When is a good time to start someone of sop?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Despot, Feb 7, 2005.

  1. Despot

    Despot Member

    Hi All,

    When is a good time to start someone on sop?

    Is it something best taken up pretty young and grow up with, or is it best left until quite experienced on Bb cornet?

    We have a training band, a spare sop from the senior band, and lots and lots of young Bb players....

    Any thoughts appreciated!
     
  2. Feefee

    Feefee Member

    I played a Bb cornet for 6 years before i started on sop! I been playing the sop for 3 years in May and think that because i play the Bb Cornet as well as the sop it has improved my higher register on Bb cornet!
    I think the way i did it was good because if you start on the Bb Cornet it gives you something to work on later on as the Sop is slightly harder but i always wonder what i would be like now if for the 8 years i have been playing Bb cornet, PLying the Sop instead!
    The reason i didnt start on sop though is because i had never even heard of one before i started it was only through a friend who said they wanted a sop player at my local band. I just thought it was a high pitched cornet part played on Bb cornet!
     
  3. craigyboy1

    craigyboy1 Member

    Most sop players start to play open tones whilst still in their straight jacket.

    Then...... once they are permitted to take the "back to front coat" off they can play with the valves.
     
  4. Griffin

    Griffin Active Member

    I learned to play on a Bb, played 2nd Cornet for about a year, maybe less. The band had an old Sop (Getzen Eterna or something like!). Never played anything else since.
    Problem is, it is the only thing I can play, and find it hard to play a Bb cornet because i've played the Sop for so long. Even though I stopped playing for 8 years too!
    Its the best instrument to play though! ;-)
    Once they try it, they'll love it!
     
  5. Feefee

    Feefee Member

    Thats what i think too its a gr8 instrument 2 play although i was wondering if any1 had any tips on how i can steady my nerves when i am stage as i have some contests coming up and find i am always very nervous before!
     
  6. fitzy

    fitzy Active Member

    I played Bb cornet for 10 years and ended up on principal cornet with my band before I choose to move onto sop. Everyone is different but I found it much easier when I had the technique from my cornet to take across to sop. I played heaps of picc trumpet before I went onto sop too.
     
  7. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    I think the sop is probably a bit like the bass trom :)shock:). You have to have solid technique on the more common instrument before you move onto the speciality. Both sop and bass trom parts can be very exposed so you've got to know what you are doing.
     
  8. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    I would say that whenever one starts on sop, make sure they practice the lower registers of the instrument, much as would be demanded by regular practice on a Bb cornet/trumpet! On those rare occasions that band writing demands a sop part to be played in the middle low registers, I've found that a lot of players play flat. Not because of the instrument, but so much sop writing demands the ability to play high that the lower registers get ignored, practice wise (or it seems that way to me). I often wonder whether a number of sop players (obviously not the best in the business) tune their instruments solely in the upper register!
     
  9. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    Yeah I have noticed this too. It seems to be the penchant of some test piece writers to give the lower part to the sop in a sop/cornet duets too.
     
  10. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Or a trio, like in the second movement of Dean Goffin's Rhapsody in Brass. Sop plays under the solo cornet line.
     
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  12. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    It's always nice to hear a sop player with a good lower register - I presume that it helps up top too (as it seems to on other instruments).
     
  13. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Though I don't class myself as a 'good' sop player, I do work on trying to get the damn thing in tune at all ranges (well, all the ranges I can get!). I think part of the problem is that I've seen a number of sop players use mouthpieces designed to hitting the top register, (very shallow cup etc.) which more often than not, make the instrument sound thin, weedy and out of tune in the lower register. Just my personal observation, though, nothing more.
     
  14. sterlingsop

    sterlingsop Member

    It's healthy musicianship to practice the full register regardless or whether it's needed in a contest piece or not. There's no excuse for sop players playing flat in the lower register - it's a cop out not to practice properly. I see the soprano cornet as an extension to the cornet section, not a section in its own right and the sop player should be able to blend properly with the rest of the cornets. And I speak as a Bb/sop doubler!
     
  15. Feefee

    Feefee Member

    I agree with most of the views on here but i myself have been told not to blend in when i play especially when i need to play loud and very quiet!
    But everyone as different views!
    Im not actually sure though whether i play flat or not i think i tend to play sharp on the bottom register!
    Is that better than going flat!
     
  16. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    I guess it's all about practicing where you are weakest. I have the same dilemma at the moment with mouthpieces. I have one which gives me a nice meaty sound but the high register can be wooly in extended passages and I tire very easily. The other, smaller mouthpiece gives me a nice high register, but I have to change my embouchre a lot to get lower notes. I guess I should stick with the bigger one and work on my high register.
     
  17. fitzy

    fitzy Active Member

    I also see my position as an extention of the cornet section. Sometimes doubling, sometimes riding over the top and in many of the "new" major works being written, as a soloistic instrument all of it's own. It is a very specialised position. You need the technique and sound of a good cornet player and range to burn.
    Control is probably the most important skill with sop. You have to be able to ride right over the top of a band going at full throttle and also whisper away above a nice quiet passage. I was lucky enough to sit in front of a couple of very good sops when I was on principal at my band and I learnt a lot from them when the time came for me to switch to sop.

    If anything, I think that the sop is an underused solo instrument. I have said many times before on this forum that there just doesn't seem to be many "new" solos being written (and/or pulished) for sop. I know Simon Kerwin is writting a lot for Alex to play but I really havn't seen much else in recent times. I hope this will change soon!
     
  18. sterlingsop

    sterlingsop Member

    Having the ability to blend in is one thing, knowing when to stand out and give it some welly is another!!
     
  19. fitzy

    fitzy Active Member

    It's all about experience. It's very hard to tell someone when they should do it.
     
  20. sterlingsop

    sterlingsop Member

    Fair point. It does just boil down to experience and practice in the end, which is very difficult to hand on to someone else. All us experienced Sops can do is give advice and encouragement!

    My own experience got honed to perfection in my last band where the blending/shining thing was crucial. We played Moorside Suite at a contest and had three on the front row (me on top chair + 2 others) and no sop so I played the Bb part on an Eb instrument (transposing at sight) and playing the Eb solos/high bits where the other 2 could carry on the Bb part - confusing and extremely nervewracking to do on stage, but worth it - the buzz was incredible!!

    Not had the baby out of its box for a while.....must cure that problem before too long!
     
  21. IckleSop

    IckleSop Active Member

    I was 13 when i started to play sop, yet i had been playing cornet since i was 6. i recently changed back to Bb and its the hardest thing ive done since im now playing sop more than ever. So one bit of advise stick with one!!!!
    A teacher once told me surely that the student should build up the stamar and the ability before getting onto just a demanding instrument which i do agree with yet be sure he/she knows what they are in for!
     
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