Looking to improve my prowess.... (technical, that is)

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by blakeyboy, Mar 2, 2006.

  1. blakeyboy

    blakeyboy Member

    I was just sat here pondering how I can improve my overall technical ability on Cornet, as I've hit a bit of a brick wall.

    Has anyone got any tips for me, certain exercises, diferent books to recommend etc....

    I have the usual Arban Tutor on the stand at home, but as I have no teacher, I get a little bit lost within the hundreds of exercises then end up bored, frustrated leading to my practice not improving any of the basic ability I need to play certain parts of a piece. I think the old 'motivation' has lapsed a little and I need a different approach to get round the so called "brick wall" I now find myself playing into!

    I've started practicing with a metronome for the faster stuff, building the note patterns into my thick head then gradually getting up to speed. I tend to struggle with back valves in the faster things, I do feel there is a link missing between my brain and my 3rd finger sometimes, perhaps its that thing we call concentration, or the lack of it....haha.

    If anyone can impart any well needed advice I would be very grateful and forever in your debt......if it works, that is!

  2. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    I think you might have answered your own question here. You might not want to have regular lessons with a teacher, but it's a good idea to go for a one-off consultation. I'm a pro trombone player, which in some people's eyes means 'I've made it, therefore I don't have to get any better'. In truth, I often get myself into a bit of a lull with practicing and need a bit of outside influence. I might just be the right thing to 'kick-start' your motivation again. In the past couple of years, I've been to play to David Read (who lives quite near me), Helen Vollam (one of my oldest friends and top trombone at the BBC Symphony orchestra) and a few others. I'm also lucky to be friends with Denis Wick, who has always been very helpful.

    I don't know where you live, but I'm sure there will be good teacher in your area who might be able to help you, if only for a one-off.
  3. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    I can only really echo what Bass Trumpet has said, as with all things in life, it is always easier for an outsider looking in to spot a problem or difficulty, they may also have solutions to the problem. As a starting point, is there anyone within the band you play for that can help?
  4. satchmo shaz

    satchmo shaz Active Member

    ey up how are you doing?
    I like Wright and Rounds complete Method (not so Daunting or boring as the Arban) and John Ridgeons "How Brass Players do it" Also have a read of Howard Snells book called The Trumpet;)
  5. blakeyboy

    blakeyboy Member

    thanks guys, I do think I need an outsider to look into how I construct my practice as well as my current standard and how to improve. I have also had 'some' help from people in band which is greatly apreciated and has helped a lot.

    I think that because my lack of professional tuition I have become a little stubborn and should really get myself someone in place for this. My problem is that I work god awful shifts and can never seem to get a routine together and not driving is a killer too. I know there are probably a lot of high quality teachers in the notts area but I as I've had a couple of 'bad' teachers before that have been a complete waste of time and money and is probably why I am quite hasty to go to someone I don't know or have been recommended.

    Think I'm answering my own question here aren't I.....haha.

    Looking at what I feel I would need to do with a teacher is start from the beginning, get the basics correct as I have managed to get by for this amount of time on my ability to graft, note bash, my almost annoying attention to detail and how critical I am of my own playing.

    Any tips for the mean time??
  6. axio

    axio Member

    I concur with Bass Trumpet... I finally got off my ass and went back to having lessons this year after a seven year break from them... and it has been fantastic. My teacher has helped correct those litle bad habits, and totally change my mindset towards the instrument, and my tone, ease and range have all improved markedly over just a couple of months.

    And it doesn't have to be hugely frequent. My teacher is in Wellington so its once every three weeks. I would however recommend someone professionally trained.

    And in the meantime.. read stuff. Can't hurt to have more understanding on how producing a good sound works. :)

  7. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    Reread Bass Trumpet's reply - then get yourself a decent teacher.

    That's all you need to do:biggrin:
  8. ruthatron

    ruthatron Member

    i don't have a regular teacher, but then again while i'm still living at home, i live with 4 other brass players! one of which (my dad) was my first teacher!

    i do get informal "lessons" off people though, in a rehearsal situation, mostly through my youth band. we have the privelege of a close relationship with the polysteel band (previously flowers!), with many of our sectional rehearsals taken by players from polysteel.

    i tend to just keep my eyes/ears open for any useful snippets of information i hear around, and ask if i'm not sure how to go about starting something new. i also keep talking to people who know me as a player (especially my youth band MD, who's seen me progress) as they're often the ones who notice what i'm doing wrong!
  9. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    If you need to work on your third finger you could try going back through the Arban's with all your fingers shifted up a key...middle finger on 1st valve, ring finger on 2nd valve and pinky on 3rd valve.
  10. horn__blower

    horn__blower Member

    lol that sounds like it wud be very confusing? might have a go at that myself later tho. (when the house is empty in case it sounds TOTALLY awful)
  11. Tinkabell

    Tinkabell Member

    Blake honey,
    I have to agree with Bass Trumpet on this one, its a great kick up the derrier to have an occasional lesson with a cracking teacher.
    If you remember when i was on cornet and got stuck in a rut, i went for a few lessons with Jim Sheppard. He was amazing and it did me the world of good. He corrected the bad habbits that I'd not even noticed i'd got into and just spured me on to the next level of playing at that time. He gave me so much enthusiasm with my playing.
    Another point, I too would recommend Wright and Rounds Complete Method I used it and I use it with my pupils. As Shaz says, its just not as daunting as the Arban.
    If you need a kick up the bum you know where i am!!!!
    Keep your chin up mi old mucker.
  12. MR WMS

    MR WMS Member

    Try playing up and down Emajor scale by using the 3rd finger for E,A,C# and E.Since it's to strengthen the 3rd finger don't worry too much about the intonation on the 3rd valve notes.Another useful scale is F major using the 2nd and 3rd fingers playing the E on 12, practice both scales slowly at first and then......
  13. persins

    persins Member

    It sounds like this question has been answered fairly comprehensively!
    Looks like getting a teacher is the way forward!! It's quite re-assurring that most people seem to think that it doesn't even need to be a regular slot though. That might help with your time constraints.
    I've been thinking about it too but to be honest, I'm not sure I could find the time! I already have things going on nearly every night and barely find time to do the individual home practice sometimes. Perhaps I should try the same thing!

    It might be worth considering trying different styles and ensembles too. That may allow you to identify different areas for improvement. eg. Playing in a Quartet or small ensemble may challenge different areas of your playing than a full Brass band. Something to consider.
  14. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    Wow! It's the first time I've ever been on tMP when everybody's agreed with me :cool: .

    Makes me feel all warm and cuddly inside.....
  15. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    Like a CareBear?
  16. Andy_Euph

    Andy_Euph Active Member

    The Allen Vizzutti books are pretty good, they cover everything you could ever need to practise
  17. blakeyboy

    blakeyboy Member

    Cheers Fee, and everyone else.

    I'm sure you would like nothing more than to kick me up the harass my lovely!!! lol...Thanks for the offer though love, much appreciated.

    Bass Trumpet: good advice my friend, might be calling on you again, seem like you got a good head on them shoulders, cheers.
  18. ruthatron

    ruthatron Member

    i must say, my playing improved greatly when i played in a quartet, and we weren't even playing very demanding music (technically wise), it especially helped my tuning.
  19. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Another sure way of building up technique (and memory as well) is to make up exercises by visualising them then playing them. Create patterns of notes/rythmn and change pitch/intervals. Tons of sight-reading helps as well. Go for performance on first reading and if there are difficulties, work and vary those sections using you imagination until they become effortless!
  20. axio

    axio Member

    They are very good but not totally comprehensive. For instance we noticed yesterday a lack of basic double and triple tonguing exercises on changing notes, something the arbans covers more comprehensively. It seems the trick is to have lots of books :)

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