Tips for improv?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Nealium, Mar 19, 2015.

  1. limepickle

    limepickle Piano User

    Aug 30, 2013
    Dallas, TX
    I agree strongly with Tarh331_Dad's approach, but I would modify it to say that you don't really need
    to write down the notes on a paper as it can be tedious. Just record yourself singing or humming a solo. Then, try to play
    it on the trumpet, and also see how what you're playing relates to the chord changes. You will probably
    find that what you naturally want to sing/play is some mixture of notes and rhythms which outlines the
    changes but which is not restricted to just the notes in the chord. Once you get a feel for how the ideas in your
    mind lines up with the changes, the chord changes will start to help you find the notes that you want to play.
    When your ear becomes fast enough, you may even opt to ignore the changes altogether. Also, beware of
    chord changes that are poorly written, which can be a problem with some sheets online. Don't be afraid to modify them.
    This may take some time but will strengthen your ear.
  2. Dennis78

    Dennis78 Fortissimo User

    Feb 1, 2015
    Writing the notes out will not only help to remember what you've played but also help you to recognize the chord that you would be using
  3. Tarh331_Dad

    Tarh331_Dad Piano User

    Jan 14, 2014
    BTW, there are a handful of people who have both true musical gifts and the ability to analyze what they're doing.

    Those people are called musical geniuses.

    But the first time you ever encounter a savant who has true musical gifts, yet who can't read or write music to save his life, it will leave you scratching your head and wondering to yourself, "What the heck was the Good Lord thinking when He wired your brain?!?"

    Watch that scene ^.
  4. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 5, 2011
    Hi Tarh,
    You stated:
    "BTW, a very high percentage of people with true musical gifts seem to be pathologically incapable of learning to read musical notation [much less learning to write musical notation] - with many of them, it's as though they're incapable of standing back, and seeing the forest for the trees, and isolating themselves from their musical gifts, and analyzing what they're doing.
    If possible, can you direct me to credible literature where I can read about this. Very interesting. It will be neat to see what variables were used to define "true musical gifts" and the researcher(s) methodology for for determining "inability to understand musical notation" verses "not interested or don't need to know musical notation to play an instrument"
  5. Tarh331_Dad

    Tarh331_Dad Piano User

    Jan 14, 2014
    It's more experience than literature.

    My old ["Hall of Fame"] band director HATED the dudes who played by ear but couldn't read music - I guess because they weren't able to keep up with the pacing and subtlety and precision of a written score.

    I knew one dude like that in high school, who could "replay" almost anything by ear, but couldn't read or write music to save his life. Last I saw of him, he was working in a big box store as a clerk by day, and playing gigs in the local bars at night.

    And down south here, half or more of the banjo and guitar players can't read or write music [although most of them aren't particularly talented].

    As for formal studies, I know that the psychiatrists have studied the idiot savants - who are often on the autism spectrum, like the kid in the Deliverance video - but I don't know the extent to which they have studied "normal" people [of "normal" intelligence].

    Big Academics has traditionally looked askance at people with musical gifts, as being little more than glorifed Pavlovian dogs.

    Yale is about the only Ivy which has kept up much interest in music. Harvard used to be a music powerhouse, but they let it wither on the vine. And Princeton was NEVER friendly towards music.

    Unlike Chicago, Northwestern is mildly interested in music.

    And way out west? Nothing at all.
  6. Bay Area Brass

    Bay Area Brass Piano User

    Mar 2, 2007
    San Francisco
    Developing your musical ear and learning theory are important for every player. I used to play with a musician who always claimed proudly "I play with street knowledge, not book knowledge." This of course was a defense mechanism out of fear, because they never got their reading or theory together. He was a great ear player with amazing talent but it was no surprise that their career went nowhere. Everyone can learn theory and everyone can develop your ear, and both are very important. In my previous post I was stressing the importance of critical listening to important artists, this strengthens both your knowledge of theory and develops your ear and vocabulary-especially if you transcribe and/or play through transcription books.
  7. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 5, 2011
    Whew, thanks! more than I expected! I need to let UNT know that they are off my Christmas list! No cookies for them!!! I also need to let the Autism Research Institute in San Diego Ca. that they are off the list too!!
  8. tjcombo

    tjcombo Forte User

    Nov 12, 2012
    Melbourne, Australia
    Lot's of great advice above - to which I'd add, record practice sessions every now and then - listen to what pleases you and note what doesn't. Personal experience here - I found licks and effects that I was over-using which gave a sameness to the playing but until hearing recordings was blissfully unaware of these shortcomings. You might want to keep the recordings too so you can get the satisfaction of hearing yourself improve.
  9. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Chet Baker was a dude like that, wasn't he? I believe he did OK... up to the point where drugs finally took their toll on him.
  10. Nealium

    Nealium New Friend

    Jan 9, 2015
    Once again, thank you all for the advice.

    I'd like to ask another question, somewhat related, without making another thread: Ive taken the advice to listen closely and transcribe. I found a player, Arturo Sandoval, that emulates the style and tone that I really, really want. I can emulate his "fuzzy" tone at about a mezzo forte to piano when I play long tones, and a little bit on quarters and half notes, but when I get to eigths, it all falls apart. Style, tone quality, even timing. I can fix most of that with woodshed, but I've never really worked on tone. Any advice?

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