If every day we try to improve one thing in our playing one percent, eventually almost anything may be accomplished.
I was very lucky to have had private lessons and with really wonderful teachers! Yet as I reflect back on my studies as a young trumpet player, I really wish that I had known what questions to ask my teachers so that I would have progressed further and played better.
Among the questions that I did ask (after having played for several years) was, why could I no longer play as high as before? My high range (not really that high) had gone away. My teacher then asked me a question: “When was the last time you practiced your chromatic scales?” I had not done them – could not even remember when I had last played them! I went home and began playing them, and of course the range that had mysteriously gone away came right back.
So, whether you have some range (high notes) or you are looking to get some, perhaps you should also take heart and practice your chromatic scales. If you are a beginner, just start with low F# and play an octave chromatic scale. Start slowly and with a metronome. Continue learning them by going up by half steps (F#, G, G#, A etc.). Work on your breath control by repeating the octave scale, three times. As soon as you know all of the first octave F# through F# to the top of the treble staff; begin doing two octaves (Arban page 79 – triplets or sixteenth notes). Remember to use lots of air as you go higher and not to use too much pressure. Always play with your “Best Sound”- no straining for the upper notes, have the corners firm and use lots of air. Gradually, over time, you will develop a beautiful sound through your entire register- be persistent, be patient! Also vary the rhythm, sometimes play triplets and sometimes eighth or sixteenth notes. See Complete Conservatory Method for Trumpet – Jean Baptiste Arban pages 76- 86 (Carl Fischer Edition).
Usually I chose a piece and give you two or more links to performances to compare. This month I have a piece with only one performance. I did not know this piece by Henri Hamal (1744-1820). This is a transcription of an oboe concerto. It is really a wonderful concerto and Mr. Andre plays with a great sound and technique that anyone would wish to have. So, give this a listen and know that through practice you can play anything and make it seem easy!
Henri Hamal Trumpet concerto – performed Maurice Andre
Virtuoso Baroque Trumpet Concertos. Bahb Civiletti’s “The Art of the High Baroque”. Joseph Riepel. Frans Querfurth and Georg von Reutter II
Adam Rappa, trumpet – C M von Weber Clarinet Concerto No. 2; Belgian Brass
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Joey Tartell warmup
Peter Graham The Holy Well for Euphonium; Katrina Marzella solo baritone, New York Salvation Army Staff Band
Another work featuring the lyrical playing of Katrina Marzella
Alone With My Thoughts-arr. Brenden Wheeler
The Bellstedt Challenge continues…
This month the challenge is No.4 of which Mr. Bellstedt says “Play this p-f staccato molto and in very even tempo (tempo giusto). Retard last eight bars if necessary”
No. 4 is written in two sections, Allegro Giusto, quarter note equals 120 and Piu mosso quarter note equals 136-152. The first section is basically an octave study. The second section is primarily chromatic with articulation and rhythm elements that are demanding especially at the printed tempos. Material in section two is often found in cornet cadenzas. Exact rhythmic playing helps give a “wonderous” display of technique needed for the dazzle of a virtuosic cadenza. The alternate fingerings in the last seven measures will need focus because of both the intonation and co-ordinations of fingers and articulation.
Results from time spent with Bellstedt Number 5, August Practice Challenge.
Number 5 in many ways is fairly approachable with the actual techniques being very fundamental. The challenge for many will be based on the “con fuoco” speed of quarter note equals 152, Più mosso quarter note equals 160 and Più mosso quarter note equals 176. The speed requested causes performance issues.
The slurred octave with a crescendo might be more controlled and accurate by being slightly less robust in volume. Clarity in the dotted eighth sixteenth note rhythm is important and may have a tendency to become a triplet rhythm.
dotted eighth sixteenth note developing
In line two, as this passage develops and ascends chromatically, the dotted eighth sixteenth note wants even more to be a triplet, so beware!
I believe the chromatic scales will be a challenge both for the speed and for exactness of rhythm execution. Basically, be clear in the rhythmic contrast between triplets and duplets.
More of a concern, perhaps, are the lip slurs being even and at a fast tempo:
Alternate fingering section offers special challenges with both pitch and steadiness of tempo!
Even without playing forte, or doing the crescendos and diminuendos, the subtle flow seems more difficult mid-page than when practiced separately.
Most of the study I practiced gradually getting faster starting from half tempo. I have yet to reach the printed tempos with clarity and accuracy. Keeping the tonguing light definitely helped move the tempo faster, as did not playing excessively loud. After all it is only marked forte!
For me, more practice to follow; slow and persistent.