Daniel Louis Duncan, Trumpet

Daniel Louis Duncan, Trumpet

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Passion Outside the Box

We trumpet players, and brass players for that matter, spend so much time focusing on perfecting our brass playing and listening, that we sometimes forget how sublime music unrelated to brass can be.  This is not a criticism, but a reminder.  Find your music passion outside the box!

I will share my personal passion for Chopin, Jacqueline du Pre, and Beethoven Piano Sonatas.  Every musician, especially brass players, should be intimate with Chopin and Beethoven piano works.  Why????  Have you ever tried to find and play the melody line of a Chopin or Beethoven piano work?  You will learn so much about expression within a ever moving tempo.  It's friggin hard!!  We learn to be playful with rhythm and expression through Charlier Etudes, my favorite for teaching this ability in trumpet lessons.  But, to go further outside the box, begin by listening to Chopin Ballades and Beethoven Piano Sonatas, a lot.  Chopin devoted his entire short life to writing only for the piano.  He knew his instrument intimately.  What composers know the trumpet or brass instruments, in general, intimately?  Right now, seek out the music of James Stephenson.  He was a professional trumpet player before finding his true passion of composition.  He is just one example.

In piccolo trumpet playing, listen to baroque oboe and flute concertos.  How do these instruments articulate?  Play duets with oboe and flute players.  Can you sound like an oboe or flute?  Get to know the extensive works of Bach, not jus the ones with trumpet.  Listen and learn to play his Cello Suites.

If you are working on music for a recital, get to know your composers' other works, their history.  It will inform not only your performance, but your understanding of their music if you know their instrument.  Were they pianist, organist, violinist, etc...?  Why did they write for brass?  How many brass works did they write?  Are you playing a transcription?  Listen to the original.

Ok, passion!  ...now Jacqueline du Pre!  It is the anniversary of her death 30 years ago.  Listen to her in any capacity, playing anything!  She exudes passion like no one else.  Can you let go so much that you lose yourself?  That is the goal in performance.  This is what makes live performance magical!!!

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