All-State Etudes 2005-2006
General Practice Tips:
When practicing for the music for the All-State auditions we have to remember the essential points that make us stand out from the rest of the crowd as musicians. The following are tips and guides to the current All-State trumpet music for the 2005-2006 school year.
Practice Tip #1 Take it SLOW
The first mistake most students make is jumping right in to the music and trying to play the music up to written tempo, causing discouragement as well as learning to play some of the music with mistakes. Remember, practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. We have to remember to treat making music a lot like lifting weights, when we begin weight training, we’re not going to start off trying to lift 500 lbs, in the same sense, we can’t try to jump in to the music like if we’re ready to lift hard, we have to start slow, and just like lifting weights, over time, we’ll be able to achieve our goal and lift our 500 lbs.
Practice Tip #2 Don’t play the notes, play the MUSIC
Have you ever seen a movie or a play where the main actor shows absolutely no emotion? Most people don’t like to watch or hear a bad actor, and in the music world, the rules remain the same. When playing a piece that requires you to be alone such as an etude, it’s a one man show, and you have to be the narrator, good guy, and bad guy, in other words, you have to tell a story with your horn. Nothing is worse than hearing a great trumpet player play with no emotion, so make sure to play the music when the opportunity arises. Every phrase in music has a peak or climax that we reach and then back away from, it’s called, making music. Just like a mountain, a phrase has the path to getting to the top of the mountain, and then getting down, it’s up to the musician to decide where and how he is going to do so. An etude usually has several different themes, so make sure to make distinct difference from one phrase to the other, remember, the phrase is your opportunity to show your audiences which character you’re portraying in the story you’re telling. Remember that these judges around going to be hearing the exact same thing about 90 times, and only a handful of players are going to be able to really play the notes well, let alone play the actual music. Through the use of fundamental skills such as dynamics, articulation, and general phrasing, you should be able to tell a remarkable story that will let you feel more confident about what you’re doing and let you stick out as a musician and not another trumpet player.
Practice Tip #3 Be smart and be tasteful
Something very common among young trumpet players is to try to impress the judges with how fast they can play a certain piece of music. Not only is that not very tasteful as a musician, but you also ignore what the composer had in mind when creating the music. Part of your job as a musician is to show the audience what the composer had in mind when writing the piece, when someone takes a piece significantly faster than what is marked, they not only show disrespect for the composer, but diminish their possibility of doing well in the audition. With this in mind, we must remember that at any given time, the judges would rather listen to something done slow and clean over fast and sloppy. Even if you can’t play up to the written tempo by the time auditions come around, don’t play any faster than what you’re comfortable playing. The lyrical moments in your audition should be expressive yet tasteful. Don’t get too sappy with your music, and don’t let yourself get bogged down with rubato sections. Remember to stretch the beat without stretching the time, this will give you the liberties to create beautiful moments of expression while still keeping the time consistent. Sitting in the audition room will give you temptations to play the way other people around are playing, you start to doubt what you’ve been doing, and will sometimes decide to change something about the way you’ve been playing, just seconds before you play for the judges, STOP!!! The worst thing you can do is be influenced by your environment. Relax, gather your thoughts, and play like you’ve been practicing, the hardest part of auditioning is ignoring those players around us, remember, the worst enemy isn’t the person sitting next to us, the worst enemy is ourselves.
Performance Guide to Trumpet Audition Music 2005-2006
Selected from 40 Studies for Trumpet, Wurm, Voisin, International
Selection No. 1
No. 26, Page 25
Tempo: Dotted Quarter note = 64-72
This etude explores a key that most young trumpet players are not comfortable with, therefore the most important exercise to do is to practice and drill the D harmonic minor scale (notes: D, E, F, G, A, Bb, C#, D) and the three fully diminished seventh chords (notes: #1 - F#, A, C, Eb; #2 – G, Bb, Db, E; #3 – G#, B, D, F). These particular chords can be found in studies in the Arban and Clarke books and is highly recommended to be isolated and mastered separately.
Accidentals are going to be a problem in this etude because again, because it is a key not commonly played, the problem areas are going to be in measures 7, 24, 27, and 34. Make sure to mark all these accidentals that become problems, the last thing you want is to learn an etude only to find out a month later that you’ve playing missing an accidental.
This piece is typically going to be rushed, make sure that you practice with a metronome to avoid this altogether.
Usually, when a young trumpet player sees a staccato note the tendency is to play it too short and “pecky.” Make sure to play the staccato notes with a solid full sound, each of these notes should have a full-bodied tone and some length following a firm attack. This is particularly important because at the opening theme, the downbeats are the important “melody notes,” and we can’t afford to make them too short.
The best way to approach a technical etude such as this is to practice it backwards. Knowing that the closing statement is going to be the toughest, we need to learn to start practicing starting with the last phrase first. After mastering the last phrase, we add the one before that, then the one before that and so on, until we eventually reach the beginning. This must be done with much care, patience, and more importantly SLOW!! If need to, it can be broken down even more, by performing the practice procedure with measures or beats instead of phrases if needed to.
The composer gives no indication of dynamic markings throughout the piece, so that leaves total freedom up to the performer to decide where and what he is going to do. A technical etude like this can be easy to fall into a rut and go into auto-pilot and play the notes without playing any music. Make sure to take in to perspective some of the previous points discussed in this handout.
Selection No. 2
No. 31, Page 29
Tempo: Eight note = 96-102
Key: Bb Major
At first glance, this etude can seem very scary, but once we start experimenting and preparing it, we realize it’s not as bad as we think it is. This etude is your chance to show the judges how lyrical and musical you can be with your playing, and a great opportunity to learn and experiment with rubato playing.
There are several groupings that require attention, make sure to figure out which groupings are divided in three and which are divided in four. Preparing this piece while subdividing with a metronome will help in figuring out where the figures lie.
This etude has a generous number of wide intervals, don’t be afraid of them, the tendency among young players is to back off the air when approaching a large interval. Make sure to keep the air going and just go for it, if you make a mistake, make it a good mistake and let the entire school know who did it.
The dynamic level of “piano” in this etude is not a matter of volume as much as it is style. Everything should be subtle and flowing, think of a soloistic piano where everything is full and rich, not careful or timid.
Selection No. 3
No. 23, Page 22
Tempo: Dotted half note = 58-66
Key: Bb Major
Like any other technical etude, this etude should be practiced slow, eventually reaching a one “waltz” feel. The composer adds many clear indications of how he wants this etude to be played, make sure to follow these indications carefully. Feel free to add your own musical ideas while still maintaining the overall feel of what the composer has intended. Make sure to pay attention to the accents placed on the off-beats, as well as paying attention to not clipping the end of the second note in the duple slurs. In order to gain a clear concept and understanding of what the overall style and feel of this piece should be, listen to orchestral recording of waltzes and try to mimic the piece as if it were a solo with orchestral accompaniment.
Some Final Thoughts and Ideas:
Most of the time, region band etudes and the rest are a variation of scales, chromatics, thirds, and arpeggios. If this is part of your daily routine (as it should be), then the etudes will not be a problem.
Slow etudes should be practiced with the eight-note receiving the beat, both with mouthpiece alone (buzzing), then with the instrument. Make sure the pitches while buzzing are exact to the pitches on the etude. You can still work on phrasing, dynamics, articulation, and breathing while on the mouthpiece.
For the fast and technical etudes, slow way down, play on mouthpiece small sections at a time, making sure pitches are correct. This is a great way to work on articulation and breathing with the music. Gradually speed up the etude toward a comfortable, and/or written speed.
All music should be practiced with “air patterns” daily, portions at a time, and should become memorized. This will allow the student to really “perform” the music rather than just play the notes.
Practice with tuner and metronome at all times when working on mouthpiece or trumpet. This will help in centering pitches on the trumpet as well as on the trumpet.
Now go practice!!