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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Advice needed, starting over at age 50 in the General forums; Hello All: This is my first post. I am in need of advice. Here is my story: I played from ...
  1. #1
    Pianissimo User
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Advice needed, starting over at age 50

    Hello All:

    This is my first post. I am in need of advice. Here is my story: I played from age 8 to age 22. In my high school years I played 4 to 6 hours a day as first chair in several bands. I had a great tone and (as I am learning now) lousy instructors. I am now 50 years old and wish to begin playing again. I still have a great tone but I am not very articulate. I really never was very articulate. I could use some advice on a good book to help me develop these skills.

    Here is a little more info that you might find interesting and I am finding very frustrating.

    1. I played for 14 years and never heard the term embouchure.
    2. My instructors pressured me severely to increase my range mostly by pressing against my lips so hard that they still get deformed after only 10 minutes or so of playing. I actually use a V cup mp at times to avoid this.

    Now I am learning proper emboucher but it is a little bit of a strugle with the damage done in my early years.

    I play a custom Strad that I got at age 16 (1976). I still love my Jet Tone Studio C which by the way does not show up in the Jet Tone reference list. I also use a Jet Tone MF 3 V cup for jazz.

    Any suggestion of a good book to help me develop the fundamentals that I failed to work on in my early years would be greatly appreciated.

    I also expect some barbs from my mp selections but I really do like them. I have a Bach 7C, Bach 3C and a Schilke 10 1/2C but I don't do well at all with any of them.

  2. #2
    Forte User bagmangood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Bostonish & San Francisco

    Re: Advice needed, starting over at age 50

    The best mouthpiece for you is the one that works for you, unless it doesn't work :)
    I'd suggest getting a teacher from your area (maybe ask a local school band director if there are any teachers or if there is a university check there for a trumpet teacher), especially if you want to work out some issues, which it sounds like you have if 2 is correct

    Embouchures are interesting to study...

    If you want a good book to work out grab an arban (you'll be playing out of it for as long as you play), or maybe a clarke technical studies. The teacher will help the most and will probably have some suggestions on books as well
    Bb: Courtois 305 "Elite", Holton Al Hirt Special (~1966), Benge 3x with Upturned bell (1973)
    C: Bach C180-239 (Akwright conversion),
    Cornet: Conn Wonder (1900)
    Picc: Selmer Paris, ~1971

  3. #3
    Piano User
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    New Hampshire

    Re: Advice needed, starting over at age 50

    If you don't have a teacher locally to go to, whose advice you should follow, here are some suggestions for materials to work from to get back to great playing. These are suggested because of how you describe your background. It sounds as if music reading and technical facility aren't an issue, simply the fundamentals of great tone production, so I think these may help you a lot:

    1) James Stamp Warm-ups -- play these every day along with the CD for intonation and to keep the tempo from getting too fast. Rhythmically they're very simple so it's easy to play them too fast to get the true benefit.
    2) Thompson Buzzing Book -- play these along with the CD for the same reasons.
    3) Giuseppie Concone - The Complete Solfeggi, transcribed by John Korak, from Balquhidder Music (distributed by Carl Fischer).
    4) Bel Canto Trumpet, compiled by John Korak, from the same publisher.

  4. #4
    Pianissimo User
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Re: Advice needed, starting over at age 50

    Thanks for the great advice. I'm really enjoying playing again. I neglected to mention that my 9 year old son has just started playing (my inspiration). That is why I want to get this right this time. I don't want him to learn any bad habits from me.

  5. #5
    Piano User
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    White Marsh, VA

    Re: Advice needed, starting over at age 50

    I too played the early years exactly like you and also started again at 50. I also have a V cup MF 3 that I played on in high school. When I started again, the pressure to play high & fast was pushed on me from having to play a lead part in a funk me, the word "suck" comes to mind in lots of different sentences. In order to get by, I bought a shallow cup "cheater" and struggled along. Late in the band gig, I switched to a Bach 3c and the cheating stopped and the WORK began. Clarke's and Arban's, long tones, and learning how to breathe again. I haven't "tested" the top end of my range in over a year now....don't intend to find out either. I don't have a teacher, not playing in a band, Practice every day for at least an hour & a half. It comes back, slowly at times, leaps & bounds at other times, BUT it will come back. Hang in there brother, lots of us out there on the comeback trail....bests, chuck
    "I don't take my music lightly, I want it crushed by the horn section."

  6. #6
    Mezzo Forte User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Re: Advice needed, starting over at age 50

    Go for it. The Clarke's book would be a quick picker upper. Any noises you can make that sound like a horse will blow that dent that you have in your lip away.... what the heck. ?

  7. #7
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Re: Advice needed, starting over at age 50

    at 50 it is tougher to build new muscle patterns. How fortunate that patience and age seem to develop together.

    I will venture to say that for the first dedicated year it makes no damn difference which "standard" mouthpiece one picks. It is plain hogwash that the hardware creates some magic for undeveloped muscle tissue. Once SOLID, basic skills are learned, then it is conceivable that a mouthpiece could match the sound of the horn closer to what we want to hear. Even then, in absolute terms, the standard mouthpiece still remains very "playable".

    If you are having a tough time with "standard" hardware, looking in the mirror is useful! Do you have a good daily routine with long tones slurs and easy tunes? Is that routine followed by technical studies? Is there enough MUSIC in your daily practice. We earn our chops. I would pick the 7C for starters and let practice handle the rest.

    Just like brand of sneakers will not change the clock time for a beginning marathon runner, we need to focus on the truth and avoid excuses.

    Good luck!
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

  8. #8
    Pianissimo User
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Re: Advice needed, starting over at age 50

    Thanks again for all of the great advice.

    On the up side, I really love my tone. I just really need to work on being more articulate. As a bass player friend of mine put it when asked to play an intricate riff "I only play the big notes". That's me for now. Lots of scales coming up!

    I will try some of the books that have been suggested.

    Of course, my range is gone also but we all know that will just take time.

    Thanks again.

  9. #9
    Forte User Bob Grier's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Greensboro, NC

    Re: Advice needed, starting over at age 50

    I would suggest that if you what to learn good playing habits find a good teacher. Someone who knows how to work with comeback players.
    Bob Grier, An Old Pro
    Web Cam trumpet & jazz improvisation lessons

  10. #10
    Forte User
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Indianapolis, In

    Re: Advice needed, starting over at age 50

    I have to reaffirm what many folks have already said. Do yourself a big favor and get a good teacher who knows what they are doing. A university school of music is a great place to find one, if not there then do you have a professional symphony near you and ask them for a teacher, lastly you can ask your kid's band director but he may or may not really know of anyone.

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