Fast Tempo and old farts



  • @ACB
    Hey, Trent, thanks for the video.



  • I think that Rafael Mendez gave the best view on this problem. He was practicing a certain phrase for hours, again and again. His wife asked him why? The phrase sounded wonderful all the time. His answer? Yes, but I still have to think about it.



  • I have the same problem. I cannot play fast passages. I’ve tried playing then slowly etc. Nothing seems to work, but I think I have an answer. When I’ve played Sister Act in April, I’m going to give up the trumpet and teach myself the trombone. No valves, no more problem.



  • You ever try Trombone? Those slide positions, and alternate positions, and add a valve maybe, and you're in uncharted waters. It ain't so easy.



  • All those ideas work. But really what is the problem? Is it your fingers being stiff? Is it your brain being old and stiff? Is it your equipment not allowing the note to speak with minimal effort. Or is it something else? This will scare you. I was working on very technical and fast pieces this afternoon against a metronome. Worked through my mouthpiece collection until I found the one that allowed centered notes and fast articulations. I could then play the pieces at the correct speed. How about that? Equipment was the answer.



  • @Kehaulani

    Yes, I bought one a few months ago. No trumpet valve combinations to worry about, just slide positions. Much easier to move my arm. 😎



  • Slide trombone is by far the most difficult instrument to play fast on. You'll need more than perfect tonguing for it and a very good upper register. There you only need the first three positions of the slide. An easy and full high concert F is needed and better a little bit more. I tried it for 28 years. Enjoy!



  • @Rapier232 said in Fast Tempo and old farts:

    @Kehaulani

    Yes, I bought one a few months ago. No trumpet valve combinations to worry about, just slide positions. Much easier to move my arm. 😎

    Yes, it is easier to physically move my arm than a combination of fingers. But that doesn't make it overall easier to get around on. And I was posting as a post stroke victim where it is, in fact, easier to use large arm movements than fine finger motions.



  • @Kehaulani said in Fast Tempo and old farts:

    @Rapier232 said in Fast Tempo and old farts:

    @Kehaulani

    Yes, I bought one a few months ago. No trumpet valve combinations to worry about, just slide positions. Much easier to move my arm. 😎

    Yes, it is easier to physically move my arm than a combination of fingers. But that doesn't make it overall easier to get around on. And I was posting as a post stroke victim where it is, in fact, easier to use large arm movements than fine finger motions.

    To be medically correct, it is physically easier to move fingers (less muscle mass). It is NEUROLOGICALLY easier to move your arm than a combination of fingers (less distal neuronal synapses).


  • Qualified Repair Techs

    I used to think French horn was a more difficult instrument than trombone. I was VERY wrong! I have an easy time getting around a horn accurately and in tune, and with a decent sound, though my husband still tells me I overblow a bit. Trombone, well... I sound like a 10yr old with really good chops. It’s awful - every instrument sits a bit differently with it’s slide positions, and I have a much easier time getting a good sound out of a euph than a trombone as well. I have a lot more respect for good trombonists now, and a lot more sympathy for the bad ones! I tend to have my boss play test trombones whenever possible since he is a trombonist. Occasionally I have to apologize to everyone I work with and test them myself. Yesterday had to play test a Superbone I finished, but that was kind of fun 😁



  • You know GoergeB, a lot of the goal to success is to also surmount the mental component. I remember preparing for one of my classical lessons a passage that I continually flubbed up once I placed it back into context after rehearsing the actual phrase to perfection. My teacher said, you have predetermined to screw that passage up in your mind.

    So my teacher gave me a challenge. He told me to pick a bar or two past the difficult passage and tell myself that I was really going to screw up that passage. So I played into the piece concentrating on screwing up a passage further into the song. And don't cha know, I made it through that passage perfectly. Thereafter, the piece was no longer a problem.



  • @Dr-GO
    Yeah, there is definitely something to that mental component thing, Doc. The one thing, though, that has kept me going during my old age comeback is a stubborn streak. I'm not a quitter and that is why I am making gains on that Sousa march. Actually I am looking forward to see how well I can do at tonight's practice.



  • Best wishes for your rehearsal tonight, George. Please let us know how it goes. I have been following your thread with interest since we two old farts struggle with the same challenge when it comes to fast passages with lots of little notes. My rehearsal last night was a mixed bag. Enough bright spots to keep me encouraged but disappointments as well.

    There was some humor in last nights rehearsal too. During one piece the MD stopped and quizzed the trumpet section - he was concerned about balance across the section. He asked “How many of you are playing third?” I responded that three of us were. “How many on second?” There were four. Finally, “How many on first? Fifteen? Figures...” There were actually six, but the MD’s questions and comment drew lots of laughs in the moment. Anyway, the upshot was that we thirds were encouraged to play out, which was fun.

    Jim



  • @Comeback said in Fast Tempo and old farts:

    Best wishes for your rehearsal tonight, George. Please let us know how it goes. I have been following your thread with interest since we two old farts struggle with the same challenge when it comes to fast passages with lots of little notes. My rehearsal last night was a mixed bag. Enough bright spots to keep me encouraged but disappointments as well.

    There was some humor in last nights rehearsal too. During one piece the MD stopped and quizzed the trumpet section - he was concerned about balance across the section. He asked “How many of you are playing third?” I responded that three of us were. “How many on second?” There were four. Finally, “How many on first? Fifteen? Figures...” There were actually six, but the MD’s questions and comment drew lots of laughs in the moment. Anyway, the upshot was that we thirds were encouraged to play out, which was fun.

    Jim

    So there were 13 trumpets. With a more or less stable group where the majority show up regularly, you need 3 or 4 on first, 4 on second, and the rest on third, with at least one or two strong players on each part. What usually happens is all the better players gravitate toward the front of the line, but each part is important and needs strong support.



  • Only three of us on first in our band plus a young lady and older lady on second and third.

    Nice to hear there is humor in your band. There's always lots of laughs in ours. That is as it should be. There are a few serious dudes but most of us are here for the fun of socializing and playing music with people we like.



  • @Bob-Pixley said in Fast Tempo and old farts:

    @Comeback said in Fast Tempo and old farts:

    Best wishes for your rehearsal tonight, George. Please let us know how it goes. I have been following your thread with interest since we two old farts struggle with the same challenge when it comes to fast passages with lots of little notes. My rehearsal last night was a mixed bag. Enough bright spots to keep me encouraged but disappointments as well.

    There was some humor in last nights rehearsal too. During one piece the MD stopped and quizzed the trumpet section - he was concerned about balance across the section. He asked “How many of you are playing third?” I responded that three of us were. “How many on second?” There were four. Finally, “How many on first? Fifteen? Figures...” There were actually six, but the MD’s questions and comment drew lots of laughs in the moment. Anyway, the upshot was that we thirds were encouraged to play out, which was fun.

    Jim

    So there were 13 trumpets. With a more or less stable group where the majority show up regularly, you need 3 or 4 on first, 4 on second, and the rest on third, with at least one or two strong players on each part. What usually happens is all the better players gravitate toward the front of the line, but each part is important and needs strong support.

    You pretty much nailed it concerning our stable group of trumpets, BP. Anywhere from 12 to 15 for rehearsals, but parts proportions are consistent, it seems. A friend on first keeps asking me about moving up, but I do not express much enthusiasm about doing so. I like balance in our section and am amply challenged on third for now. It will be interesting to see if next week effort will be made in achieving better balance.

    George, most of us in my community band are at least semi-serious about producing good music, but we do enjoy socializing with each other too. I look forward to our rehearsals each week. Back to negotiating fast passages, have you fiddled around with your horns to see if one helps you more than the rest with fast passages? I do not hold much hope for such a thing, but since I have time this afternoon, I may mess around with my horns a little. I think an old Blessing Super Artist I had several years ago may have had the fastest valves in my experience. I don't know if this makes sense, but the valve stroke seemed shorter, of course this may simply be me trying to gin up an excuse for one more horn!

    Jim



  • Jim,
    All my trumpets have fast valves so I can't use slow valves as an excuse. I don't think as fast as I used to, and this is more noticeable with each passing year. It happens with age. I just do my best to work it out by repetition of those passages that are slowing me down. It's seems to be working for me now on Liberty Bell so I am starting to feel pretty good about it.



  • @GeorgeB said in Fast Tempo and old farts:

    Jim,
    ...I don't think as fast as I used to, and this is more noticeable with each passing year. It happens with age...

    And that is why God created muscle memory.



  • Heck, at may age, if I had to actually think through a passage or phrase, I wouldn't ever get a line completed.



  • You know, if you're having finger-speed problems on Liberty Bell, your conductor is taking it at way too fast a tempo. There's such a thing as interpretation, but I don't think it rationalizes taking a piece of music totally out of context.

    BTW, every time I open another entry in this thread, I can't help seeing Monty Python.


Log in to reply