Alpine Symphony – a need for peak efficiency – pun not intended!
In high school and then college, my friends and I were constantly trying to bang out the high Ds in Alpine Symphony with varying degrees of success (and bruising of the chops)! I was shocked when I finally realized that it wasn’t supposed to be crushingly loud at figure 68, but F and then (GASP) mf on a high D… But mine would only come out at the speed of PLAID (Spaceballs reference to light-speed for those of you under 40).
For years, I thought the key was to build up my chops. I was forever working on flexibility and range and more often than not running into the same brick wall. I didn’t realize what the barrier was until very recently.
One of the things I talk with my T5 students is the idea that there is so much more to it than just the chops. My fancy name for it is integrated mechanics for the trumpet: learning to use your whole body to play more efficiently.
- Arnold Jacobs-style breathing
- Song and Wind concepts (insert hyperlink the book)
- Breathing bag and Breath-builder (hyperlinks here too) techniques for ease of airflow
- Alexander Technique and its benefits for trumpeters
- Which muscles are needed to play and which are not
- Singing – the best way to practice away from the trumpet to strengthen musical ideas and improve airflow and articulation
- How flexibility is improved by understanding the proper function of the tongue
- How various physical exercise habits have helped my playing
Here are some clips from the Sound Truth Library™ from Alpine Symphony that require focus on the techniques above to make it sound easy. Happy practicing!
Starting with my first teacher, James Bursen, who was a VERY patient man, H.L. Clarke’s Technical Studies for the Cornet were have been a mainstay of my practice and remain so today.
Do you ever wonder what, when, and how to practice? Learning to practice efficiently has taken me years but would have been faster if my teachers could have been in my practice space to help. This is the idea behind Practice Window Training.
This excerpt was tough for me in school. I didn’t really learn to play it well until I had won my third job. If you also struggle with this piece, fear not. If I was able to own it, so can you!