Stagnating

How and what to teach and learn.
Post Reply
Kjong3545
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2022 4:00 am

Stagnating

Post by Kjong3545 »

What do you do when you feel like you’ve reached a stagnant point in your improvement. Not like, I feel like I can’t can’t get better, far from it, but it feels like no matter what I do, it’s not solving the gaps in my playing.

As an example, I would say my largest issue in playing currently is unstable intonation. I know this an issue. I’ve used the analysis feature on Tonal Energy, I’ve recorded myself playing and pinpointed my tendencies, I’ve expanded my long tones routine trying to pay more careful attention to stability, I’ve practiced with drones, etc. And this is something I’ve been working on for months, so I’m not really sure what to do about the fact that I’m not sensing an ounce of improvement. My flexibility and range are both in similar situations, where i feel like im doing everything right, but im just not getting results. Im sure this isn’t a new situation to anyone who plays regularly, so I was wondering how others usually face these plateaus in improving.
User avatar
Burgerbob
Posts: 3566
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:10 pm
Location: LA
Contact:

Re: Stagnating

Post by Burgerbob »

Take a lesson or a few. Get an outside perspective.
User avatar
Doug Elliott
Posts: 2301
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:12 pm

Re: Stagnating

Post by Doug Elliott »

I can probably help you a whole lot with a Skype lesson.
Inconsistencies like those are usually from doing things "randomly" and when you learn how to use your own body's natural form more purposefully, it makes everything more stable and consistent, and a lot easier.
User avatar
harrisonreed
Posts: 3637
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:18 pm
Location: Yokohama, Japan
Contact:

Re: Stagnating

Post by harrisonreed »

There is only so much an app can tell you about intonation (unless it's melodyne and you're inputting the keys you're playing in). I don't bother much with tuners anymore because they will always seem like they are all over the place. Sure, if you are tuning a certain pitch, they are great.

Think about it this way, though. Does the app know if you're playing a scale or what key you're in? If you listen to a lot of classical music your brain with be primed to use two tuning systems, Pythagorean and Just intonation. Neither of these work very well with the tuner.
User avatar
LanceHandsome
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2019 12:31 pm

Re: Stagnating

Post by LanceHandsome »

My form of stagnation (not that I think of it that way) is "finding the notes." I picked up the trombone in 2007 and am still waiting to be able to play any note I wish, without having to check (and find out I'm wrong, most of the time.) My primary instrument is the cello, so you'd think I'd know without guessing what middle C sounds like, for example. The former lead trb in my orchestra used a Snark tuner, so I suppose I shouldn't feel like it's cheating when I use one. This is a topic I don't recall discussing with my teacher, and my lessons ended with the arrival of covid.
Mr412
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri May 20, 2022 5:57 am

Re: Stagnating

Post by Mr412 »

Kjong3545 wrote: Thu Nov 17, 2022 2:07 pm What do you do when you feel like you’ve reached a stagnant point in your improvement...
I find inspiration. It can come from a variety of sources. But you need to find it and use it.
JLivi
Posts: 592
Joined: Thu May 10, 2018 4:24 pm
Location: Chicago, IL
Contact:

Re: Stagnating

Post by JLivi »

taking lessons
playing with other people
talking about it with other musicians

These are all good things to do. Sometimes you just need to get out of your head and just discuss philosophies with other people and see if that helps. One thing that I find helped me a lot with intonation is playing piano and singing. Get off the horn and start using your ears and mind.
King 3b(f) (AR 25.10 - 60)
Conn 74h
Conn 79h (AR 25.10 - 65)
Kanstul 1585 (Monette BT2)
Olds O-21 Marching Trombone (Flugabone)
timothy42b
Posts: 1293
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:51 am
Location: central Virginia

Re: Stagnating

Post by timothy42b »

LanceHandsome wrote: Thu Nov 17, 2022 6:24 pm My primary instrument is the cello, so you'd think I'd know without guessing what middle C sounds like, for example.
Pitch recognition is more timbre dependent than we realize. I've heard singers match a note from another person or from a piano easily, yet be unable to do so if the note came from organ or guitar. I think it's a learned skill.

What is the pitch of your tinnitus?
User avatar
robcat2075
Posts: 1248
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:58 pm

Re: Stagnating

Post by robcat2075 »

LanceHandsome wrote: Thu Nov 17, 2022 6:24 pm My primary instrument is the cello, so you'd think I'd know without guessing what middle C sounds like, for example.
How interesting that you have picked up the trombone! I tell cello players that playing the trombone is like playing the cello... if you could only finger the strings with your thumb and could only play down-bows.

I picked up the cello several years ago. I'm not proficient but I will still venture that it is easier to land a note out of nowhere on the cello that it is on trombone. The means of pitch selection is all visible in front of you.

Some brass players may be able to nail any note at any time but I've never seen one do it in person, not without some preparatory tootling.
>>Robert Holmén<<

Hear me as I play my horn

See my Spacepod movie
ParLawGod
Posts: 104
Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2019 10:01 pm

Re: Stagnating

Post by ParLawGod »

I think we've all gone through this. I went to grad. school from 2007-2009 and feel that I hit a brick wall several years ago. I signed up for a semester of lessons and it's been refreshing so far! Fresh perspectives, picking up on teaching strategies that I can use with my own students, being introduced to new repertoire, etc. Highly recommend!
User avatar
LanceHandsome
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2019 12:31 pm

Re: Stagnating

Post by LanceHandsome »

Pitch recognition is more timbre dependent than we realize. I've heard singers match a note from another person or from a piano easily, yet be unable to do so if the note came from organ or guitar. I think it's a learned skill.
Huh.
What is the pitch of your tinnitus?
A, I think,
User avatar
LanceHandsome
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2019 12:31 pm

Re: Stagnating

Post by LanceHandsome »

robcat2075 wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 1:54 pm
LanceHandsome wrote: Thu Nov 17, 2022 6:24 pm My primary instrument is the cello, so you'd think I'd know without guessing what middle C sounds like, for example.
How interesting that you have picked up the trombone! I tell cello players that playing the trombone is like playing the cello... if you could only finger the strings with your thumb and could only play down-bows.
There are some up-bows (ups-bow?) in there as well. It took me a long time to be able to read tenor clef--I still read alto more easily, despite being a cellist for 40 years and a violist for only 4 or so, However, I'm hopeless with tenor clef on trb, even when the passage would be on the cello's A string.
I picked up the cello several years ago. I'm not proficient but I will still venture that it is easier to land a note out of nowhere on the cello that it is on trombone. The means of pitch selection is all visible in front of you.
Plus there's the muscle memory, e.g. G on the A string being close to where the hand naturally rests, and the harmonic A next to it is a cheat I've used countless times. I once saw someone shifting far more than he needed to, but he hit every note spot on. I'm the opposite--I've memorized intervals between strings, so less shifting...but I still land painfully out of tune far too often.

Congrats and welcome to the String-O-Sphere.
Some brass players may be able to nail any note at any time but I've never seen one do it in person, not without some preparatory tootling.
I'm genuinely surprised. BTW, I didn't see the link to the sound file on your site. And it's "eine Posaune."
User avatar
robcat2075
Posts: 1248
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:58 pm

Re: Stagnating

Post by robcat2075 »

LanceHandsome wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 6:16 pm
I'm genuinely surprised. BTW, I didn't see the link to the sound file on your site.
On "I Play My Horn"?

Those are all YouTube videos. I've found you have to give those a fair spell for the players to load up on that blogging platform.

It is possible those are so seldomly watched that someone has to traipse to the back stacks to get them off a shelf and sneakernet them in when they are called.
>>Robert Holmén<<

Hear me as I play my horn

See my Spacepod movie
User avatar
LanceHandsome
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2019 12:31 pm

Re: Stagnating

Post by LanceHandsome »

robcat2075 wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 6:31 pm It is possible those are so seldomly watched that someone has to traipse to the back stacks to get them off a shelf and sneakernet them in when they are called.
The vids showed up this time. Intertoobz access is doubleplus slow these days. :weep:
Crazy4Tbone86
Posts: 1090
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:52 am

Re: Stagnating

Post by Crazy4Tbone86 »

Find new music literature and dig into it. I find that new music usually gets me out of a rut.
Brian D. Hinkley - Player, Teacher, Technician and Trombone Enthusiast
SimmonsTrombone
Posts: 126
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:43 am

Re: Stagnating

Post by SimmonsTrombone »

If you have more than one horn, play the other one for a bit.
baileyman
Posts: 857
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:33 pm

Re: Stagnating

Post by baileyman »

On intonation, play melodies. Hopefully the ear will scream at you when you stray.

Also good would be to play along with the old bland swing singers, the kind that didn't swing very much, ballads and such. If your own ear does not scream at you, then the clash with the singers should.
BurckhardtS
Posts: 238
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2018 6:57 pm

Re: Stagnating

Post by BurckhardtS »

It's also good to recognize that improvement isn't really linear, it happens in plateaus with peaks and valleys. Usually I notice after working on something I won't feel like I've made progress, just to feel like I've had a major breakthrough some time later.
Shires - 7YM, TX, Axial, TW47 - Greg Black NY 1
YSL354 - XT LN106, C+, D3
GGJazz
Posts: 21
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2022 7:53 am
Location: Italy

Re: Stagnating

Post by GGJazz »

Hi Kjong3545 !

I think that to give some advices about those issues , would be useful to know more about you .

A) how long do you feel stagnating ( one month , six months , one year , ecc ) ?
B) are you following a daily routine on basics (like the E. Remington warm-up & daily exercises , ecc)?
C) are you studying with a teacher , or are you self-taught ?
D) are you often switching among differents horns and mpcs ( bach 16/ 12C , bach 42 /5G, bass trbn , ecc) ?

Apart from those things , I think that these kind of issues you are talking about can be often related to an incorrect embouchure formation , and/or to an inefficient use of the air stream .

Regards to everyone
Giancarlo
Post Reply

Return to “Teaching & Learning”