Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Buzz

Mouthpiece-buzzing, the neglected weapon. 

"Now, Phil, I need you to put your trumpet down for a while and let's play that Mahler on your mouthpiece."  The instructor was the great performer/teacher Arnold Jacobs.  My response was respectful and agreeable outwardly, but inwardly I was greatly annoyed.  I was too impatient to stop music-making and just buzz.  This was about to be a time-wasting exercise in humiliation!

Before I was permitted to attempt any Mahler, he had me buzz Christmas Carols.  And it wasn't even in season! Actually, I knew I would sound bad, and that any listeners would be unimpressed with my pitchless chirpings.  But I cooperated with the master nonetheless.

After a good 15 to 20 minutes of painstaking detail for PITCH, RHYTHM and TONE, we were both much impressed with the results.  He was absolutely determined to make me hear and experience the difference, which is one of many reasons for his fame as an instructor. 

Lesson learned:  If it's sloppy on the horn, it will be even worse on the mouthpiece.  Therefore, perfect the buzz, and the playing with the trumpet will be many times improved.  Even the best instrument cannot make up for shabby input.

Skills developed:  patience, improved listening, and the ability to focus on precision. The refinement that can be acquired by diligent mouthpiece work is amazing and well worth the time invested. 

Note:  It can be argued that there is a slight difference in mouthpiece tone production and actual trumpet playing.  Regardless, we have seen that including good mouthpiece detail always improves the final product. And that's the buzz.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Verdi - "Questa o quella"

This gutsy Act I Rigoletto aria proudly boasts of random pleasure-finding by the tenor, or in this arrangement, the trumpet player.

                                     Click here

Copland Ceremonial Fanfare

Copland's Ceremonial Fanfare was written in 1945 for the the 50th anniversary of the CSO.  It is less famous than his Fanfare for the Common Man, and sets a more solemn and introspective tone.  Whereas the first is noble, brilliant and triumphant, this one is also celebratory and grandiose, but strangely tragic at the same time. 

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 "Act of Faith" from Bugsy by Ennio Morricone. A lament over unfulfilled dreams.


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Friday, August 10, 2012

A League of Their Own

Ah, the Pops! The quasi-sublime is followed by total craziness.  Here is "The Final Game" from A League of Their Own.

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Lonesome Dove

Theme from Lonesome Dove written by Basil Poledouris. An E flat trumpet would have been a good idea here, but no.  C size fits all.  Take a few healthy gulps, be ready for frequent high notes, and just go for it.

Listen here

Thursday, August 09, 2012

CSO Brass - Untouchables

Main Theme from The Untouchables by Ennio Morricone.  What a great piece to jump start blood and air flow!  Impossible to be bored.  Fun stuff.  At least in our own minds, the trumpets were untouchable.  This one's for us, guys!

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Midnight Cowboy

The Midnight Cowboy was sounding a bit tipsy that night, but whatever.  We were having fun.

                           Click to hear

Cincinnati Pops - "Goldfinger"

Vince DiMartino played lead with us on this Goldfinger clip.  Brilliant and energized trumpet work as always!  His playing is powerful, mean, and sweet all at the same time!  Love to listen.  Vince always got us pumped. Great times happened with Vinnie.

Click here to listen

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

CSO Pops Hero

                "The Hero" from The Babe
                     Cincinnati Pops Brass