The way “Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion” Should Have Been Written

How many times have we all enjoyed George Frideric Handel’s Oratory, The Messiah and wondered if he had written it incorrectly? I would venture a guess that I may be the only one on the planet. The reason I have even pondered this possibility stems from my preparation for a solo this week at a church. Sunday is Easter Sunday and I decided to perform the aria “Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion”. After searching the internet for a suitable copy, I finally found what I was after and began practicing my part. After three attempts to get the feel of the number, I realized that it was written incorrectly. Each time I played through the solo, I came to the same conclusion- the music is written incorrectly!

As you can see from my printed page, my edited version fits more comfortably with the text than the original. How could this have happened and why hasn’t anyone realized it before now? My first thought was that I had downloaded music which contained the error but after subsequent searches, I found that each copy was the same. In my corrected version, the emphasis on the melody falls at the natural spots and in the original they are off by two beats. After finding this to be true in all of my copies, I decided to ask several of my friends who were more knowledgeable on the subject than I. After contacting these people I found that many did not share my concern and only one was able to give me the answer I was after. No one had a problem with this discrepancy but me.

Because of my determination to perform my solo as easily as I could, I set down at my computer to rewrite my solo part. After the better part of an hour, I finally had what I needed, my corrected version of the aria. Whether you agree with my conclusion as to the correct or incorrect version of this piece is not important. More important would be which version is easier to perform and for that reason I have included my “improved version” for your use. With the changes I have made, you should find it much easier to perform.

If you have strong views on this subject, please write me for it would be very strange that I would be the only person uncomfortable with an important section of the Messiah after all these years.

Download revised solo- Rejoice Solo -revised

Bartering In Tough Economic Times

Few of us remember much if anything about the Depression (the real Depression) and the word bartering may not be one we use today in casual conversations, but you might look into it. By definition the word bartering refers to the exchange of goods or services for other goods or services without the exchange of currency.. This may sound off the wall but as the economy continues to falter, the practice of bartering starts to make more since each day.

Most everyone is faced with increased expenses and in many cases we can find ourselves out of work. Being out of work with few options is a frightful condition and whether you are on your last $100 or concerned with the funds you have saved, bartering may be of help to you in these troubled times.

What do I have to offer?

If you have spent most of your life in the field of music, you surly must have talents worth something. Here are some suggestions for areas you may be qualified to offer-

  • If you are a trumpet player and have taught or even think that you would like to teach lessons, you may have talents worth trading.
  • If you have composing or arranging skills, you may look into trading these strength for something you need.
  • If you are lucky enough to play a keyboard or guitar and can entertain an audience by yourself, you might be able to turn that into services or products you need.
  • Do you have the ability to repair instruments or even clean instruments?
  • Do you have experience in theory which you could teach in a private student setting?
  • Are you able to perform at a sufficient level to perform solos for the public?
  • Are you able to write or even copy music well enough to attract attention of others?
  • Are you capable of quality piano tuning?

If I can get paid for these services, why can’t I do them for money?

If you can get paid for your service, by all means, do it. But as the money continues to tighten, these jobs will be harder to find as everyone continues to cut back on expenditures. When money is tight, one of the first things to go would be something from the list above. Your friends are in the same financial bind as we are and budgeting private lessons or getting the family piano tuned (if anyone still has a real piano any more) is not going to happen. If a parent could get lessons for their son or daughter and not have to pay out any cash, all the better. This is the beauty of the bartering system. You are able to acquire what you want or need and you do not have to spend your money. In addition to this benefit, there will be no taxes involved.

What could I barter for?

Bartering involves the exchange of talents, products or service and knowing what is available is your first step in this process. To get you started, you might begin with the suggestions listed below-

  • Do you need a baby sitter?
  • Do you sometimes need a dog or cat sitter?
  • Would you like to have someone look after your house while you are on vacation?
  • Would you like to have your lawn cut or your car washed on a regular schedule?
  • Is your neighbor a shade tree mechanic?
  • Would your wife enjoy someone else cleaning your home?
  • Would your barber want to trade hair cuts for trumpet lessons?
  • Is your guitar playing friend interested in learning to play the trumpet?

The list above gives only a few examples for each person has different circumstances and surroundings. To identify what would work for you, you will have to spend some time identifying what you need and who might be able to fill that need. The next step is to identify your strengths and match those with persons who could benefit from your talents. Once you have identified the connections, it would be up to you to make the offer. In some cases, you may be turned down but you must realized that we are all under the same financial pressures and if you are able to help your neighbor and they in turn can help you both parties are benefited.

How To Add Emotion To Your Performance

We, as trumpet players are at a great disadvantage when it comes to expressing emotion in our performances. When we listen to a fine vocalist, we are impressed with the passion the song brings but when we perform the same song on trumpet, we fall short. Why does this happen? The difference is in the use of the words. If the same vocalist would substitute numbers or letters for the text, the trumpet and voice would be on the same playing field and I would tend to believe that the trumpet would win in a contest of emotions for we have more power. So how can we tap into this emotional store house so that the trumpet would be able to add more excitement to every performance?

Have you ever performed the Lord’s Prayer on trumpet? If you have, you realize that we can utilize words to our advantage. As the trumpet begins to build in the section “for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for”… the syllables ev-er, you should have everyone in the audience in the palm of your hand for as you were playing the phrase, everyone in the room was singing the words to themselves. On playing the word for..ever, you had just experience the power of the word over the power of the note. I have been using this word power with my students for years and have seen some miraculous changes in their ability to play with more feeling and emotion.

Many years ago I was working with a Jr. High student who performed with the same excitement as wet tissue paper. Everything I ask him to do he did and to no avail. During one of those uninspiring lessons I asked him to go home and write words to the notes he was preparing in his contest solo. The next week he returned and when asked him to play his solo, he began. The sound and excitement was overpowering. I was shocked and amazed and I asked him what he had done during the past week. He reported that he did as I had instructed (which was also a shock) and had placed words where the notes were. I asked him what the words said and with a sheepish grin, he began to describe a fireplace, two glasses of wine, and a couple in front of the fire place. I stopped him at that point and wondered how old he really was. Before substituting words, this young man was only playing notes. After the substitution he began to play with more feeling, and what a remarkable change that was. From that point on I began to instruct my less musical students to use the word substitution method. I use it myself and to give you an example of how this can be done I have selected the following material.

How to get the most out of the second movement of the Haydn Trumpet Concerto.

I am using the first four phrases of the Haydn for most trumpet players are familiar with the music. This movement begins with a slow melody which to me seems to tell a story of sadness and grief. To select the appropriate words you first have to put yourself in that frame of mind. I would begin the story as being told by a single, old man, alone in a empty room. In his hand is a picture of his aged wife who has recently passed away. Stay with me folks, I have not lost my mind, yet.

Now we will build the word picture for our solo.

“Oh, how I miss you my love, my wife. So long we were lovers through all of our lives.

Life has less meaning without you at my side for you are not with me and my sorrow I hide”.

This in no way illustrates fine poetry but you should be able to grasp the intent of the exercise. Emotion can be more completely expressed with words than with musical notes and if words are attached to notes and the performer tells the musical story with these substitutions, more feeling will be imparted.

As an added benefit, by substituting words for notes it becomes much easier to memorize your music. The text tends to pull you along through the story.

This approach as I have indicated earlier has had a great impact on my playing as well as my students performances and I hope it can be helpful in your performances as well.

I Can’t Get Air Through My Horn!

This is a very common concern for many young players and the solution is very simple. If your instrument was working before you oiled your valves and then after oiling them your instrument will not allow any air to be blown through it, you either have one or more of your valves in the wrong valve casing or your valves are incorrectly positioned in its own valve casing.

Solution to your problem-

Check to see if your valves are in the correct valve casing-

Check on each of your valves for a stamped number. Usually they can be found on the upper section of the shiny part that you push into the valve casing. Each valve’s number will tell you which casing it should be placed in. i.e. first valve in the first casing, second in the second and the third in the third casing. If your valves are in the correct casings, then you need to find out if each of the valves is in the correct position within each valve casing.

Check to see if your valves are in the correct position within each valve casing-

Most modern valves have one or two alignment extensions which are to slide into corresponding slots in each valve casing. Sometimes the valve is inserted into the casing incorrectly and the holes in the tubing will not line up with the holes in each valve which causes the air to be stepped-up as you blow into your instrument. The quickest and easiest way I have found to indicate which of your valves need to be rotated is blow air into your instrument as you one by one depress your valves down. The valve that sounds different from the others will be the one that needs to be rotated. Sometimes you may have two or even all three valves incorrectly positioned and you will have to continue the blowing and turning until your problem has been corrected.

This is one of the most common problems beginning player have so remember this solution so that you can help another trumpet player in your section later this year.

For additional hints of trumpet problems, you might be interested in this post-

Help! Emergency Trumpet Repair Tips