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Dissecting Stamp - Part 2

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2006 10:13 pm    Post subject: Dissecting Stamp - Part 2 Reply with quote

I've been asked about what I meant by writing "no glissando" in Part 1, so I will try to clarify what I meant. I think of glissandos as a deliberately produced effect, such as the glissando that is sometimes called for in jazz a technique that emphasizes the tones between one note and another. A PM I received from MrOlds (thank you for that message!) included a great statement about what his trumpet teacher, Ed Carroll says: "Ed's contention is that an interval slur should contain all the microtones between the notes." I agree completely with that statement as this is exactly what happens. I really like the word "microtones" as that word implies a very quick, smooth, clean transition between notes. When we play notes with continuous air support and efficient embouchure technique, less obvious "noise" occurs between notes. The microtones will be there and they actually smooth out our transitions from note to note. The problem with focusing on the sounds between notes is that it can be distracting and get us off track from what is important. Jimmy didn't teach glissandos or focus on microtones. His focus was on the production of the notes themselves rather than on how many, or how few, microtones occur between them. If you are getting tones between notes that sound more like a glissando (as defined above), keep working on uninterrupted air flow and minimizing embouchure changes when moving from one note to another.

The Stamp method, when done correctly, will keep your attention on the note that is being played from the initialization of that note to it's completion. When your attention is on that note, the likelihood that the next note will be executed properly is greatly enhanced. A good comparison would be "follow-through" -- such as your "follow-through' when swinging a bat or a golf club. A well executed follow-through helps keep your attention on the proper technique used to hit the ball. It's no different with the trumpet. You aren't done with a note when you start it, you are done when you finish it or start the next note.

I'm sure that I will have points that people will question. I find it very difficult to write in a way that I hope the majority of people will understand and impossible to write so that every person out there will be able to follow the points I'm trying to make! Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all in teaching methods. (If there were, I bet I'd be able to do algebra today!) All I can do is try to explain how I understand and apply the Stamp method. If anyone has questions or would like clarification on something, please post your questions here or PM me! Feedback really does help!

EXERCISE 3 -- measures 13-18

Before working on this part of Exercise 3, it is very important that you have achieved a good level of consistency when playing the first 12 measures and have them memorized (see Dissecting Stamp - Part 1) . In Part 1, the focus was on making exceptionally minute changes in your embouchure to transition from (for example) in-staff C to below-staff C. If you watch yourself play Part 1 in a mirror, you should barely see any motion at all. Less is better.

Starting on measure 13 of the #3 Basic Warm-up, you must play the first seven notes no differently than you learned in "Part 1". Applying the proper technique to the first seven notes is crucial and you must not allow the knowledge that these notes will be followed by six ascending notes to affect how you play them. Play the first seven notes as though there will be no following notes, but make sure you have enough air to produce six more. It is very important that you play measures 13-18 in one breath per measure.

The six notes after the pedal notes are where the concept "thinking down going up" is first applied when learning the Stamp Method. You need to switch from "thinking up going down" on the first seven notes to "thinking down while going up" for the next six. The tendency when playing ascending notes, or passages, is to exceed the physical changes that are necessary for the notes being played. Depending on how much a player is overcompensating, this part of Stamp will either require only minor adjustments to your playing or it will be a major mental war. Your objective is to try not to ascend. By this, I mean that you have to not think about playing increasingly higher notes while you are doing exactly that. This is very similar to the old "don't think of a pink elephant" drill. Don't think up while going up. Don't think of a pink elephant. As Jimmy put it: "think down while going up."

When you play the six ascending notes, three things may happen: 1. (least likely) you managed to "think down" so well that you missed notes from playing them too low (necessitating some minor adjustments to find the notes); 2. you overshot notes (played some notes too high) which means you didn't "think down while going up"; and/or, 3. your tone became increasingly stuffy and weak as you played from the below-staff C, to the E, G, and then middle staff C. If your tone became stuffy and/or weak, it was because you allowed your embouchure to change too much to get the pedal C. The cure is to minimize your embouchure changes when you transition from below-staff C down to pedal C. Try to play the pedal C with as close as you can come to the embouchure you used for the below-staff C. (For those who have experimented with the BE method's roll in/roll out... that doesn't work here. Don't roll out -- and don't roll in either.) When playing measure 13 correctly, every note (including the pedal) should sound clean and resonant and the ending middle staff C should seem effortless. Only when you can play measure 13 correctly should you move on to measures 14-18. The last note in each of those measures should feel effortless as well.

When you have learned the entire Exercise 3 Basic Warm-up (and feel that you are applying the proper techniques), find a slurred etude or solo and apply the same techniques you used in this exercise to that piece. This is your transition point moving the Stamp techniques away from being just a warmup drill to playing with these techniques on everything else.

Trumpet playing would be much easier mentally if there had been a different way to notate music. If all the notes were on the same horizontal line, how anxious do you think we would be about "high" notes? With all the notes on one horizontal line, the notes we now call "high" or "pedal" would simply be notes that require the application of a different set of techniques and we would no longer find them intimidating. How difficult would intervals look if the notes were on the same line instead of one note higher than the other and do you think we would play them more smoothly and with less effort if they were? I think this is what the Stamp method is all about changing our mental perspective to think horizontally and thereby changing how we play the trumpet.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


I don't have any substantial questions or comments, just heartfelt thanks that you've taken the time to put this series together.

So many of these exercises look so easy, but take such care to do well. However, if you put the effort in, these seemingly simple exercises can do so much for your playing!

Thanks for sharing this with us.
Steve Thiel
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ditto to what Steve said!!! Thanks a million!!!!

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks so much for posting this information. It is very helpful and adds greatly to the Poper book.
Those who say it cannot be done should stay out of the way of the people doing it.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:20 am    Post subject: Best explanation i've ever saw... Reply with quote

So brilliant !!!
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're like me, you saw the other thread bump, and went looking for more. This series of threads was posted long before I joined TH, so I never saw them originally.
"Music is like candy, you throw the (w)rappers away."
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:36 pm    Post subject: Stamp Reply with quote

I've had the Stamp book for some time, but never understood the brief instructions in the book. These instructions are very helpful. Thank you.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, the instructions aren't super complete. However, reading the text at the very beginning of the book is well worthwhile. Some of Stamp's more important concepts are in there, such as the manner of attacking a note - only adding pressure to the embouchure after the air has started, for example.

Also, Stamp was very flexible with how he applied these basic exercises to different students. It wasn't a one size fits all approach.

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