Trumpet method help!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by MatanLevy, Jan 1, 2014.

  1. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Thanks, Dr.Mark and Happy New Year to all!

    The primary difference between Classical and Jazz, as I see it, is in ear training. I am amazed that jazz musicians can play by ear, or tell if a chord has a #11 or a [SUP]b[/SUP]5, yet I think nothing of sitting in an orchestra and "throwing my ears" 30 feet or so to tune a unison note while maintaining intonation in the section, lowering a tone by 14 cents because it is the third of a chord and reading anything put before me the first time. (That doesn't mean I can play it, but I can read it.)

    It is rare to find players that can improvise and play head charts and play Classical literature with attention to detail, sound and style.

    One thing these players have in common is time spent in the Arban book.
  2. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Agreed, I cut my jazz teeth on classical, then soaked them inside of the vacuum tubes of my Hammond B3.
  3. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    Matan, if you're an intermediate improviser getting stuck with your ideas, I've a few suggestions. Regarding your quest for one, organized book, it's hard to find any that aren't specific to one aspect of playing vs. a step-by-step progression through lessons. One that is like that, though, that I could recommend is Shelly Berg's, "Jazz Improvisation, the Goal Note Method".

    The conventional way of amassing a vocabulary is through the memorization of "licks" although if it's done too rudimentarily, all you become is a "lick player". But transcribing favourite licks that you hear on recordings, working them through all chords and keys, is a way to internalize certain styles and help you not run out of ideas. I personally don't recommend buying lick books, especially the master work, Jerry Coker's "Patterns for Jazz", which was a great standard but it's been so widespread copied that schools have been turning out generations of players regurgitating those licks. Much better to make your own catalogue of licks that are specific to your own musical aesthetic.

    In my experience, what's sorely lacking in the development of many improvisers is a solid grounding in the basics of melodic and rhythmic improvisation and variation. Sometimes there is so much concentration on chords and scales, that intermediate soloists tend to meander, playing essentially a bunch of, well, chords and scales. While the applications are different, the basic approach isn't much different from Bach. Sonny Rollins is a great player to listen to for motivic development in jazz playing.

    To stimulate your thinking, Mel Martin interviewed Lee Konitz, who explained melodic improvisation and variation in his "Lee Konitz 10-Step Method". See Lee Konitz 10-Step Method

    There's just no substitute for voracious listening, attending live performances and transcribing and playing along with original recordings. Steal ideas. Clark Terry gave this advice: "Imitate, Assimilate, Innovate". I hate the language analogies, but this simple truth is that when you learn a language, you first copy what you hear until you slowly gain competency in communication. Then, if you're lucky and if it's your goal, you start to put words and phrases together in more poetic combinations. But first, you still have to have the basic vocabulary and that's what licks are about.
  4. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 5, 2011
    Hi Kehaulani,
    You stated:
    "I personally don't recommend buying lick books, especially the master work, Jerry Coker's "Patterns for Jazz", which was a great standard but it's been so widespread copied that schools have been turning out generations of players regurgitating those licks.
    Bingo!!! And the truth will set you free. Thank you Kehaulani for a very good point. There are so many universities churning out graduates that simply barf up memorized solos that it takes away from what improvisation is suppose to be about "SPONTANIOUS CREATIVITY". Copying someone elses improvisation, isn't improvisation!! Now don't get me wrong, studying and copying is a vital part of the learning process but there's a line between pooching someone elses solo and creating your own.
    Take for example Have You Met Miss Jones. Will Coltrane's improv on Giant Steps fit in the solo section at the bridge of Miss Jone's? Probably but is it improvisation? If it's done at the spur of the moment, then possibly. However, when the solos are designed BEFORE the person plays, then that quickly falls under the heading of Horse**** and the universities should be ashamed of themselves for dirtying up what is suppose to be an in the moment, unreplicatable piece of art. Improvisation, by design can not be replicated. I don't want to hear you doing a note for note Miles improv on a Miles song. I want to hear YOUR version of a solo on a Miles song.
    Improv needs to be fresh. The crap that many are teaching at the universities are about as fresh as dinosaur poop.
    Create don't replicate.
  5. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    This is a super-duper piece of advice!! Especially that about playing along with original recordings.

    Never pass up an opportunity to play with others - jam sessions are a must. The more you play the more you will expand your vocabulary.
  6. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    A lot of what we discuss isn't "black and white". And I always enjoy Kehaulani's and Dr. Mark's insight. But to provide a balance, I'm going to emphasize the other side. Please accept this as tongue-in-cheek.

    I think that orchestral trumpet players should stop working on scale studies, tonguing exercises, ornamentation studies, and the like. All of this stifles creativity. If I hear one more portamento taken straight from Arban's, I think I'm going to scream. (Of course, I'm being silly.)

    I use Jerry Coker's "Patterns for Jazz" a lot. I wouldn't consider it a "lick" book. Most of the exercises are scale patterns. I think there's a difference between "licks", which are specific melodic phrases, and "patterns", which are more general. Both are good, but I think the patterns are more important.

    My point is that you can't "create" until you learn to "imitate". You have to learn the language before you can write that novel. For me, that means learning the jazz scales, jazz patterns, jazz phrasing, and the jazz repertoire.

    This doesn't mean I disagree with what has been said. And I agree that "memorizing and regurgitating licks" can be a crutch, and that listening/transcribing is important. I'm just trying to add a little balance. Hey, the topic is on "methods".

    Okay, now where's my copy of "Patterns for Jazz"? Ah, here it is. I'm working on diminished patterns today. :-)



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