Dime or No Dime?

On one of the more active trumpet discussion boards this month was a question about inserting a dime in the third valve lower cap to change the sound of your trumpet. Being the skeptic I am and will always be; I decided to test the concept. I played with the dime placed in the bottom of my third valve for two weeks and today removed it for my testing. During the two weeks with the dime in, I neither felt, heard nor recognized any change in timbre, accuracy, response, range endurance, amount of money made or any other factors in…

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Technology in Trumpet Playing- New Section Added to List

This past week I realized that I have posted many articles dealing Technology in Trumpet Playing. Due to this enlarging area of interest, I decided to offer a new section in our index and combine these related postings into a new section called Technology in Trumpet Playing in order to make this material more readily available to our readers. Below I have included these postings and hope this will make it easier for those interested in the technology side of trumpet playing easier to access. See What Your Tonguing Looks Like What is Really Happening in Your Body When You…

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See What Your Tonguing Looks Like

Often we are told to listen to our sounds and evaluate our progress. As I demonstrated on an earlier post we were able to see what our tone looks like through recording software. The same is true when trying to improve other areas of our playing, and in this case we will look at single tonguing and multiple tonguing through the eyes of the recording program Audacity. As in our other visual studies, we will be using the free software program Audacity. which can be downloaded at this site. To understand what is happening when you tongue a note, we…

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What is Really Happening in Your Body When You Play Trumpet?

The arguments go back and forth as to what happens in our body as we play trumpet. Some say the tongue arches to increase air velocity in the upper register while others say it is the lips which produce the faster vibrations and still others say that it is the increased velocity of the air stream but give no reason for the increase in speed. This is a very helpful film which shows us exactly what is going on in our mouth, throat and lips. Watch this and determine what needs to be done to play throughout the entire range…

Scientific Proof- “Tuning to a tuba can be hazardous to your band’s intonation”

It takes courage to try to change the world but to some of us, it is worth it. Listening to out of tune bands could be a thing of the past if only the band world would take note. Below I will discuss the reasoning behind clarinet tuning as opposed to tuba tuning and if you have a strong opinion either way, please send me your views so that this problem can finally be exposed and hopefully corrected. Why Tuning to a Clarinet Works 1. The clarinet’s tuning note (Bb) is in the middle of the pitch range for the…

Multi-tracking- Part 1 Using Click Tracks

We have had many responses to our post describing the use of the Audacity software and for that reason; I thought it would be time to discuss some of the advantages as well as the disadvantages of multi-tracking. Multi-tracking is a technique where several recordings (tracks) are combined in order to augment instrumentation and add to the thickness of a recording. Some use the technique of over dubbing to fatten a sound and some use it to utilize a copied track for adding effects. I will first describe the use of multi-tracking in order to play duets, trios, quartet, etc.…

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Using Technology to Improve Your Trumpet Playing- Playing duets by yourself

Ensemble playing has many benefits including attention to pitch, better concept of time and a more musical environment. The problem arises when, at 10:00 PM at night, you decide to call a friend to come over and play duets with you and your only response is a loud click at the other end of the line. Recording yourself playing one or two parts of duets or trios can be very helpful for it forces you to keep time and play in tune. I have used this practice routine for many years and have found it to be very beneficial. Below…

Using Technology to Improve Your Trumpet Playing- Measuring your volume

Trumpet players are famous for loud playing and a few are capable of playing soft. But what is loud and what is soft when trying to improve your control of your instrument. If you have ever had the good fortune or misfortune of playing trumpet in a rock band, you may have experienced the high end of the decibel meter. If you have ever played trumpet in a small chamber ensemble, you will have participated in the other end of the scale. The loud volumes usually can be found in the Music Building at the University of North Texas and…

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Using Technology to Improve Your Trumpet Playing- Using an Audio Recorder

The use of an audio recorder may seem common place for most for we all have been or have recorded ourselves at one or more times in our lives. Usually we are not happy with the playbacks but that’s life and even what we dislike can be helpful to our development. A straight record and playback is normal but what I would like to suggest are a few tricks which will enhance your playing ability far beyond the simple, record/ play back level. Your recording can be done with various pieces of equipment. I’m sure many of you would not…

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Using Technology to Improve Your Trumpet Playing- Using a Metronome

A Metronome is defined as “an instrument of the devil which speed up in difficult passages and slows down in easy passages”. To prove my point, try playing the last page of W. Brandt Concertpiece # 1 with a metronome and you will realize how much a metronome can increase in tempo. And on the other hand, play Lil Darlin’ by Neil Hefty and observes that after only eight measures, the same time keeper has slowed down. Interesting phenomenon isn’t it? Keeping a steady tempo has always been a challenge to musicians and solving this problem requires patience and regular…