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The Trombone ForumTeaching & LearningPractice Room(Moderator: blast) Practicing for big band lead
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Andrew Meronek

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« on: Feb 12, 2018, 09:36AM »

Especially for modern big band writing, lead trombone parts can sometimes be *VERY* strenuous, and the gigs can be long. In terms of preparing to maintain a big, full sound in the upper register that doesn't flag with fatigue, especially in the G4-G5 register, what are some practicing drills that you like to maintain?
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« Reply #1 on: Feb 12, 2018, 09:41AM »

Charles Colin's Advanced Lip Flexibilities will keep you up there a lot.

Practice Remington up an octave.  Rochut in Tenor Clef or up an octave.

If you are in to it, the Caruso exercises 1 and 2 up an octave.

Best way to be secure up there is to practice up there.
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« Reply #2 on: Feb 12, 2018, 10:20AM »

Maggio 

urbie's hour a day

Chats Collin

TD charts!
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« Reply #3 on: Feb 12, 2018, 10:47AM »

Especially for modern big band writing, lead trombone parts can sometimes be *VERY* strenuous, and the gigs can be long. In terms of preparing to maintain a big, full sound in the upper register that doesn't flag with fatigue, especially in the G4-G5 register, what are some practicing drills that you like to maintain?

I don't know if there is a special method for leadplaying. Would be interested I if there is.

In any case what I'm doing seems right for the kind of leadplaying I'm doing. Basically chromatics as high as possible. Then I play high sweet solos by ear. "I'm Getting Sentimental over you", "Stardust", "Londonderry Air" and any other tune I can think of. There are a couple of minus one CD's you could try with the Gordon Goodwin band with the first trombone book. Those are demanding stuff. Other than this I guess what helps is a small mouthpiece - for the ones who thinks it is easier to play high parts for five hours on a small mouthpiece - and small bore trombones + same reason.

Other than this. You tell me  Good!

/Tom
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« Reply #4 on: Feb 12, 2018, 12:15PM »

learn how to swap parts occasionally with the 2nd or 3rd when they're not looking  :D
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« Reply #5 on: Feb 12, 2018, 01:50PM »

Long tones and lip slurs are the lifeblood of a brass player.  No real secret... just be diligent.
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« Reply #6 on: Feb 12, 2018, 01:56PM »

A lot of rehearsal bands.

You can't do it in a practice room.
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« Reply #7 on: Feb 12, 2018, 02:07PM »

A lot of rehearsal bands.

You can't do it in a practice room.

True! A good rehearsal band with a good first trumpet player and rythm-section.

AND what I find of most importance listen to records with great trombone sections. The Francis Boland Big Band with Åke Persson, Nat Peck and Erik van Lier or any record where Åke plays lead. There are a couple of records with the Swedish Harry Arnold Big Band in the late 50-ies (I think 1959) that are absolutely the best sound I've ever heard from a lead player. That is Åke as his best. A great soloist too but the lead playing - the SOUND - is what really stands out...

/Tom
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« Reply #8 on: Feb 12, 2018, 02:33PM »

My trick was to get into every band I had time for and never say no to taking a solo or playing a feature or an offer to record for a local band. Always play. Always practice. Smartly, of course.
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« Reply #9 on: Feb 12, 2018, 03:07PM »

A lot of rehearsal bands.

You can't do it in a practice room.

Yes, I agree with Doug also.

The fact is that the requirement for playing high notes in a big swing band that plays professional arrangements is extreme. Most of the time the range is above the staff, from Bb4 to D6. The only way I got to feel comfortable and not fatigue too fast was to join three high-level community bands, where I played lead in all three. I also used to play most of the solos, which I do not necessarily recommend because of the fatigue factor. It is normal in big bands for second trombone to play most of the solos. :D Plus, I was also playing in a Traditional Jazz band, where you can more or less choose the range you play. Plus a concert band where the range requirement is much lower, but it helps you to keep your bottom range sounding good.

Choice of mouthpiece to avoid fatigue was ultra important for me. I was most comfortable in the latter years with a Schilke 47B, which I am told was TD's preference. It was given to me by Evan who was a long-time member of this forum and I am very grateful because it gave me a lovely tone and cut down the fatigue factor.

The only downside is that requiring so much strength from your lip muscles could mean that you will run out of 'lip' at an earlier age. However, like me at 79, you will probably know when it is time to move down the line. This last thought may be a bit contentious with some people because it does not happen to them. I would also mention that your medical condition in older age has some bearing on losing your lip. The age and the experience varies greatly even in my circle of trombone friends and acquaintances.

Oh, and you won't be home many evenings! :D

 
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« Reply #10 on: Feb 12, 2018, 04:12PM »

Long tones and lip slurs are the lifeblood of a brass player.  No real secret... just be diligent.

Well, yes, but in terms of being able to play strong section lead in a big band, I think there really is more to it.

A lot of pedagogy around practicing range is to rest when you feel tired - but in these big band settings, you can't rest when tired, and fatigue *will* set in quickly. I don't think it's merely a matter of long tones, but a matter of pacing and extreme volume plus range practice.


A lot of rehearsal bands.

You can't do it in a practice room.

True, this definitely helps.  Good!
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« Reply #11 on: Feb 12, 2018, 04:19PM »

I have played lead on and off in an amateur, but pretty darn good big band for 20 years. We have over 700 charts and I rarely see anything above a high C or C#. Maybe the more "modern" charts go higher, but we have a few Gordon Goodwin tunes and I don't remember them being any higher than that. Just playing up there for so long has given me pretty good high chops. I play a Warburton 7M, which is a big rim, but a tapered cup, so I get a nice bright sound.

Like other folks said, if you wanna play high, you gotta play high. I do scales up to high F pretty regularly. Above that, it's just a squeak. If you can play high F, then a C doesn't seem so bad.
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« Reply #12 on: Feb 12, 2018, 04:20PM »

Yes, pacing is a big part of it.  You don't need to pound everything and you don't need to hold long notes at full volume, when you know it's only wasting your chops.  And if you hear your part being doubled in 4th trumpet behind you, take it easy.  Save it for the important parts.

And you know, but not everybody does, that correct mechanics for your face will make a huge difference.



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« Reply #13 on: Feb 12, 2018, 04:30PM »

Don't be afraid to hand off a chart to 2nd or 3rd before you get tired. No reason you have to be stuck on lead for all time.
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« Reply #14 on: Feb 12, 2018, 11:11PM »

Don't be afraid to hand off a chart to 2nd or 3rd before you get tired. No reason you have to be stuck on lead for all time.

You normally don't do that in a pro band, unless you have agreed on switching some parts before the gig starts. You need to be able to last the whole gig or else you will not be on first next time.
 
/Tom
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« Reply #15 on: Feb 13, 2018, 08:34AM »

A lot of rehearsal bands.

You can't do it in a practice room.

This is the only thing I know that works.  Try as I may I cannot seem to duplicate the exercise in a practice room.  Banging attacks, impulsive rhythm, more air and more air and more air, sight reading under the gun, etc. 

Incidentally, most all the longish notes in a big band have to be hit and then come off a bit to leave space for others.  The rhythm contribution is all in the attack.  Holding volume is usually (but not always) poor style. 
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« Reply #16 on: Feb 13, 2018, 08:51AM »

This is the only thing I know that works.  Try as I may I cannot seem to duplicate the exercise in a practice room.  Banging attacks, impulsive rhythm, more air and more air and more air, sight reading under the gun, etc. 

Incidentally, most all the longish notes in a big band have to be hit and then come off a bit to leave space for others.  The rhythm contribution is all in the attack.  Holding volume is usually (but not always) poor style. 

Every note has to be alive, every phrase has to mean something just like any good music.

But... it is no guarantee that you learn to play better if you play together with others. To be better you need to play with people who know what they're doing and actually are better players.

The second thing is you need to be perceptive as to pick up the style from players. Listen to the right people and learn from them. In a bad band no one learns. In a bad environment what you hear is the sum of all bad things which is worse than each player individually. Been there. Done that. Don't want to do it again.

/Tom
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« Reply #17 on: Feb 13, 2018, 09:42AM »

You normally don't do that in a pro band, unless you have agreed on switching some parts before the gig starts. You need to be able to last the whole gig or else you will not be on first next time.
 
/Tom

Oh yeah ya do. Now most dance band stuff I do, chairs might stay static for most of the night so everyone can focus on their role... that said, if there are three guys in the section that can play lead and play it well, we pass parts around. I don't care how solid you are, towards the end of that 4th set everyone who is playing lead is going to have issues.

Yes, pacing is a big part of it.  You don't need to pound everything and you don't need to hold long notes at full volume, when you know it's only wasting your chops.  And if you hear your part being doubled in 4th trumpet behind you, take it easy.  Save it for the important parts.

And you know, but not everybody does, that correct mechanics for your face will make a huge difference.

This this this this this. A million times this. It's all about pacing. A band I work with in Tulsa does a bunch of the Sinatra stuff. Plenty of those charts have some epic brass parts, and of course my favorite thing, the solo on IGYUMS. If I don't back on the stuff I can back off on, my face gets sore and tired.

And mechanics... I've been re-focusing on my mechanics since I got the Doug piece. It helps. It really helps a bunch.

Back to those long tones and lip slurs...
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« Reply #18 on: Feb 13, 2018, 10:49AM »

...  Holding volume is usually (but not always) poor style. 

Played a piece today where I had a held note and it seemed everybody else dropped out.  To keep from leaving a hole I held it full length.
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« Reply #19 on: Feb 13, 2018, 02:23PM »

Quote
Plenty of those charts have some epic brass parts, and of course my favorite thing, the solo on IGYUMS.

YES. (Sorry... for thread hijacking)
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