I thought I’d share with you what my weekend was like. As some of you may know I’ve been on the site fishing around like many of you for info on how to be a better player. I never had private instruction when I was younger so growing up all I had were the few pearls of wisdom that my band directors in grade school and Jr. High School gave me since I never made it to High School.
I recently had a chance to work with our very own Alex (Trompetvrouw) over this last weekend. We were able to get our schedules to align with each other and I was able to meet with her for a session lasting a couple of hours. I’m lucky in that I live about 1 ½ hours south west of her so it’s a little bit of a drive but well worth it.
Alex has been kind enough to work with me over the last several months constructively using technology. I’d post video of me playing on my website, send her a link, and she’d let me know what needed to be adjusted.
When I arrived I was greeted warmly, and after a brief security check by her cats I was cleared for my lesson. We sat down and got after it. She played my 1966 King Silver Flair for a few moments and wow what a sound! I can’t wait for the day when I can make my horn sound like she did. Her playing was beyond doubt some of the sweetest sounding playing I’ve ever heard.
She started me out by working with me on the Jim Thompson Buzzing method using the B.E.R.P. I must admit by my own ignorance that if a friend of mine were to try to get me to work with these things I’d have been much more skeptical about it. They seem so elementary, but wow do they make a difference. After buzzing some of the exercises she had me put my mouthpiece back into my trumpet and play them again. Holy cow! I had a sound that was beyond belief for me. I always thought that I had a pretty fair sound but this was the first time that I really filled a note so to speak. I really find it hard to explain, it was just big and full and ringing; not loud or over blown.
Unlike my first lesson that I posted about with the professor over at Columbus State University here in Columbus, Georgia my lesson with Alex seemed more like an afternoon between old friends just having fun. From the bottom of my heart Alex I say thank you!
We played a couple of duets that were a lot of fun and I just really enjoyed myself. I came away with an unforgettable experience which I will continue to re-enforce with good study habits. I can’t wait until Alex and I can meet again, I think that the biggest complement that I can pay her is to come back an improved player and I will!
As a side note I’ll share that Alex and I met on Saturday, and my community band practice is on Monday night. After rehearsal our conductor Dr. George Corradino pulled me aside and said to me that he noticed that the 3thd trumpet section really sounded sharp, and that he was glad that I had joined. He said that I was making a great contribution to the band! Wow, I was floored. All I could think was thank you Alex! I told George that I have been working on my music at home practicing it but also that I had sought out a teacher to help me along. He said that I should continue what ever it is that I’m doing because it’s obviously working. He then shocked me by suggesting that I should come and practice with the Big Band that he leads here in town. What an honor indeed.
After our lesson Alex treated me to another unforgettable moment. We celebrated my new found revelation with a shot and a cigar. I consider myself among the LUCKY to be sure. Alex is a consummate lady and wonderful person. I’m double blessed in that not only is she my mentor/teacher, but I also get to call her friend! I think that I’m more geeked about that then anything else.
Thank you friend!