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 Post subject: Trumpet/Soprano Help
PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2004 7:37 pm 
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I know this isn't the first/last/only post of this kind on this board, but I thought I'd give it a shot.

I'm an aspiring trumpet player in his third year of HS(yes trumpet, not fortunate enough to march a G yet) who wants to know what it takes to march a trumpet/soprano in a corps. I can play up to double G (second above staff) with reasonable clarity/tone/projection. I can double tongue (kinda at least) and my tempo is fairly decent. Currently I'm playing on a Bach Strad with a 1 mouthpiece (Benge I think, Back maybe, and a 1, not 1C), which was the biggest mouthpiece I could find. I was just wondering if there was a particular area (aside from overall perfection) that is needed to march corps.

Thanks.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2004 8:50 pm 
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No perfection is needed.

No, really, I mean it -- nobody is born good enough to march drum corps.

The thing is, everybody in corps learns how to perform that well. You should see them in their first camps in November or January, or in drill rehearsals in May or June. It's a far cry from what gets on the DVDs in August.

Maybe the only criterion is the ability to march in step with music. Beyond that, you'll do fine as long as you are willing to listen & work.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 6:23 am 
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A burning desire to do it will carry you much farther than better equipment or higher notes. You have to really want it and develop the mental toughness to do what it takes. If you have that, you'll beat out more talented kids with better horns.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 7:50 pm 
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Gotcha, drive I think I have. I've gone from 45th in my district two years ago, to 1st in my district now (top 25 in the State.) Unfortunately, I don't have much musical talent, and I haven't been lucky enough to have lesson since I was 2 like some people. Most of what I do is on my own time, my own way. I've had to compensate for my lack of actual talent with ridiculous amounts of practice, and it's worked out ok so far. Despite all this, there is more than enough room for improvement of course (didn't mean to sound cocky in what I said above.)

Are there any suggestions for mouthpieces? I'm kinda looking for a mouthpiece bigger than a 1, since the smaller mouthpieces don't really build you up as much or as fast.

Thanks again.

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UNC Medical School 09-Whenever


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 10:06 pm 
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A 1 is about as big as you'll ever need for trumpet. Any bigger than that, and you'd be on a mello or alto instead.

I wouldn't worry at all about whether you'll do OK. Have you asked some corps if they've finalized their rosters yet?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 6:05 am 
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I don't want to overstate the case for drive and desire and mental toughness. It really takes a combination of skill, talent (as in ability to learn quickly) and drive. For the top group of corps, with several hundred new people auditioning for a few spots, the staffs will have their pick of people with long suits in all three areas, and then, more desire than others isn't going to carry the day. A look at the early "American Idol" auditions will show you people with much more drive than talent and skill, and they don't get far, right? But in corps where the ratio of auditioners to openings is much more favorable, staffs will happily take a chance on someone who has a bit less skill than their veterans but has the attitude and drive to get to be as good. By the same token, even top corps will pass on somebody who has superb chops and marching skill but has a ho-hum attitude, because they don't want somebody quitting on them on July 20th or even April 20th after a tough series of rehearsals.

You talk about compensating for a bit less talent than others by outworking them. A professional orchestra needs players who can read it once, and then record or perform it live flawlessly. But a junior drum corps will work the same eight bar passage to death with dozens of runthroughs to get it right, only to change it two days later and run it through another several dozen times. They need pluggers with the patience and drive to perfect a performance and then keep doing it until others catch up to them, if need be, so that it's maxed out in the show.

The only concern I have about what you're saying is the focus on equipment. I'm not saying mouthpieces and horns are unimportant, because of course they are a factor, though perhaps a relatively small one. Some guys invest more energy in getting the very best equipment than they invest in practicing, and that doesn't work. Given a choice between an okay player with good attitude and a Strad and a designer mouthpiece, and a great player with good attitude on a 1965 Conn and a Bach 5C, you know who will get it done in auditions. DCI corps generally have the horns you'll use after auditioning, and the equipment you bring to an audition isn't as important as how you use it.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 6:45 pm 
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I agree about having too much focus on equipment. Really, it won't matter at all. I own two tubas, a contra, and use another contra for work, and have maybe six mouthpieces at my disposal, but I don't really care what I've got on my face. If I play well or not, it's not the equipment's fault.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:09 pm 
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I realize that I shouldn't depend on the equipment, but I'm not looking for dependency. Rather, I'm looking for a mouthpiece that would aid my growth as a musician (build tone, endurance, range, etc.) Any thoughts?

Thanks

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UNC Medical School 09-Whenever


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 8:04 pm 
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I don't have any specific advice on this. To me, it's not that important. I'm not belittling your point of view. Different people have different takes on mechanical things in playing brass instruments, and there's no One Way, but to me, mouthpieces are not critical. I did have a trumpet teacher in college who would do what you're asking. He'd listen to students play for a few weeks and then say, okay, I want you to try this mouthpiece. And it helped a little bit. But only a little bit. I don't think even this guy, a dyed-in-the-wool mouthpiece mechanic, would try to offer generic, one-size-fits-all advice, without first hearing what a student was struggling with and watching them work the mouthpiece and air. But if you don't get any better answers here, I can tell you a place you can check where some people probably will have some thoughts on it. In fact, try searching the archives there, because I think the question's been discussed. I would just caution you that venturing off on your own without some professional guidance can be a little risky. You're obviously a very good player and an excellent candidate for drum corps, and getting real gimmicky with equipment, particularly mouthpieces, can change the airflow and sometimes the embouchure around, and not always for the better. I'd hate to see you mess yourself up, and I've seen a few good players do this, especially when trying to do it on their own. You know, they hear about somebody who switched to a custom backbore and suddenly gained half an octave, and they decide that's right for them, but it's not. It's not like they were toast forevermore, but it can deal a setback that can take weeks or months to recover from. (Changing back to their old mouthpiece wouldn't immediately get them back to where they were before the change they made four weeks ago, only to go slowly downhill from there before realizing the new gear was really making things worse-- that was the problem that would take some time and effort to correct.) So go easy, okay?, and avoid the temptation to go too far off the beaten track into exotic mouthpieces that have no general use. Here's a forum where people sometimes talk about stuff like this, and searching can bring up ten year old threads:

http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&l ... rs.trumpet

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 3:37 pm 
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Agreed --

Mouthpiece choice really isn't very important.

When Arturo Sandoval had one of his first interviews in the States after emigrating from Cuba, he was asked the typical question, "What mouthpieces do you use?" He shook his head, not understanding the question. The interviewer clarified, "What mouthpiece do you use for jazz, what do you use for classical,..?" Arturo was confused, wondering why anyone would use different mouthpieces, then held up his trumpet and said, "This is my trumpet, this is my mouthpiece. I use it to make music."

There is no mouthpiece that will enable further growth as a player. Different ones give different sounds, but there's not a single one that will genuinely enable anyone to become a better musician. That's just because there's so much more to making music than that small hunk of lathe-cut brass.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 9:25 pm 
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What the guys are saying is that you're thinking too much... just do it, my drum-corps-wanna-be-friend.

Grab your horn, a mouthpiece, and find a corps with some openings in the horn line. You'll have the time of your life this summer, you'll strengthen your chops and your body, and you'll learn a TON about playing and musicality. You'll also be so tired (in the good way) that you won't think about mouthpieces!

Keep us posted and good luck!!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 3:53 pm 
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Thanks.

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Carolina Crown, Trumpet 05-06'
UNC Medical School 09-Whenever


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 7:01 pm 
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I didn't mean to sound like I was trying to rain on your parade -- I was mainly trying to say that you don't need to focus on equipment at this point.

You've already got the ingredients necessary to march corps, maybe even this year if you can find a corps with a spot. Worth taking a look.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 7:40 pm 
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In college, my horn professor used to say, "use the smallest equipment that gets the job done." The danger in going to a big mouthpiece, like a 1 or 1A, is endurance problems. Sure, you might have a great sound, but over the course of an 11 minute show (or a 12 hour rehearsal) a big mouthpiece will usually wear most people out much faster than a smaller one would. I would say go with the more conventional 3C or some variation of that.

Working hard (and smart) is what this activity is all about. Give it your all and don't hold back. You won't regret it. One of the worst feelings is looking back on something and realizing you could have put more effort into an activity than you did, therefore diminishing your quality of experience. I've had that happen numerous times and it's not a pleasant feeling. Don't let it happen to you.

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 Post subject: Trumpet mouthpiece selection
PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2004 12:38 am 
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TrumpetGuy05 wrote:
Rather, I'm looking for a mouthpiece that would aid my growth as a musician (build tone, endurance, range, etc.) Any thoughts?
Here are a couple of other references on mouthpiece selection:

http://www.schilkemusic.com/mp-2.html

http://canbrass.com/store/yamaha-mthp.html

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