The Aardvark Speaks : essence, effervescence, obscurity. Established 2002. A weblog by Horst Prillinger. ISSN 1726-5320

July 26, 2007

Trumpet lesson

The TRUMPET TEACHER (TT) has been on holidays for two weeks. It has been three weeks since he and the TRUMPET STUDENT (TS) had their last meeting. The TS has been practicing, but not as much as he knows he should have. Nevertheless he has managed to increase his tonal range somewhat, from c" to e". At some point during the lesson, however, the TS struggles unexpectedly as he is supposed to be playing an a', which has never really posed a problem before.

TS: [produces moderately convincing sound on trumpet]

TT: Hm.

TS: [produces slightly less convincing sound on trumpet]

TT: Wait a second. Do that again.

TS: [attempts to produce the same sound, but is stopped before he can actually blow]

TT: You're opening your mouth. Before you start blowing into the mouthpiece, you're opening your mouth. That's not good. Try again.

TS: [attempts to put the trumpet to his mouth without opening his mouth]

TT: You did it again. You probably don't even notice it anymore. That's not good. Take off that mouthpiece, go over to that mirror and watch yourself as you put the mouthpiece on your lips.

TS: [walks to the mirror and puts the mouthpiece to his lips. Sees in the mirror that he is moving his lips without having moved them consciously.]

TT: See that?

TS: Um, yes. [Puts mouthpiece on his lips several times]

TT: Okay, keep going.

TS: [puts mouthpiece on his lips several times. Finally manages to do it without moving his lips too much]

TT: You're still moving your lips. Until next week, I want you to do this in front of your bathroom mirror for at least ten minutes twice every day. And... can I see your lips?

TS: [shows the teacher his lips. The TT studies the impression that the trumpet mouthpiece has left on the TS's lips]

TT: I'm afraid you're putting the mouthpiece too much on your lower lip and not enough on your upper lip. Take that mouthpiece and put it on your lips.

TS: [puts mouthpiece on his lips]

TT: You opened your mouth again.

TS: [sighs. Puts mouthpiece on his lips]

TT: Okay. Higher.

TS: [puts mouthpiece higher on his lips]

TT: Higher. It will feel odd.

TS: [puts mouthpiece higher on his lips. It feels odd]

TT: Getting closer. Higher.

TS: [puts mouthpiece higher on his lips. It feels very odd]

TT: That's the correct position. Now do the mouthpiece thing again, don't open your mouth and try to reach that position.

TS: [puts mouthpiece on his lips several times. It feels very very odd]

TT: Good. Now try to play that sound again.

TS: [mounts mouthpiece on trumpet. Puts trumpet to lips in an uncomfortably high position, taking care not to open the mouth. Attempts to blow] Pfffffffffffff. [a lot of air from the trumpet, no sound at all]

TT: It's the correct position. I'm afraid now you'll have to get used to it before you can play anything again.

TS: Gah.

Posted by Horst on July 26, 2007 08:41 PM to my so-called life | Tell-a-friend
mig said on July 28, 2007 06:11 AM:

How very, very familiar this all sounds. TS has my sincere sympathy.

Jann said on July 28, 2007 11:07 AM:

This made me laugh, Horst, and also sounded somehow familiar. Then I remembered why. About six or seven years ago I dedided to take ballroom dance lessons. My instructor corrected my form about every two minutes, and liked to remind the beginning students that we were at the kindergarten level of ballroom dancing; an analogy that I found not at all helpful.

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