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  • Birthday 05/19/1986

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    Delaware, USA
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  1. Hello! I'm a trumpet player and I write and play my own music, mostly for trumpet ensemble. I'd like to share with you my new in-progress web site. I just started it last night. I give away most or all of my music for free; let me know if you are interested. There are recordings of me playing most of it in multi-track using GarageBand. Example: Sincerely, Robert Walliczek
  2. Hi, FHdork! I take it you play the French Horn ;) . Thanks for your compliment on my first post.

    I'd like to invite you to visit a music network I'm developing called SonataForum. The URL is my username, Once you're there, you can use the username "musician" and the password "tritone" to access the site. It's private, so let me...

  3. Wet Chops might give you some ideas. Check it out.
  4. I realize this doesn't help you, but if I had to guess, I'd say there were both practical and musical reasons. I surmise that the musical reasons had to do with a different sound quality and different tessatura. I think the practical reasons might have something to do with ease of playing. But maybe it was just an experiment!
  5. I've never heard of a situation where the shank has a problem, except as a result of abuse or accident. It may be a result of expansion of the metal, since the players are blowing warm air into a cool or cold metal instrument. I suggest you invest in a mouthpiece puller and use a cloth to protect the mouthpiece. There are two preventative measures that might apply to you: first, have the students blow warm air through their mouthpieces and then into the lead pipe of their instruments for a few minutes before they play. Once both the mouthpiece and the lead pipe are warmed separately, join them. I learned in school that you should keep your mouthpiece warm in your pocket when it is not in use and while playing in cold environments. The second preventative measure I suggest is to teach them how to play with a minimum of mouthpiece pressure. This involves using more effort in the embouchure and facial muscles to support the pucker; we could dub this "facial muscle support", I guess. To avoid injury, suggest that they use more pucker in their embouchures (EDIT: this is very subtle, so have them experiment with it until they get it working for them); this provides more of a buffer between the teeth and the mouthpiece and will also allow greater flexibility in producing a variety of tones, as demanded by certain music and desired by musicians. You see, the position of the lips on the mouthpiece, especially the lower lip, determines what kind of tone is produced...
  6. You all have nice suggestions, quite valid. As a professional with a bachelor's degree in trumpet performance from Peabody Conservatory of Music, where I studied with Wayne Cameron, "the teacher's teacher", I have the following to suggest. When playing any brass instrument, you should learn what's called Cameron's Law, named after Wayne Cameron who discovered these fundamentals of playing, developed, coined and taught them: Those are the fundamentals of all brass playing. It often takes years even for highly talented trumpet players to understand the subtleties and correct applications of these points and to know how it feels when they are all working together so that they create the feeling of "effortlessness" throughout all registers of the instrument. Note how I said that. The main idea is that you are working mentally and physically, yet with such efficiency that you can work under an umbrella of relaxation. Your facial muscles and tongue are working while the rest of your body is relaxed so you can breathe without hindrance. Learn these lessons from an athletic runner: when they are nervous (ie. stage fright), they shake out their arms and legs to get themselves ready to go; when they run, they stay as relaxed as they can so that they can take deep breaths. You can't tighten all the muscles in your body and then expect to move or breathe with ease. Similarly, don't tighten your stomach muscles when you play or else you won't breathe well. Normal playing means working on endurance. Normal playing involves playing music at regular indoor dynamics and mostly within the tessatura of the instrument. For normal playing, you should not exercise with doing sit-ups or other stomach-muscle-developing workouts, because you need your stomach muscles to be as relaxed as possible to allow yourself the greatest flexibility and endurance. Playing the lead part in jazz groups and playing in marching band high and loud is by no means considered "normal playing" on the trumpet. In these cases, you need more power than flexibility. (In weight-lifting terms, you would be a heavyweight lifter rather than a thin long-distance runner.) You should do sit-ups and develop your stomach muscles, but know that while playing, you should still be as relaxed as you can below your face. There are many tips and tricks that can help you with playing better which would be covered in a trumpet lesson at a music conservatory. Perhaps later I'll list a few of these for you. But implementing the fundamentals will be a revelation in itself for you. EDIT: Alright, MattWtrs inspired me to go on. Just like a runner, you always need to pace yourself. Notice what you're doing. Notice how and how frequently you are playing. You need at least 24 hours of no playing in order for your muscles and mind to recover from a tiring playing session, whether it is a 3-hour rehearsal or a Jazz concert. If you are playing every day, then it is absolutely imperative that you maintain a healthy lifestyle, drink plenty of water, eat lots of nutrient-rich food and rest when you are mentally or physically tired. (And if those ninnies cracking a whip at your back don't like it, they can play lead trumpet every day themselves and THEN we'll see who's laughing.) So pace yourself, because this applies to every trumpet player. If you've had a long night playing high and/or loud, then the following day you should most likely not play at all. But if you must, then stretch your face muscles and consciously relax them at least 10 minutes before opening your trumpet case, then warm up carefully. EDIT 2: I'll be quick, here. The most common mistake you will make when playing the trumpet is that you will start "squeezing" instead of blowing. If you find yourself getting choked-up or that you suddenly have back-pressure (ie, it feels like you're blowing against a wall... or mentally, banging your head against it), then you are doing two things wrong: you have started "squeezing" from your stomach and throat rather than blowing, and your tongue arch has collapsed inside your mouth. For a quick fix until you can get your bearings, take a deep relaxed breath that expands your stomach, say "eee" or "sss" in your mouth, and THINK FORWARD, which means focusing your pucker, air stream and mind directly forward. EDIT 3: I play on a Bach 10 1/2 E mouthpiece for all trumpet gigs including either Piccolo or Bb/C/D/Eb trumpets. Cornet needs a conical mouthpiece like french horn if you want a warm cornet tone. Same goes with flugelhorn, I guess. Those two instruments are conical shaped anyway, but the trumpet is cylindrical. If you want a softer rim, try a Stork mouthpiece. However, I only recommend getting a mouthpiece with a shallow / small cup. It's actually the bottom of the mouthpiece cup that is important, because that's the part of the cup that your air stream is hitting when it passes your lips, especially when playing in the upper register. If you want to see this for yourself, you can hold your palm up to your face and blow gently on it, and then the second time blow on it using an "eee" or "sss" tongue arch. You will notice the air stream aiming down, and the same thing happens when you play the trumpet.