In-Depth Blog Post #4

This is now my forth post, and I’ve got to say, I think I’ve improved a ton since the last blog post. I’ve managed to hit that octave note that I’ve been gunning for, and even played some more notes past that. Lately, I’ve been playing a few songs from a beginner’s trumpet book that my mentor lent me, and it has been going quite well. It took some practice to get used to changing notes quickly, but once I got the hang of it, it was only a matter of being able to play the notes. So my mentor actually suggested I find a few scores online to play so that we could start working on intonation and sound. I’ve also started recording myself playing the trumpet every Saturday to show as evidence of my work, and so that I can listen to my sound and tone better to help improve. A link to these recordings will be near the bottom.

What has been my most difficult mentoring challenge so far?  Why?

There are not many challenges that we are currently facing (apart from the fact that we cannot meet at the moment), but if I were to choose the most difficult challenge that I have had so far, it would be getting a consistent sound. Since I have just started getting used to the trumpet and all of its notes, producing a nice consistent sound is the next step. This means that I have to be able to play without having my notes “waver” or change in tone all too much while attempting to play with a good quality sound. But this has been proving quite challenging for two reasons. First off, I need to be able to play and recognize the good quality sound that the trumpet can produce. So far, my mentor has not focused too much on sound quality since being able to play the notes always comes first. Therefore, I don’t really know how to produce the sound that I am aiming for. Second, it’s hard to teach/show how to play a good sound. It doesn’t matter is I’ve perfectly memorized the good quality sound if I don’t know how to even get there. Luckily, my mentor is very good and thorough when he teaches, so I’m not too worried, but I will have to work quite hard in order to get there.

What is working well? Why?

My mentor is not really structuring our sessions and he is instead making my practices a lot more flexible. He doesn’t really give me assignments or sets goals for me and rather leaves most of it to me. He believes that allowing me to choose what I want to practice is better than him choosing what I should practice and I think that it is working very well. This is not to say that he doesn’t guide me in any way, or doesn’t do much, he simply gives me choices on what I feel like practicing at that moment. If I want to develop my range, he helps me grow my range. If I want to learn songs, he provides me with music to play and even plays along with me. I personally really like this approach as it helps me keep motivated in learning. Nothing feels forced on me and it even helps develop my own motivation to practice at home.

What could be working better?  How can you make sure this happens?

There is one aspect of my mentorship that I’ve constantly had a bit of trouble with, and that would be my own practices at home. It’s not that I don’t know what to do, or that I can’t do anything without my mentor, it’s just that I can’t practice for long periods of time without my lips getting tired. My mentor has specifically warned me that if I strain myself too much once my lips get tired, then I will end up developing bad playing habits. So I’ve had to keep my practices quite short everyday in order to avoid this. But the only way to develop my muscles is to simply practice often. Now that I have a lot of freetime, I have been practicing everyday to develop these muscles, and I will tell you that it is a lot of work. However, it’s a lot of fun to play familiar songs so I’ve been enjoying my practices rather than finding them as a chore to do everyday.

 

Recordings:

These recordings are actually louder than you would expect, so I suggest putting your volume down before starting the clips.

March 14

March 21

March 28

 

So far, this has been a ton of fun to do and may even be my favourite project ever. I’ve also got something to do to pass the time so that’s a bonus I never asked for! I’m going to thank my Mr. Kwong once again for being such a wonderful mentor and for helping me get to this point. I now need to find some new music to learn, so I will go do that. In the meantime, stay safe, wash your hands, and I will see you in the next video post!

One thought on “In-Depth Blog Post #4

  1. Wow. Amazing progress. Great to hear you play. Thanks for sharing your recordings. “Oh Canada” already? I am glad you have used your in-depth project to keep yourself busy during this unusual time. Music connects people in a different way. I can hear the passion in your voice. Thanks for recognizing the help of your mentor in each post.
    Mulder

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