Grade 8 on a Flugel

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by BigHorn, Oct 19, 2005.

  1. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    My daughter is doing her grade 8 on a flugel horn but is coming under intense pressure by her teacher to change to a trumpet.

    She has started working on Haydn Trumpet Concerto movement 3 and although she can physically get the high notes she does not do it with ease yet. Her teacher (A trumpet player) says it would be so much easier on trumpet and nobody does grade 8 on a flugel.
    My daughter really wants to be as good on flugel as she can be and does not want to change to trumpet mainly because if you play trumpet in the exam you have to do additional tests on transposing.

    So what should it be Trumpet or Flugel. Extra practice getting the high notes or swotting up on transposing?
  2. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    An alternative would be to see what other music, if any, is available. Although I'm no expert, I wouldn't have thought that movement of the Haydn is particularly sorted to the flugel, or at least not to one pitched in Bb.
  3. skimbleshanks

    skimbleshanks Member

    I was rubbish at hight notes when I did my grade 8 (still am for that matter), in the exam I screwed up the two-octave C major scale missing all the notes above the top G and had to do the alternative (lower) finish in Variations on a Welsh Theme. That didn't stop me getting a distinction though :p .

    So if she wants to stick to flugal then let her stick to flugal and tell her teacher to stop bossing her around :hammer !

    And learning transposition is good whatever the instrument. You never know when you'll find yourself wanting to play in a random group of musicians and there's only parts in C, or indeed help out another musician who plays an instrument in a different tonality.
  4. Cornishwomble

    Cornishwomble Active Member

    What instrument does she want to play in the future, and why is she taking the grades?

    If she wants to play flugel "forever" then why should she change instruments. Does she want the Grade 8 becasue she wants a career in music or just to be a better flugel player?

    As mentioned earlier, she certainly won't fail her Grade 8 on a flugel but if it is a bit harder to pass it on a flugel it will be even sweeter when she does it.
  5. Dave Euph

    Dave Euph Member

    While there is absolutely no shame in playing the trumpet as well as the flugelhorn, once you've reached grade 8, I'd feel particularly miffed myself if I was told to change instrument.

    Sure, it may be easier on trumpet, but the sound is distinctively different on flugel, and I presume that is why the lass wishes to remain on it.

    Anyway, it's hardly a solution. Personally, you're always far better off working directly at the problem (in this case high register) than trying a cheap (or expensive if you were to buy a new trumpet :)) alternative. I could scream out somee wild super notes on my euph if I switched to a mouthpiece three sizes smaller, but in the long run it won't make my upper register any stronger.
  6. lottie4744

    lottie4744 Member

    A lass I know did her grade 8 on flugel and passed and is now up at Huddersfield university. Haydn's is quite high for a flugel but if she's doing the exam on ABRSM then she should be doing the 2nd movement as well (I had to when I did mine) and that's beuatiful for flugel. If she wants to play flugel then it's her choice and the teacher can offer their opinion, but at the end of the day, it's not their decision!

    Best of luck to her!
  7. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Yup couldn't have put it better myself. I seems to me that the problem here is higher register (admittedly not the easiest thing on flugel) and the chosen piece. Perhaps her tutor can suggest a different piece, instead of asking her to play something which IMO is niether easy or particualrly suitable on a flugel, and in the meantime working to secure those higher notes on flugel isn't going to hurt either.

    I'm sure due to the nature of the instrument it makes the pieces a tad harder to pull off (I don't know what the sylabus is these days - its been an awful long time since I did any grade exams...:oops: ) but if your daughter wants to be the best flugel player she can it makes no sense to me to attempt the grade on another instrument.
  8. Di

    Di Active Member

    I totally agree with this. If the flugel is what she wants to play, don't let her buckle to pressure to change. I think its very unfair of her teacher to put this kind of pressure on her, at a difficult time, instead of supporting her and encouraging her to achieve what she wants and how she wants to do it! Give him/her a slap on the wrist from me! ;)
  9. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    Rather than get a new instrument - get a new teacher ;)

  10. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member


    1. Taking lessons from a TRUMPET player.
    2. You are playing a TRUMPET concerto.

    What exactly do you expect when you are, or just have aspirations to be a FLUGEL player.

    I would say have a look at the other repertoire from the syllabus that is more appropriate for FLUGEL.

    A TRUMPET player wouldn't play the pieces on the list more appropriate for FLUGEL.

    Doing exams is about choosing the repertoire that YOU are comfortable playing, not what your teacher is comfortable teaching!! Also, work on scales, they are MARKS IN THE BAG!!!.

    Just my 2 cents.
  11. Cornet_player

    Cornet_player Member

    Stick to Flugel- and surely it would be closer to change to cornet rather than Trumpet? Ive got Grade 8 on both Trumpet and Cornet. If your daughter doesnt want to play the trumpet shes far more likely to lose interest.... The trumpet is a different sort of challenge and mayb 1 that she will want to tackle after her grade 8, or mayb not at all. At the end of the day its her decision! Good Luck with whatever you decide!!
  12. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Which would you think better suited to flugel?

    THREE PIECES: one chosen by the candidate from each of the three Lists, A, B and C:
    LIST A
    1 Handel Sonata no.3 (Op.1 no.12): 1st and 2nd movts, Adagio and Allegro, or 3rd and 4th movts, Largo and Allegro (IMC 2493/M.D.S.)
    2 Haydn Trumpet Concerto in Eb, Hob.VIIe/1: 1st and 2nd movts, Allegro and Andante,
    or 2nd and 3rd movts, Andante and Allegro (Bb/Eb edition: Universal HMP 223/M.D.S.)
    3 Hindemith Sonata for Trumpet: 1st movt, Mit Kraft (Schott ED 3643/M.D.S.)

    4 W. Lloyd Webber Suite in F: 2nd, 3rd and 4th movts, Allegro vigoroso, Larghetto e mesto and Allegro vivace (Stainer & Bell)
    5 J. K. J. Neruda Trumpet Concerto in Eb: 1st and 2nd movts, Allegro and Largo (with cadenzas),
    or 2nd and 3rd movts, Largo and Vivace (with cadenzas) (Bb/Eb edition: Brass Wind)
    6 Tchaikovsky Ballet Suite (from ‘The Nutcracker’, Op.71). Russian Roulette for Trumpet, arr. Archibald (Brass Wind)

    LIST B
    1 Büsser Andante et Scherzo, Op.44 (Bb/C edition: Leduc/U.M.P.)
    2 Copland Fanfare for the Common Man. Copland 2000 for Trumpet (Boosey & Hawkes/M.D.S.: piano accomp. published separately)
    3 Robert Eaves Rhapsody for Eb Soprano Cornet (Brand Publications/Smith)
    4 Petr Eben Fantasia Vespertina (Schott TR3/M.D.S.)
    5 Martinů Sonatine for Trumpet (Bb/C edition: Leduc/U.M.P.)
    6 Michael Short Eccentrico and Cantilena, or Cantilena and Giga: nos.3 and 4, or nos.4 and 5 from ‘Five Inventions for solo trumpet’ (Studio Music)
    7 Denis Wright Concerto for Bb Cornet: 1st movt, Allegro (with cadenza) (Studio Music)

    LIST C
    1 Arban 14 Studies for Cornet: no.2 in E (Boosey & Hawkes/M.D.S.)
    2 Derek Bourgeois Fantasy Pieces for trumpet: no.4, Slow waltz, or no.5, Allegro vivace (Brass Wind)
    3 Herbert Clarke Characteristic Studies for the Cornet: no.9 in E or no.19 in A (Carl Fischer CFO 2281/M.D.S.)
    4 John Miller Mr Logic: no.30 from ‘Progressive Studies for Trumpet’ (Faber)
    5 Ernest Piper The Well-Tempered Player: no.6 in D minor (Winwood Music)
    6 Allen Vizzutti Polka: no.20 from ‘20 Dances for Trumpet’ (De Haske)

  13. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    I'm interested to hear Trumpetmike's view on this.

    For me - stick with the flugel, and if the urge comes to play trumpet later, all well and good.
  14. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Active Member

    Well, if someone is going to request my viewpoint (possibly a first on tMP).

    The Haydn is not a piece I recommend for Grade 8, regardless of the instrument (trumpet/cornet/flugel), unless the student has superb chops and a very well developed sense of musicality. It is not the easiest of pieces to perform (rather than just hit the notes) and the upper register is often a source of missed notes when under exam conditions.

    If the teacher is one of those that insists upon each student working the same three pieces up for an exam, taking the exam and then never seeing them again - this is a problem with the teacher, not the student, nor the repertoire. My feelings on exams are becoming fairly well-known (I think). I am not their greatest advocate. A lot of people see them as an essential part of learning an instrument, others seem to thnk that once Grade 8 is achieved, they know everything. Both of these are very misguided views, in my opinion, yet are very common in many teachers.

    When my students do an exam, I will expect them to be able to play the pieces with no problems (if they don't have that concert Db, they will not be doing the Haydn, but they also won't be doing Grade 8 yet - more later). They will probably have studied two or three pieces/studies from each of the lists and will be performing a balanced programme that allows them to show off what they do well (I assume that tone is something that your daughter is keen to demonstrate). Because they have studied more than one from each list, the student is also in a much better position to choose pieces that they enjoy playing.

    Range - if you are not happy playing above the stave, you should not be thinking of Grade 8, in my opinion. If that concert Db is not happening for you - don't play the Haydn. I am a strong believer in working a student's range beyond what they need for any exam or piece that they might come across. If your top note is one that appears in your pieces, when you are nervous it is more likely to go wrong. My daily routine ascends to double C (that's the octave higher than you need for Grade 8). This is not because I play many pieces that go that high (although I do play a couple), but because if I am used to playing that note, when I need to play the F and G the octave above the stave (which happen frequently when playing piccolo trumpet) they are within a familiar range to me.
    If my students are going for Grade 8, I will expect them to be able to play up to the F above the stave, on a trumpet or cornet. As yet I have never taught anyone who only played flugel. I am fully aware that the flugel is less likely (and much less inclined) to ascend above the stave, but if you are wanting to play a piece that goes that high, you should be able to play higher.
    Most players I know have a much increased range on a trumpet, when compared to flugel. The shape and design of the trumpet are such that higher notes are easier, whilst the flugel is not renowned for playing high. In fact, it is only recently that I have played a flugel which I am happy using above an A (Eclipse - yeah baby!).

    In many ways I agree with Dave Quinlan about it being a trumpet concerto, but it is also worth stating the fact that the trumpet that Haydn wrote for bears almost no resemblance to the trumpets we use now (especially if you play this piece on an Eb trumpet). Having had the chance to play on a couple of keyed trumpets and listen to some of the world's best keyed trumpeters, the sound is almost flugel like in tone and I have often contemplated performing this piece on a flugel, just to achieve something of what I believe to be the tone that Haydn first heard it performed with.

    The transposition issue is a thorny one. If all your daughter ever intends to do is sit in a brass band (and I am not saying that there is anything wrong with this, before anyone jumps on me), the chances are high that she will never have to transpose. If, however, she may want to sit in an orchestra one day, transposition is an ESSENTIAL part of a trumpeter's life. Not just the transpositions that come up in exams either - from any letter to any letter (who can say that you will be playing a Bb instrument at the time?). I teach this as a skill to all my advanced players, whether they are playing an instrument that is likely to need it or not - it is a great tool to have at your disposal, should you need it.
    I would suggest learning it anyway - what harm can it do you?

    As for the possibility of using other pieces for the exam, I am not in any position to say what I might recommend without having heard your daughter. I am also not in the habit of telling someone else's students what they should be doing. Persuade her to talk to her teacher about the concerns. If this is done correctly, I am sure that a mutually beneficial programme can be devised.

    In short:

    Work on your range anyway - even if you eventually choose not to do this piece for the exam, you should have that range anyway.
    Work on transposition anyway.
    Talk to your teacher, who is the only person who honestly knows what you sound like, from that side of things.

    If you would like any more detailed help/advice/thoughts, please feel free to PM me. As my name suggests, I am a trumpeter (piccolo trumpet by choice), but I am also very much aware of the different instruments and their little eccentricities (I also play cornet, flugel, soprano etc). I think I know the majority of the Grade 8 lists and may be able to advise about more suitable repertoire, should you so wish.

    Good luck

    (Well, Will - happy?)
  15. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    ... given the curriculum, do you see a selection that would impress the examiners to showcase the flugel?
  16. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Active Member

    Are you sure that this person is taking the exam through the Associated Board?
    The lists for Trinity/Guildhall and LCM are different.
  17. McChambo

    McChambo Member

    AB Grade 8 on the flugel? The repertoire list is just a joke. But I suppose it must be quite difficult for the AB to accomodate the flugel in their syllabus. As trumpetmike says, have a look at some of the other options (Trinity, Guildhall, LCM) if you're really desperate to achieve Grade 8 status.

    There are always other ways of achieving this sort of standard on a flugel. The repertoire list isn't enormous as we all know, but there is some good stuff out there if you look carefully. Some of it is far beyond Grade 8 standard.
  18. flower girl

    flower girl Member

    she should stick to flugal if it makes her happy. i found it quite difficult to keep swapping from trumpet to cornet, so i'd imagine its very similar with flugal
  19. ScaryFlugel

    ScaryFlugel Member

    (list of pieces followed off AB website)

    Did anyone answer this? i have the same question!
  20. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    My daughter has chosen Büsser Andante et Scherzo from list B.
    I think this really suits the flugel. It also seems technically quite simple for a grade 8 piece.
    There is a tiny bit of double tongueing required but it doesn't go too high and my daughter has no trouble at all with it. I was told when buying it that a lot of candidates chose this one (I wonder why?)
    The only down side is the cost (nearly £20)

    Listen Here

    It also has the advantage that along with the Hayden trumpet concerto it appears on both Associated Board and Trinity/Guildhall lists so you can practice them up and decide later which board to go with.

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