Daniel Louis Duncan, Trumpet

Daniel Louis Duncan, Trumpet

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Freelance chops part 3

So, if you are wondering the details of my preparation for maintaining proper sound, endurance, etc...for freelancing, here you go!

I believe throughout my years of practicing/trying different routines that it's not as important which routine you do, but what your routine addresses.  This is where it has to become personal and dependent on where you are in your development.  This is why my routine changes to address new issues and to keep my desire to engage fresh.  When I say it changes I mean about once a year or so I try something new.

WARNING ADVANCED:  First, I will tell you where I have arrived after many years of trying every routine out there.  Because of the diversity of freelancing I have found a method that works for me.  The core of it is pages I have put together from Pierre Thibaud's methods.  Later in life Mr. Thibaud had surgery and had to rethink how to play as effortlessly as possible.  He found that working on the double pedal register helped with ease of playing in all registers.  I would add that it has helped my sound tremendously!  What I do is play pages 8-10 (when I have lots of fundamental practice time I add pages 11-16 or more) of his Method for the Advanced Trumpeter.  I then go to his Daily Routine and Vocalises for the Advanced Trumpeter pages 4-9 (continuing throughout the book if I again have lots of time for fundamental work).  Usually I have to do the minimum as my schedule is usually busy, but I do my complete routine after a grueling run of a show or when I have extended off time.

Without the additional pages above this is my daily routine.  I have to warn you that initially it took loads of time to get through, but once things where in place and working well, I could get through this routine pretty quickly.  From there I would add things that would address what was on my plate for the week.  Show work with lots of flexibility?  I would add some Irons exercises, sections of the Thibaud Method-Isotonic Exercises or Dr. Charles Colin's Advanced Lip Flexibilities.  Orchestral work?  I would add some Brandt Etudes or just the works I am working on at the time, even Arban p. 13 at forte to fortissimo.

All of the above Thibaud Method work is VERY ADVANCED.  I consider mastery of the pedal register something that is hard for the advanced high school through college level player to master.  This doesn't mean don't try at all.  It means do so with lots of care and time.  Don't spend too much time messing with it.  Limit your time per day and don't worry about it sounding like crap.  Most of all don't allow pedals to change your set up, embouchure wise.  The goal is to be flexible up into the upper register without changing your set up.

I spent years doing these wrong and feeling that it was doing more damage than good in the Stamp book.  The best thing I did for several years was to stop and leave it alone.  I'll address how to work on this in another post.

Picc work is different for everybody.  I find a solo work that address range and lots of tonguing to keep the method of playing picc fresh.  Tonguing can be challenging on Picc when you're doing baroque work.  It's light, resonant, and has to flow like flute articulation.  I usually use transcription solo works for piccolo such as the Tartini, Stolzel, many Albinoni's usually from the oboe repertoire, in sections to test my ability to keep the picc ready to go at any time.

Last, but not least....I try really hard to take days off completely, here and there.  I used to bodybuild very seriously for many years until I had a major injury that halted not only my bodybuilding, but for a large chuck of a year my ability to freelance because I just couldn't drive a car except for very short distances without being in pain.  What I learned from bodybuilding was the importance of resting muscles that were hit hard for at least a day or two.  For trumpet, if I have the luxury of a day off the horn I take it.  Most importantly, even if I have a lot of playing the day after the day off.  I usually find I play much better with that day off.  If I have a two week chunk of time without gigs in the summer I don't play a note for two weeks.  I always come back fresh with new vitality and love of the work I do on the instrument.

Parts 1 and 2 to this article can be found here  and here.

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