Showing posts with label Brass Instruments. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brass Instruments. Show all posts

Friday, October 27, 2017

A Guide to Buying a TRUMPET

English: Trumpet bell
Trumpet bell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Picking the best trumpet can be a difficult task. Most parents looking for a trumpet have no idea what to buy. I've been a trumpet teacher for twenty years and a band director for the last fifteen. I've played on almost every trumpet available today, and many of them are great instruments while some are far from it.

Trumpets come in different levels. There are the beginning or student trumpets, intermediate trumpets, professional trumpets, and custom trumpets. There are also some instruments that should only be made into lamps or put on walls as decoration because of their inferior quality. The price gives them away. If you buy one of these, you're most likely throwing your money away. Be very careful.

Most students start out at the beginning or student trumpets. Student trumpets are generally built with less hand-fitting and tougher materials. They are usually built to withstand normal student use, and they should last through the first few years of the band. Don't just buy a cheap trumpet. Some of them are so poorly made, they will hold a student back.

Intermediate trumpets come next. These instruments have some of the professional trumpet characteristics, and they do perform a little better than a student trumpet. They are often silver plated. They will always have a first valve slide saddle and third valve slide ring so they can be kicked out. While these trumpets don't cost as much as a professional trumpet, the price can be close. Generally, it's better to go ahead and purchase a professional trumpet when it is time to purchase a "step-up" trumpet.

Professional trumpets are truly fine instruments, and most professional trumpet players perform on them. I received my first professional trumpet when I progressed to high school band, and I believe most students that work hard should move to a professional trumpet at that time. These instruments will have slides that all work well right out of the case. They are hand fitted throughout the instrument, and they play as well as any high school student is able to play. These instruments will last through college, and for players that don't perform for a living, they will probably last the rest of their lives.

Custom trumpets come next. These are the best instruments available today. True custom trumpets are hand-made throughout. While these are truly incredible trumpets, they are not necessary for most high school students. If you want to have the best trumpet available today though, buy one of these.

Friday, October 20, 2017


Enregistrement des cuivres de l'Album des Dood
Photo  by Christophe ALARY 
Are you a brass player that has heard an album or a live performance by one of the giants of our instrument and been totally amazed at how they possess a complete command of the instrument?

Such giants as Maynard Ferguson, Wayne Bergeron, Bill Watrous, Slide Hampton?  It's not that these individuals were born with great skills and never had to practice, yet more over, they were driven by the desire to play.  Along with that desire comes support.  Support from family, friends, peers, and authority figures such as band directors.

What is essential for all beginning players young and old is a strong support system.  Family, friends and teachers must all rally around the student to help them believe in themselves and in what they're doing!  Statements such as... ya, ya, that's good but can you do that somewhere else is not exactly a supportive frame of mind.

If you could go back in time and interview the greatest players, you would find that they were strongly supported by family and cohorts.  Maynard Ferguson is a prime example of this!  His parents were both school principals in Montreal Quebec Canada, and as he and his brother Percy were growing up, they were strongly supported in everything they did.  Whether it was sports or music, they were rallying to their kids support.

As Maynard grew into his early teen years and showed a knack for trumpet playing, his parents nourished this talent by not only buying him the recordings, but taking him to the performances that came through.  From Duke Ellington to Dizzy Gillespie, they were there.

The next thing a young player needs is the right tools.  Teachers who don't really know what they're teaching can be a serious detriment to a young player and his growth.  The right approach and the right books as well as specific instruction on how to perform each exercise is vital!

If you are a player who did not exactly experience either of the above, it's not too late.  Trumpet players are most likely looking for that Maynard type range and power.  The high notes that make the audience just sit back in total amazement and wonder - does that hurt?  Is that some freak trick?

High notes are nothing more than just really fast air being forced through a very small hole.  NOT large volumes of air, but rather extremely compressed air moving rapidly through a small hole between your lips.

Sounds easy, doesn't it?  It is once you gain the right concept.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

TRUMPET, Trumpeter & Warm Up Woes

Are you one of those trumpet players that pulls the horn out of the case, jams the mouthpiece in and just starts playing?  Or are you a trumpeter that carefully plots out the next hour or more for a warm-up routine that requires you to perform something of a circus act musically?

Most players who have been in private trumpet lessons have had an instructor sketch out a warm-up routine for them.  My question is - do you know why you're doing what you're doing?  What is your warm-up supposed to do for you?  It's certainly not supposed to make your lip swell up like a balloon or feel stiff as a board by the time you're done.  In fact, your warm-up routine should help you to relax, breathe deep naturally, and help to center your pitch, sound, control, and ability to play in all registers easily and comfortably.

If you're not already doing so, you should think about what your playing needs and goals are for that day.  It should also be taken into consideration as to what yesterday was like.  Was it strenuous?  Was it light?  Did you play at all?  This all can impact how long it will take you to warm up and what you should be doing for a warm up.  Something again that most players don't consider.

Below is a routine that I use during a typical warm up... most days I play for 4 or more hours and usually push pretty hard... so my warm-up starts VERY easy.

*  I start with long tones very soft... usually starting on a 2nd line G - how long depends on how my face is responding to the horn.  Usually I play this note on / off for about 3 to 4 minutes.  I focus on my breathing during this process to help get my air moving.
*  Once I have the note responding without airing out or sputtering, I will perform Clarke Studies #1... chromatic scale patterns (7 notes up / down).  Again, performing these softly to help relieve tension and not cause any swelling.  This is also performed on / off to allow ample rest during this warm up process.
*  Once I've completed exercise #1 from the Clarke book, I will either play exercise #2 or I will start running jazz patterns that don't take me any higher than a G on top of the staff.  Again, resting every now and again...
*  After resting from my last phase, I will run exercise #9 out of the Clarke book... this is extended chromatic studies.  Once again, I focus on keeping my volume down so I don't add tension to my lips, and I can use my air to reach the upper register notes.  Most players run into big trouble here because they start using lip tension vs. holding the lips close together and pushing the air speed.
Please note that I am allowing for rest in my warm up - just as much as I'm playing.  This is VITAL!  If a trumpeter does not allow for rest during their warm up process, strain and tension can start to hinder their playing.  This causes frustration, which creates a vicious circle.

Monday, August 21, 2017

FLUGELHORN - Music-Instruments of the World

Flugelhorn - Music-Instruments of the World

Thursday, August 3, 2017

How to Play the TRUMPET - 6 Tips For Playing Like a Pro!

The trumpet is a magnificent instrument which produces a beautiful tone. It's versatile and can be played in many different types of bands, including orchestras, pop bands, and big bands.

However, mastering how to play the trumpet is a long process requiring immense dedication and passion, but having played the trumpet for over twenty years, I think it's well worth it!

So, to help you out here are six top tips for propelling your trumpet playing and to help you learn how to play the trumpet like a pro...

Photo  by   oddsock 
1. Warm up by buzzing just with your lips and then with your mouthpiece. This really helps build strength without causing lip fatigue which can happen if you just practice on your trumpet.

Do the following just with your lips and just with your mouthpiece:

- Buzz a note for a count of four, and then continue up the scale one tone at a time. You can vary this with different exercises you know or by buzzing louder of softer.

2. Rest for as long you play. This is so simple but players rarely do it. This helps your lip muscles recuperate quicker and means you can play for longer without getting tired.

I would recommend regular mini breaks rather than playing for 10 minutes and resting for 10 minutes. Practice an exercise or a part of your music and rest for as long as you played. While resting you can practice finger patterns on the valves or just stretch out your lips.

3. Practice with a metronome. Again, this is a very simple idea that is rarely adhered to.

Most music you play will require you to play in time and doing this really helps you to regulate your internal metronome. It also helps when practicing exercises or difficult musical passages as you can gradually build up the speed you play them at by increasing the speed of the metronome.

4. Practice your pedal notes. Pedal notes, for the purpose of this exercise, are all the notes below middle C. By playing the low register you build strength and range with less pressure on your lips. This means you can play for longer.

When you play the notes below bottom G you will need to create the notes using your lips and the fingering you would use for the octave above. This is great for improving tone and intonation.

5. Play without taking the trumpet off your lips. This is a fantastic way to build strength and endurance as well as learning how to control your breathing.

To do this, find an exercise that you can play continuously without stopping. Continue playing for 5mins non-stop, then 10minutes then for as long as you can at the end of every other practice session.

When you're gigging, especially in Big Bands, you can be playing for anything up to 2 hours with few breaks so this is a fantastic way to practice for these gigs and build your chops!

6. Plan your practice session. This will make a huge difference in the effectiveness of your practice while learning how to play the trumpet.

First, make a list of every element of playing the trumpet, eg tonguing, breathing, and tone, then before each practice session, list what you will practice during your session. This will always ensure that you regularly practice all the different elements, it will keep you focused and make the most efficient use of your time while practicing.

That's it, obviously, there are many more skills to learning how to play the trumpet but these have made a huge improvement to my playing and I hope they do for you too!

It takes some discipline to integrate these ideas into your practice regime but do it for a month and it will become a great habit that will feel like you've always practiced this way!

    Ingram Sanders is an experienced trumpeter who has played for over 20 years.

     Article Directory: EzineArticles

Thursday, July 20, 2017

TUBA - Music-Instruments of the World

The Tuba

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Types of TUBAS

As you may or may not know, several types of tubas exist. Each of these has its own tonal properties. Having so many versions of the same instrument can be confusing to anyone. I am writing this guide as a general reference when purchasing or identifying one.

[Man playing the tuba.]
Man playing Tuba - Photo by New York Public Library
Contrabass Tubas
Contrabasses are the most common type of tuba today and are the lowest-pitched. There are two types of Contrabasses, pitched in either Bb or C.

BB-flat Tuba
The BB-flat Tuba is the most common tuba in the U.S. today and are the largest standard tuba. These are used by many school bands because most other brass instruments used by high schools are also keyed in Bb. They are also used by some professional players. BB-flat tubas are often designed to handle the rough treatment of young tubists and sacrifice responsiveness and tone as a result.
BB-flat tubas are the contrabass of choice in German, Austrian, and Russian orchestras. They are the standard for use in concert and symphonic bands.

CC Tuba
CC tubas are build a whole step up from BB-flat models. They lack the lowest notes of a BB-flat tuba, although many add extra valves to make up for this. In the US, most professional tuba players play C-pitched tubas. These tubas are easier to play in the sharp keys, allowing them to work better playing in an orchestra (String parts are often written in the sharp keys to make them easier for them). They are build more for responsiveness and not durability.

These tubas are typically the next step up for advancing tuba players, at least in the US. However; they are not a necessity. A good BB-flat player can play anything written with a CC tuba in mind.

Bass Tubas
Bass tubas are smaller than the Contrabasses and naturally play higher.

E-flat Tuba
Eb Tubas generally play an octave above the contrabasses in a brass band. They are somewhat rare in the US, although in the UK they are the standard orchestral bass. These widely used in bands in the late 1800's and early 1900's. According to one source "nobody remembers why"...

F Tuba
F Tubas are used mainly by professional players for solo works and to play higher parts in some older pieces. They are the standard orchestral tuba in much of Europe, with BB-flat or CC tubas used when additional low end is needed.

Tuba Variations

The Sousaphone
Attributed to and named after John Phillip Sousa, Sousaphones designed for marching. They wrap around the body, resting on the left shoulder and the bell faces forward to project sound into the crowd. They are most commonly pitched in Bb and have just three valves, although some are in Eb. The originals were in C. Just watch out for the wind!

Bell front (recording) tubas
These tubas are upright, but have bells facing forward to project the sound.

Contrabasses (Marching Tubas)
Often seen in DCI competition (Drum Corps. International), these resemble upright tubas but rest on the left or right shoulder, bell pointed to the crowd. These are more awkward than sousaphones and are not common in high school bands. Some upright tubas can be converted to marching tubas with special lead pipes that are interchangeable. This saves bands with low budgets the expense of buying a tuba for each season.

As you can see, many types and variations of tuba exist, each with their own purpose in a band. Hopefully this guide will shed some light on these instruments.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Do You Want to Learn the TROMBONE?

The trombone is a member of the brass family and the horn and come in different sizes. The most common ones are the medium sized or tenor trombone and larger sized or bass trombone which are both pitched in Bb. They produce heavy sounds which are lower than the trumpet and are used when the orchestra is playing loud sections or in harmony with the higher horn and trumpet parts.

Trombones have a cylindrical shaped tube and a cup shaped mouthpiece and are related to the trumpets. But instead of valves which a trumpet has, a trombone has a moveable slide which moves in and out. A player will stop the slide at any of the seven positions to get the range of notes available to produce. At any of the positions a series of notes can be produced by tightening or slackening his lips. The notes produced are a series of natural notes called harmonics. When the slide is pulled out completely, the range of notes which can be produced will extend downwards for six semitones.

Trombone - Photo: Wikimedia CC

Like other brass instruments, the sound of the trombone is produced by blowing air through pursed lips producing a vibration that creates a standing wave in the instrument. When the player moves the slide out it extends the length of the air column and lowers the pitch.

Trombones are played in a variety of situations like orchestras, military bands, jazz bands, dance bands eg the big band.. <br>Orchestras generally have two tenors and one bass trombone. The other groups having varying numbers of trombone players.

Let's take a look at two well known trombone players. <br>1. Slide Hampton (Locksley Wellington "Slide" Hampton ) was a famous American trombonist, composer and arranger who played all around Europe after he was in his dad's band, named Hampton's Band. He toured with them a lot and is probably the best role model for starting trombonists. Slide Hampton was born in 1932.

2.Tommy Dorsey ( Thomas Francis Dorsey ) was a great American jazz trombone player as well as a trumpeter, composer, and bandleader of the Big Band era. He had a smooth-toned trombone playing style and was known as "The Sentimental Gentleman of Swing". He is famous for The Spell of the Blues and The Boogie Woogie. Tommy Dorsey was born <br>November 19, 1905 and died November 26, 1956.

You now know that the trombone is a brass instrument of varying sizes and can be played in a variety of situations. You have been given examples of two well know trombonists which could look up on YouTube and see if the sound tantalises your taste buds. Then you need to make the final decision; Do you want to learn the trombone?

Monday, June 19, 2017

TRUMPET MOUTHPIECES - Always Keep a Spare!

What should be the very first point of order that you think about when getting your trumpet ready to play - most real musicians will tell you to consider trumpet mouthpieces. That's right, you wouldn't be playing your trumpet if the mouthpiece was not in perfect operating order. Your trumpet mouthpiece get lots of abuse, isn't that where all of the sound is formed in the first place? That abuse, or heavy use can translate directly into very heavy wear and possible outright destruction. Always be prepared, and always carry a spare or extra mouthpiece in your trumpet case with you wherever you go - I guarantee that you'll never regret the decision!!

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Trumpet Mouthpiece - Photo  by    cmelnychuk 

It's a fact that these days there are a lot of knock-offs or imitation trumpet parts on the market. They're made in low cost countries where the labor is dirt cheap, and since the manufacturer isn't worried about protecting his or her name brand, substandard materials are often used, in addition to poorly trained employees to form and assemble those materials. What this means to the end user is that a poorly made mouthpiece is bought because of the astonishingly low price - and not the overall value.

Possible your next question might be what trumpet mouthpieces to get, how many should you have and which brand should you choose? Even if you don't know know a single fact about this topic,my advice to you is clear; never buy the absolute cheapest mouthpiece available. As you'll probably discover some time after the purchase, there is most likely a very good reason for the low amount and, aside from obvious motives like product damage or some thing similar, there are things you just can't take into consider, such as inferior materials which don't always make themselves known until further down the road. There may be a case of poor assembly - that always worries me, because I'll never know what the problem might be until I actually utilize the mouthpiece. By then, it's probably too late, and I may end up having to spend more money to get a top-quality mouthpiece, the one I should have bought initially, if I was using my head instead of just trying to be cheap.

There are plenty of great trumpet mouthpieces that you won't have to spend excessively for - for example the Jet-tone DS GOLD RIM or a Schilke Trumpet Mouthpiece, or how about a TRUMPET MENDEZ #2 MOUTHPIECE. Not one of these excellent mouthpieces cost more than $60, they also can be delivered directly to your doorstep in under a week's time! How's that for convenience - and value?

Don't purchase inferior, imitation trumpet mouthpieces, there are tons of top-quality, affordable mouthpieces that can provide you years of service for only a couple of bucks more than those nasty substandard pieces.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


History of the Flugelhorn

It is widely accepted that the flugelhorn was derived from the bugle design by Michael Saurle in the early 1800's. Flugelhorns were named from the German word Fl├╝gel which means wing or flank in English. In the beginning, flugelhorn was primarily used on the battlefield to organize the flanks in an army.

Flugelhorn - Photo by aaltonen 

Appearance and Use

Flugelhorns are a member of the horn family and a brass instrument that resemble trumpets but with a wider bore. The appearance of the flugelhorn has also been compared to a cornet, although the trumpet is probably a closer comparison. The flugelhorn traditionally has three valves and uses the same piston valve system of other brass instruments. Four valve and rotary valve version exist but they are not the norm. Some modern flugelhorns include a fourth valve as this is becoming more popular. Today the flugelhorn is used in jazz, brass band, and popular music applications. The tone is considered to be fat and mellow compared to a trumpet. The actual sound probably falls somewhere in between a trumpet and a horn.

Choosing a Flugelhorn

Resources about the flugel horn are hard to find as this is a truly unique brass instrument. If you have a local music instrument store that happens to sell flugelhorns you are lucky and probably want to try one out there. For most people, the best option for locating a flugelhorn will be on the internet. Flugel horns are expensive compared to other brass instruments but you will find that they are worth the price for the true brass instrument player due to the unique sound and playing qualities. It is possible to find good deals on the flugelhorn if you use the proper resources on the Web.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Getzen TRUMPETS Have Visual and Sound Appeal For Marching

When marching band season rolls around, it's not enough just to sound good, band members are putting on a visual show, too and most marching band musicians take pride in the look of their band instrument. Getzen trumpets not only sound great, they look great, too! For those trumpet players who switch to a flugelhorn or baritone horn for marching season, Getzen has them covered as well.

Getzen offers an extensive selection of trumpets. Student trumpets fall into the 300 and 400 series. One of the more popular student trumpets is the 390. They're workhorses, are sturdy, and most importantly, make great music. For the more advanced student, the 490 has a red brass bell, and its distinctive look will draw plenty of attention at parades or football games. The Getzen Capri 590 is an intermediate level trumpet that is available in silver plated finish, as are all Getzen instrument.

Getzen doesn't leave the committed trumpet player behind who goes professional, either. The Renaissance line is based on the prestigious Bach Stradivarius trumpet line. This has a more symphonic sound. Another line of professional Getzen trumpets is the Eterna series: the Eterna I, Eterna II, the 700, the 900, and the 1200. The Eterna was the instrument played byTonight Show bandleader Doc Severinson for years. The Eterna 700 is the most affordable Eterna model - suitable for the amateur who wants to get his or her hands on the best trumpet without breaking the budget. The Eterna 700S is a silver plated option. For those who turn pro or those who only want the very best, Getzen makes custom C and B-flat trumpets as part of their Edwards handcrafted line of instruments.

Trumpet players know that having a great sounding, great looking trumpet like a Getzen is a confidence boost that helps them play their very best.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Correct Breathing for WIND and BRASS PLAYERS

Details of a wind instrument.
Details of a wind instrument.
(Photo credit: 
A correct deep breathing technique is essential to playing any wind or brass instrument, but there are many misconceptions surrounding the way to breathe and what parts of your body are doing the work and what you should be doing in order to support the airflow.

And when I say support I mean a way of producing a constant and equal airflow that will produce the best sound on your instrument. A good analogy would be blowing the flame of a candle and keeping the "bend" of the flame constant as you blow across it rather than one quick breathe which blows the candle out.

Personally I was always told to support using the diaphragm, but actually this is impossible as the diaphragm deflates as you breathe out.

So what does the diaphragm do...? the muscle contracts and pulls downwards when we breath in, and returns to its original position when we breath out. Obviously this is a difficult theory to teach because we don't have X-ray vision and can't see what's happening inside our bodies while we teach someone or are playing our instrument. And this is where the misconception arouse from. The diaphragm really isn't that involved in breathing when playing a wind instrument, it's actually an involuntary muscle, we have no control over it at all! So how you can you possibly support using your diaphragm??

The truth is that the diaphragm is used on the inhale and the abdominal muscle group is used to ‘support’ the air on the exhale.

To find out if you are breathing correctily place your hand on the 'spongy' feeling area just below the V of the rib-cage. This is essentially the top edge of the abdominals. Then simulate a short, loud cough, or laugh. You should see and feel the muscle jump outwards along with the sound.

Next take your instrument and play a note that only requires one hand if possible (G on the sax, low C on the clarinet, middle C on the bassoon, etc.) Then place your free right hand back on the abdominals, pushing in slightly, and feel what it does when they play the note. They should feel the muscle pushing steadily out against the hand.

Hidden Danger

There is one thing you have to be aware of when learning this deep breathing technique!

When you push with your abdominal muscles your entire body tenses up and this tension particularly affects the throat and jaw, closing them off so that the air does not get through properly and you get a strangled sound.

So you need to be aware of being relaxed everywhere but your abdominal muscles. This may take some practice.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

TUBA - Music-Instruments of the World

Tuba - Music-Instruments of the World

Monday, February 13, 2017

How to Play the TRUMPET - Learning a Brass Instrument!

A trumpet, foreground, a piccolo trumpet behin...
A trumpet, foreground, a piccolo trumpet
behind, and a flugelhorn in background
(Photo credit: 
Learning trumpet can be a very rewarding experience, it can also be one very frustrating experience as well if the student doesn't have a good teacher showing them the specifics of how to produce sound.  The most basic and fundamental part of playing any instrument is creating sound.  For a drummer, it starts with learning how to hit the head of the drum, the piano player - how to position their hands and which finger to use, etc.  But neither need to learn how to produce these sounds... the instrument does it for them.

Brass players are not nearly as fortunate!  Each player must start by getting their lips to buzz.  This is essentially blowing air through their lips and allowing the lips to vibrate.  Sounds simple, and it is... but it's not easy!  Especially if someone isn't given clear instructions on how to achieve this!  What I tell all of my beginning students is to think of keeping your lips in a relaxed closed position and to think about a kiss or a puckering action from the corners only!

Once I have a new student "free lip buzzing" (no mouthpiece, no horn), then we can move on to just the mouthpiece.  What this does is suddenly makes things easier for the student because the mouthpiece offers more support for the lips and a lot more resistance for the air.  Once we've achieved a good buzzing pattern with the mouthpiece, we then move to creating actual notes with the horn.

I believe that by giving the student a good solid foundation to fall back on, they will not be hindered by or plagued with embouchure problems in the future.  They will have a solid foundation for playing based on relaxed lips that are free to vibrate and air being pushed from the abs!

    Keith Fiala / Anna Romano
    For private trumpet lessons, ways to overcome range or sound problems, or to get a solid start on playing a brass instrument, please visit Brass Player Solution to contact Keith Fiala.

    Article Directory: EzineArticles

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Most Commonly Played Musical Instruments in MARCHING BANDS

There are numerous and variety of musical instruments played by the members of a marching band. Most commonly played musical instruments in a marching band include brass, woodwind and percussion instruments.

These instruments can be easily carried and simultaneously played by marching band members while marching.

The Boy Scouts Marching Band.
The Boy Scouts Marching Band. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Brass instruments of a marching band include Cornet, Trumpet, Tuba and French horn.

Cornet is similar to a trumpet which is usually pitched in the B flat. Cornet is a transposing instrument that features valves and it is extensively used in brass bands.

Trumpet is also a transposing musical instrument that has underwent numerous changes with passage of time. Trumpet was initially used for the military purposes to declare danger and today it's used band members of Jazz bands.

Tuba is a deep sound producing musical instrument and regarded as largest instrument in brass-wind family.

Main feature of the French horn is that it produces a unique musical effect with bell point backwards.

Woodwind instruments in a marching band comprise clarinet, flute, oboe and saxophone.

Clarinet has undergone numerous innovation and changes since its inception. As a result of unique sound it is extensively used in band performances.

Flute is a man-made musical instrument and initially the flutes were made up of wood.
Oboe is one of the musical instruments and has only two keys. This instrument is used in orchestras and military band performances.

Saxophone is available in variety of types and sizes. Baritone sax, alto sax and tenor sax are the most commonly used saxophone varieties in musical bands.

Bass drum, cymbals, glockenspiel, timpani and xylophone are the percussion instruments used in a marching band.

Bass drum is a percussion instrument regarded as largest members in drum family.

Cymbals are shaken, scraped or struck percussion instrument with or without pitch.

Glockenspiel is the best example for a tuned musical instrument.

Timpani is a kind of musical instrument that emerged from the kettledrums.

Xylophone is a variety in percussion instruments that has resonating metal tubes and supported extensively by the frames.

Most of these instruments can be practiced by enrolling in your school's music class. Most teachers allow students to practice these instruments during class. Try practicing each instrument before choosing which one you will be using full time. It's important to know the ins and outs of each instrument, which will help with your decision. Visit your local music class for more information.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

How to Play the TRUMPET - The Business Is the Buzz

Trumpet player
Trumpet player 
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some musicians, like guitar players, have it easy. They can make a great tone just by plucking a string. In fact, anyone who plucks Eric Clapton's guitar string will produce a tone nearly identical to Clapton's own. But if you want to play the trumpet, making a good tone is a little more complex. Trumpet players spend their careers practicing and focusing on their tone. As a beginning trumpet player it's important to recognize this fact and be diligent, yet patient in creating good tone.

Good tone is an essential, often elusive component of trumpet playing, and is best achieved by learning correct technique from the very beginning. One reason many trumpet players struggle with their tone is because of the way they learned to form their embouchure, or muscles of the lips area when playing. A poor embouchure set easily becomes habit, and the longer it persists, the more difficult it is to change. We'll take a look here at how to form your embouchure to produce a nice, clear trumpet tone.

A short disclaimer here - learning to buzz and produce a nice trumpet tone by reading about it is like having someone describe the colors of a rainbow. The concept may come through, but the real thing needs to be experienced. That's why a good trumpet teacher or quality video lesson is recommended. Resources are available below. Now on with the details...

The way you produce a sound on the trumpet is by buzzing your lips together. The buzz is a concept that might be illustrated by going back in your memory, recalling a time when you were about 5 years old. Maybe you were frustrated or angry and you wanted to spit. You went - "ppft". Not an adult type of spit with lots of fluid and maybe a loogie (okay, sorry about that), but just a lips-together, relatively dray "p-p-p-p-p-p-p" kind of spit. Try it now without the trumpet by starting with a relaxed face. Then flex the corners of your lips and draw them back only slightly, stopping short of a smile position. Try to make a flat surface of the front of your lips. Now hold that position, keep the corners nice & firm. Take a deep breath, and blow, making a long, buzzing spit sound. Done correctly, this will sound somewhat like a bumble bee or mosquito, and might tickle the lips.

Your first efforts might result in a rough buzz sound with lots of spray, but keep practicing, and remember to keep the corners firm and the front surface of you lips flat. You don't want a pucker shape like you're kissing your Aunt Tilly. And even though I used the spit reference, you're not really spitting and you don't want a lot of spray. Look at your self in a mirror and make sure that the underside of your lips, or the wet part, aren't visible when you make that buzz. Just like when you say 'mmmm..'.

Think about the mosquito buzz sound in contrast to a dirt bike. Sometimes the idea of spitting out a hair or a seed can help get the right concept. If you find that your buzz is pretty rough, really focus in on clenching those corners and keeping them nice & tight & firm.

The next step is to put a trumpet in front of the buzz. Keeping the corners firm, place the trumpet gently to your lips and play the buzz into the mouthpiece. Are you keeping firm corners? Without pressing any valves, you're likely to play one of two notes, C or G. Either is fine. Be sure though that you're not pressing your trumpet into your lips with brute force. You should be able to make a tone just holding the trumpet gently in place and using good, steady air. Pressing that horn into your lips is one common mistake that beginners make, and if it becomes a normal habit for you, it will really hold you back and hinder your ability to improve.

Practice making nice, long tones on any note that you can produce. Don't try to play too high or too loud, just aim for a consistent tone. Sounds simple, but that's a pretty tall order for a brand new player, so do your best with it.

This is just one note for now, but if you can start by playing one note really well here early on, you're way better off than playing 20 notes badly.

Back to the disclaimer, a written description on hoe to play the trumpet has limitations. The best investment a beginning trumpet player can make is in trumpet lessons, either in person or on video. A live personal teacher is great, but that can be expensive. Technology now allows for a good alternative in video trumpet lessons delivered online. Check your local resources and the internet for options that are right for you.

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Sunday, November 13, 2016

CONTRABASS TROMBONE - Music Instruments of the World

Contrabass Trombone - Music Instruments of the World

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Trumpet - Tone Versus Range

In the trumpet world, high note playing is perceived as one of the more difficult tasks of learning to play.  Trumpeters tend to believe that they have to switch to a "jazz mouthpiece" to achieve high notes on a trumpet.  So then they have this belief that they play 2 different mouthpieces - one for tone, one for high notes.

English: Trumpet mouthpiece front view large
Trumpet mouthpiece front view large  - (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What's interesting to me is that while some mouthpieces can tend to aid in the ease of producing faster air, that's all a high note really is.  Players who turn to shallower cups tend to play with a brighter sound in general (hence the jazz mouthpiece).  Once in a concert setting, they tend to return to a "C" cup or a "B" cup and regain a "classical" tone (hence the classical mouthpieces).

If a player learned to develop a clear upper register on a "C" cup, they wouldn't necessarily have to switch mouthpieces and confuse muscles, air stream, embouchure, or their minds with varying degrees of myths!

The mouthpiece that I've developed is close to a "C" depth, what I've changed for my playing is the rim size.  I have found that the rim size affects my comfort - not my tone.  There are other variables in the anatomy of a mouthpiece that will either enhance or hinder ones tone and range, such as back bore, throat size, etc.  But if we stay with a standard back bore and throat, such as in the Bach line of mouthpieces, we can change tone just by changing cup depth.

This is what most trumpet players don't want to face up to - if we just did the work without looking for equipment to do it for us, we'd come out with a lot more money in our pockets and a lot less frustrated!  My line of mouthpieces are great because they don't offer a bunch of hocus-pocus, empty promises, or claims that they will give you range that you don't already have... they do offer a more comfortable rim, and variable rim sizes in a kit form - something that most manufacturers don't do.