June 29th, 2006 § § permalink
If you find something that will help you as a trumpet player or musician in this post, then a hearty congratulations is well deserved. Nonetheless, this is what is on my mind, and that is what blogging is all about (even lame, I’m-writing-from-under-a-rock trumpet blogging)!
So seriously, did I miss something? When did fast food french fries become terrible? Today I made a rare trip to McDonald’s and ordered one of the standard combos (no, I didn’t Supersize, thankfully). Now, one of the only reasons I would ever want to have fast food in the first place, outside of pure speed or convenience, is to have the fries. But today, the fries simply sucked. How disappointing is that? Then I started thinking about it…
Every time I have gone to any kind of fast food restaurant in recent memory, the fries have been awful. Now, I have always known that fries are terrible for me, but I used to love them anyway. Now they just seem to be plain bad. Obviously, this is likely just a run of bad luck or perhaps a problem with the Miami chapter of the French Fry Chefs of America. But whatever the problem is, it is not a good situation. As an American citizen, one of our natural born — if not God-given — rights is to be able to pick up good french fries wherever and whenever we please. We have populated virtually every busy street corner in the country into an opportunity for french fry consumption, and now, at least for me, that opportunity has become more like punishment.
Hopefully, wherever you are, your situation is much better . Hopefully you can still wheel through the drive-thru, pick up a nice hot bag of crisp on the outside, mushy on the inside, perfectly salted fries, and roll down the road in complete bliss. Next time you do, take a moment to be thankful for the things you have. Some people in this wide world aren’t so fortunate, and it is important to remember that as you drop one perfectly prepared fry down the crack beside your seat.
June 28th, 2006 § § permalink
A visit with my therapist during my ongoing struggle with Altered Reality Syndrome (ARS)…
- So, do you want to talk about what brings you in here today?
- Not really, but then again, I didn’t want to talk about it yesterday either, but I did, so I suppose I will talk about it now too.
- Where were you?
- I was at a golf lesson.
- You talk about your career at your golf lessons?
- No, but a huge thunderstorm came through just as I finished my lesson, so we had to wait it out in his office. We just sat and talked for a while. I asked questions about his life and he about mine.
- So what happened?
- Well, he asked about my background, so I told him a shortened version. The one where I chase my trumpet around the country looking for a job I would actually enjoy. Sacramento, Chicago (briefly on 4th), San Francisco, then Chicago again (this time in the chair). I told him that playing Principal in Chicago had been a long time dream that just wasn’t at all what I thought it would be. I told him that it was an extremely prestigious position in my field, that winning that audition was something like winning the U.S. Open in golf.
- What did he say?
- He said, “Wow! That’s great! Now, was that a full time job in Chicago, or… what did you do to make a living?”
- Yeah, oh.
- So what did you tell him?
- What do you mean?
- Well… what did you do to earn a living in Chicago?
- I think I’m finished talking to you.
- Already? Was it something I said?
- I said I’m not talking to you.
June 23rd, 2006 § § permalink
I play almost daily on a Bb trumpet that I bought for $150.
I have a straight mute that cost $135 that I play maybe twice a year.
June 21st, 2006 § § permalink
Today I am going vintage. I was up at school earlier today and discovered that one of my good colleagues had left an etude book in my mailbox. This book, The Complete Harry Glantz, had been given to him by Harry himself when he used to teach here at the University of Miami (I’m sure most people don’t know it, but yes, Harry Glantz was the predecessor to Gil Johnson here at UM. I guess that leaves me in pretty good — and intimidating — company!).
Anyway, I promptly took the book home, ripped out my Bb trumpet, and have been enjoying some of the etudes from this book. Playing through this material makes me think about that great, old school, mid 20th Century, bravura style trumpet playing that I remember from so many great old recordings. Those guys could flat out play the trumpet!
I will let you know my thoughts about the book itself as I have more time to look over it. In the meantime, to get in the mood, pull out an old Timofei Dokshitzer recording, or better yet some classic trumpet solo or etude and play away. We owe a lot to the great players that came before us. They have illuminated the path for all of us who have followed. Here’s to them…
June 20th, 2006 § § permalink
In the last article I wrote, School’s Out: What Now?, I mentioned that summertime would be a great time to focus on fundamentals. Specifically, I mentioned that it would be good to focus on what I call foundation and skill set exercises. If you don’t know what I mean when I use these terms, you will find it beneficial to read Fundamentally Speaking.
A good basic foundation routine will include some type of centering exercises and some solid strength work. Here is what I did today:
James Stamp – Warm Ups + Studies:
- First Exercise – Lips Alone
- Buzz a Bb on mouthpiece to adjust to the tension needed when buzzing a mouthpiece
- Second Exercise – Mouthpiece
- #3 – Mouthpiece
- #3 – Bb Trumpet
- #4b – Bb trumpet (softly)
Power Scale (2 reps) – more on this another time. You could also do 2-4 times through the Caruso 6 notes exercise.
After that I rest for at least 45 minutes before continuing with the skill set. Today it was actually a couple of hours. Also, my skill set today was slightly abbreviated and I plan on adding some initial attacks and multiple tonguing later in the day. Here is what I did:
Herbert L. Clarke – Technical Studies: Study #2 + Etude
Bai Lin – Lip Flexibilities: #’s 1, 7, 11, 13, 17, and 19.
Chris Gekker – Articulation Studies: #1 (using various styles of articulation)
All of this can be done in 45 min – 1 hour not including the rest period. If you are in good shape then you can also combine these two sessions quite easily. At the end of the day, I will come back to the last part of my foundation routine: strength building. My favorite exercise to use is the One Long G exercise.
Hopefully this will provide some good detail oriented clarification for you. I hope you find success with it. Now it is time for me to go do some practicing of my own. Enjoy!