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I Think This May be All There Is........


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INTJ
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 7:19 pm    Post subject: I Think This May be All There Is........ Reply with quote

I played as a kid in the 70s and failed because the way they tried to fix me killed all my range above the staff. I came back 17 years ago at age 41 and have since developed a strong upper range. I am an honest High G/A player for the length of my amateur endurance and have played DHCs in concerts. I play in tune and have a nice, full, resonant trumpet sound with a deep core. I have good control and flexibility.

I think that is as good as I can get. I suck at reading and improv; and even though I know how to play jazz correctly I often fail to do so. I just don’t know if I can get any better in these areas and have pretty much lost motivation to try. There are kids who started playing after I came back that can play better style than I.

I guess the final straw was the few lessons I have taken from a talented 29-30
year old kid. I thought I had already worked through developing a solid lead trumpet jazz style, but that is not the case. I just can’t seem to get the jazz style internalized. I can describe how a phrase should be played. Long notes, short notes, precise cutoffs, back tonguing, no space between certain notes, phrasing, et al. But it is hard for me to do it consistently when I play.

Probably the finest I have ever played was during a rehearsal immediately before a concert this past March. I was playing the lead/solo part of Keton’s Send In The Clowns and nailed it John Harner style. My community jazz band played especially well too and when we finished, we all just stayed silent for a few moments. I will never forget that.

So I can play big screaming ballads well, but in every other jazz style I am
mediocre. I can play screaming pop solos and charts well too......just not jazz.

At age 58 I just don’t think I am going to ever be good at jazz style. I think I can improve my reading a little. I can improv over pop changes ok (1-5-6-4) but who cares about that? Jazz improv will never likely be in reach for me.

I recently moved from a small town to a med town (with a university) an hour away and hoped to develop my skills to where I could be a guy they would call to come play at the many amateur events around here: churches, Christmas concerts, maybe sub for one of the local higher end community bands. However, I would not do so now even if asked because I am just not at that level and never will be. I think I have gone as far as a left-brained logical type can go on trumpet, and no, I would not trade ANY of my logic and analysis skills for a better feel with jazz.

I have actually started backing off my practice. Where I used to put in 2 hrs 6-7 days a week I now get 30-60 minutes 4-5 days a week. Seems like a waste to do any more when I am at my max level.

I will still play lead trumpet—and do my best to play correctiy—in the small town community jazz band an hour south of me, but that will be all I’m ever able to do trumpet wise. I will just be content with that and spend the rest of my hobby time doing something where I compete at a very high level.

Realize as a logical left-brained guy to me this post is just an honest analysis of where my trumpet playing is. I post all this without emotion. I guess I just wanted to see my own thought written down and see how it looked.......
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trumpetteacher1
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 8:43 pm    Post subject: Re: I Think This May be All There Is........ Reply with quote

INTJ wrote:
I think I have gone as far as a left-brained logical type can go on trumpet, and no, I would not trade ANY of my logic and analysis skills for a better feel with jazz.


Blaine, you've decided that your situation is either/or. It's not.

There is nothing particularly wonderful about being left-brain dominant. Nor is there anything wonderful about being right-brain dominant. We've been given a whole brain for a reason. Use it or lose it.

It may be harder for you to internalize the more rhythmic side of things, but it can be done if you are determined. How long did you search for the secret to playing high? How serious were you in approaching that task?

I already know the answer. Now you have a new task, and it is no small challenge. You have to have the same level of determination in learning how to internalize swing time. Believe it or not, there are teachers out there who know exactly how to help you, AND YOU HAVE TO FIND THEM. Plus, the playalong swing time resources today are better than ever, if you know how to use them properly.

You are only 58 - way too young to admit defeat (in my opinion).

Jeff
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HERMOKIWI
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm Myers-Briggs INTJ so I know the thought patterns associated with that profile. You learn jazz style the same way you learned speech style: By doing a lot of listening and imitating. The more you listen the easier it becomes to imitate. The listening comes before the imitating. Lots and lots of listening.

If you were Chinese you'd be speaking fluent Chinese now with all the correct accents. If you were German you'd be speaking fluent German now with all the correct accents. Jazz style is just a form of language. If you think of it in that way the format to learn it becomes very logical.

If you lock yourself in a room and listen to nothing but jazz styling for 24 hours each day every day for a year, believe me when I say that at the end of that year you'll have trouble playing anything other than jazz styling. Of course you're not going to lock yourself in a room and listen to nothing but jazz styling for 24 hours each day every day for a year. However, the principle is still valid so the question becomes "How close can you get to that?"

Think back to how long it took you to learn to speak whatever language you speak. There's no reason to think that the process of becoming equally fluent in jazz language is going to take any less time or will be developed through any different process.
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epoustoufle
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Probably the rest of the trumpet section is already very impressed by you. You don't need to totally dominate in all areas to be outstanding - sounds like 1st chair suits you well and so someone else can shine on 2nd chair. Be sure and compliment them when they play with style - and perhaps ask them for tips. It'll make everyone feel relaxed and you may even start to swing a little bit

In my view, a little goes a long way as regards style and flourishes. Nothing worse than garish vibrato, shakes and kiss-offs on every fricken note. You know who you are...
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jadickson
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 6:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First of all, it sounds like you can play an octave higher than I can, so "all there is" sounds pretty dang good to me.

As far as learning jazz style, you just need to approach it like a language. Learn it by listening to it and trying to imitate it, like a toddler does. Listen to Louis Armstrong, because he is the archetype. Also listen to whomever you want to sound like.

Listen and enjoy. Do it every day. The style will naturally become a part of you.
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ljazztrm
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I was learning to swing my 8th notes and play in that jazz style. I transcribed a few Lee Morgan Solos and Chet solos by ear and would play along with them. I also had a book of all Lee Morgan's solos on Blue Train and would crank up the stereo and play along with him. Did this every day for several months and, then, it was just automatic to me..I could swing in that way. It was like riding a bike. I've had good success teaching students this way too.

The first 'by ear' solos I did:


Link

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ljazztrm
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 6:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Link



Link

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ljazztrm
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Plus, nowadays, there are programs like 'Transcribe' which you can download and slow it down as much as you want without changing pitch..they're fantastic! Best of luck, Lex
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BGinNJ
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 6:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds like you've reached a plateau of sorts, but at a pretty good place. Playing in a big band and community bands are great for playing with people and reading charts, but not particularly helpful for improving as a jazz improvisor.

Listen to the jazz trumpet greats, sing along with them. Miles is a great for that. Lots of his tunes are in the Real Book, learn the heads (but get away from reading them as much as possible), try improvising on them. Don't concern yourself with playing high, or "correctly".
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MF Fan
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMO, the best way for you to internalize the swing feel is to listen to as much recorded big band ensemble music you can. Scat along with the chart, you'll find yourself following the rhythm. The challenge then becomes transitioning that to the horn. If you can, find copies of the parts for some of your favorite tunes so you can play along (lots available out there). Don't approach it consciously. Just work to play along so you're imitating what the ensemble is doing on the recording. Get used to listening for the drums and bass, they usually laying down the pattern you're looking for. I enjoy playing out of a Fake book. They're typically simple lead sheets for a tune, written in lower to mid register. If you know a tune from recordings, don't read the music per se, just try to recreate the feel and rhythmic interpretation. The notes on the page are a guide, not something to be ridgedly adhered to. Listen, listen, listen.
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starkadder
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your post reads like you are playing trumpet as a gladiator sport. I read nothing about how playing give you pleasure, other than the pleasure of the status of being "that guy" when things work.

Quote:
I will just be content with that and spend the rest of my hobby time doing something where I compete at a very high level.


It sounds like you know what you need.
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bnsd
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As another INTJ with jazz improv challenges...

Play along with the stereo and good jazz bands. Gordon Goodwin has at least two play along trumpet cds.

Find lead charts from other big bands. Buddy Rich, Maynard etc. Find the song on you tube and play along.

You'll get the lead jazz feel with enough repetition.

For improv...transribe... play along with transcriptions...jamey aebersold ...i don't consider myself creative in this way but the more I do it the less bad I sound
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rmch
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
You learn jazz style the same way you learned speech style: By doing a lot of listening and imitating. The more you listen the easier it becomes to imitate. The listening comes before the imitating. Lots and lots of listening.

If you were Chinese you'd be speaking fluent Chinese now with all the correct accents. If you were German you'd be speaking fluent German now with all the correct accents. Jazz style is just a form of language. If you think of it in that way the format to learn it becomes very logical.

If you lock yourself in a room and listen to nothing but jazz styling for 24 hours each day every day for a year, believe me when I say that at the end of that year you'll have trouble playing anything other than jazz styling. Of course you're not going to lock yourself in a room and listen to nothing but jazz styling for 24 hours each day every day for a year. However, the principle is still valid so the question becomes "How close can you get to that?"

Think back to how long it took you to learn to speak whatever language you speak. There's no reason to think that the process of becoming equally fluent in jazz language is going to take any less time or will be developed through any different process.


A good place to start for this listening is Louis Armstrong.
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cheiden
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not a natural soloist but the for a time I did okay and really enjoyed the heck out of it. I was playing in a Latin band with another trumpet player. During the dinner set they would play all sorts of low impact tunes. The other guy had no problem cruising the changes. For weeks I just sat back and soaked up what he was doing. One day, and I can't say what motivated me, when he finished a solo I raised my bell to the mic and just started playing. It wasn't brilliant but didn't suck either.

The point I think I'd make is that I tripped onto a venue where I had a good role model and opportunity to experiment. This made it relatively natural and a joy to do. If you're struggling with trying to get good before you do it in front of people, that seems to be an unreasonably difficult and frustrating route. Try find a local player whose soling you like and low-stress opportunities to play alongside them. It should feel like playing, not homework.
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ljazztrm
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can pretty much guarantee you playing jazz and that style of phrasing is really like riding a bike.. Once you get the 'knack' you don't ever forget it.. It just happens automatically. I've done some classical gigs in the past with some really top notch classical players and they have made the comment that they can tell I'm a jazz player when I phrase.. Obviously, I'm not trying to 'swing' my notes when playing a classical solo/brass quintet piece.. but, apparently, some really top notch classical players can tell anyway
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starkadder
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ljazztrm wrote:
I can pretty much guarantee you playing jazz and that style of phrasing is really like riding a bike.. Once you get the 'knack' you don't ever forget it.. It just happens automatically. I've done some classical gigs in the past with some really top notch classical players and they have made the comment that they can tell I'm a jazz player when I phrase.. Obviously, I'm not trying to 'swing' my notes when playing a classical solo/brass quintet piece.. but, apparently, some really top notch classical players can tell anyway


You mean you play classical like this?


Link
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Denny Schreffler
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HERMOKIWI wrote:
... If you were Chinese you'd be speaking fluent Chinese now with all the correct accents. If you were German you'd be speaking fluent German now with all the correct accents. Jazz style is just a form of language. If you think of it in that way the format to learn it becomes very logical.


Exactly. I talk to students about it as being able to speak a foreign language with the accent of a native speaker. I use Professor Henry Higgins as the epitome of someone who has the most highly developed ear for hearing the differences and as Eliza's transformation as one who "got it" after nearly endless sessions of listen-repeat.

Jeff Smiley wrote -- Believe it or not, there are teachers out there who know exactly how to help you, AND YOU HAVE TO FIND THEM. Plus, the playalong swing time resources today are better than ever, if you know how to use them properly. ... You are only 58 - way too young to admit defeat (in my opinion). --- trust him.

I've had success spending time with students on just a few bars -- singing only the rhythm, back and forth with me, strongly exaggerating the swing concept at first but, as was mentioned -- find the right teacher, and don't be surprised if it's not a trumpet player -- but it definitely won't be a viola player.

-Denny


Last edited by Denny Schreffler on Thu May 17, 2018 2:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Denny Schreffler
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rmch wrote:
A good place to start for this listening is Louis Armstrong.


It's interesting to listen your way thru Armstrong's early output and study the rhythmic feel -- especially as it regards swing -- in his playing vis-à-vis his singing.

Even with Fletcher Henderson in '24 and '25, the swing of his tpt playing seems stiff compared to his playing a year or two later. Gunther Schuller credits Armstrong with, "an easy swing of his beat," during that period and that's certainly the case when compared to the rest of the Henderson band.

However, anytime Armstrong sings throughout his recorded career the fluidity, flexibility, and natural lope of full-fledged swing is fully present.


-Denny

Red Hot Jazz seems to be working -- http://www.redhotjazz.com/
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INTJ
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow--didn't think there would be so much interest. Guess I should follow up.

Trumpet is indeed a "gladiator sport" for me..........as is EVERYTHING I do. That's just how INTJs roll. I am motivated by performing well at whatever the task, and enjoyment for me only comes from performing well................whether it was flying jets, racing cars, shooting in competitions, or making some business report more efficient and accurate.

I have been working on Jazz style for at least 10 years with some great teachers. It's time to be honest. I am mediocre as jazz style. That doesn't mean I can't work through and get a particular tune to sound decent, but it does mean I'll never be at a level to go sub for somewhere.

I will never have that "natural" sound and feel from someone who gets jazz. The second trumpet player in my jazz band is one of those guys, so every week I hear where I fall short. He is a much better player than I and his lead is far superior to mine, at least until we get above High C.

My range is strong because developing the upper range of the trumpet works exceptionally well using an analytic process. I have helped others unlock their upper range. However, reading and jazz style need to be felt to really sound right, and my "feel" has never been correct.

I have tried every suggestion mentioned in this thread. It just ain't happening. I'm not really motivated anymore to keep putting in long hours to stay mediocre. Trumpet has stolen enough of my life already...............
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ljazztrm
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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I have tried every suggestion mentioned in this thread. It just ain't happening. I'm not really motivated anymore to keep putting in long hours to stay mediocre. Trumpet has stolen enough of my life already...............


Eee-gads, of course! If it's not fun for you, and your not even making any $$ doing it, why bother? I'll just leave you with this thought. When I was learning to swing/phrase jazz and was playing along with my favorite players soloing, it just 'happened' for me without my even realizing it.. Kind of like riding a bike in the sense that you keep trying until, one day, you can just do it and you never forget.. One day I was just playing jazz with friends in college and realized I was phrasing/swinging in the Bop/post-Bop way.

I feel it's also like learning a foreign language.. You move to the country and are living there for several years and you just 'pick up' the language from interacting on a daily basis..but you don't really 'know' how it happened.. Just a very natural, organic type of thing. Best, Lex
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