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Trumpet Discussion Discuss freshman in need of help in the General forums; For my high school after marching band season ends we split into two bands. the first requires no audition and ...
  1. #1
    Mezzo Piano User
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    Jan 2009

    freshman in need of help

    For my high school after marching band season ends we split into two bands. the first requires no audition and the second is of a much higher level of difficulty and auditions are neccesary to get in. With no thought the night before the auditions i practiced for six hours and completely killed my chops. I warmed up for thirty minutes, and only at the end of the thirty minutes could i play with a tone that was somewhat acceptable. I decided not to tryout. Well now my band director is giving another chance for people to try and make it into his band which has recieved the name the good band by past students. You pretty much battle it out against the last chair in the good band. And if you win you switch places with the person. We have to play 4 sharps and 4 flats, then sight read. The person i am going against is very good at memorization, however; i have been told that my tone is much better. The kid's highest note, that he has trouble sustaining is an E. My highest note that i can "pop out" is a double C with about an hour worth of warm ups. So we are pretty much even he knows all the scales by heart and i dont know all of them but can play better.
    I was wondering if anybody with more experience can tell me how to memorize scales without killing my chops like i did previously. I do have a piano that i can utilize aswell. I have a week from today to memorize the 4 sharps and 4 flats i have 3 of the sharps memorized and two of the flats memorized plus there minors.
    We have to sight read a piece, typical of an audition. With my luck my band director will pick something up high and the person who i am trying to beat won't be able to play it. Yet if my luck turns on me the piece will be in the other kid's range. Does anybody have any pointers on how to sight read pieces?

    Here are my main questions:
    1. What wins in the end, knowing scales with bad tone & range or not knowing scales but having a good tone and range?
    2. What is the best way to memorize scales without killing chops?
    3. With sight reading, what should be done upon intially looking over the piece and during playing?


  2. #2
    Fortissimo User nplotts1's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Atlanta, Georgia

    Re: freshman in need of help

    If I were judging the audition, I would want the person who plays better. My personal thoughts on scales is that they are helpful, but if you can play, you can always learn the scales later. HOWEVER, you should know your scales and learn them as soon as possible. Take as much time as you spend on your trumpet working just on fingerings and looking at/memorizing the patterns without playing on the horn to help save your chops. When you practice, don't stay on the horn for more than 5-10 min at a time (and that may be long too) and have your practice session last from 30-45 min

    Also during your practice session, focus on trumpet and only on trumpet. turn your ipod, tv, cellphone, and any other distraction off.

    Sight reading: Time Signature, Key Signature, DYNAMICS, Accidentals, Intervals, Dynamics, rhythm patterns and finally dynamics. One of the things that I miss most, and hear missed a lot from outside the door, is dynamic contrast in sight reading. its important to go the right tempo, and miss as few notes and rhythms as possible, but what really sets people off in my opinion is when they can play the dynamics during a sight read.

    Best of luck Kristina, do good and make us proud.
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  3. #3
    Mezzo Forte User mchs3d's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
    Provo, UT

    Re: freshman in need of help

    I'm glad to hear you got a second chance. Let's hope you get the spot! First off, don't ever practice hard on the day before OR the day of an audition. You need your lips feeling as good as possible. If you're not ready by then, no amount of practice will help, I'm afraid. For the scales, set a stopwatch at 10 minutes. Practice 1 Scale (let's say, Ab) at a very slow tempo, and make sure you get all the notes. Look at music if you have to, but try as soon as possible to memorize it. If you have one, the Clarke book is great because it doesn't just teach you scales; it teaches you keys. Do this four times a day, each time with a new scale. In the end, try running through them all to see if you have them still down. Don't get upset if you don't, however, because they take time to learn. In 11th grade, I spent about two months learning all my major scales in two octaves. I was coming from knowing maybe three of them.

    Any good director is going to be looking for the following things, usually in this order. This applies to everything, including sight-reading, scales and prepared pieces:

    1. Good Rhythm -- This is ABSOLUTE. If you miss every note in sight-reading, do your very best to get the rhythms right. No one wants a person who has bad rhythm in their band, no matter how good they are in other areas.

    2. Good Sound -- Always play with your most beautiful, resonant sound. However, don't try to impress them with a sound that isn't yours. Just be honest.

    3. Musical Elements -- This includes dynamics, trills, espressivo, etc. Put them in if you can, but don't sacrifice rhythm or sound for them. Don't do anything you're unsure of in rehearsal or audition.

    4. Good Technique -- You simply can't make music if you have poor technique. Range fits in here. It's not so important, especially in third trumpet parts, to have a great range. Don't focus on that at the expense of everything else.

    On the day of the audition, do a simple warmup of max 30 minutes. Don't listen to the other person you're trying out against. Don't be judgmental of him or yourself. Just go in and do what you know how to do as best as you can. Good luck!
    Last edited by mchs3d; 02-12-2009 at 01:27 AM.

  4. #4
    Forte User
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    Jan 2009
    Clarksburg, WV

    Re: freshman in need of help

    Hi Kristina,
    First things first. DO NOT PLAY FOR SIX HOURS IN A DAY!!!
    Remember, its metal against flesh and unless you want your lip to fall off just don't do it. When your sound begins to suck, put down the horn. It is at that point when your work is counterproductive. Let the sucky sound be your guide as to when to stop for a while.
    Bust up your routine into small segments throughout the day.
    1) Know all your scales. You question is about effectiveness. If you can not play the scale and, it is required, then you have failed to meet the predetermined objective of knowing all the scales. Even if the other person sucks at doing it, if they can play all 12 scales they have met the predetermined objective.
    Best way to learn them? I would suggest a SPIT Book. Why? Even though the SPIT Book is designed for improvisation, the removable pages let's you put the scale page in your trumpet case to be worked on everytime you open your case. You're not bogged down by carrying an Arbans, or Slominky's. Just remember, if you do get the SPIT Book, the major7 pages(there are 12 of them) represent the major scales. Use your watch to get a baseline and increase your speed from that baseline.
    2)for sight reading, get use to scanning before you play for the typical things, time sig. tempo, key, does it repeat anywhere, are there any anomolies? key change, time change? If allowed, circle the areas with red pencil. red stands out more.
    Look at the contour of how the notes are on the staff. Try to get a feel of what iyou think it should sound like.
    good luck
    Last edited by Markie; 02-12-2009 at 06:38 AM.

  5. #5
    Mezzo Piano User Brass crusader's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    Buffalo, NY/ Hartford, CT

    Re: freshman in need of help

    For scales, practice, practice, practice. Do every one three times a day. Start at C, and go chromatically through them all. For range, also, practice, practice, practice. Lip slurs and the like. Sight reading, grab and Arbans or other method book, flip to a page randomly, and play.

    If you have a private teacher, do whatever they say.
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  6. #6
    Pianissimo User Keith Fiala's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    Austin, Texas

    Re: freshman in need of help

    Here's a quick little "trick" for those tougher scales (like 4#'s + and 4 b's +)... don't think about how many #'s or b's there are... start looking at the number of naturals. Scales like F, G, etc. are easy because we see "1" accidental. If you've played your C Major scale a million and a half times like most students entering High School, you know what a major scale sounds like. E - with 4 #'s... I think of it 2 ways... 2nd valve doesn't come up till the last note - E! AND - there are 2 sharps at the bottom and 2 sharps at the top... split by a bunch of natural notes....

    Hope this helps!!!

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  7. #7
    Mezzo Forte User
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    Jan 2009

    Re: freshman in need of help

    How I practice (scales,or moments before performance) w/o killing the chops:
    Read the music, finger the valves in time as you follow the chart; hear the notes in your head, or whistle them,with no playing at all. This trains your mind, saves the chops.

  8. #8
    Forte User Ed Kennedy's Avatar
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    Nov 2006

    Re: freshman in need of help

    I have my students "air pattern" what they are learning. Blow gently through the open leadpipe (no mouthiece) moving air faster as you go up the scale and practice the fingerings very rhythmicly. This gives the chops a break and develops good air support.

    2-13 Let me add that you should tongue through the air pattern, you should hear the tongue "slapping."
    Last edited by Ed Kennedy; 02-13-2009 at 08:35 PM. Reason: Addenda

  9. #9
    Pianissimo User
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    Dec 2003

    Re: freshman in need of help

    If you want to learn your scales without wasting your face, sit at your piano. Play the scale with your left hand, sing the pitch (with solfeggi, even) and finger the appropriate valve combinations with your right hand.

    As for practicing 6 hours in a day, go for it. I usually practice 4 hours a day with another two to four hours of rehearsals. The key is to split it up in to multiple sessions throughout and get plenty of rest.

    My schedule today, for example:
    Practice 0730-0900
    Orchestra Rehearsal (Prokofiev 5) 1030-1200
    Trumpet Sectional 1215 - 1300
    Practice 1400-1530
    Practice 1700-1830
    Rehearsal (Rhapsody in Blue) 2000-2200


  10. #10
    Mezzo Forte User
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    Jan 2005

    Re: freshman in need of help

    For scales, I think everyone's brain memorizes things differently. For me, I have to read stuff from the page at first, both playing and just fingering along. If I try to memorize something I don't know without reading it, I'll never get it, ever. You may be different, but I know lots of people who memorize by reading it first. Go slowly at first, there is no need to ever make mistakes learning a scale very slowly. I think it's best to memorize the actual notes you play...not just the fingerings. Say them out loud..."C, D, E, F, etc", if that helps.

    If scales are required for the audition, you probably won't even be considered if you can't play them, regardless of how you play other things. I think it's sort like a typo in a resume...if you don't pay attention to those little details, how well will you do the job?

    As for sight reading, look at the tempo, key signature and time signature. In an audition, you may not have much time to look it over, but those three are pretty essential. When you're playing, try to in time as much as possible, just as if you were in sightreading in a emsemble. Play the rhythms and don't stop or slow down if you miss notes. Don't neglect dynamics and phrasing...but if your sightreading isn't yet at the level where you can get all those things in, focus on time.
    Last edited by Pedal C; 02-12-2009 at 04:44 PM.

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