The Room

Discussion in 'Wise Talk!' started by gms979, Nov 7, 2005.

  1. gms979

    gms979 New Friend

    Jun 3, 2005
    Greetings again,

    So, here's another question for people....kind of related to the whole "playing soft discussion." While trying to get to the root of why I fell into the mf-f trap in the first place, I began to think about the acoustical environments I did much of my playing in. As a teacher (with 40-45 private students between trumpet and piano), I do a TON of playing in a room that is - I measured this - 6.5 feet by 6.5 feet.....with soundproofing on all four walls. Bottom line, I can play fff in there, and it might sound mf at most to my ear, because so little sound is reflected back. It can really mess with my head.

    I also do a good chunk of time in a normal sized room in my house (maybe 12 by 20 feet or so).....which creates a much more normal environment for my ears.

    So if you all had your druthers, what kind of room do you prefer to practice in? I had a teacher in college who preferred to teach and practice a small dead room because he said it gave him the most unfiltered and unenhanced (and consequently the most accurate "raw sonic material" to work with) version of sound, as compared to a rehearsal room or hall. Another teacher felt the exact opposite. It might be a loaded question, and maybe one with no answer...but what kind of room do you think is the most conducive to improvement and giving a realistic, real-time feedback of how one is "really" sounding?

    Thanks, folks - hope life is treating everybody well!

  2. music matters

    music matters Pianissimo User

    Apr 26, 2004
    ON Canada
    Mmmm, interesting one. I teach 6 students trumpet at my school and play in a very similar dimensioned sound proofed room as you. My practice room at home is our spare bedroom and is similar acoustically and quite dead. I certainly prefer listening to myself in a live acoustic and take the opportunity to practise in one whenever I can.

    Interestingly I had a lesson from a professional symphony trumpeter a few years ago when he was on holiday in Dubai and he gave me the lesson in our Music Centre auditorium which is very alive acoustically. He loved it and said I should take the opportunity to practise there as much as I can.

    The Associated Board examiner last year assessed did all of the grade 8 and diploma exams in that room and hated the acoustics, so go figure!

    I had a lesson with Noel Langley this summer and he went through the Allen Vizutti warm up routine with me. I hope I am quoting him correctly here! He said that I should try and do this warm up routine in the same room each day, so I am fully used to the acoustics and know what I sound like in that room. I think the idea here would be to have a reference point so as the sound improves/changes you know it is you and not the room and that the changes/improvements are going in the direction you want.

  3. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    On the first day of recording WSS at the 44th street RCA Studio, I was in the men's room. Suddenly there was a loud, glorious tenor voice singing scales in the porcelain room :-o
    José Carreras was warming up in the john. If it's good enough for a great tenor.............
    I like a live room.
    I have taught at several colleges over the years, usually I end up having the student come to my place for lessons.
    I am accepting students again at the Colin Studios. The rooms are small, but large enough to give a natural feel to the player.

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