Writing a personal list of playing faults/credits.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Local 357, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011
    This is probably one of those topics that won't get many replies. I can't say for sure. The posts that typically get a lot of hits usually say something like:

    "Great mouthpiece for high notes" or "I got my first Double C yesterday".

    But say something like "make a catalogue of your assets and liabilities"? Probably won't generate much interest. Yet it is these common sense, boring topics that do the most good. My list:


    Plays with conviction.

    Good intonation.

    Has much endurance

    Good "shift" into the upper register.


    A. Relies on the upper register "shift" too much. This makes some phrases and notes "gummy" or not well articulated particularly late in the evening when tiring. Needs to concentrate on developing those refined embouchure muscles and just get a piece of a note more often. Instead of blasting away as much as he does.

    B. Relies on loud playing too much to carry the lead trumpet chart. Needs to back off a little more often in order to finish the gig with the same accuracy as he had early in the evening.

    C. Doesn't practice enough general technical studies. Tends to rely on experience rather than maintenance and development of advanced skills. This causes tension on some exposed phrases in live concerts and rehearsals. Is doing more work than he needs to do on the job instead of developing a well grooved expertise in advanced technical issues.

    (that one was hard to accept let alone admit)

    C. Jazz improvisation adequate for his gigs but is far from being a dominant expressive artist.

    There are more areas of liability and asset but these six or so characteristics are the ones that really count. By writing this account down I can devise easy to implement corrections. Hopefully anyway...

    When i looked at the technical studies issue i considered that I ought to combine some jazz licks and scale routines into my warm up. I already know the Clarke book by heart. So why not take a set of Blue Mitchell type solo transcriptions and transpose into a half dozen keys? Play each one both slurred and tongued.

    The "gummy" high note issue is important to deal with. What this is is when my chops get a little tired I start slurring up to say a High D, E or so instead of popping the thing dead on. If really tired this may even affect my first ledger line B natural and High C. Not a professional sound. So I ought to learn to get these notes without the "scream" tone. Just back off the bravado and hit 'em more like the classical cat does. Getting just a piece of the note without over blowing. That takes a little more practice.

    Summary: I'm almost practicing enough but not conditioning as rationally as I could. With a few simple adjustments to the planning and execution of practice I ought to be able to play more accurately in the third and fourth sets of a demanding job. That and require less warm up at the beginning of a gig.

    Glad to hear of your thoughts (but again i think that this will probably not be a post that generates much enthusiasm...)
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2012
  2. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    I'll bite...


    Nice tone

    Can play double-tongued passages very fast

    Plays with musicality

    Good section player

    Good listener while playing

    Good sight reader

    Good endurance

    Can play many styles


    Upper range isn't that great

    Can't improvise worth a flip

    My triple tonguing isn't fast enough

    Sometimes nervous in public performances
  3. vern

    vern Piano User

    Mar 4, 2008
    What does"relies on upper register shift" mean? Just curious,and for that matter, what is upper register shift?
  4. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    Dale, I just don't believe you really get nervous in public performance. If at best I get an adrenaline blast just before going on stage or podium that gives me the jitters, but first word or note, I'm like a steam locomotive just puffing along. Wait till you begin to move the trumpet to you lips and suddenly you note there is no mouthpiece attached. How long does it take for you to realize you put the mouthpiece in your pocket? It's happened to me twice that I recall. I've yet to stage the skit ala Charle Chaplin/Dick Van Dyke/Harpo Marx of such befuddlement, but I'm thinking a lot about it.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2012
  5. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    good command of the chromatics

    nice even tone in all registers

    have developed my "OWN" sound which is good for solo work

    Have enough endurance for the 2 hour concerts

    I am a team player (trying to inspire my fellow band members to be better, and encourage them even as they are aging and losing abilities) after all WE ALL PROVIDE SOMETHING POSITIVE SOMEWHERE IN THIS LIFE!!!


    tend to actually be "slower" in pace -- (I mean trumpeters are supposed to alway rush stuff -- I drag it down a bit)

    tend to look for "approval" of other musicians - instead of being confident in my abilities

    Tend to prefer to play in a group - instead of WANTING, CRAVING, and DESIRING solo work (and yet everyone wants me on stage -- "all alone" to play

    Tend to get "real" jittery on stage -- have to constantly remind myself to FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS

    Can't remember songs no matter how many times I played those things -- and that is frustrating

    can't assess my abilities that well --- because I ALWAYS KNOW THAT I CAN BE BETTER --

    can't seem to count that well on tricky rhythms -- of course, I figure I am right -and all the other trumpet players are WRONG, WRONG, WRONG --- and YET, I can't decide if this attitude is an asset, or a liability -- but I keep encouraging those other trumpet players to use a metronome when they practice (if they practice) -- ROFL ROFL ROFL I amuse myself with my hysterical comments --- not sure if that is good or bad either --- BUT I ALWAYS LAUGH AT MY JOKES!! ROFL ROFL ROFL
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2012
  6. DaTrump

    DaTrump Forte User

    Oct 21, 2011
    Huntsville, Texas
    I have always loathed this exercise but one of my lesson teachers makes me do it.


    Balanced tone

    Can split lead

    Low register powerhouse

    Plays well with others

    Solid improviser


    High range could be more

    Endurance can be an issue

    Blends too much, and has problems dominating a section

    Not a good sight reader

    Unfamiliar with some keys

    It does seem weird to have lead as an asset and liability. My reliable, all the time range is only a D now and i OWN all those notes, sometimes I get an odd E in there but I never count on it. And as far as endurance, that is due to a recent embouchure shift after an accident, I'm usually only good for a two hour set. I work on range, endurance, and various keys every day though, but it's still not great. Cutting is a serious issue and I have a hard time grasping the idea of coming out of the section, which stinks because I love improving.
  7. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011

    Good question. Probably something easier known than explained. My college prof explained it to me personally with these words:

    "you're playing everything above the staff in the shift. Those forward puckered out muscles that allow phenomenal volume. This is a tremendous asset but its all you've got. You have no back up of facial muscles at all. This makes your tone in the middle register largely unmusical and your upper register of little value outside of rock music or big band lead. And your lead playing will fail as you have no reserve energy"

    Harsh but true. What still kicks in my craw some 38 years after first hearing that brilliant man's truthful observation is that there exists today (within myself) some of that very same playing deficit.

    My explanation of the "shift":

    I let go of my center chops above the staff and BLOW LIKE HELL. The action nearly reverse of everything played below the staff. It is a condition largely useless in classical music as the tone is far too loud. Initially when i started playing this way (1971 or so) I thought I was doing something wrong. But this was not the case.

    The shift is an asset. Not quite the advantage the dry lip players get who play easy Double C's but with a good solid shift i can usually play with a far louder tone than they do. The main problem (if it is a problem) is that it is a bitch of a time playing above the High G. I can do it and even am improving. But the A natural feels a mile higher than the G.

    Hope that helps.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2012
  8. D.C. Al fine

    D.C. Al fine Banned

    May 8, 2012
    Strong player, even when wrong
    Good high range but I am no wailer into the stratosphere
    Good sight reader
    Extremely fast single tongue, faster then most double tongues
    Good tone, very broad and I can change the color of the tone easily

    Poor pedal range and low register always flat
    Slow triple tongue
    Bad improv player
    Gets real nervous with a solo break in a jazz chart or song
    Sometimes too strong of a player and tends to stick out of the section too much
    Swing is just not my style
    Playing in musical/brodway songs with abnormal key signatures, I tend to always be a half step off

    I really tried to scrutinize myself here, really point out my bad qualities.

    But as I say, and people have said before.

    You can always improve, everyone can. Doesnt matter if you started playing yesterday or you are paid big bucks to play your horn!
  9. rettepnoj

    rettepnoj Fortissimo User

    Feb 22, 2009

    Strong lead player.

    Good improv skills.

    Know how things work (air lips, tongue).


    Always on time.


    Poor classical skills.

    Bad practice habbits, often in a big chair or lying down at the couch while watching TV.

    HATE to play ballads (Moonlight Serenade is the absolute worst).

    Not so good at sight reading chords.
  10. Dave Mickley

    Dave Mickley Forte User

    Nov 11, 2005
    decent sight reader
    blends very well with what ever section I'm playing with
    supportive of other players
    have a decent "clear" tone
    have been told by a very good player that I have " a big fat lead sound"
    always early or on time

    range on the job ends at Eb above high C
    endurance isn't what it used to be
    don't ask me to improv.
    am my own worst critic
    stage fright hits at the worst times
    don't care for show offs [especially if they aren't really that good]
    need to practice more on fundamentals and long tones
    did I mention I'm my own worst critic
    have a very hard time taking a compliment

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