The Baton Is Mightier Than The Sword! The Downbeat Is Near.

Sometimes we feel as if all the hours of practice is to no avail. The late rehearsals and endless scales seem to be falling on deaf ears. Then, something like this happens and we realize that we are involved with one of the most powerful movements on earth…… “music”, and it is all worth the blood, sweat and tears we have shed.

I think it is time that we begin to reevaluate our place in the world as each newscast depicts killings, murders and endless atrocities around the world. We have entrusted the worlds safety to politicians of all parties, races, colors and sex and still we suffer under the hands of power-hungry villains only interested in promoting their own agendas.

Where are the musicians, now that we need a new rendition of “We Are The World”? Where are the film stars interested in saving starving children? Where are the concerned Billionaires who could save a complete nation with one swift stroke of a pen across a bottomless checkbook.

If a single donation from this small child could start a movement as impressive as this video illustrates, just think what semenax trial test gifted musicians around the world could possibly do to save the small, defenseless and less fortunate.

Our government is doing nothing to help the immigrants from Central America as they risk their lives trying to enter our country. Families are being separated in order for the parents to pack up their children and send them alone to another country for the chance they might have a better life.

It is time my fellow musicians to begin thinking of ways to help the less fortunate and pay back some of the talents we have been blessed with. We can no longer count on our government for they have failed miserably and I see no chance of improvement in the future.

If you feel as I do about this growing need for the betterment of mankind, PLEASE, send your suggestions to this post and through a combined effort we as musicians may be able to start a movement through music, to better this abominable situation we are in at this time in our history.

Send in suggestions and we may be able to help at least a few through our musical talents.

The Transitional A/Bb Cornets- Did They Play In Tune? Part 2

How the test was carried out

I decided to prepare a test sheet which would include all of the notes from low B up to and including high C. In order to best represent each note tested, I used three preparatory notes which would give me a well centered pitch to be checked on my tuner. I have included a download of the sheet at the bottom of this post in case you would like to do the same test on your instrument. Originally I intended to test only the A/Bb cornet and my Bach cornet, but due to the fact that I had everything set up in my studio, I decided to test a few of my other horns at the same time. It is a good idea to check your instruments to see where the pitch tendencies are, especially if you have recently changed mouthpieces.

I first recorded the Holton cornet using the Bb slides because my ears were more accustomed to this pitch reference. The equal amounts of playing and resting is very important when doing this test for it gives your lips a chance to rest and each time you begin a new note pattern, you will be fresh and more accurate. By starting in the middle of the range, you are also able to contrast the high notes with the low which will also keep your lip more relaxed and fresh. I ran the test three times and averaged the intonation discrepancies to give a more accurate result.

The included chart represents my final outcome and I feel it accurately represents the pitch tendencies of all three combinations, i.e HGH. Clark Model Holton cornet pitched in both Bb and A as well as the Bach Stradivarius Bb cornet.

Playing characteristics of each instrument

I found the Holton A to be the sweetest cornet I have ever played. The lower pitch would have a great affect on this feeling as well as the smaller bore when compared to the Bach. I had to fight the Bb a little and this might have been caused by the intonation problems. Both the A and the Bb Holton had a very sweet feel to them. The notes seemed to be wider (when I say wider, I mean there was less center to each note). When compared to my Bach, the Holtons were easier to adjust the pitch. The tone quality of the Holton was much more mellow than that of the Bach and the Bach responded more quickly than the Holtons.

The valves on this 1920 Holton were amazing for its age. They were much slower to respond than the Bach because of the much lighter valve springs but the tolerances on the older instrument were exceedingly better than I had expected. This again was caused by the earlier overhaul of the instrument.

The overall construction of the Holton was confusing for the instrument has a first, second and third valve slide plus two main tuning slides. I was also surprised to find that there was no little finger hook or ring in the lead pipe. The instrument was also equipped with a lyre attachment clamp.

Final conclusion from my test

I want this horn!

Download the Test Sheet and results here- Intonation test results and test sheet

The Transitional A/Bb Cornets- Did They Play In Tune?

Shortly after posting my article Why Did The Cornet Become a Second Rate Citizen?, I became more interested in the Cornet and one of the questions which kept me up at night was this- “did the transitional cornets (cornets manufactured as a fundamentally A pitched instrument but converted to play also in Bb), play in tune”? I tried testing a Bb with its slides extended to an A instrument but the intonation was so bad, I gave up the effort. Then a good friend of mine said that he had an A/Bb cornet and would loan it to me for my testing. Little did I know how important his cornet would be. After checking the internet I found that the Holton Company made an exquisite instrument called the Clark Cornet and after closer examination, I realized that the one in my hand might be the best example I would ever come across. The condition of this 1920 horn was absolutely perfect in every way. The valves were excellent, the finish was better than my modern Bach cornet and even the case was in perfect condition and included the original slides, mouthpiece and cleaning rod. It was all there. Even a work order receipt from an instrument repair shop which indicated that the instrument had been rebuilt shortly before the original owner past away. And this is the most remarkable feature of this instrument- THE CASE DID NOT SMELL BAD!. For those of you that have no idea as to what I was referring to in the last statement, find the oldest brass instrument in the oldest pawn shop and ask to sniff the case. It will knock your soaks off. This case has the same fragrance as the first day it was purchased. That was a great plus for me.

A little history of the test subject before we start our tests

The instrument is a Holton cornet with the serial # 58471. After checking the Holton Loyalist Page, I dated it to be manufactured in 1920. Because of the condition of the water key corks, I would guess that the instrument was used very little after the last overhaul. There was a noticeable amount of engraving loss on the bell which indicated to me that it had been re-lacquered at the last visit to the repair shop. As I stated before the valves were in excellent condition which meant this instrument would be the perfect subject to find out how an A/Bb instrument was able, in the 1920s, to play in tune.

Procedure for testing the Clark Cornet’s intonation

I wanted to be as accurate as possible when testing the instruments intonation and decided to use as much modern equipment as possible. I also wanted to take any personal biases out of the equation. My testing procedure was this-

  • Test only an instrument that was warmed up.
  • Begin with the Bb side of the instrument to become comfortable with the horn.
  • Record all of the exercises in the same fashion on each key.
  • Use a tuner activated from the test recordings.
  • Do three complete tests and average the results for a more accurate representation.
  • Begin in the middle register and gradually extend up and down.
  • Do the tests at different times of the day to make sure I was fresh.
  • Use the original mouthpiece in order to duplicate the instrument and its own playing characteristics.
  • After testing for intonation differences, I wanted to list a few playing characteristics which I found important.
  • Finally I wanted to test the Bb side of the test horn with my Bach Stradivarius Bb cornet to see if there were any noticeable differences in intonation as well as playing characteristics of each.

Due to the fact that I have only sketched out my intentions at this point, the final out come may be interesting. Be sure to come back to see how the project evolves.

Why did the Cornet become a second rate citizen?

Photo Credit: striking_photography on Flickr

First I need to apologize to the uninitiated followers of trumpet history. This will not be an entertaining document. This might be boring to the casual reader but for the rest of us who are deeply interested in how our trumpet/cornet history has been developing, I think this is worth reading.

Most of us are trumpet players and the thought of playing a cornet sometimes turns us off. The reason could be that many think that we began on a cornet and when we got good, we switched over to a realinstrument. How this idea ever got started is a wonder to many of us. If I were a craftsman and needed to remove a nail from a board, I would choose a claw hammer. If I needed to hammer out some sheet metal, I would select a ball penne hammer. Making the selection between a trumpet and a cornet should be made for the same reason. One instrument does a job that the other can not. Some might argue that they are the same instrument and that might be the real reason there is so much confusion and argument over the importance and use of each instrument. This past week I have been bothered by one thought which has kept me up at night. Why did we put the cornet on the back shelf and replace it with the trumpet? After searching many sources on the internet, I found three possible reasons which I will share with you.

Theory #1

“Did Louis Armstrong cause the switch from cornet to trumpet?”

In a paper written by John Wallace, entitled The Emancipation of the Trumpet, he traces the history and popularity of both the trumpet and the cornet. I strongly recommend that you read this paper for not only is Mr. Wallace a gifted player and trumpet teacher, he is a very interesting music historian (can there be such a person?). In his paper he traces the loss of popularity of the cornet and seems to think Louis Armstrong had a significant roll in the cornets loss of stature. He wrote, and I agree with his theory, that during Armstrong’s evolution as a jazz musician, his switch from cornet to trumpet could have swayed the whole music scenes preference from the cornet to the trumpet. I have greatly simplified and perhaps misstated his thinking and for that reason you need to read his paper as he had originally written it. Mr. Wallace impressed me greatly after reading his play by play analysis of Pop’s transition via the recordings of that time. I was very impressed with his commentary of individual recordings and the subtle changes in Armstrong’s style of playing, first starting as an ensemble cornet player and eventually evolving into a dominating trumpet soloist.

I have no doubt that a figure as revolutionary as Satchmo could have changed history. On page 76 of Mr. Wallace’s paper, he quotes Armstrong as saying “Of course in those early days we did not know very much about trumpets. We all played cornets. Only the big orchestras in the theaters had trumpet players in their brass sections (….) at that time we all thought you had to be a music conservatory man or some kind of a big muckity-muck to play the trumpet. For years I would not even try to play the instrument”. This quote was taken from the book Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans (London,1955), page 190 by Louis Armstrong. As Mr. Wallace continued in his paper, he compares the early ensemble style to Louis’s more leadership playing style and Armstrongs switch from cornet to trumpet was a logical observation. The trumpet was more of a lead instrument and in the hands of such an artist, it would be logical that Armstrong’s dominance in jazz as well as popular music could have cast a dark trumpet shadow over the once revered cornet. Could it have been possible for one man to change the popularity of such a wonderful instrument as the cornet?  I strongly encourage you to read this interesting and informative paper for yourself same day payday loans.

Theory #2

“Did Vincent Bach aid in the cornets fall from grace?”

Good morning class. You now have another reading assignment. This time we will be reading from A Brief History of the Cornet by Tom Turner. I also found this article interesting for it gives another view of the evolution of the cornet. You must read this for your selves for I might not convey the authors true thoughts on this topic.

I have decided to include some material from his writing. This was taken from page one, last five paragraphs of his paper.

“In 1924 Vincent Bach began making revolutionary mouthpieces too. These had much wider rims that were more rounded in the lip contact area and with deep but rounded “C” shaped cups that were brilliant and cutting but not harsh! Also, and very important for sellers and potential buyers, these rims were so forgiving that even self-taught “lip-mashers” as well as those with less development as players could mash the mouthpiece against the chops and last longer!
By the 1930s most cornets that were made were the “trumpet-bell” type “long models.” With traditional funnel-shaped mouthpieces they were still fairly mellow, though not as gentle and mellow as a shepherd’s crook cornet with the same funnel mouthpiece.
However, most young band players (like today) wanted to be heard above their band and the “C” shaped cornet mouthpieces made the kid’s cornet almost as dominant as if he’d bought one of those newfangled Bach Strad trumpets or Conn 2B or 22B cornet-like trumpets cloned from the F. Besson trumpet!
By the 1960’s the poor cornet was (temporarily) dead! Virtually all cornet mouthpieces sold in America were basically trumpet mouthpiece tops on shorter cornet shanks. Plus, some companies made cornets and trumpets that were basically the same instrument except in the leadpipe area where one would be made for a cornet mouthpiece and the other for trumpet. The long model Conn Connstellation cornet/Connstellation Trumpet are a good example. The cornet’s model number ended in “A” (like all Conns did then) and the trumpet ended in “B.”
The cornet died because, in the end, it couldn’t quite project as well as the cornet-like trumpets we now all play. Both instruments had moved towards each other until the gentle cornet sound was heard no more”.
I have one additional comment to make pertaining to the Bach improvement on the rim contour and the subsequent increase in comfort to the player. When first reminded of the change of the cornet mouthpiece to a more comfortable Bach rim, I was reminded of a story I had heard many years ago. Thanks to the internet, I was able to find verifying information about the year Armstrong was forced to stop playing his horn because of an injury to his chops. I wanted to know if this happened at the same time Pops was making the change from cornet to trumpet and in essence making a change from a “cookie cutter cornet mouthpiece” to the modern Bach rim. My answer was found in the following article.

Rupture of the Orbicularis Oris in Trumpet Players (Satchmo’s Syndrome)

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. April 1982
© The American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons
Jaime Planas, M.D
Barcelona, Spain

“Satchmo was a nickname of the great trumpet player of New Orleans, the king of jazz, Louis Armstrong. We used his name to label this syndrome because apparently it fits with the symptoms he experienced in his lips in 1935 that obliged him to stop playing the trumpet for 1 year”.

When comparing the dates of his hiatus from the trumpet with the John Wallace’s The Emancipation of the Trumpet chronology, it confirms the fact that Armstrong had made the convergence to the trumpet at least seven years before his lip injury. In other words, Sachmo’s switch from the old style V cup and narrow rimmed cornet mouthpiece to the modern Bach mouthpiece could not have caused his lip problem. I found this interesting and have only included it to answer any questions that you might have had about an additional reason for his switch from cornet to trumpet.

Perfect Pitch – Is it possible?

“What is it and how do you know when you have it”?

Absolute pitch (AP), widely referred to as perfect pitch, is the ability of a person to identify or recreate a given musical note without the benefit of an external reference.

Source: Wikipedia

The terms “perfect pitch” or “absolute pitch” are well know to most musicians and are looked upon as great attributes possessed by only a select few. In reality, “it isn’t all that great”! As a member of this so called select few, I can speak from experience that, although at times it can be helpful, the inability to turn it on and off does cause problems.

Advantages of Perfect or Absolute Pitch

Bulls Eye
Photo Credit: timsnell on Flickr

The following activities are made easier for a person with Perfect Pitch-

  1. Centering notes- With Perfect Pitch, you see and feel your notes before you play them and as a result, you are playing in the center of every note, or at least what you hear in your inner ear as being the center of the note.
  2. Recognizing modulations- As you hear the pivotal or modulatory notes begin to change tonality you are led to correct pitch through your inner ear which makes playing the wrong note nearly impossible.
  3. Playing in tune- With a well grounded center to your pitch reference, your intonation can only be affected by constant intonation problems overriding your natural ability.
  4. Performing jazz improvisation- “If you can hear it, you can play it” (within reason).
  5. Playing tunes “by ear”- “If you can sing it, you can play it” (within reason).
  6. Composing music- When you visualize the note on the page, you can hear it.
  7. Harmonizing melodies- While looking at a melody, the harmonic choices can be heard instantly in your head.
  8. Sight singing- Before you sing a note, that pitch is sounded in your head.
  9. Memorizing written musical material- You are led by the pitch, not the written note.
  10. Accuracy on difficult entrances- Unusual intervals are no problem for you hear them before you play them.
  11. Transcribing solos- Every note comes to you instantly. You are only limited by your retention of the sequence of these notes.
  12. Repeating notes played by someone else (imitation)- You can repeat their notes as fast as they play them (within reason).

Disadvantages of Perfect Pitch (Absolute Pitch)

The following activities are made more difficult for a person with Perfect Pitch

  1. Listing to someone out of tune- You have to leave the room. If someone or something is out of tune, I have to leave the room. I first break out in sweat and start fidgeting in my seat. If I remain, withinseconds my throat will tighten to the point that I will literally loose my voice. If they are way out of tune, it doesn’t bother me as much as it annoys me.
  2. Trying to perform with someone out of tune- You develop physical and mental tension.
  3. Playing on an out of tune instrument- Impossible to play if really out of tune.
  4. Listening to any pitched sound  and knowing what pitch it is- Never ending practice.
  5. Having Perfect Pitch in one key and reading music in another- Mind boggling until you get used to it.
  6. Having to transpose notes from a non-concert pitch to a concert pitch- Takes work and is a big inconvenience and at times becomes confusing.
  7. Having developed Perfect Pitch only within the range of your own instrument- A small area is very accurate but beyond your instruments range, it doesn’t work at all.

How I First Learned that I Suffered From Perfect Pitch

My first experience with Perfect Pitch happen during ear training sight singing class in my first semester of college. My professor would give us our weekly melodic dictation exercise and every day I would fail. I was missing every single note on every single test every single week. One day after class my professor asked me to stay after class to discuss my failing tests. He began playing notes on the piano and asked me what note was played. After each of my responses, he told me Buy Levitra I was wrong. This went on for another ten minutes until the light finally went on in his head.

Every note I named was exactly two half steps off. You would think this consistency could have been detected sooner! Then he shared with me the fact that I had perfect pitch, in Bb not concert C. From that point on, I never missed another note in melodic dictation. I eventually recognized the note in Bb and transposed it into concert before I entered my answer.

How I Developed Perfect Pitch in the First Place

My development of Perfect Pitch began when I was in the fourth grade. During those two years….. (That’s another story) I began playing the cornet in Moline, Illinois. I took to the instrument quickly and in a short time I was the featured cornet soloist with the Moline Boys Choir under the leadership of Dr. Fredrick Swanson. Every week our choir would give concerts and on many occasions I would play either Handel’s Let the Bright Seraphim or the Battle Hymn of the Republic. From that exposure I became a playing musician and to prepare myself for this questionable occupation, I practiced every day.

Much of my practice time was give to playing along with stacks and stacks of 78 rpm records. My selection was limited to what was in the house which led me to the memorization of every trumpet solo Harry James, Clyde McCoy or other such players were in my parent’s collection. Fortunately for me, Bix Beiderbecke was also in my collection. The neighborhood was filled every day with the sound of the trumpet greats as well as that of a skinny, red haired cornet player. My “play along with the greats” would last for hours at a time and gradually I became proficient at stealing every note and nuance from my heroes coming out of my HI-FI record player. That is how I developed my Perfect Pitch. Some may question if Perfect Pitch can be learned, to which I would say, “didn’t you read what I just wrote?”

Perfect Pitch is Seen, Heard and Felt

A person with Perfect Pitch goes through the same process every time they read music or improvise a phrase. If reading written music, the first sensation for the player is to visualize the note and in doing so, triggers a sensation of hearing the note in the inner ear or brain, after that, the fingers react by that pitch with a corresponding sensation of what it would feel like fingering that note.  The reaction speed is incredible and completely involuntary. The see, hear, feel sequence is amazing and with practice can be developed. The speed and level of achievement will differ among individuals as in any thing else but improvement can happen.

It is interesting to note that the consistency and accuracy of my pitch recognition is affected by several conditions.

  1. Pitch recognition is best if I’m holding my instrument- When I feel my fingers resting on my valves, my fingers immediately go to the correct fingering of the designated pitch.
  2. If I have been working in the music sequencing program Finale for continued periods of time, I tend to drift between Bb center and concert pitch center.
  3. If I’m physically tired, I‘m less accurate.
  4. If the ensemble I am playing in is tuned off A=440, I struggle with accuracy.
  5. Playing on different pitched trumpets will through me off for a short period of time.
  6. Transposing parts sometimes lessens my accuracy for a short length of time.
  7. I struggle with any notes below the normal range of the trumpet.

Now that you have learned a little more about Perfect Pitch or Absolute Pitch, you might be interested in finding out how you can develop this skill. In part 2 (How to Learn Perfect Pitch) of this posting, I will cover ways to improve your skills in this area. Not everyone has the ability to develop 100% accuracy in this area but you will improve and that is worth a few minutes of practice each day.

In tomorrow’s post, I will talk about how you can develop perfect pitch.

Personal Embouchure Training Device Review

Personal Embouchure Training Device Review
Personal Embouchure Training Device Review

The concept promoted by the Personal Embouchure Training Exerciser is not new for we have known of the basic concept for a long time. This exercise was first shared with me by an old circus cornet player many years ago. Years later it was shared again when I played under Merle Evans in the Ringling Barnum and Bailey Circus. Mr. Evans shared two exercises which had used for building his “chops” while on the road directing the circus.

The first exercise begins with a telephone directory. Select about a half inch of pages from the center of the directory. While bending forward, place the selected pages between your lips and suspend the book with pleasure on the pages from your embouchure. Suspend the book until you feel the “burn” start to build in your lip muscles. Do this a couple times a day and each day select five fewer pages. Gradually the width of the selected pages will diminish and the benefits of the exercise will increase. Continue this removal of pages until you are able to suspend the directory with only one page.

The second exercise is called “the pencil exercise.” Place the end of a pencil between your lips and through muscle compression; support the pencil so that it points straight out from your mouth. Hold that position until the burn starts in your embouchure. Then rest. Do this several times a day making sure that you don’t over do the exercise. This will also build strength in your embouchure.

Personal Embouchure Training Exerciser

This device is based on the previously mentioned “pencil” exercise and should be considered as a third possible routine even though it follows the pencil concept.

When you purchase your new P.E.T.E., the package will include the device and an instruction sheet. It is very important that you read all of the information for there are a few warnings and suggestions that should be followed. You are often told in the instructions that the device is not a substitute for real practice. Good advice! This tool is to be used when you are away from your instrument; it is not a substitute for your instrument. Another suggestion is “do not practice your horn immediately after using the device”. This is also good advice for after your routine on the PETE, your embouchure will be fatigued and any playing on your mouthpiece could cause a problem. The manufacturer suggests that you wait an hour or Viagra Online two before playing your instrument.

Exercise #1 is something new to me and I was very skeptical until I tried it. Whereas the pencil exercise works primarily on the center of your embouchure, exercise #1 develops what the manufacturer calls the muscles used for “power and stamina” which affects more of the facial muscles around the opening of your mouth. The larger end of the device is placed between the teeth and the inside of the lip to execute the first exercise. Place the large end into position and “gently pull the exerciser forward with your thumb and forefinger. You will feel the disk pulling your lips away from your teeth. Resist this action with your lip muscles.” This is obviously an addition to the old pencil exercise for it requires you to use additional lip muscles.

Exercise #2 is identical to the pencil exercise with the exception of the weight of the device. The PETE device is much heavier. When I started working out with the PETE, like most people, I didn’t read the instruction and immediately placed it and began to use it. I quickly determined that the instructions are there for a reason. A few days after starting the exercises, I noticed that the strength in my lip was increasing and at the same time my lower lip was being forced up into my mouthpiece. Strength is good; an excessive amount of lower lip in mouthpiece is not good. I then decided it was a good time to read the instructions. Sure enough, I had overlooked an important suggestion in the instructions. It stated, “Note: It is not necessary to let go of the PETE to support it solely with your chops.” That was the reason I was starting to reposition my lower lip when playing. I was building the strength in my lower lip faster than the upper in order to suspend the added weight of the device. VERY BAD IDEA! I took a couple days off the device and reestablished my original lip position, then began following the instructions. It is very important that you also follow the included instructions.

Bottom Line

“It works, but follow the instruction.”

  • Is it worth the cost? Yes.
  • If money is tight, could I get equal benefits from the telephone book or pencil exercises? I can’t say.
  • Will I benefit from the telephone book and pencil exercises? Yes.

Cost of Personal Embouchure Training Exerciser- $39.50

Cost of telephone book- $0.00

Cost of pencil- $0.02

Select Your Practice Room Carefully

Where do you do most of your practicing? Is it in a band room? Do you slave away every day in a practice room? Is most of your time practicing spent in a small room, a big room, a room with drapes and heavy carpet? Where you practice regularly will affect your playing in many ways.

I have to admit that my practicing is done most often in a wonderfully designed room. The dimensions are ideal for what I want and it was not an accident that my practice room is as wonderful as I could imagine. I was lucky enough to design it myself. From an acoustical standpoint, the length and width as well as the ceiling height is right out of a recording studio blueprint. In addition to ideal dimensions, I have incorporated changeable features which allow me to easily alter the room’s character. The reason I have been so particular of the room’s sound characteristics is that not only do I practice in this area, I also do my recordings here and our trumpet ensemble rehearses here. I love this room but I must get back now to the reason I have posted this material.

My current playing includes the Branson Trumpet Ensemble, a brass quintet, weekly duet playing with a good friend and seven days a week playing a show in Branson. Each venue is different and consequently posses their own challenges. The Branson Trumpet Ensemble performs often in churches as well as schools and auditoriums. We have also performed in massive convention centers without amplification. The theater where I am currently performing holds about 250 people and is on the darker side of the sound, i.e. carpet, drapes etc. Each playing condition has different affects on my playing style. Dark rooms need a little edge and the lively rooms require a little darkening. Now what does this have to do with your practice area? I will explain.

If you confine the bulk of your practicing to a typically small, lively practice room, you will be hindering your development as a trumpet player. Performing in a small, cramped room as most school practice rooms are will limit the amount of sound you are developing. It doesn’t take much air to fill up a practice room. It does take more air to fill up the recital hall you will eventually perform in.

Suggestion #1 Big rooms and small rooms

If you practice only in a small room, find a larger room to do your practicing. It is much better to practice in a large room and perform in a small room than it is to practice in a small room and perform in a large room. You must get used to filling the room and if it is small, you are limiting your potential.

Suggestion #2 Dark rooms and lively rooms

Rooms which accentuate the high overtones will give your sound a bright, sometimes edgy quality and because of this affect on your tone quality, you will tend to back off on your strong playing and thus limit your breadth of tonal control. No one enjoys a shrill sound and in a bright room, you will have to control your sound in order to sound good to your listener. The flip side of this would be the dark room which soaks up your sound to the point that you are drained of energy, trying to get on top of your sound. In les casinos en ligne both cases, your eventual performance can be hindered by the unusual condition in which you are performing.

Suggestion #3 Distant audience and close audience

If you are trying to play a soft passage in a large hall, there are times when your soft dynamics will have to be increased by two levels in order for your audience to even hear your notes. On the other hand, if you are playing a full fortissimo dynamic and your bell is about six inches from the face of your listener, you will have to back off.

Suggestion #4 Stages and curtains

Where you sit on a stage can make a tremendous difference in how you are heard in the audience. The height of the ceiling above your head will affect your projection in every hall. Close attention to your surrounding is very important in your performance in public.

The reason I have listed these suggestions is to illustrate to you the importance of practice area. If you most often practice in a small room, you will not develop the power and projection needed to perform in a large auditorium. If you always practice in a large auditorium, you will find it very uncomfortable when playing in an intimate setting. If you constantly practice in a lively, bright room, you will feel as if you are prematurely wearing down while performing in a dry, dead room.

Suggestions for improvement-

  • Vary your practice area daily. Just the act of changing your practice area will put more excitement into your practice sessions.
  • Try practicing outdoors if the weather and the neighbors will permit. You will never fill up the outdoors and trying to do so will increase your air intake as well as your projection of your sound.
  • Find the deadest, darkest room in your area. Practicing under these conditions will also teach you how to put an edge on your tone. The advantages you will gain in filling your horn will be surprising.
  • Try practicing in a bright, reflective room. The reflectiveness of such a room will force you to adjust to a darker, broader tone quality in order to sound full and rich without the room’s tendency to brighten your sound.
  • Try practicing duets with a friend and instead of sitting side by side, face each other so that you are playing at each other. You will learn quickly how to control your dynamics in a close area.
  • If you have access to an auditorium, spend a couple days a week in that room. Each time you practice in the larger room, place your music stand at different locations and point your instrument in different directions. Become conscious of the different affects the room makes on your sound as well as your dynamics.

In conclusion I would suggest that you begin experimenting with different surroundings and locations when you practice. The reason I became so conscious of this part of my practice routine came about one day when I realized that I had been practicing in a very lively room which made me sound great but that same week I had to perform in the large convention center in town. We had no amplification, the room was huge and the carpet soaked up every note we played. By the end of the performance I was exhausted. So for your own sake, change your practice area as often as you can and never be caught in an inhospitable surrounding.

Winner(s) of video question, Why Does This Happen?

1st. place

Thanks to all who participated in this thought provoking exercise. At last count, we had approximately fifty entries, and over 2,000 downloads concerning this question. Some of your answers were very close and some were way off. I have listed two who will be receiving “free” arrangements of their choice as well as one contributor who submitted an interesting question which may be addressed at a later date.

We had one reader “nail” the correct answer and one who was so far above me, I wasn’t sure if he was correct or not, so we are giving one arrangement of their choice to each for their answer.

“Names have been withheld to protect the innocent”.

Here is an interesting observation-

I have no answer, but a few questions.

First, did anyone else notice at the moment the bell hit the water, the pitch actually dropped about a half-step, before it raised a half-step from the original pitch? Why?

Second, try this: blow air (no buzz) through the mouthpiece into an open horn and listen to the pitch. Next, lightly tap the palm of your hand on the mouthpiece (with no valves down) and listen to the pitch. They are different. Why?

Included below are the two winning entries-

Best Answer and Co-Winner

All I can say is [and this is probably one of the worst “theories” I have ever written, so I won’t post it on The Trumpet Blog]:

I tried the same experiment. However, I think an “air pocket” is present somewhere within the bell, because:

If I started the trumpet at the bottom of the sink, the “air” that was in the bell comes out through the mouthpiece as I push the horn down
[note that I put the horn in the water without my lips already on the mouthpiece]
and the horn is extremely sharp when I first begin playing, since the tubing length was shortened because of the water.

However, after a few seconds of playing, the horn gets flatter, since my playing/”air”/CO2 had expelled the water that had been filling the bell up to a certain point.

Then the note I am playing stays consistently “in tune” when the horn is in the water, due to an “air pocket” or “buffer region genf20 hgh pills” somewhere in the bell.

So maybe it still has to do with shortening of the tube length? Or does that have to do with the “resonant space” in front of the bell [i. e. a horn gets sharper if you put the bell against a wall]?

Okay, I think I confused myself

I’m afraid I may not have explained this well [I have a habit of such], but feel free to ask if you have questions [other than “CDF, how could you come up with such a bad theory?”]
I’ll probably be able to clear this up once someone [who isn’t a quack scientist like me] posts their thoughts


“Notice how your tone sort of breaks up as the pitch changes? That’s because the pitch is actually at the next harmonic flattened to a half-step above the original note. (See”
The phenomena addressed in the second question is due to the manner in which energy is added to the acoustic system. When you blow air (no buzz) through the horn the system reaches critical damping (I think that’s what it’s called — I don’t want to say how long ago college was but Ronald Reagan was president) and the principal resonations occur at the fundamental frequency. When you “smack” the mouthpiece you excite the acoustic system with a multitude of high frequencies for a very short time. Resonations occur at many higher harmonics and decay rapidly, causing you to hear a higher pitched “pop.”
Putting the bell in the water changes the resonance equation from that of an open tube (f=(nv/(2(L+0.8d))), all positive integer harmonics) to that of a closed tube (f=(nv/(4(L+0.4d))), positive odd harmonics only). And no, I couldn’t just remember those equations from college, but they weren’t hard to find ( As the air you’re blowing through the horn bubbles out (thereby venting the closed tube), the water level inside the bell stays constant, so the “L” in the equation doesn’t change.
Notice how your tone sortof breaks up as the pitch changes? That’s because the pitch is actually at the next harmonic flattened to a half-step above the original note. (See
The water acts as a *stop* mute

Thank you who participated and keep watching for more questions about trumpet related issues.