What's the most important thing to practice on trumpet?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by rbdeli, May 28, 2009.

  1. rbdeli

    rbdeli Mezzo Piano User

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    Very simple:

    Making Music.

    Sounding musical in everything you do is the single most important aspect of playing the instrument. I learned this the hard way. My teacher, God bless him a great guy - never really made me sound musical when I practiced. It was all about technique; building my range with Claude Gordon exercises, Flexibility with Irons, tonguing and fingering with Herbert Clarke exercises 2 hours a day. Breathing exercies - just about everything. I became a master at playing trumpet exercises, but when I went to college I struggled at making a simple tune sound pretty on the horn.

    That's my advise: Whatever you do, play musically - and practice songs - LOTS of them - everyday!
     
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    rbdeli,
    the challenge is to even figure out what "musical" is. We can quantify the highest note that we can play or the speed at which we can negotiate 16ths. The pain we inflict is also "measurable".

    Musical starts in the brain but requires that enough technique be present to stay out of the way. I am not sure that it can be "taught" rather if present in the player, we can pull the cork or unwrap it.

    I advocate lots of simple tunes like hymns in our daily routine. The message is written in the words, the form is easy (4 or 8 bar usually) and we don't need killer technique to get through. This method at least provides an opportunity for the talented to unleash that skill very early. Those that don't get it, are at least not hurt.
     
  3. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

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    Song books of standards or pop tunes will also work, as long they have the lyrics written, read the lyrics first , understand what they are saying and then tell the story through your trumpet.
     
  4. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

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    One of the many exceptional teachers I have been priveledged to study with was also in the opinion of Doc Severensen "the finest trombonist I have ever heard", and I firmly concur. Bill Pierce taught me that the prime object of instrumental music is to "make your horn sing". To this day, some 55 years later, that is the primary goal in my trumpet playing.


    OLDLOU>>
     
  5. edfitzvb

    edfitzvb Forte User

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    Amen. My musical odyssey began on violin in the 2nd grade through French Horn through college to trumpet in most of my professional career. My father (a very gifted singer and clarinetist) told me from the very beginning to "Sing through the instrument, whatever it is." Since the whole family harmonized on long car trips to pass the time, EVERYONE could sing well. I am more concerned with the emotional response to my trumpet playing than I am with technique, range, volume, or anything else that we tend to get hung up on. MAKE MUSIC!!! Touch others


    Okay, I'm climbing down from the soapbox now. I appreciate your indulgence.
     
  6. Blind Bruce

    Blind Bruce Pianissimo User

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    I have to agree with all of the above. Although I have been playing for only 4 months, I was able to delight my grandaughter last week by simply playing happy birthday to her. Her eyes lit up and her mom was also pleased.
     
  7. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

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    What ROWUK and Al Innella said: Know the lyrics, be it standards, pop tunes, hymns - whatever fits your preference. You should be affected emotionally when you hear them. Love songs will make you cry - if you are in love, or if you are not! "Put on a happy face" should make you want to laugh, to sing and dance like Dick Van Dyke.

    The feelings are in the words, but then even without the words being sung, they are in the music when you know the words. Jim Tomlinson, grammy -winning saxophonist-husband of singer Stacey Kent, on his CD The Lyric demonstrates the value of knowing the words when you play the tune. I recommend that as a good listen if you seek to truly communicate with your instrument.

    veery
     
  8. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

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    Again, what Bill Pierce taught me; as a gospel musician on staff at Moody Bible Institutes radio station WMBI, he advocated that we play in duet form at a series of Billy Graham services, that we play only familiar hymns that the congregation could think the messages of while we played the melody and harmony. His contention was that the music was simply a vehicle for the message. I still play either in solo form or in various types of ensembles in evangelical churches, being sure to still adhere to the teachings of old Bill Pierce.


    OLDLOU>>
     
  9. rbdeli

    rbdeli Mezzo Piano User

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    nice replies, everyone.

    I guess even more what I am getting at is that you will sound how you practice. How can you sound like a musician when all you practice is scales, arpeggios and exercises? By the time you get out of high school you will be like me: A professional exercise player but not a musician.

    One of my biggest problems was recognizing rhythms and counting. I really struggled with that, but boy - I could sure triple tongue, single tongue, double tongue and play high notes.
    I also had trouble endurance-wise playing through a ballad. One day my sound would be like Doc, the next day it would sound like I was blowing in a bucket.

    I think all my problems were related to not spending enough time playing songs and playing lyrically as a habit.
     

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