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Making the Jump After an Embouchure Change



 
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wohlrab
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Joined: 30 Mar 2015
Posts: 50
Location: California

PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:20 pm    Post subject: Making the Jump After an Embouchure Change Reply with quote

Hello. I'm in a bit of a sticky situation... I'm a musician in my mid-20's. Looking to be a pro trumpet player. Graduated college a couple of years ago. About a year ago I underwent a heavy embouchure change that has been by and large successful. An amazing trumpet teacher took me through it and I have been very pleased with the results.

One issue I'm struggling with is when I was going through school, I feel that most of my biggest improvements as a player came through playing in groups/doing shows/etc. and now that I'm out of that world I'm not sure how exactly I'm supposed to get to that high level again...I'm not in school but I'm also not good enough to get hired to play anymore, but playing out seems like the only way for me to truly finish my embouchure change.

Advice appreciated!
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bhornFree
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Joined: 13 May 2019
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are a lot of "comeback" players in the same boat. I am. I'm sure you'll get lots of good advice. Other good news is that you're much younger -- which helps.

1. Grad school:I ended up taking a couple of years off after graduating. It was back in the dark ages when there was no internet and really hard to find opportunities. I remember typing letters to all the summer festivals I could find in a book LOL. I never could get traction and ended up going back to grad school. I changed careers, but perhaps that is an option in music for you?

2. Community Band/Orchestra:
Right now I'm playing in the most horrible community band. But there are some fantastic ones around. They just don't rehearse on a night I'm kid free. There's a community orchestra not far from me where Larry Black and Roger Voisin's son both play. So, I would recommend finding unpaid/non-union opportunities and starting to network there.

3. Form your own chamber ensemble: I've now formed a regular woodwind and brass quintet out of that terrible band in #2. There are some good players often in the worst ensembles. You can put together your own group. In addition to recruiting from an existing ensemble, you can post ads on Next door, Craigslist, your local university bulletin board, etc. Or email/call some local band directors and private teachers. A lot of them are very good musicians and plugged into the local community and could give good recommendations.

4. Your private teacher: If he's local, ask him! Or find a new teacher. Even a lot of pros still take lessons, so if you're not and can - it might be worth it.

5. Post for ideas on TH. Oh, wait...got that covered

So...a few starting ideas. I"m sure you'll get lots more!
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geigerjt
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Joined: 14 Jul 2019
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 4:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great ideas already so not much to say other than one thing I really enjoyed was playing along with recordings in college. Late Friday/Saturday nights when everyone else was out I'd find a classroom with one of those good speaker systems and blast random symphonies and try to play along. It was a good way to play through rep as if in a performance situation without the stress. Good luck and have fun!
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JayKosta
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Joined: 24 Dec 2018
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Location: Endwell NY USA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 4:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anyone here ever try busking (street/park performing)?
Either solo trpt, or with recorded accompaniment (eg. fake book).

Some clubs/theaters have open 'Jam Sessions' where players can perform, typically with a core group of regular players.

Jay
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kehaulani
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Joined: 23 Mar 2003
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Location: Texas, by way of Germany and Hawaii

PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"I'm also not good enough to get hired to play anymore."

This tells me that you're not keeping your chops up so, chicken or the egg question: How do you expect to get into the kind of ensembles you want if you're not willing to keep at the top of your game?

You say you want to make a living professionally and this is the way you deal with it? I don't mean to sound judgmental, but seems like time for a wake-up call.

Personally, if I were you, I'd get into the best graduate school you can, so you'll have access to a variety of ready-made ensembles as well as "impose discipline". Not to mention getting contacts for studying and playing opportunities outside of school and in the future.
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Last edited by kehaulani on Mon Jul 15, 2019 2:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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abontrumpet
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Joined: 08 May 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some good advice all around and some tough love from kehaulani.

Kehaulani's advice rings true for me so I'm going to give it a +1.

One piece of mental advice: you don't actually need to be "world class" to get hired/to play in pro ensembles. A gig is 50 percent being a good guy and 50 percent nailing what you're given to play. Being able to play well with others is a huge skill that for some reason not many people cultivate. Playing in tune, in time, appropriate style, and a close to right notes as you possibly can will get a you a call back (play duets with people better than you!). Then, go to the hang afterwards and be able to read the room to cultivate relationships.

For general improvement: there is obviously getting better at the skills/fundamentals you need, but the reason ensembles give you improvement is because the stakes are high (you don't want to eat it in front of your peers). So in the practice room you need to be creating high stakes. Prepare stuff, give yourself one chance to play it and record it. Attempt to play a tune or piece with just one read through (part of the pro gig is being able to nail it close to the first time). Record it. Be critical 30 percent of your practice time.
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wohlrab
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Joined: 30 Mar 2015
Posts: 50
Location: California

PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi all,

Thanks for the advice.

Bhornfree, good ideas all around! I already do 4/5 but I'll look into joining a community orchestra. I play a lot of improvised music which is great but I'm looking to get back into show/musical shape so I'm sure joining a group with more written parts will help me go that direction

Jay, good call. I've been hitting the local jam more often now and it's definitely help prove to me that Embouchure change has and will continue to be a fruitful endeavor

Kehaulani, thanks for the valid points and feedback. My struggles are not from lack of discipline or "not keeping my chops up". Like I mentioned in my orignal post I'm coming out of a major embouchure change and I'm more asking for advice in bridging the gap between the substantial improvement I've made in the practice room and getting back into professional playing situations. I practice intelligently and diligently every day but even still, there are definitely some improvements that are much harder to make in the practice room that need to be overcome before I start taking on more strenuous work again. That being said, I appreciate the tough love and I'll keep it mind moving forward

Abon, thanks for the advice! Being a good hang is definitely something we all need to keep in mind. That actually does take a little pressure off my mind in taking work. And I'll keep recording myself!
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blbaumgarn
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:30 pm    Post subject: making the jump after an embouchure change Reply with quote

Kehaulani speaks the truth. I just went back and reread Jens Lindeman's interview with Chris Martin about practice. He talks about a 5-6 hour practice day most of the time. He's been a principle player his whole adult life and he still finds it necessary to hone and fine tune things each day. And he mentions not getting stuck in a rut of practicing the same things. over and over. For me, I can draw a different frame of reference. I went to college for a year in the late sixties, dropped out and worked for 5 years. Played some semi pro football during that time. Moved with family and went back to college. Decided I wanted to play college football. This meant going back to square one and training all over again, and intensifying my workouts to get where I wanted to be. I think what Kehaulani is saying is be willing to do the work and pay the violation to get where you want to be musically. It is almost always fun. Good Luck,
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bhornFree
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Joined: 13 May 2019
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2019 4:07 am    Post subject: Re: making the jump after an embouchure change Reply with quote

blbaumgarn wrote:
I think what Kehaulani is saying is be willing to do the work and pay the violation to get where you want to be musically. It is almost always fun. Good Luck,


But at some point, 5-6 hours in your basement hammering fundamentals doesn't get it done, does it? If you'd skipped college and just done conditioning drills in your backyard, could you have gotten to the pros?

If you've gotten into decent shape alone (which it sounds like the OP has done), I'm of the opinion you simply need to do some ensemble work to keep improving. It addresses so many skills that sitting there with Smart Music just can't. I don't think anyone has gotten there without it.

After college, while I floundered finding auditions after a 2 year break, every one of my paying gigs came from networking. And the more I did, the better the opportunities got. And so did my playing standard. I'm doing that same thing again now, 2 decades later, and it still seems to be the way to go. Learning to audition again is a very different thing I think, which I'll probably start working on seriously in a year or two. But for all those auditions -- you need a resume. Which you also can't build in a basement
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JVL
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Joined: 07 Feb 2016
Posts: 593
Location: Nissa, France

PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2019 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hello
when you don't have periods of rehearsals with bands, practice the book of the last or usual bands you played with, after having praticed your fundamentals.
When i have a heavy repertoire to play in gigs, i add it to my 4 hours of fundamentals daily practice.
Then, the 2hrs heavy concerts feel really easy and short
best
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