Viewing Progress

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by john7401, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. john7401

    john7401 Pianissimo User

    Jul 3, 2009
    What ways are there to view and or record growth in musicianship and trumpet playing? I've heard about recording tounging speeds, marking music to show endurance, ect. I'm looking for just little things I can do to keep the spirits up on days where I'm not feeling too hot with playing. Something I can pull out to prove to myself that I am getting better and motivate myself. Also just to see personal growth so I can really push myself to grow more everytime I pick up the horn.

  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Take notes?

    Success is measured in months and years not days or weeks, so accurate, detailed notes may provide no inspiration at all. My students have an assignment book where I write in what I expect to have them prepare for the next week. After a couple of months, patterns develop. I see what the student "likes" to play and what they don't like to practice. we do analyse their progress this way. As far as showing what they can do, that is the music pieces that they prepare. I have a 12 year old preparing Arbans Carnival of Venice (she is doing a great job too!). That is a measure of success without taking notes.

    My proof for myself is how beautifully I can play tunes. On a good day I can play a bit higher and faster, but that is no measure of getting better.

    Many times we do NOT see growth every time that we pick up the horn. That does not mean that we should lose faith.

    Work on MUSIC. That is where the proof is.
  3. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    Just strive to improve your playing each day,it doesn't have to be anything major,it could be just being able to play a certain passage,scale, or study easier today than you did yesterday.It doesn't have to mean playing faster or higher, just more musical or polished.
  4. The Kraken

    The Kraken Piano User

    Mar 28, 2007
    Gold Coast - 805
    Since by comeback since Sept. 09 - I have found that the remarks by ROWUK and AL Innella are true in the purest sense in viewing progress.

    Heed the words or experiance and wisdom my young Jedi's !! :play::play::thumbsup:
  5. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Growth on an instrument is sometimes hard to define and it often has an ebb and flow. Sometimes you'll just be killing it, and things will seem to really click, and then time will pass and you might seem to have regressed. I agree though - take notes. Take notes on what you are working on, as well as measuring the few things that can be defined, such as tonguing speed. That's purely a technical measurement though and doesn't have a lot to do with playing music, which in turn isn't necessarily something that can be measured by chops and technique.

    And record yourself if you can - you can measure progress in a general way by comparing recordings from different time periods, and recordings are a great way to hear what you are actually doing, rather than what you think you are doing.

    I think that sometimes progress can be measured in a span of time as short as a few weeks if dilligent effort is made on some specific aspects of technique. To pooh-pooh it away and say that it takes months or years is to deny the proof that so many people experience when they dig in and work to improve, and it can be anything from physical fitness to playing an instrument. Part of it also depends on what developmental stage you are. An aspiring high school student can improve aspects of their playing immensely with hard work in the right direction and it won't take that long for some things.

    When I started playing drums 7 years ago, I thought that since I was already an established musician that I was going to improve and be a good drummer, and it was just a matter of learning some technique. Nope. When I started to hear recordings of my playing, I realized that it takes more than simple chops, but those recordings that I was getting every other week were great ways to check the things I was doing well, and to hear what I wasn't doing well so that I could set about to improve upon it. Being aware of the things you really need to work on is a first step, and recordings are a great way to get immediate feedback so that you don't spin your wheels and you can tailor your practice to shore up the things you most need to work on.

    And as for the whole days/weeks/months/years thing, I decided at one point I needed more hand speed with drumming. I set up a practice pad and a metronome and got to work - 30 minutes a day minimum, repeatedly building up and slowing down my tempos. I improved my hand speed by about 25 bpm in just a couple of weeks. That made the difference between struggling to keep up while playing certain songs, and being able to play them comfortably.

    Sorry for the ramble.
  6. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    When I started my comeback a year ago, I purchased a book/CD with 30 selected audition numbers (the CD has the accompaniment) graded from easy to hard. When I first tried, I could not play a single one. Now after using the book as a regular part of my routine (along with Arbans and others), I can play every number in the book - not all perfectly and not all up to the tempo of the CD, but I can definitely see the progress over the year even though it is not apparent on a day-to-day basis - I still have terrible days when I sound really bad. On those days I play from a hymn book - the numbers are familiar, soothing, and not difficult and I can just listen for the mood rather than the technique.
  7. john7401

    john7401 Pianissimo User

    Jul 3, 2009
    I do have a book that my teacher uses to write down everything he instructs me to work on each week.

    I don't really have anything special as far as recording. I'll see if I can borrow our video recorder we recently bought for vacation unless there is something around $40-50 that would work better for just sound recording?
  8. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    There are a lot of fairly inexpensive digital recorders on the market, but I got started in recording almost by accident when I decided to see if the mic that came with my kids' "Guitar Hero, World Tour" would work. It's a USB mic, so I plugged it into the back of my iMac, which recognized it right away. It's lacking as a mic if you wanted to do a semi-serious recording, (although I did manage to do a couple of pretty decent recordings with Garage Band) but it would get the job done if you wanted to use it with one of the many free DAWs (Digital Audio Workstation) that can be downloaded online, such as Audacity, Kristal, MusE, etc.

    If you have a GameStop near you, or some other gaming store that sells used games and equipment, you could probably pick up one of those USB mics for cents on the dollar if you got lucky. You could order it from Amazon for less than $15: USB Microphone for RockBand or Guitar Hero (PS3, Wii, Xbox360): Video Games
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2010
  9. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    Does your teacher give you positive feedback? I find this is very important to support my students in what can be a long road.
  10. john7401

    john7401 Pianissimo User

    Jul 3, 2009
    Yeah definitely. He's really good about that. Thanks for posting the link too.

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