Hey, before I start with the trumpet analogies, I’d like to take a moment to explain this blog entry. Being a trumpet player myself I can appreciate how helpful these analogies have been to me, and will, hopefully be to you as well. Most of these analogies were made by my teacher to explain certain concepts and aspects of trumpet playing. I hope they can explain things the same way, not just for trumpet players but for musicians in general, especially younger ones like myself.
What I particularly enjoy about using analogies to explain key techniques is that it brings fun and humour into explanations which would not naturally be humorous, and if you find a certain explanation amusing or strange it’s more likely to stick with you. Also, it helps you visualise things like sound quality and practice techniques. So, without any particular order, here are a few of my favourites that I found especially memorable and helpful.
NUMBER 1- Like bread and butter
“Imagine your spreading butter on toast, while your playing. You don’t want lumps of butter you want it all smoothed out”
This is of course a metaphor for your sound quality, their should be a consistency to your sound which is similar to the consistency of spreading butter over toast. Smooth with no lumps or gaps in the sound. This applies most instruments and forms of music.
NUMBER 2- Tap turns on the water
“When you turn a tap on, you don’t get a slow drizzle and then water, the water comes straight away, that’s what your sound should be like.”
This applies to all wind instruments. Your sound quality should come straight away while your playing, not gradually. This way you avoid a horrible sound.
NUMBER 3- The long and winding road
“When you’re fixing a road, you don’t do the whole thing t once, you take one pothole at a time and fill it, until you’ve fixed an entire road. Once the road is fixed you don’t keep going over it you move on to the next road. Eventually all your roads will be fixed and join up and make a big network of roads”
This is one, which I like because you can apply it to lots of things, not just music. When you’re practising or working on something, do one thing at a time. Once you’re done move on to the next task.
NUMBER 4- Paint our pictures
“If you only have one or two colours to paint with, your paintings won’t look as good as if you had hundreds of different colours to paint with. Your paintings will have lots more variety and will look better.”
If you only have one or two techniques or notes in your music arsenal, your music will sound boring. The more difference you and variety you have in your music, with notes and techniques the, better your music will sound. This is one that I always thought is easy to imagine and therefore very good.
NUMBER 5- Another brick in the wall
“When you look at a new brick wall you don’t see some small bricks, and some big ones, you don’t see some bad bricks and some good bricks or any cracks in the bricks. They are all equally good. That’s what your sound quality should be like!”
You shouldn’t have some low quality notes and some high quality notes, or any cracks in your sound. It should be a consistent sound of high quality, like smooth brick wall.
These are the five analogies which I remember being the most helpful and inspiring. I decided to share them with you by writing them down. These are not in any order, and are mostly applicable for trumpet players, as that’s what they were considered for, but if you’re not a trumpet player, I hope they helped you understand something, whether it was a concept or technique, or just how to practice. Thanks for reading!
Fredi is currently a pupil at James Gillespie’s High School, Edinburgh. www.jamesgillespies.edin.sch.uk
He has been learning the trumpet for the past 3 years with Finlay Hetherington at Most Entertaining. www.mostentertaining.com