Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Visiting Your Local Park Bench

Do you have a favorite quiet spot? Maybe it's a secluded park bench, that Adirondack chair on your deck, or a tree stump next to a creek? Wherever it is, the only requirement is that you do not bring your trumpet to your little hideaway. The trumpet only tends to ruin the party, so leave it home and keep this a fun adventure.

What to bring? All you need is three fingers, your tongue, and your music, excerpts, solos, whatever. No equipment is needed, just you, nature and your natural musical instincts. We are going to perfect our input before it hits the horn. You must put quality in before you can expect a quality product. So begin to refine and energize your message. It must be so disciplined and driven that the horn won't have a fighting chance to resist. It will simply have to obey and cooperate with you.

Your goal is to get your tongue and fingers on the same page, or rather on the same note! They are often at odds with each other. They must become the best of friends. Take Fetes for example. That is a great exercise for our basic training. Both the tip of your tongue and the tips of the fingers of your right hand must articulate perfectly together. All four must be very athletic and coordinated. They must march in time. Sit there until you have them working together in perfect rhythm. Fingers are not allowed to fly high over the valve caps, nor are they allowed to flop sloppily over the top of the valves. It's about tips. You may use your left hand knuckles for valves.

Another favorite is Ravel's Piano Concerto in G. The whole piece is fair game for our boot camp, not just the opening. Begin slowly making sure the "T" of your tongue perfectly lines up with the "attack" of your fingers. Hey, good news! You only need to train two fingers for the opening! Only once will your third finger need to join in! Begin slowly, and eventually take this way faster than you'll ever need. How fast can you go and keep your "little attackers" in sync?

While you're at it, train the "K" as well as the "T". You will notice that your K is much more efficient when it is closer to your teeth. T and K must be good friends and must sound alike. Bring your sluggish K up to speed right there in the privacy of your articulation training zone.

Visit your "local park bench" regularly. Nobody will notice your mistakes but you. After a few intense and disciplined sessions, you will be able to amaze your friends. Remember, this is way more productive than a whole bunch of mindless blastathons. Brain beats blow any day.

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