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Trumpet: playing music in tune

Here are some of my "perspectives" to the oft-heard phrase

"OK - let's get tuned up"!

1. "Tune up? why? Are "you" going to make us play in some kind'a weird pitch center, tonight"?
2. "Tune up? Ok - to whom shall I tune"?
3. "Tune up? Now? How can we begin tuning, before we've begun playing"?
4. "He's not out of tune - he just sounds that way". (Mesmerized - while staring at a tuning meter).
5. "Hey - what do we do now? The piano is at 440, but the vibraphone's 'A' bar says 442"?
6. Tuning - not something we "do" - but something we must eat, sleep, and live.
7. Playing "in tune" lives within us.........or not"! Keep 'Em Flyin! (Grin!)
Clyde Hunt

(Q) I am currently studying to become a music educator. This semester I am doing observations in the public schools. What I have been noticing is that intonation is very poor in many of the instrumentalists classes. I would like to know when the right time is to introduce and make the children aware that they are not playing in tune?
(A) Intonation awareness needs to begin IMMEDIATELY! It it an essential item for the formation of the correct embouchure.
Beginner clarinetists, eg, must be constantly "prodded" to bring the pitch "up". It's important for you to play along with them - IN TUNE!!
It is inexcusable to ignore tuning problems "because they are just children".
"Remember, boys and girls, no matter how "good" a player becomes - if it isn't in tune, no one wants to hear it"!

Playing the instrument "in tune" is of the highest priority. Intonation problems are largely the result of haphazard teaching - and often with too much emphasis upon "playing tunes" and being "in band" rather than "learning to play the instrument".
Thanks for listening,
Clyde Hunt

THE FIVE MYTHS OF TRUMPET PLAYING
extracted from SAIL THE SEVEN C's

MYTH #1 Only special freaks can play in the high register. Don't waste precious time trying to duplicate their efforts. There are plenty of notes below high C upon which to devote your time and effort.

FACT: Nearly any player can dramatically improve his or her high register. What is needed is the desire to do so, and a dedicated, systematic approach. The high register will not succumb to the casual player.

MYTH #2 If I could find just the right mouthpiece, I too could be a high note artist.

FACT: There are mouthpieces which facilitate brilliance and intensity of sound. These mouthpieces, sometimes labeled high velocity, are more "V" shaped as opposed to bowl shaped. Sometimes, usually at the music store when we are trying mouthpieces, almost any mouthpiece appears to be superior to the one we are now playing - hence the answer to all our prayers. But pitch is determined by frequency of vibration of your lip. If you can play a C4 on a Schilke 5a4a, you can also do so on a Bach #1. Don't get into the drawer full of mouthpieces syndrome. Choose a rim that is comfortable and learn to play it. I am convinced that a larger cup diameter and a more open throat, which permits a larger airstream, actually facilitates the development of the high register.

MYTH #3 I need a special trumpet.

FACT: Mouthpiece tapers, varying bores, different bell sizes, and various alloys will alter the timbre and playing characteristics of an instrument. But the instrument, in fact, has even less to do with lip vibration, which determines pitch, than does the mouthpiece.

MYTH #4 Playing and practicing in the high (G2 to C5) register will ruin the middle and low registers, and make my tone brittle and laser-like.

FACT: Not practicing all registers equally will allow one-sidedness to take place. Practicing the pedal register, especially, will serve to counteract the extreme compression required to perform the high register. More than likely, a piercing, laser-like sound and a too blatty low register is really the fault of a too small, too shallow mouthpiece. This combination leads to jambing the mouthpiece for the high tones, which is sure to elicit the above mentioned complaints.

MYTH #5 You must play in all registers without changing your embouchure, or play in all registers without re-setting your lips.

FACT: I don't disagree in principle with the above statement. But I believe it has been widely misinterpreted because of semantics and/or insufficient explanation. The opening quote, taken literally, is nonsense! No two tones are played with precisely the same lip setting, let alone an entire register. What is required is a constantly adjusting embouchure, capable of moving from the bottom register through to the top register without the necessity of stopping along the way to regroup your chops. Re-read the last sentence and memorize it! It is of the utmost urgency that you understand what is meant. The understanding which you believe that you have right now will probably be altered as you progress toward the Constant Adjustment Embouchure.*s Clyde Hunt Extracted from SAIL THE SEVEN C'S (C) Copyright B Flat Music Production

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