|Contrabass Trombone - Music Instruments of the World|
Thursday, November 15, 2018
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Trumpet mouthpiece front view large - (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What's interesting to me is that while some mouthpieces can tend to aid in the ease of producing faster air, that's all a high note really is. Players who turn to shallower cups tend to play with a brighter sound in general (hence the jazz mouthpiece). Once in a concert setting, they tend to return to a "C" cup or a "B" cup and regain a "classical" tone (hence the classical mouthpieces).
If a player learned to develop a clear upper register on a "C" cup, they wouldn't necessarily have to switch mouthpieces and confuse muscles, air stream, embouchure, or their minds with varying degrees of myths!
The mouthpiece that I've developed is close to a "C" depth, what I've changed for my playing is the rim size. I have found that the rim size affects my comfort - not my tone. There are other variables in the anatomy of a mouthpiece that will either enhance or hinder one's tone and range, such as backbore, throat size, etc. But if we stay with a standard backbore and throat, such as in the Bach line of mouthpieces, we can change tone just by changing cup depth.
This is what most trumpet players don't want to face up to - if we just did the work without looking for equipment to do it for us, we'd come out with a lot more money in our pockets and a lot less frustrated! My line of mouthpieces are great because they don't offer a bunch of hocus-pocus, empty promises, or claims that they will give you range that you don't already have... they do offer a more comfortable rim, and variable rim sizes in a kit form - something that most manufacturers don't do.
Friday, October 26, 2018
|Trumpet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
The basic sound of the trumpet is produced by vibrating the lips to make a buzzing sound. Other articles discuss making a good buzz, but here we'll look at how to really support that sound once a buzz is established. Three-pointers that support trumpet players over their entire trumpet career are:
- Keep the corners of the embouchure firm - this is the area that helps control your sound, your tone & your pitch.
- Take a deep breath - stand up straight or sit up straight, breathe deeply starting from way down in your abdomen. - A deep breath supports your tone and range
- Blow all the way through the trumpet - that might sound obvious, but the concept of blowing through the horn vs into or at it makes sure you're providing enough air supply.
These are your absolutely essential tools for playing the trumpet. Trying to play the trumpet without developing these skills is like trying to swim with your street clothes on. It's possible, but you'll work so hard trying to overcome that handicap you've put on yourself. On the other hand, having these simple skills is like getting that super sleek, racing swimsuit that should be illegal. It's not enough alone to make you a great performer, but it gives you a solid base to grow from and supports you rather than holds you back. Learning these fundamental ideas here at the very beginning will make everything come much easier as you progress. So let's take a look at each of these.
Firm Corners -
The corners of the embouchure (the shape of the lips and surrounding muscles when buzzing) should be kept flexed enough to keep a consistent embouchure shape. The tendency for many players is to draw the lips back into a smile when playing higher notes. That embouchure needs to look nearly motionless as the trumpeter plays throughout the range. The jaw might drop a bit in the lower register, but the corners should stay firm. A good way to monitor embouchure movement is by watching in a mirror while playing, forcing a consistent position.
Big Breath -
Air support is one of the most overlooked 'skills' by people learning to play the trumpet. It's overlooked because it's possible to play the trumpet with shallow air support. Developing trumpet players often consider it a success when they can get through a song without missing any notes. However, insufficient air support can lead to a weak sound, inconsistent intonation (pitch), limited range, and poor musical phrasing. A big breath of air is the foundation of a good trumpet sound. Even when playing softly, a big breath will provide the support necessary to control the overall musicality of a trumpet performance.
Blow The Air Through The Trumpet -
This one may seem obvious. "If the air doesn't go through the trumpet, where else could it go?" The phrase is meant to describe the way to take that big breath and really use it to produce music, blowing through the trumpet, not at it. The idea may be analogous to the difference between humming under one's breath and performing an aria. One is significantly more musical than the other. Even at low volumes, the air through the trumpet will be smooth and consistent.
These three pointers are important in really playing the trumpet, and getting past just playing all the right notes in a song. Even advanced trumpet players often step back, resolve to really learn "how to play the trumpet", and take a serious look at their embouchure consistency and air support. Trumpet players who learn these skills and use them habitually are less likely to have to step back later and correct their fundamentals.
Tuesday, October 2, 2018
|Brass instruments in the Musical Instrument Museum, Brussels, Belgium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Trumpets, though now crafted out of metal, were originally made out of the shell. They were not constructed in that medium, but rather whole shells were utilized (conch shells in particular) to create a horn sound. These original trumpets were used as ancient ritual musical in many ancient cultures. Like the modern trumpet, the sound was coaxed from the shell with the vibration of the player’s lips against the conical side of the shell or “mouthpiece.”
Trumpets created out of can date back to as early as ancient Egypt and some specimens from this time still exist. It wasn’t until the 1800’s that the trumpet began to take on the look and sound that his has today. During that time, they began to add valves to the trumpet to give it the musical range we are familiar with. Earlier horns had no such range and could only play different pitches through the manipulation of the player’s lips.
The cornet and the trumpet are similar in history and design. In fact, it is impossible to talk about the history of one without mentioning the other. Both acquired keys during a similar period which allowed them both to increase their range. Keys and valves allow brass players to change pitch as they are playing a note. The valve can be opened and closed. When the valves are opened and closed to different degrees, different amounts of air flow through the instrument creating specific tones and pitches. Valves can be used alone or in coordination to emit different notes. Thought the trumpet is just one of many brass instruments, the community of jazz artists is tight-knit and embraces all players of all instruments. For example, this community is universally disappointed in the disappearance of one manufacturer, as explained below.
Couesnon, once a famous and well-admired producer of brass instruments, was in business for over 170 years. They had one particular horn, the flugelhorn that in the 1950’s because popular with American jazz trumpet artists. To the shock and dismay of brass and jazz enthusiasts, this cornerstone of brass horn culture stopped importing to the US in the late 1970’s and can now only be purchased through vintage instrument brokers.
Saturday, August 18, 2018
|Rotary valves in a flugelhorn.|
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Flugelhorn tips for buyers
Depending on your level of expertise, you can choose from different types of flugelhorn of various quality and price ranges. In general, however, flugelhorns are more expensive than trumpets. New students are advised to first buy a trumpet to practice on before switching to a flugelhorn. This switch should be easy given the two instruments' similarities with regards to playing style. If money is not a problem though, beginners can opt for a student grade flugelhorn which can set them back by an average of $700.
Regardless of the type of flugelhorn, you intend to buy, make sure that you try each one before making a purchase. This would help you get a good feel of the horn, especially if you are choosing between horns of different bore sizes. Flugelhorns with small bores play differently from those with larger bores and trying one of each would help you asses which one is better for you.
More flugelhorn tips
Aside from flugelhorn tips on buying a good instrument, it also pays to heed advice on how to play the horn. The best way to learn the instrument is to take classes from a professional player. Likewise, it is advisable to buy some CDs and other audio materials that feature the flugelhorn being played by renowned artists such as Frank Fezishin and Rachel Woolham.
Aside from listening to recorded albums, you must also try to watch live performances where the horn is played. You can attend jazz concerts or brass band recitals. The flugelhorn is also sometimes used for orchestra, so you can likewise check such productions.
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Friday, June 8, 2018
|Trumpet in C, German model by Bernhardt Willenberg Markneukirchen|
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The trumpet is a brass instrument with the earliest one found in the tomb of the Egyptian King Tutankhamen. Many people play the trumpet in brass bands, military bands, big bands, orchestras or on their own. You are thinking of learning a musical instrument. Will this instrument be the trumpet? You need information to help your decision?
What is a trumpet?
A trumpet is made from brass and is cylindrical in shape consisting of 4 feet 7 inches of tubing wrapped into the compact shape with a cup shape mouthpiece and a moderate size ball at the end. There is a variety of trumpets in the trumpet family. The modern trumpets we are familiar with today have three valves and were first made in the 1820s. Earlier trumpets did not have valves.
How is the sound produced?
The trumpeter or trumpet player produces the sound by:
1. Pressing the mouthpiece to his or her mouth.2. Blowing air through closed lips making the lips vibrate.3. The buzzing sound produced from this action sets the column of air inside the tube of the instrument vibrate.4. The player regulates the sound produced by altering the tension of the lips.
Low sounds are produced when the player's lips are fairly slack making all the air in the tube vibrate.
Higher sounds are produced when the player tightens his lips thus making only fractions of the air vibrate. These higher sounds are called natural harmonics. Each tube produces a different set of harmonics depending on the length. This produces a limited range of sounds in one or two keys. To get a wider range of sounds the modern trumpet player can press down the three valves in a range of configurations which will open various extra lengths of tubing thus changing the length of tubing.
What does the trumpet sound like?
The trumpet has both a piercing, brassy sound and a soft, muted sound. It is more brilliant and penetrating than the bugle or horn. The tone of the trumpet can be changed when a mute is placed in the bell of the instrument. A mute is a cone made of cardboard, fibre, felt or metal.
The trumpet player reads music using notes placed on the treble clef, plays music faster than other brass instruments and plays notes ranging over two octaves from F-sharp below middle C to C above the treble clef, however, some trumpeters can extend this range.
Example of A Trumpet Piece
The Last Post is a well-known piece of music played by a bugle or trumpet player. It is a bugle call used at Commonwealth military funerals and ceremonies commemorating those who have fallen in war. It is used especially on Remembrance day in Commonwealth Nations and also on Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand.
A bugle call is a short tune, telling one of scheduled and certain non-scheduled events on a military installation, battlefield, or ship. It consists of notes from a single overtone series and hence no valves need to be moved. One key may be favoured over the others.
Please note that a trumpet can play almost any type of music including classical, jazz, rock, blues, pop, funk.
Example of A Trumpeter
Louise Armstrong also known as Satchmo or Pops was one of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time is. He was also known for his singing with a raspy singing voice and had a foundational influence on jazz. He was born August 4, 1901, in New Orleans, Louisiana. and died July 6, 1971, from a heart attack.
There are many other well-known trumpet players including Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and Fats Navarro.
You have now had some basic information on the trumpet including what it is, how a sound is produced, what a trumpet sound is, types of music a trumpeter plays with an example and well-known trumpet players with an example.
Friday, May 11, 2018
|Wynton Marsalis Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Trumpets are among the oldest musical instruments...dating back to at least 2000 BC. Notes are played by blowing into a mouthpiece known as a "fipple", which directs air towards a bladed edge, located at the big hole you'll see at the top of most whistles. Trumpet instruments come in a variety of designs.
Trumpet players are able to get an incredible variety of sounds partly due to the various mutes that are available for them. They are the most likely to play music demanding the use of a mute (often indicated by the words con sordini oravec sourdine in the score).
Players know when they've got a horn they like, know when it performs at a high level, and know especially if it has a sound and feels they like. Playing the trumpet is intimate and personal.
Trumpeters with great endurance and/or range are said to have impressive chops. Some believe that Wynton Marsalis has done things with his trumpet that Louis Armstrong couldn't even imagine in his day.
Players can be heard across nearly all genres of music, including classical, jazz, rock, pop, ska, polka, swing, blues, and funk. Trumpet players are popular for wedding ceremonies as well as receptions and they do it with 3 fingers.
Trumpets pitched in the key of low G are also called sopranos, or soprano bugles, after their adaptation from military bugles. Trumpet players are arguably the "state of the art" among brass players.
They are quite in demand even during street festivals, carnivals, marriage celebrations, school band marches and almost everywhere where there's a requirement of a loud and clear musical accompaniment.
Jazz is a symbiotic, synergistic communication medium that expresses the mind, body, and spirit in music through all instruments. Jazz trumpet players have been at the forefront of the evolution of jazz as an art form.
A reviewer wrote this description: Playing the high register playing softly "pp" playing a nice rich tone playing vibrato Double Tonguing between different notes playing Legato (ties) without changing the fingering.
Brass instruments are almost universally made from brass, but a solid gold or silver trumpet might be created for special occasions. Brass horns are properly classified by the means by which they produce sound, not by the materials used in their construction.
Bach used the trumpet for high parts in his festive church music and wrote for trumpet along with recorder, oboe, and violin in Brandenburg Concerto (no. unknown)
Bass trumpet is played with a shallower trombone mouthpiece, and music for it is written in treble clef. Piccolo trumpets in G, F, and even C are also manufactured but are rarer.
Modern trumpets also have three piston valves, each of which increases the length of tubing when engaged, thereby lowering the pitch. Modern trumpets are built in various bores and the so-called "Medium" bore.
Common bad habits include pressing the mouthpiece to the lips, uneven pressure (Double buzz), inflating cheeks when blowing (although this is debatably a bad habit considering jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie was known for it), playing with poor posture, and closing the throat (tensing of the throat) muscles, resulting in partially choking the air flow.
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Friday, April 27, 2018
|Schilke trumpet model X3 in silver. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Schilke trumpets have a reputation as being "open" horns, which is a quality that many professional horn players prefer. Schilke is known as the custom builder that are among the most reasonably priced on the market. Silver plated and gold plated models are available, and professional trumpet players can be very particular about the exact mouthpiece, mouth pipe, bell, and tubing design. They want to get the best possible sound for their particular likes and playing situations, whether it's a community band or a professional symphonic band or orchestra.
When trumpet enthusiasts talk about Schilke trumpets, they know that they are talking about one of the most respected brands of musical instrument in the world. Not everyone can afford a custom trumpet, but Schilke makes several non-custom models so that those who love playing trumpet, but who don't have the money for a custom built instrument can experience the great Schilke sound first hand.
There are a number of factors that go into getting a great sound from a trumpet. Of course, the particulars of the musician - embouchure, practice habits, venue for playing - definitely have an influence. But the qualities of the trumpet itself makes a difference, too. Silver plated bells are known for their richer sound, and the bore of the tubing has an influence on the sound a musician is able to get from a trumpet. Schilke maximizes the qualities that result in great trumpet sound, and for those who are extra particular and have the means, they make custom trumpets to create the best match between musician and instrument.
Depending on the type of music and the venue in which it is played, different models of the same instrument can make a difference to the sound quality. Schilke trumpets are experts at knowing what goes into getting the right sound for an auditorium, an outdoor setting, or any other arrangement of acoustics. When professional trumpet players feel like they are ready to buy a custom horn, Schilke is the brand they often turn to first.
Saturday, March 3, 2018
The cornet is an instrument that is a member of the brass instrument family. Its appearance is close to that of the trumpet in its design. The tubing is wrapped in a clever way that will allow the musician to easily carry and play the instrument, and the tube's diameter increases in size until the end. It is a common mistake for people to believe that the cornet has originated from the medieval cornett, but in truth, there is no relation. In fact, the cornet originated from the simple horn, just as the bugle was. The cornet really developed when the improvements on piston valves were made, which was in the early 1800s.
Today, the cornet is a fairly popular instrument that is used in concert bands and brass bands more than it is used in marching bands and military, though it can sometimes be used in these too. Referring back to the valves of the cornet, they really were the largest part in bringing in the creation of the cornet. In fact, it was in adding these valves to the horn in the early 1800s that the actual cornet was first invented. While the cornet would seem similar to the trumpet, they differed greatly for a while before the trumpet also had the valves added into its design. Today, they are so similar that the coronet and the trumpet can play the same notes and fingerings.
The cornet has not changed too much since it was first invented, and it has only been around for a couple hundred years, but it is a brass instrument that has received a decent amount of interest over the years. One can see it played in a number of different musical genres and people of different ages have given it a try. In fact, a number of young jazz musicians in the 1900s began their careers by learning how to play the cornet.
The cornet has a more mellow and warm tone that is attractive to many people who decide to learn how to play the instrument. It is also an instrument that is recommended for beginners who have never played a brass instrument before. It can be a little challenging at first for someone who is new to playing any kind of wind instrument, but it can be quite rewarding in the end. Learning the sheet music and how to manipulate the keys properly can also take some time, but not as long as it can take to learn other more complex instruments. It is also another instrument that can be offered at some schools that have them.
Overall, the instrument is not too difficult to learn and so is a great instrument to offer in grade school to younger people who would like to try learning a musical instrument. The sheet music for the cornet is also easier to acquire than more expensive sheet music for other instruments. The instrument is even donated to the schools on occasion by people who have no more use for their cornet. Anyone who wishes to try the instrument outside of school can often find used cornets in used instrument stores or pawn shops.
Saturday, January 20, 2018
|Trumpet player Maynard Ferguson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
This particular instrument, like other brass instruments, is played by blowing into the mouthpiece through closed lips to create a vibration. The instrument as three keys or piston valves that work to alter the sound produced, often creating a lower pitch. Each valve will lower the sound the trumpet makes as it is pressed down by the musician. There are also different kinds of trumpets that are tuned to different notes. The most common trumpet played is known as the B-flat trumpet. Other types of trumpets that are played but are not as common are the C, D, E, F, G, and A.
Surprisingly enough, the trumpet has been around for a very long time, even if the earlier trumpets did not look like the trumpets people are more familiar with today. The earliest proof of the existence of trumpets goes back as far as 1500 BC, though it is believed that trumpets could have easily existed before this as well.
Another interesting note about the trumpet is that it was not originally used for music. Instead, it was used for signaling purposes for religious ceremonies or military use. It really was not until medieval times that the trumpet started to be used more as a musical instrument instead of being limited to previous purposes. In fact, it was even seen as a special talent, which those who played would keep to themselves because it was regarded as a guarded craft. It was after this time that the trumpet really started to change, as improvements and adaptations were made to have the trumpet keep up with its demands. Even with these improvements, the addition of the valves on the trumpet did not occur until the early to mid-1800s.
It appears that few young people will take up the instrument instead of popular instruments like the guitar and the piano. A common misconception is that it is really simple to play, but the truth is that it can be a little complex. One has to have good control of the air that they blow into the trumpet in order to get the right sound. Some will take an interest in the trumpet because they appreciate its bold and bright sound. It is common in marching bands, in the military and is also common in schools.
It is a relatively inexpensive instrument to play in comparison to others, so school bands will sometimes be able to teach students who want to learn it. Its drawback for many people is that it does not have a wide range of sounds and many who want to learn how to play an instrument are looking for something that can create a variety of different sounds.
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for used CDs, autographed CDs, and used musical instruments.
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Wednesday, January 17, 2018
|Soprano Cornet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Interestingly though, just because they are called brass instruments does not mean that they are just made of brass. Other materials that have been used in their construction include wood, cane, horn, tusk, clay, and even crystal. In addition, most saxophones and flutes and many clarinets are made of brass but are categorized as woodwind instruments, not brass instruments.
Brass instruments have descended from ancient horns. Their first use was in military, royal, or hunting contexts. Curt Sachs reported that even around 1250BC the si-im was played which is depicted as a short and thick horn played with a large frame drum. There was evidence found that around 1400BC straight trumpets were played by soldiers. A trumpet-shaped music instrument was even found in Tutankhamen's tomb. It was not until the late 1600's that brass instruments acquired a new role as an art instrument. During this time, physical alterations were made to them to allow for improved ease of fingering and made blowing less effortful. These improvements enhanced their artistic role and they became a regular member of the orchestra.
By the 1830's the first brass bands came into existence, most notably in England, Wales, and the United States. The first one in the U.S. was established by Allen Dodworth in 1834 as the Brass Band of New York. Beginning in 1860, mechanical changes were made which gave every instrument a complete scale of notes throughout the range. With these enhancements, brass instruments took on an even stronger, clearer, crisper sound. By 1900 there was an explosion in their popularity. Almost every park built a bandstand gazebo and some brass bands attracted 10-20,000 people. Their popularity declined after World War II but increased again in 1960.
Today, brass bands, or brass ensembles as they are more commonly called, continue to include brass instruments such as French horns, trumpets, euphoniums, tubas, trombones, etc. These groups play classical, Broadway, show tunes, marches, and pop/rock music. Some ensembles are not such brass instrument purists and include other instruments such as woodwind instruments, percussion instruments, bass, guitars, or keyboards. With additional instruments, a wider array of musical mixes can be played, such as Dixieland, jazz, rock, blues, or funk. An advantage of being in a brass ensemble is that the players have the freedom to take on roles usually reserved for other instruments. When in a brass ensemble each player has a responsibility to work as a team so not one person or music instrument dominates the sound. The focus of the group is cohesiveness with one mutual goal and a flexibility to accept other's ideas.
Brass instruments have had a long history since ancient times. They have acquired popularity through their ability to produce a rich, bold, exciting sound and their prevalence in so many musical genres. When we hear brass instruments we tend to pay attention and listen.
Dianna Joseph is the owner of DJ Music Store. She is a saxophonist, novice pianist, and novice guitarist. In addition, she is an occupational therapist who works with a host of disabilities utilizing sensory integration and neurodevelopmental therapy in combination with music and a variety of other techniques to assist these persons in achieving the highest level of function and quality of life possible.
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Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Friday, October 27, 2017
|Trumpet bell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Picking the best trumpet can be a difficult task. Most parents looking for a trumpet have no idea what to buy. I've been a trumpet teacher for twenty years and a band director for the last fifteen. I've played on almost every trumpet available today, and many of them are great instruments while some are far from it.
Trumpets come in different levels. There are the beginning or student trumpets, intermediate trumpets, professional trumpets, and custom trumpets. There are also some instruments that should only be made into lamps or put on walls as decoration because of their inferior quality. The price gives them away. If you buy one of these, you're most likely throwing your money away. Be very careful.
Most students start out at the beginning or student trumpets. Student trumpets are generally built with less hand-fitting and tougher materials. They are usually built to withstand normal student use, and they should last through the first few years of the band. Don't just buy a cheap trumpet. Some of them are so poorly made, they will hold a student back.
Intermediate trumpets come next. These instruments have some of the professional trumpet characteristics, and they do perform a little better than a student trumpet. They are often silver plated. They will always have a first valve slide saddle and third valve slide ring so they can be kicked out. While these trumpets don't cost as much as a professional trumpet, the price can be close. Generally, it's better to go ahead and purchase a professional trumpet when it is time to purchase a "step-up" trumpet.
Professional trumpets are truly fine instruments, and most professional trumpet players perform on them. I received my first professional trumpet when I progressed to high school band, and I believe most students that work hard should move to a professional trumpet at that time. These instruments will have slides that all work well right out of the case. They are hand fitted throughout the instrument, and they play as well as any high school student is able to play. These instruments will last through college, and for players that don't perform for a living, they will probably last the rest of their lives.
Custom trumpets come next. These are the best instruments available today. True custom trumpets are hand-made throughout. While these are truly incredible trumpets, they are not necessary for most high school students. If you want to have the best trumpet available today though, buy one of these.
Friday, October 20, 2017
|Photo by Christophe ALARY|
Such giants as Maynard Ferguson, Wayne Bergeron, Bill Watrous, Slide Hampton? It's not that these individuals were born with great skills and never had to practice, yet more over, they were driven by the desire to play. Along with that desire comes support. Support from family, friends, peers, and authority figures such as band directors.
What is essential for all beginning players young and old is a strong support system. Family, friends and teachers must all rally around the student to help them believe in themselves and in what they're doing! Statements such as... ya, ya, that's good but can you do that somewhere else is not exactly a supportive frame of mind.
If you could go back in time and interview the greatest players, you would find that they were strongly supported by family and cohorts. Maynard Ferguson is a prime example of this! His parents were both school principals in Montreal Quebec Canada, and as he and his brother Percy were growing up, they were strongly supported in everything they did. Whether it was sports or music, they were rallying to their kids support.
As Maynard grew into his early teen years and showed a knack for trumpet playing, his parents nourished this talent by not only buying him the recordings, but taking him to the performances that came through. From Duke Ellington to Dizzy Gillespie, they were there.
The next thing a young player needs is the right tools. Teachers who don't really know what they're teaching can be a serious detriment to a young player and his growth. The right approach and the right books as well as specific instruction on how to perform each exercise is vital!
If you are a player who did not exactly experience either of the above, it's not too late. Trumpet players are most likely looking for that Maynard type range and power. The high notes that make the audience just sit back in total amazement and wonder - does that hurt? Is that some freak trick?
High notes are nothing more than just really fast air being forced through a very small hole. NOT large volumes of air, but rather extremely compressed air moving rapidly through a small hole between your lips.
Sounds easy, doesn't it? It is once you gain the right concept.
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Thursday, October 12, 2017
Are you one of those trumpet players that pulls the horn out of the case, jams the mouthpiece in and just starts playing? Or are you a trumpeter that carefully plots out the next hour or more for a warm-up routine that requires you to perform something of a circus act musically?
Most players who have been in private trumpet lessons have had an instructor sketch out a warm-up routine for them. My question is - do you know why you're doing what you're doing? What is your warm-up supposed to do for you? It's certainly not supposed to make your lip swell up like a balloon or feel stiff as a board by the time you're done. In fact, your warm-up routine should help you to relax, breathe deep naturally, and help to center your pitch, sound, control, and ability to play in all registers easily and comfortably.
If you're not already doing so, you should think about what your playing needs and goals are for that day. It should also be taken into consideration as to what yesterday was like. Was it strenuous? Was it light? Did you play at all? This all can impact how long it will take you to warm up and what you should be doing for a warm up. Something again that most players don't consider.
Below is a routine that I use during a typical warm up... most days I play for 4 or more hours and usually push pretty hard... so my warm-up starts VERY easy.
* I start with long tones very soft... usually starting on a 2nd line G - how long depends on how my face is responding to the horn. Usually I play this note on / off for about 3 to 4 minutes. I focus on my breathing during this process to help get my air moving.
* Once I have the note responding without airing out or sputtering, I will perform Clarke Studies #1... chromatic scale patterns (7 notes up / down). Again, performing these softly to help relieve tension and not cause any swelling. This is also performed on / off to allow ample rest during this warm up process.
* Once I've completed exercise #1 from the Clarke book, I will either play exercise #2 or I will start running jazz patterns that don't take me any higher than a G on top of the staff. Again, resting every now and again...
* After resting from my last phase, I will run exercise #9 out of the Clarke book... this is extended chromatic studies. Once again, I focus on keeping my volume down so I don't add tension to my lips, and I can use my air to reach the upper register notes. Most players run into big trouble here because they start using lip tension vs. holding the lips close together and pushing the air speed.
Please note that I am allowing for rest in my warm up - just as much as I'm playing. This is VITAL! If a trumpeter does not allow for rest during their warm up process, strain and tension can start to hinder their playing. This causes frustration, which creates a vicious circle.
Thursday, August 3, 2017
The trumpet is a magnificent instrument which produces a beautiful tone. It's versatile and can be played in many different types of bands, including orchestras, pop bands, and big bands.
However, mastering how to play the trumpet is a long process requiring immense dedication and passion, but having played the trumpet for over twenty years, I think it's well worth it!
So, to help you out here are six top tips for propelling your trumpet playing and to help you learn how to play the trumpet like a pro...
|Photo by oddsock|
Do the following just with your lips and just with your mouthpiece:
- Buzz a note for a count of four, and then continue up the scale one tone at a time. You can vary this with different exercises you know or by buzzing louder of softer.
2. Rest for as long you play. This is so simple but players rarely do it. This helps your lip muscles recuperate quicker and means you can play for longer without getting tired.
I would recommend regular mini breaks rather than playing for 10 minutes and resting for 10 minutes. Practice an exercise or a part of your music and rest for as long as you played. While resting you can practice finger patterns on the valves or just stretch out your lips.
3. Practice with a metronome. Again, this is a very simple idea that is rarely adhered to.
Most music you play will require you to play in time and doing this really helps you to regulate your internal metronome. It also helps when practicing exercises or difficult musical passages as you can gradually build up the speed you play them at by increasing the speed of the metronome.
4. Practice your pedal notes. Pedal notes, for the purpose of this exercise, are all the notes below middle C. By playing the low register you build strength and range with less pressure on your lips. This means you can play for longer.
When you play the notes below bottom G you will need to create the notes using your lips and the fingering you would use for the octave above. This is great for improving tone and intonation.
5. Play without taking the trumpet off your lips. This is a fantastic way to build strength and endurance as well as learning how to control your breathing.
To do this, find an exercise that you can play continuously without stopping. Continue playing for 5mins non-stop, then 10minutes then for as long as you can at the end of every other practice session.
When you're gigging, especially in Big Bands, you can be playing for anything up to 2 hours with few breaks so this is a fantastic way to practice for these gigs and build your chops!
6. Plan your practice session. This will make a huge difference in the effectiveness of your practice while learning how to play the trumpet.
First, make a list of every element of playing the trumpet, eg tonguing, breathing, and tone, then before each practice session, list what you will practice during your session. This will always ensure that you regularly practice all the different elements, it will keep you focused and make the most efficient use of your time while practicing.
That's it, obviously, there are many more skills to learning how to play the trumpet but these have made a huge improvement to my playing and I hope they do for you too!
It takes some discipline to integrate these ideas into your practice regime but do it for a month and it will become a great habit that will feel like you've always practiced this way!
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