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Trumpet Discussion Discuss soft playing in the General forums; Just want to chime in with my experience with soft playing, a couple weeks ago I posted a thread about ...
  1. #21
    Pianissimo User
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Sacramento Area

    Re: soft playing

    Just want to chime in with my experience with soft playing, a couple weeks ago I posted a thread about an embouchure/endurance issue I had, (I won't waste time explaining it hear, you can just search my post on my profile if your interested) and after starting to practice playing softly (as opposed to my previous idea of practicing as loud as I could to build endurance then play the proper dynamics only in rehearsals and concerts) all of my embouchure and endurance problems disappeared and my playing became much more consistent and in addition my tone started to become more strong and mature sounding (also another thread I started a few weeks ago) and my extreme upper and lower registers became better sounding, although I didn't actually gain range. Basically, by practicing playing softly I managed to resolve all the issues I had been facing and overcome a huge playing plateau I had been stuck on. So long story short, I'm a strong advocate of practicing softly.

  2. #22
    Utimate User trickg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003

    Re: soft playing

    Quote Originally Posted by rowuk View Post
    I didn't think that we were in disagreement. Your post just made me think and I thought there was some unclear stuff.

    I think that my playing is pretty consistent, albeit I only train what I need next. Seldom do I need my fastest tonguing, loudest and highest playing all at the same time. If I need the natural trumpet, I prepare that, a cornetto needs different preparation, a symphony concert yet another. I don't have enough time to keep everything at its peak so I would say if you rate my usable range, it varies by at least a 4th in the course of a month, if you rate my multiple tonguing, it can vary by 20% in speed in the same time period. My sound really changes based on the horn that I am using. Chamber performances on historic instruments (this weekend) are much more intimate for me than Dvoraks 8th symphony (coming up in 2 weeks) or a Johann Strauss operetta program the week after that. The groundwork for a rennaissance CD cames after that followed by Brahms 4 and a couple of big band gigs in August.

    So my consistency is not absolute. I am hitting a moving target with enough repeatability that I get rehired. I do have very "unmotivated" days. Then all I play is my daily routine and a couple of tunes more. The really frustrating days in my life are not due to the horn, rather to dumbness on my part as well as others around me. The mirror is my friend for most problems however. I NEVER complain or make excuses at a job or rehearsal.
    It actually gives me some peace to know that I'm not the only one who goes through a similar thing. I think right now my biggest failing as a player is a lack of variety in what I play. For the most part, I have 1 gig that I prepare for and do maintenance for my playing, and it's the same gig I've had for the last 10 years - rolling out horn lines in a rock and roll wedding dance band. I know that this is taking the thread off track a little bit, but it illustrates the idea of focused practice toward a gig oriented goal.

    On the occasions where I do get hired to do a brass ensemble church gig, I have to do a fairly large shift in my process of how I'm practicing, which brings us back to soft playing, and adding it back in to the practice session so that I can be functional in that kind of setting - the high volume, bright, cutting playing I normally do just won't work in every environment.

    What I really miss is the overall ability and consistency I had when I was gigging in multiple genres (big band, quintet, concert band, ceremonial band) all the time because it left the various aspects of my playing more or less at their peak all of the time with only minor switches in practice and mindset in order to prepare for one of them, unlike what I go through now where I feel like it takes me a week or sometimes more to get things back together when I have to gig in a legit setting as opposed to shooting out blaring horn lines.
    Patrick Gleason

    "What we do in life echoes in eternity"
    "At my signal, unleash hell."
    - Maximus Decimus Meridius

  3. #23
    Utimate User kingtrumpet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    New York State USA

    Re: soft playing

    Quote Originally Posted by kingtrumpet View Post
    in my opinion -- I have a relatively "usual" practice regimen that keeps my level of playing and it is usually (1 - 1 1/2 hr a day) -- but I don't show noticeable improvements unless I push the envelope to a more rigorous practice, resting, and pushing some more -- then I might take an easy "light" day to rest the chops -- BUT pushing for more (longer and higher, more tonguing, faster, whatever) is the only way I improve range and endurance -- otherwise my playing remains more or less the same range and the same endurance --- with very slight increases ---
    Thank you Patrick (trickg) and Robin (rowuk) for your candid answers to your routines vs. actual gigs - and seems to summarize my quote.

    Getting better (at whatever you need--- tonguing, range, endurance, musicality) -- requires concentrated effort on differing skill sets, and different practice regimens ----
    AND NOT everyday is a perfect one for the trumpet player.

    and like Trumpetthekid says --- practicing softly can aid in some self-diagnosis of the actual problems we encounter in our playing.

    AWESOME -- play and be happy
    Last edited by kingtrumpet; 06-07-2011 at 07:23 PM. Reason: it's trumpet the kid not just trumpet kid

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