Finally got around to another trumpet lesson with Josh Davies. As usual, I'm writing down my notes from the session.
* Playing the C-major scale: * Don't worry about hitting any partials *above* the C-major scale. * Focus on making the existing C-major scale beautiful. * If you get the existing range of notes under control, with good, predictable technique, efficiently, and beautiful, then the higher partials will come. * If you play lots of higher partials badly, you'll just learn bad habits. * Avoid stagnation. * Even if you're playing C-major over and over, focus on how to make that sound *better*. * Keep picking out what sounds crappy in the notes you play. * Keep changing up what you do to fix those problems. * Play with a regular rhythm. * This will help make things more deliberate. * This makes it more noticeable when you're having trouble *finding* a note. * It'll give you practice at hitting the notes at the exact right time. * And make sure you're really hitting the beats on your transitions * You have a habit of ooching ahead of the beat. * Don't do that. * Don't cross your legs while playing. * It reduces the air you have available. * Similarly, don't lean forward *to* the trumpet. * Just sit/stand comfortably, and 'let the trumpet come to you.' * Don't make your lip muscles do the work. * Draw back from that tension. * Especially on high notes. * The work comes from *supporting* air with your diaphragm. * If tension goes anywhere, it goes into your diaphragm, *supporting* those notes. * To hit a note, just hear the note in your head, provide sufficient air, and your lips should just 'figure out' what to do. * Hitting high(er) notes: * On high notes, let your teeth separate * This lets sufficient air out. * Make sure you could always fit a finger between your teeth. * Lift your tongue to hit higher notes * Just like with whistling higher notes. * Focus on keeping your embouchure the same on high notes. * Don't tense up. * Don't move your lips around. * Just lift your tongue to get the air moving faster. * And provide more air. * Note that you need a wider *volume* of air when you're playing notes that include that long third-valve tube. * You're hitting a lot of double-buzzing. * This is where you wind up with two distinct spots on your lips buzzing at the same time. * Typically they'll buzz at different frequencies. * Those frequencies will then 'compete' for the note. * Not good. * Often, just better air support will knock out the second buzz. * Do a lot of work just on the mouthpiece. * This especially lets you home in on double-buzz problems. * Try to play melodies just on the mouthpiece. * Keep at just playing a note on the mouthpiece until it comes out clean. * Get to a point where you can hit that note cleanly and consistently, without having to work to 'find' the note. * This requires consistently hearing the note in your head first. * Note that you can keep a mouthpiece in the car & practice on it. * Play in tune. * Focus on hitting 'the middle of the note'. * You can actually slide above and below the middle of the note, just playing the same fingering & partial. * And *then* you can find the center. * You can drone a reference tone to get this. * The tuning slide: * Play a C at the horn's 'natural' pitch, and compare it to a reference tone. * Then, adjust the slide 'til they match. * Usually your tuning slide is slid out by about the width of your fingernail. * Also remember that you've got a third-valve slide to adjust those notes. * A useful acronym: SAFARE = "Sound, Articulation, Flexibility, Agility, Range, and Endurance". * These are the areas a well-rounded trumpeter should always work on. * A hard-core student will have several books they're working from for each category. * You might put a few exercises under each, eventually. * Other things to try: * Keep improvising melodies on the horn. * Again, focus on making your tone as beautiful as possible. * Find simple simple music you can sight-read. * Remember, a tie between two different pitches => don't re-articulate the second note. * Start working through some simple sight-reading études. * Or sight-reading simple piano music. * Practice playing named notes on command. * Including accidentals. * Get to the point where you stop panicking about that. * This should just be memorization -- maybe use flash cards? * Meanwhile, make sure you hear the note in your head before you play it. * Perhaps practice drilling intervals so that you can hear them in your head. * If you're lost, then just walk to the pitch.
Mood: contemplative · Music: none