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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Trumpet playing is fun again in the General forums; I must admit that playing the trumpet has been quite frustrating for the last year or so. I'm first trumpet ...
  1. #1
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    Dec 2006

    Trumpet playing is fun again

    I must admit that playing the trumpet has been quite frustrating for the last year or so. I'm first trumpet in my band, but have never really felt that I played up to that standard. All of the principals in the other bands had so much more control over their instruments than I did. I've never been able to understand what the problem was. I've been taking lessons for four years now and my musicality is very much improved, but the physical aspect of my playing has not progressed very far at all. An answer came to me through a college audition, oddly enough.

    I went to audition at Illinois State University about three weeks ago. I have since been accepted (yay!) and will pursue a degree in music education there this fall. Anyways, I actually played the best audition I've ever played there. I played the first movement of the Hummel (and they had me play the WHOLE first movement) and then etude #12 out of Arban. I was very happy with my sightreading, which has never been a problem for me.

    After the audition, Dr. Amy Gilreath, the trumpet professor there, stayed and helped me with some aspects of my playing. She commented that I played well, but looked like I was using too much effort to play. She had me play some scales to just focus on the sound. After obviously sounding fatigued on a two octave C scale, she asked me what mouthpiece I was using. I was at the time using a 1C and she commented that I might want to try something smaller. She also told me to work on my soft playing and thinking about singing as I ascend into the upper register.

    I had been using that darn 1C since freshman year at the advice of my teacher. After switching back to the 3C, I was immediately astounded at how easy it made playing the trumpet! My endurance seemingly doubled, and I felt like I used half the pressure. My tone is relaxed much more in the upper register and I can practice way more than I could before. I've been working on quiet, relaxed Clarke Studies as well as Cichowicz flow studies and really focusing on singing the higher notes.

    It's like I've become an entirely new (and much better) trumpet player. My band director wants to feature me on the last concert of the year, but I've been so worried about my endurance and whether or not I'll just make a fool out of myself. These last few weeks though have been the most fun I've had playing the trumpet out of the eight years I've been playing. I can't wait for that concert now.

    I've read this forum for some time and have really tried to take in all the information I can. I just wanted to share my trumpet revelation with the people that I respectfully read everyday. Thanks a lot for providing this resource. I'm going to get back to practicing now


  2. #2
    Forte User Richard Oliver's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    Casper, WY

    Re: Trumpet playing is fun again

    Chris, the above link, if you've not read Jens' comments, may interest you.

    Happy Practicing,


  3. #3
    Forte User stchasking's Avatar
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    Jun 2006

    Re: Trumpet playing is fun again

    First, Congratulations on being one of Amy's students. She is a great person.
    Second, Congrats on taking her advice and going to a smaller and appropriate for you 3C mouth piece. That big mouth piece was good for your high school career to blend with the section. I'll bet you had a great sounding band.
    Third, The link above is excellent. Jens really knows how to write and express himself and get the point across to us.

    Give that feature with your band all your effort and do it. It is your last shot at setting the bar at your high school. Leave a legacy. Keep in contact with Manny and Alex so you have a good frame of mind and confidence. What is between your ears is very important.

    Good luck. Normal is a pretty good town.

    "I was performing professionally at age 17 and have never had a real job." Allen Vizzutti

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