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

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sailing the Double High C's (A TRUMPETER'S Dream)

High note jazz trumpet legends nearly single-handedly changed the desire of young trumpeters all around the world decades ago. Hearing one of these giants live was an amazing and inspiring experience, and created a desire in so many trumpet players that it could be considered near cult status for trumpeters.

Trumpet player
Trumpet player (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Maynard Ferguson, Cat Anderson, Doc Severinsen are just a few that were extremely sought after players... they each had a command of the upper register up to and beyond Double C. 

The more players tried to ascend to these upper register notes, the more the mystery built. Advice in every aspect of trumpet playing can be found. Mostly confusing, and some very much incorrect.

In 2004, I had the pleasure and distinct honor of being a part of the great Maynard Ferguson's band, and got to share a lot of time with "Boss" (as we called him). While on his band, I got to ask questions, take notes, and learn from the master.

What most players who begin this quest do incorrectly is mostly over compensate and fail to see what actually generates higher notes on trumpet. It is not sheer brute force that produces these notes with power, it is control and a balance between air and aperture.

To begin this journey properly, a player must master "whisper" tones... extreme soft playing that helps the aperture stay the size of a pin hole without pinching or straining the facial muscles. 

Starting with a second line G and holding it as soft as possible for extended lengths of time (2 minutes to 20 minutes) and allowing ample rest will start a player on the correct path. 

As the player develops more control, scales, etudes, and melodies can be incorporated into practicing that will have the player ascend to higher notes. Once control is established, playing louder is merely pushing a bit more with the air and allowing the aperture to open SLIGHTLY.

There is no fast solution to this. For many players this is a lengthy journey. Especially if the trumpeter has been practicing the "higher / louder / faster" method for months or years. Old habits will have to be broken... but once they are, the trumpet player will be amazed at how easily they can ascend to Double High C and beyond!




Wednesday, March 30, 2016

From Ancient Horns To BRASS ENSEMBLES

Whether you are watching a parade, listening to an orchestra, or attending a jazz ensemble nothing can capture your attention more than when the brass instruments play. They are bold, rich, exciting, and majestic. They have a certain unique regal tone that commands people to sit up and take notice.

Soprano Cornet
Soprano Cornet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Interestingly though, just because they are called brass instruments does not mean that they are just made of brass. Other materials that have been used in their construction include wood, cane, horn, tusk, clay, and even crystal. In addition, most saxophones and flutes and many clarinets are made of brass, but are categorized as woodwind instruments, not brass instruments.

Brass instruments have descended from ancient horns. Their first use was in military, royal, or hunting contexts. Curt Sachs reported that even around 1250BC the si-im was played which is depicted as a short and thick horn played with a large frame drum. There was evidence found that around 1400BC straight trumpets were played by soldiers. A trumpet-shaped music instrument was even found in Tutankhamen's tomb. It was not until the late 1600's that brass instruments acquired a new role as an art instrument. During this time, physical alterations were made to them to allow for improved ease of fingering and made blowing less effortful. These improvements enhanced their artistic role and they became a regular member of the orchestra.

By the 1830's the first brass bands came into existence, most notably in England, Wales, and the United States. The first one in the U.S. was established by Allen Dodworth in 1834 as the Brass Band of New York. Beginning in 1860, mechanical changes were made which gave every instrument a complete scale of notes throughout the range. With these enhancements brass instruments took on an even stronger, clearer, crisper sound. By 1900 there was an explosion in their popularity. Almost every park built a bandstand gazebo and some brass bands attracted 10-20,000 people. Their popularity declined after World War II, but increased again in 1960.

Today, brass bands, or brass ensembles as they are more commonly called, continue to include brass instruments such as French horns, trumpets, euphoniums, tubas, trombones, etc. These groups play classical, Broadway, show tunes, marches, and pop/rock music. Some ensembles are not such brass instrument purists and include other instruments such as woodwind instruments, percussion instruments, bass, guitars, or keyboards. With additional instruments, a wider array of musical mixes can be played, such as Dixieland, jazz, rock, blues, or funk. An advantage of being in a brass ensemble is that the players have the freedom to take on roles usually reserved for other instruments. When in a brass ensemble each player has a responsibility to work as a team so not one person or music instrument dominates the sound. The focus of the group is cohesiveness with one mutual goal and a flexibility to accept other's ideas.


Brass instruments have had a long history since ancient times. They have acquired popularity through their ability to produce a rich, bold, exciting sound and their prevalence in so many musical genres. When we hear brass instruments we tend to pay attention and listen. If you would like to pursue your musical aspirations, you will find highly crafted brass instruments at very reasonable prices at http://www.djmusicstore.co.


    By Dianna Joseph
    Dianna Joseph is the owner of DJ Music Store. She is a saxophonist, novice pianist, and novice guitarist. In addition, she is an occupational therapist who works with a host of disabilities utilizing sensory integration and neurodevelopmental therapy in combination with music and a variety of other techniques to assist these persons in achieving the highest level of function and quality of life possible.
    Article Source: EzineArticles