

    I could write about my experience with these subtleties all day and provide quotes from very prominent players. I don't want to do that though.

    Just out of curiosity, what have you done to find your resonance? If you haven't found it yet, please know that in time and with enough concentrated focus everyday, you will get closer to seeing the Princes for the Princess!
     
  2. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

    2,212
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    Jul 13, 2005
    NY/CA
    Derek,

    Interesting story and observation.

    Developing a knowing ear is critical to the speed of musical development. We meet with our teachers for one (or less!) hours per week and this pales next to the twenty-one hours that I know most of you are practicing (ahem). Thus your best guide is your own sensitivity to good/bad and resonance/dull.

    Allow me to wear my Arnold Jacobs hat for a moment . . . it would be fun, wouldn't it, to illustrate your point with two pieces of equipment: a LED meter (to measure volume) and an oscilloscope (to measure resonance). The game at hand would be to decrease the former while increasing the latter.

    I'd prefer, however, to train my ears rather than my eyes, making those of you who own stock in Johnson & Johnson very happy.

    Q-tips in both ears,
    EC
     
  3. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    609
    1
    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona
    Ed,

    You wrote:
    What a great way to say what I tried to communicate with my story!

    On the other site, someone posted this response:

    I posted this in response:


     
  4. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    4,529
    8
    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    So... the idea is to pp strongly!? :D


    Just kidding...at rehearsal last night the composer of the piece we'll be premiering this Saturday told our section he wanted a "resonant whisper".
     
  5. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    609
    1
    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona
    Tootsall,

    Good one!

    I had a friend that would always die laughing if we got a piece with rehearsal letters in it based on a previous experience. One time he was working with a prominent conductor who was looking for a good place to start the ensemble and said, “P, right on it!â€

    Needless to say, my friend and the rest of the section were unable to continue playing!
     
  6. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Age:
    53
    2,259
    11
    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    I've been trying to do alot of work on this, among other things lately. (Some days I get more time in than others; right now we are quite busy, so practice time is not happening as much...drat...I should be doing that now...).

    I am noticing a change in my approach to the horn, and hear a difference in my sound. It is going to take some getting used to from my end; there are days when I almost feel a spark down in the low end of the horn (where I really need to concentrate my efforts) and there are days when I don't...the days I don't are either after a busy time like this or on a day when I'm hurried for practice time and don't get the time to work resonance the way I'd like. So, I'm still unsure if I want to be a princess, or if I found Princes Street, but I think I hear Derek singing a few bars in his blue genie costume for me...
     
  7. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    609
    1
    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona
    Glenn,

    Ha! That made my day!


    There’s this great quote from John Hagstrom that I really related to when I was targeting finding more resonance in my sound. He wrote:

    • "Progress is the result of new awareness in balance with repeated experience. The first step is to be aware of what improvements you are looking for and having the intensity of concentration to sustain that conception as you make repeated attempts. When you are successful and are able to recreate your success over and over again, new habits begin to form, but they are crude at first. It generally takes a year to take yourself from crudity to mastery when forming a new habit. Mastery is what is needed to be professionally competent and competitive. It is when you can perform a given task consistently well under pressure – without having a second chance."

    This is what I wrote at the time to describe what I was doing to target resonance in my sound:
    Based on the "busyness" of life, getting everyone ready to head out the door, and driving my boys to school every morning, I’ve had to forego my morning "centering" practice session. I usually get in a Wednesday evening and Saturday morning session of Buzzing Basic, so twice a week is better than nothing. I can really feel it in my playing when I miss those two sessions in a week!

    Just an FYI on what I did to address this area in my own playing.
     
  8. chrisvenditti

    chrisvenditti New Friend

    25
    0
    Aug 17, 2005
    BB

    Hey,

    I read the article by Craig Morris. I believe that article is a great description of how we need to think of the physical side of trumpet. We need to work on our reed as well as working on the fundimentals. I studied under Mr. Thompson for two years, and gained enormusly from using the BB book. In the morning I get a feel for the horn by playing a few notes. Then I do exercises 1-4, and occassionally 9, and/or a high note one. At one time in the recent past I was playing most all the exercises in succession. I now have different demands on my playing, and don't have the time to do all of them. I find that if I play the first four "basic" exercises, I am ready for whatever the day throws at me.

    Chris
     
  9. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

    2,212
    8
    Jul 13, 2005
    NY/CA
    Chris,

    For the record, I've had a grad student from Eastman (Mona S, Lisa E, Dan R, and soon, Aaron S) every year since starting my class at CalArts, and I have one (Steph R) at McGill as well. Each arrived with a stable and free buzz, allowing me to focus on extended techniques and repertoire rather than on fundamentals. Jim's BB is wonderful.

    Best,
    EC
     
  10. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    609
    1
    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona
    My Wife was getting ready for a trip to Tucson to take my boys to Vacation Bible School and printed out a lot of pictures to do some scrap booking. I happened to see the pictures of the Princess Party (with my little Prince) and thought I would include them here. He was the only Prince!


    The Prince Arriving at the Party
    [​IMG]

    With the Princesses
    [​IMG]


    The Party Favor (Weapon)
    [​IMG]

    The Princess Looking On
    [​IMG]


    Goodbye
    [​IMG]
     

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