Archive for May, 2007

Something Great Gets Even Better

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

Griego CS5
Click image for larger view

Since their introduction, Getzen Custom Series trombones have led the industry in performance, quality, and unmatched value. With such overwhelming acceptance and outstanding designs, it is tough to find ways to improve each model. One can only take perfection so far. Rather than scratching their heads in a vain search for improvements, Getzen decided to elevate the overall package. To achieve this goal, Getzen has partnered with Christan Griego, Director of Research & Development for Edwards Instrument Company. Both are eager to announce the exciting addition of custom Griego Mouthpieces to the full line up of Getzen Custom Series trombones.

Griego Mouthpieces is a family owned company founded in 2001 by Christan Griego. A lifetime of playing trombone and a decade with Edwards has allowed Christan to study under and work with some of the world’s finest players. In that time, he realized that many players were facing the same problems he was. Problems that weren’t being solved by practice alone. After some research, Christan found that the true cause for many trombone players’ headaches were shortcomings in the design and manufacturing techniques of many mouthpiece makers. His experience allowed Christan to gain a unique insight into the wants and needs of players from all corners of the world. He took that knowledge and translated it into a superior mouthpiece design that is conceived and manufactured by/for trombone players. Seeing this success led Getzen to enlist Christan to utilize his skill and experience in designing a mouthpiece tailor made for the Getzen Custom Series trombones. After months of research and testing, that mouthpiece is here.

Beginning in 2007, all newly ordered Custom Series 3508 Jazz, 3047 Tenor, and 3062 Bass trombones will come standard with a Griego mouthpiece. Years of experience with the Custom Series line have enabled Christan to create a mouthpiece specifically designed for each of the three trombone models. Each of the mouthpieces are precisely machined and expertly finished creating the perfect compliment to the unparalleled Custom Series trombone line.

Best of all, the mouthpieces are included with the new trombones at no cost. Mouthpieces can also be added to existing orders for a nominal charge. Additionally, each can be purchased separately from local Getzen dealers. Not only will it improve the performance of the trombones, but also add an outstanding value to the overall package. While others in the industry are offering only “throw away” mouthpieces, Getzen is including a premium mouthpiece with a $130 retail value. Increased performance and overall value; the great does indeed get better!

For more information on Getzen trombones visit www.Getzen.com/trombone. To learn more about Griego Mouthpieces visit www.griegomouthpieces.com.

Featured Custom Series Dealer

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

R.E.W. Music
R.E.W. Music

R.E.W. Music is family owned and has been serving the greater Kansas City area for more than 20 years. Servicing all musicians from student to professional with the same level of service is their number one priority.

R.E.W. carries the full line of Custom Series instruments including an inventory of 3001 Artist Model trumpets. For store locations and contact information visit www.rewbandorch.com.

From the Mailbag

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

Hello Getzen,

I go to Wauwatosa East High School and our band has just returned from a trip to England. Our Jazz Ensemble and two concert bands performed at the Gala concerts for the London New Year’s Day Parade. We also marched in the parade and the Jazz Ensemble performed during an awards reception.

Two members of the band and myself play on Getzen 3051 Custom trumpets. The included picture is of the three of us in uniform on the Thames River in front of the MI6 building. As a proud Getzen customer (I also own a Custom cornet) I just wanted to let you know that your horns are leading the pack in our band. My Custom 3051 works excellently, regardless of if I am playing principle trumpet of our top concert band, lead trumpet in our jazz ensemble, or screaming over the top when marching on the street.

Thanks for such a rock solid horn. Keep up the phenomenal work!!

Dave Baker,
Wauwatosa, WI

Zach Ovanin, Dave Baker, and Jared Schulz
Zach Ovanin (left), Dave Baker (center), and Jared Schulz (right) proudly pose in their Wauwatosa East High School Marching Band uniforms in London, England. All three play 3051 Custom Series Bb trumpets in silver plate.

Welcome On Board: Jim Stella

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

Jim Stella
Jim Stella

In September, 2006 the Getzen team proudly added another member. Jim Stella joined the company as the new Assistant Plant Manager. Prior to coming to Getzen, Jim gained decades of experience in the design, manufacture, and sales of brass instruments while working for Martin, LeBlanc, and most recently Conn-Selmer. As Tom Getzen put it, “Jim brings with him an invaluable level of experience that will help us move forward for many years to come.

The All New Eterna Proteus

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

Eterna ProteusEterna Proteus

In 1962, the Getzen Company set the trumpet world abuzz with the introduction of the first 900 Eterna trumpet. In 2001, after decades of design changes, that legendary trumpet was returned in the form of the 900 Eterna Classic. Then, in 2004, the Eterna line was enhanced yet again with the introduction of the 900SB Eterna Sterling trumpet. Now the historic Eterna trumpet line is being expanded further with the exciting addition of the 907S Eterna Proteus Bb trumpet.

So what is the Proteus? Just like the name implies, it’s a versatile, all around trumpet. After nearly fifty years at the top of the Eterna line, the 900 Classic doesn’t meet the needs of some of today’s players. Many are seeking a more centered, flexible trumpet rather than the bright, lead style of the Eterna Classic. That is exactly what the Proteus was designed to deliver.

Design aspects such as the heat treated, two piece, #137 yellow brass bell and custom gold brass mouthpipe combine to make the Proteus better suited for chamber and orchestral work than its well know predecessor. Meanwhile, standard features like bright silver plate, fixed third slide ring, and lever waterkeys establish the Proteus as an outstanding value. A true upper level trumpet at a mid-grade price.

My Experience Learning to Be a Teacher

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

Nicole SasserNicole Sasser

By Nicole Sasser

They say teaching isn’t for everyone and I always thought it wasn’t for me. That is, until I started to teach. Since graduating from college, I’ve created my own studio with twelve students. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that, to my surprise, I’ve become very attached to my students! True, I would rather perform than teach. After all, there is an amazing rush of adrenaline when I’m on stage in front of an audience. But with teaching, I’ve discovered that there’s great joy in watching a student grow as a musician. I love the challenge of motivating my students to be better trumpet players. In this last year, my skill as their teacher has developed along with their skill as musicians.

When I first went to Indiana University I wavered between classical and jazz performing, but one thing was always certain: I wanted to be a performer not a teacher. Naturally, I worked toward and earned my degree in performance. My friends tried to convince me that, with an education degree, I would always have teaching to fall back on. However, an education degree had different requirements that would limit my time and opportunities for practicing and performing so that option was out. My performance degree did require one pedagogy class that I took towards the end of my college career. In that class I learned how to set a studio policy and guidelines for teaching and I started to get excited about it. When I moved to Florida I decided to establish my own trumpet studio. Now, half of my living is earned performing while the other half comes from teaching private lessons. Who would have guessed?

My first rule for teaching is to have a solid studio policy, which I give to both my students and their parents in writing from the beginning to prevent any issues. One thing I have learned about studio policies is that once I set them, I need to stick to them, but doing that can be a challenge. For example, I offer a discount to students who pay for the month of lessons in advance. Most of my students do this, but it can be difficult to get that check once a month. When the time comes for a lesson and you haven’t been paid for it yet you face a difficult decision. Having the lesson means you might get paid for it later, but you might not. At the same time, skipping the lesson all together means that you definitely won’t get paid and the student misses out. Even though my rules say that the lesson won’t be held, I usually give in and teach the lesson, hoping to see a check the following week. If I don’t, I then skip the next lesson. Of course, all of the rules are given to my students in writing to prevent any problems if this happens. I also make sure that if I have to cancel or switch days, I give the students a printed note for their parents. You have to remember, kids forget.

When I start teaching new students, I tell them and their parents my expectations and goals for them at the start. I highlight my attendance policy and make it clear just how important regularly scheduled lessons are. I also request that every student buys a metronome and a notebook. The metronome is a must have, especially when the players are young and just starting out. The notebook is for me to write their assignments in. That way they can take it home with them and there is no confusion as to what they are supposed to practice all week. It’s very important for students to know what’s expected of them and what they want to accomplish. I ask them to write out their own goals as a player. I want my students to think about why they are practicing. They need to know that they aren’t practicing for me; they’re practicing for themselves. When they realize this, their practicing will be more focused. Even though they are taking private lessons and I can guide them along, their individual practicing at home is the key to the whole process. Students must understand that the lessons alone will not guarantee success. They must be dedicated, to the amount they practice, but also to the way they practice. I discovered that, although many students spend the right amount of time practicing, they don’t always spend the time wisely. The best thing I can teach my students is how to be their own teacher when practicing. To help them out, I wrote the handout How to Practice Properly consisting of 10 guidelines for them to follow. I thought, if they just focused their practicing in the appropriate manner, they would become much better players overall. I give the handout to my students and go over the guidelines with them. After a few lessons, I highlight the top three items that pertain directly to each student. This way they know what they’re good at and what they need to spend more time on.

After a student plays an etude or excerpt for me, I like to ask him/her questions. I ask if the student was happy with the way he/she played. What does he/she think could be done better? It’s interesting how many times students play without even really listening to themselves and instead just go through the motions. So I will ask them to play it again and then tell me what they think. I’m not just going to give them all of the answers. I want to guide them to finding out how to become a better a player for themselves. Eventually, the student will point out a few things he/she did wrong and then I can elaborate on those issues. From there, I can give tips on how to improve these areas. I also point out what I liked. It’s just as important to tell the students what they have done right as what they have done wrong. This positive affirmation of their success will further motivate them to work harder and achieve more.

Not only does this approach motivate students to work harder, it also helps them to open to their minds to other areas that need improvement. One student of mine inspired me to write a short guide on sight reading. Since I encourage that self-inspection, he found that he was having trouble with sight reading and told me he wanted a way to get better. After working with him, I was able to put what he and I learned together down on paper so that it could help my other students as well.

As a new teacher, I am always learning just as much from my students as they are from me. The more I teach, the more tools I develop and the more I fine tune my technique. If you are a teacher, I hope you find these handouts useful and pass them on to your students. If you are a student, I hope they help you to further your playing. I’m a firm believer that, no matter how long we have been doing something, we all have more to learn. I know that I learn something new everyday that I continue to teach. And, while this is good for my students, it is great for me, too.

How To Practice Properly

  1. Write down goals. Do you want to learn all of your scales, or improve your range, double tonguing, triple tonguing, jazz improvisation, etc…? Write a practice schedule and what you will do to achieve these goals.
  2. Realize that you are your own teacher. Analyze your playing. What do and don’t you like about it? How can you make it better?
  3. Isolate tricky sections. Play them tongued if they are supposed to be slurred, and slurred if they are to be tongued. Play them down an octave. This will help you hear the sections rather than focusing on hitting the high notes.
  4. Play slowly. You will accomplish your goals much faster if you learn to play a piece slowly and then speed up. Playing too fast will result in sloppy play and it will take you much longer to perfect.
  5. Use your ear. Listen carefully. Did you pay attention to what you played or did you just play through it without thinking or using your ear?
  6. Try working on one measure at a time and adding to it. Don’t continue until you can play without stopping and without making any mistakes. Yes, that means going back to the top each and every time you stop.
  7. Record yourself. Listen to your playing from a different perspective and take notes on what you like, don’t like, mistakes you can fix, and areas you can improve.
  8. Perform for your family. Get used to your nerves by having someone listen to you play a piece straight through from beginning to end.
  9. Get a recording of what you are playing and study it. Listen to it over and over until you have it memorized.
  10. Listen to various trumpet repertoires and players (classical, jazz, etc…). Each has his or her own unique sound. For example: Phil Smith, Bud Herseth, Sergei Nakariokov, Wynton Marsalis, Alison Balsom, Wayne Bergeron, Arturo Sandoval, Doc Severinsen, Allen Vizutti, Chet Baker, Freddy Hubbard, Louis Armstrong, Lee Morgan, Rafael Mendez, Harry James, Marcus Printup, Bobby Shew, Clark Terry, Maynard Ferguson, Miles Davis, Nicholas Payton, Donald Byrd, Clifford Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, and Chris Botti.

Sight Reading Guide

  1. Know all of your scales (major and minor), arpeggios, scales in thirds, and key signatures. Then you are prepared for anything. If you know the key of the music, you can essentially “skim” sections that are scalar.
  2. Always check the key signature and time signature before playing. (This is a familiar and simple rule that’s often forgotten. Even I do it at times.)
  3. Don’t take it too fast. You don’t want to play sloppily and you don’t want too many starts and stops. Pick a comfortable tempo that allows you to be consistent.
  4. Be prepared and know before you play. Look for key words like a tempo, allegro, and adagio so you know when to expect tempo changes. Find and identify all key changes as well.
  5. Be as musical as possible. Anyone can play notes on a page. A musician brings the music to life.

About the Author
Nicole Sasser graduated from Indiana University in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance. She is now a classical and jazz trumpeter as well as a jazz vocalist in the Orlando, FL area. Her professional experience includes being an adjunct trumpet teacher at the Osceola School for the Arts, a regular sub for the Brevard Symphony Orchestra and several different bands at Disneyworld, as well as performing as a trumpeter with Norwegian Cruise Lines. Prior to her professional career, Nicole made a name for herself with the Chicago Youth Symphony and by earning herself a place on the Honors All State Band (first chair) and Honors All State Orchestra (second chair) in Illinois. For more, visit www.nicolesasser.com.

Hints for Building Range

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

By Mike Vax

The proper way to build range is to increase it gradually over a number of years, always using as natural an embouchure as possible. Students need to learn to let the air do the work instead of the chops. And always, always, always avoid false or trick embouchures like the plague!

Always remember that range comes from endurance, not the other way around! After you gain the support and muscle control to play for longer periods of time, you begin to have the basic foundation to start increasing your range. Working to extend range by half step increments, over a long period of time, insures control, confidence, and consistency in the upper register that will last for years. There is no deep dark secret that will increase your range overnight. It takes hours of hard practice and concentration. There is no shortcut!

Young players trying to stretch into the upper register too quickly can face quite a few problems. Gaining the ability to reach up high should be thought of as a marathon rather than a sprint. A student can injure muscles in the embouchure as well as other parts of the body by trying too hard to hit the upper registers without first having the knowledge and physical stamina to play up there correctly. Rushing it can also be a detriment to other aspects of playing.

There was never a time in my life that I spent hours a day just trying to “honk out” high notes. The upper register was just one of the many facets that I worked on with regard to my overall playing. Instead of focusing only on high notes, I try to point out to students the importance of working on technique, articulation, flexibility, reading, and endurance. If all of those are mastered, the ability to hit high notes will follow. I also stress to students that the measure of a player is not how high he/she can play for one, forced note. The real measure is how high he/she can play both consistently and musically. I urge them to remember, that the main consideration of trumpet playing is to achieve pure musical sound in all registers of the horn.

Things To Focus On To Extend Range

  • Flexibility studies
  • Long tones
  • Pedal tones (with natural embouchure)
  • Endurance builders (such as the characteristic studies in the back of the Arban’s Book and the Daily Set-Up drills of Herbert L. Clarke)
  • Chords and scales that gradually go higher
  • Breathing exercises. (AIR is your real “octave key”. When you SUPPORT your sound properly, playing high becomes much easier)
  • Walking, running, biking, swimming, etc… (the better shape your body is in, the better chance you have with both endurance and high notes)

Warning Signs Young Players Are Rushing The Upper Register

  • Loss of flexibility
  • Airy tone
  • Trouble with lower register
  • Loss of control and consistency
  • Loss of endurance
  • Inability to center pitches