Welcome to Weekly Trumpet Tips:
(1) Playing Sick
(2) Ron’s Tip – Listening
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Tip #1 – Playing Sick
Hey all – first let me apologize with the tips being later than usual this week… I’ve been running extremely hard and somehow landed a small stomach virus. No vomiting, so I was able to keep going, but it is NOT a fun task to try and play a gig when you feel crappy! So – while I am on the mend, this predicament has inspired this week’s first tip for you!
No one is totally immune from catching something every now and again… I am prone to allergies and that alone can wear down your resistance… ad not sleeping and running / playing a ton into the mix and you’re kinda setting yourself up for some potential problems. Unlike having a day gig where the corporation gives you “sick days,” if I call in sick I don’t get paid… not to mention the hassle of having to try and find a sub so I don’t anger the person that has hired me for the gig in the first place! So what do you do? How do you manage?
I think this turns into a greater lesson on conservation of energy than anything else… forcing yourself to play more conservatively – so playing 50 – 60% of your full capacity vs. just letting it all hang out! It also makes you realize how much energy it takes to actually play trumpet! Saturday – I had a show in Houston, drove down – played the gig and drove home in the same day (night really). By the end of the gig I felt like I had walked across a desert carrying a horse! Maynard said it best – when you play correctly, your entire body should feel like you’ve just run a marathon and boxed a prize fight! I did… BLAH!
We all know that not eating automatically reduces your strength… so I relegated myself to banana’s and boiled potatoes. Anything other just wasn’t working too well…
You may also want to talk to the sound engineer when you arrive and tell them that you will be leaning a little harder on the microphone for help than usual. Most of the engineers here really have NO clue as to how to mix horns and we get left in the dust. As long as you remember that, you’ll be in good shape. Seems to me that drums and guitar have priority… then bass and vocals… everything else is just background noise. You may also consider wearing ear plugs so that they can act more like a monitor system… hearing the vibrations from playing can be far better than hearing blaring noise around you.
Get plenty of rest, stay low on the food chain, take probiotics and you’ll recover… the gig must go on!
Tip #2 – Ron’s Tips – Listening
Ron’s Tenore’s Tiips on jazz listening
As we move on and progress each week I always stress to go back to my previous weeks tips to refresh your memory with what we have worked on or talked about in the weekly archives. Last week I discussed the progression of chords and how wimportant it is to know the building blocks to the chords which are the four triads. If you haven’t been watching, “it’s not too late”!, but for future reference you can always go back starting on the week of 9/20 with my tips all the way to the last week of 10/18. We would like to start to improvise soon after you really get to know all your scales and 8 progressions of chords which is the basis for all your improvisational techiques. Remember there are many little ideas of how to improvise from many teachers that have been very successful But what I am giving you is a sructured conservatory process going from A-Z in the world of jazz. So see my last few weeks an take each one ane really try to concentrate on what I wrote. I do also reccomend all the tips given by Keith Fiala here on trumpet resources.
I am giving you the building blocks to jazz .These are rhythm, melody and harmony which I touched on a few weeks back when I talked about diatonic harmony whcih is the chords that are built on each note of a scale.
To improvise all aspiring musicians must learn these fundamentals. but jazz students must assimilate an addtional one and most important one, “feel”. This salient feature embodies jazz’s indefiable tonalities, infinite rhythmical varieties,and complex dictions, growls, blue note shrieks, bent notes, rhythmic figres and so on. Now ultimately all instrumental music takes some form of vocal expression, this is especially articulated in jazz .Example…Compare the similarities of Louie Armstrong’s vocal solo on “HOTTER THAN HOT” on the Columbia label C1185 to his trumpet solo on that same compostion. Or observe how jazz artists often advise young musicians. “Sing your line first, then try to play what you sang”.In my experience this is correct but this takes weeks.”Don’t play anything that you cannot sing or hear “But today many musicians are lucky to have computers. One methiod I sort of agree witth is the you tube play along solos. You can get a feel of reading the jazz solos and possibly get something out of it, But there is a limit to what you can get out of that. There is nothing like listening to a pure solo by Maybe “Louie Armstrong, Clifford Brown, or any of the legendry trumpet or sax players of the great jazz era.. One tune I love is “Body and Soul” or “Skylark” by maybe trumpeter “Freddie Hubbard” or Maybe “Hot House” by Dizzy Gillespie. But eventually you want to pick an easy tune to start when we apply chords to it. But in the meantime i do reccoemnd starting to listen to someone’s solo .preferably a trumpet player,or if you choose a sax player i would say Lester Young, but being we are tryng to familiarize the student on his instrument.Let’s find a good trumpet player. Singing along with the solos not only forces the student to listen, but more importantly ,to grasp it’s “feel”. As students learn to vocalize what they hear, eventually they will carry the jazz feel into their playing.
Remember this is not easy to do and it is done without music in front of you. Just the pure art of listening to these master players and their solos is how you want to start to emulate or copy them. After months of scales and learning triads and chords the first solo my jazz teacher Bob Arthurs gave me was “I can’t get started by “Bunny Berrigan”This tune was a little more challenging but I was an advanced technical player even at the age of 18. So i think i would personally reccomend a new student to start on an easy one to start. i hope this weeks lesson was helpful to you. each week I will come up with somthing effective. Please feel free to respond on my tips;
Ron Tenore of Ron’s Tips
Have a GREAT week!