Ask Allen (Questions for Allen Vizzutti)

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Ask Allen (Questions for Allen Vizzutti)

Post  NICK5L on Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:01 pm

Welcome to the Q&A thread of the forum. Rather than having new topics for any questions for Allen Vizzutti, this sticky will serve as an ongoing question and answer that Allen will respond to as often as possible. For those of you that missed his AMA on reddit, questions are most likely to be answered here.

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Re: Ask Allen (Questions for Allen Vizzutti)

Post  jbeights on Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:29 pm

OK, as I am sure there are more than 3 Allen Vizzutti fans out there, so I will ask a question before everyone else finds this discussion board!

Mr Vizzutti, I dont know when you first started to play the trumpet, but as you were growing in your studies and started getting into the more technical studies like Clarke and St. Jacomes and many others, did you find that learning those techniques came fairly easy or naturally to you? I really struggle sometimes buring those techniques into my head and fingers. It seems like when I work on the Clarke exercises and Gordon's Velosity and even exercises your books that it is like a doing a tongue twister in my head. Similar with double and triple tonguing. Now, I have been able to overcome that with some things like chromatic scales and now have developed a reflex that enables me to move fairly quickly. I just started taking lessons again about 2 years ago after a long hiatus. However, it is quite frustrating none the less.

So my question is, is it normal to encounter this type of awkwardness when getting the technical part of this under your fingers, or is it a subtle indication that I might want to consider switching to golf instead?
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Trumpet Tech

Post  Allen_Vizzutti on Fri Oct 19, 2012 5:28 am

First of all, thanks for your question. You're the very first person to post one. I want to send you my new CD as a thank you present. If you would like to receive "Ritzville" send your snail mail address to me via email on the home page of this web site! I'll get one out to you.

I started playing trumpet when I was 7. I got excited about it after about a year when my Dad / teacher told me it was time to get serious about practicing or forget it. I must be honest and say that the techniques of playing did come easily in the sense that I got good results from hours of practice. Another fact in evidence is that my Dad did not hesitate to expose me to what we think of as "advanced" techniques, such as multiple tonguing, at an early age. He based the material on challenging me and my pace of improvement not on my age. At this point in your life this info is relevant more to teaching than your own playing I suppose.

So here are some thoughts I hope you will find helpful. 1) After a long hiatus it can be beneficial to practice twice a day for shorter times. 2) Think of the fundamentals of technique as being embellishment of the sound, not as separate stand-alone techniques. Example: if you can "blow" the syllables for double tonguing with just the sound of air moving through your relaxed aperture, (Tooo Kooo Tooo Kooo), with some speed and even rhythm, you can then play a long easy note, say G in the staff, and add a legato multiple tonguing pattern of that nature quite easily thinking of the articulation as embellishment gently "touching" the air stream, not as notes starting and stopping. Man that was a long sentence. 3) All good trumpet technique is based on the body of sound produced at all dynamics and the smoothness with which it is executed. (I have a book on this almost finished).
4) Your age is irrelevant. You may be getting too analytical however. There is surely variation in finger dexterity and natural coordination abilities among us but the truth is that we all can improve through repetition. Having said that, don't forget to think musically, play lots of actual music not just exercises and routines and you will find much of the technique you have practiced will spill out while you are thinking musical thoughts. Music is the ultimate goal and it's the most fun. Finally, your "voice" is important. We want to hear it! AV
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Re: Ask Allen (Questions for Allen Vizzutti)

Post  jbeights on Fri Oct 19, 2012 1:44 pm

Excellent! OK, I think I need to slow down and be patient. I will start tonight with a little difference approach with the suggestions you made above. My practice time in the evening is separated into two 1 hour parts with an hour break in between. After the second half I will play on and off for another hour or so with breaks. Rest as much as you play right! Thanks again!
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Re: Ask Allen (Questions for Allen Vizzutti)

Post  Allen_Vizzutti on Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:46 pm

Sounds good. I don't really rest as much as I play. I rest until my lips feel generally relaxed and have "settled" - not always possible in performance. You brush by an important point. Each of us must be aware of how our chops feel - how well things are going essentially - at any given time. No one else can assess this. If you know your own body and playing well enough you can push yourself really vigorously without making yourself stiff and get good results. If your trumpet player ego takes over - "I'm gonna play one more high F if it kills me!!!" - than you run the risk of getting worse and worse - stiffer and stiffer - and more frustrated. I think it's called discipline...
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Balance of Pressure

Post  Derek Watson on Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:07 pm

This is a great Forum!

My big question is about pressure. I usually use a pretty small amount of pressure except when I reach the highest end of my range. I can feel my lips cease vibrating or whatever is happening, nothing responds. So logically I try to play softly with the least amount of pressure possible. BUT wen I do that the same thing happens. Nothing responds and no matter the arch my tongue has the pitch breaks. It also feels like my air just halts when I'm up high even though i'm consciously pushing air.

What are some things to think about that could allow some progress in finding the balance of pressure in my playing?

Thanks

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Under Pressure to Not Use So Much Pressure

Post  Allen_Vizzutti on Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:02 pm

Derek, Thanks for your question. You are describing a very common event. The fact that you are consciously observing the amount of pressure you're using is good. The fact that you are experimenting at a soft dynamic is also good and important. In theory we should be able to sound upper notes softly with very little air quantity but lots of air focus, speed, compression, (choose your favorite word), through the aperture.

Logically then, you must be using more pressure than necessary even though you're attempting to rectify the situation. A big mouthpiece will exacerbate this problem. A small mouthpiece might contribute to the feeling you can't move the air especially when you've been playing for a while and your lips feel 'big'.

Try using the techniques employed in the wonderful book, "The Inner Game of Music" by Barry Green. Example: use the following numbered reference. 1 through 10 where 1 is no pressure and 10 is broken teeth. Play up to an easy upper note for you, let's say high C as naturally and normally as possible. Give yourself a pressure rating. Then do the same thing a few more times with rest where necessary, each time using a pressure number less than your norm. This literal point of view can be helpful. Also, practice for some time without using the right hand finger ring. Also hold the horn lightly in your left hand. No death grip. Observe when you fall into your old default setting and attempt to lighten up.

My book, "High Notes" discusses and presents text, studies and etudes on this and many other related upper register topics FYI. It's available only on this web site. Forgive my salesmanship but I get SO many questions on upper register that I put my ideas in a fun book on the subject. Thanks, AV
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Scores

Post  tiago12 on Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:48 pm

Good evening forum and Mr. Vizzutti. I was wondering: is there any publisher who has published the score of your spectacular song "Firedance"? Thank you.

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Fire Dance - Free Solo Part Download

Post  Allen_Vizzutti on Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:21 pm

Fire Dance has never been published officially in hard copy. I thought it too difficult to bother but there has been consistent interest for a long time. I will have a free solo trumpet part in downloadable PDF available to all on this web site within days. Big band score and parts in PDF will be available for purchase from me directly (by email request for now). I'll get it into the Vizzutti Store eventually too. Enjoy!
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Tonguing point

Post  Cornyandy on Fri Oct 26, 2012 2:45 am

Hello Mr Vizzutti,
Greetings from the UK, (Yorkshire and Proud so you might guess I'm a Brass Bander and more of a cornet player)

I would love to get your thoughts on my tonguing method, it is a question that has always intrigued me. I tongue from varying parts of my mouth, somtimes through the teeth off my lip sometimes behind, sometimes off my hard pallette it is an instinctive thing depending the attack I need or where I am in my range. I don't feel it holds me back but I would love a view from someone in your possition.

Many thanks

Andrew

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Terrific Tonguing

Post  Allen_Vizzutti on Fri Oct 26, 2012 5:45 pm

Greetings! You have touched on something wonderful but difficult to teach. I, too, use various places in my oral cavity particularly regarding different places on the roof and on the teeth, to achieve different styles of attack. It's difficult to teach because players seem unwilling to experiment for fear - of I don't know what - and that's the only way to figure this out. Plus we all have different physical setups naturally so each person has to try new ideas. I have 2 general thoughts about tonguing that seem to help players. 1) Articulate a continuous long stream of air - that is long note - with a light touch of the tongue in a legato fashion particularly for speed. (Don't think of starting and stopping the air stream i.e. the note that is sounding). 2) Listen to the sound of the articulation and use the right sound for the style.
Experiment also with how firmly you accent your Tee and Dee and Kaa oral shapes as well but always think RELAXED. Huge articulation improvement is available in the short term should a player decide to really listen, experiment with tongue placement, experiment with the level of air attack as well as observe and continue a high level of smoothness of air support. Otherwise, one just maintains the status quo, whatever that might be.
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Many Thanks

Post  Cornyandy on Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:24 am

Thank you for that, it is nice to have my thinking confirmed by yourelf as I often come across the only from the back of the top set brigade. Who even after my thirty years of playing will tell me how wrong I have been for most of that time in not being constant with my tongue position

Cheers

Andrew

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Re: Ask Allen (Questions for Allen Vizzutti)

Post  jbeights on Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:47 pm

I have read that you promote warming up before practice or playing. I think this is important as well, at least for me. I would really be curious as to what exactly you do as your warm up routine starting from when you first pull the instrument out the case. Is it the same routine everyday or does it change? Has it evolved over time?
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Allen;s Warm Up

Post  Allen_Vizzutti on Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:21 am

Warming up always helps and never hurts. Warming up for 15-20 minutes can help you become a very consistent player. Consistency may be the Holy Grail for trumpet players. I have developed a warm up that has met with good feed back over many years. I believe in variations based on fundamental techniques. My warm up is not the "only" warm up of course. it definitely works though.

You can find my warm up in the beginning of each of part of the "Allen Vizzutti Method Book". It is in 4 parts with variations.
1) Playing the mouthpiece 2) Tongued notes with mixed articulations in the low register 3) Smooth tones 4) Pattern scale-type studies ala Clarke technical study #2 and my technical studies - in book 1.

Much more can be said concerning challenging one's self and interpreting the condition of your response and suppleness each day but let me leave it at that adding only that listening to yourself, playing musically and having a warm up routine will greatly enhance your development.

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Re: Ask Allen (Questions for Allen Vizzutti)

Post  jesklash on Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:26 am

Are you planning on publishing the score for Mystic Warriors any time in the near future?

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Mystic Warriors

Post  Allen_Vizzutti on Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:34 am

Mystic Warriors for 2 Solo Trumpets and Wind Ensemble is self published by me. What that means is I can make it available for those who request it by contacting me through email. Use the contact link on the home page. I am willing to share the solo parts for free by request. The band score and parts can be purchased as PDFs. Pricing info also available by request. (When one purchases PDF downloads of these parts one agrees to keep them for one's self and NOT to share them with others. You can understand how unlimited sharing makes it impossible for composers to get anything for their efforts). Thanks! AV
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Turning squeeks into notes

Post  EzeTrumpet on Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:45 am

Mr. Vizzutti, I saw you play at Sac State's festival of new and American music which was amazing.

I was wondering how you got your upper register so full sounding. I'm 16 years old and have been playing for 3.5-4 years and I can get up to a double high C without much strain or pressure but its really wimpy.

My range from 3 ledger line F to dhC is pretty easy and controlled but I have no power behind them and they sound like squeals not notes. How can I turn these squeeks into notes?

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Louder Double High C?

Post  Allen_Vizzutti on Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:02 pm

First of all, I'm glad you enjoyed the concert. Secondly, your current range is fantastic and you will figure out the volume thing. You're way ahead of the range game if you can sound these notes indicating your aperture is "fine tuned" and working for you. The dynamic is made greater by larger volume of air moving through. Naturally, the mouthpiece size will contribute to the volume. The ideal size for you will take experimentation and there is no advice I can write that will help all that much except to say you should always consider quality of sound as well as ease of tone production. Corner strength will be important for loud high notes too as a component. Put simply you will need to learn to use your diaphragm muscles to pump more air for more volume the same as playing in the normal range. You may meet with too much resistance from your gear or not enough. Be wise - use common sense and go ahead and practice playing some of your upper notes loudly to observe current parameters. Most of us experience a point in our range where the notes become small - like a falsetto. That varies from person to person. Be patient. It will develop. Don't be surprised if you do better on some days more than other days. Keep in mind a really big mouthpiece will generate a smaller sound above high C. A smaller mouthpiece cup will generate a much more intense and louder sound above high C and then thin out for most of us at some point, (falsetto). Let me know how thing s go. AV
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Re: Ask Allen (Questions for Allen Vizzutti)

Post  EzeTrumpet on Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:38 am

I know it's a bit late, but I just wanted to say thanks for replying to my question, it's really cool being able to receive advice from pro trumpet player like your self.

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Is sheet music for Everything's Going to Be Alright available?

Post  Eurastus on Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:52 pm

Allen,

I've enjoyed, and admired, your music for more than three decades now. I first heard your self-titled 1981 Headfirst LP as a high school trumpet player myself, and wore it out on my mother's console record player. I purchased another and wore it out on my own turntable in the college dorms; the third, I was able to keep in better shape once your Skyrocket CD came out. I've always felt a great affinity for the second song on the Headfirst album, Everything's Going To Be Alright. There's just something about that tune that speaks to me.

I know Everything's Going To Be Alright is not one of your more popular charts, but it's always been the one song of yours that I'd like to work up to play myself, undoubtedly because, unlike most of your recordings, the upper range on that tune is more accessible to mere mortal trumpet players like I am.

I've since purchased every CD, LP, many books, and a few charts of yours that I could find....including the early Red Metal (long live the huge '80's 'specs!) and Rainbow. Nevertheless, I've never seen sheet music for Everything's Going To Be Alright. I've tried several times to transcribe it myself, but never could get it right.

Is the chart available? If so, where?

I'd surely love to play that tune...maybe with piano accompaniment if that's available. Can you help me get some notes on paper?

Thanks in advance,

P.S. We've already purchased tickets for your upcoming Salt Lake City tour date in January. Can't wait to finally hear you in person after all these years!!

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Better playing overall

Post  Hudsonhill on Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:00 pm

Mr.Vizzutti I have been a fan of yours since the first year of my trumpet playing in 6th grade. Last summer I got metal braces and it literally cut my mouth up so I changed to these things called Invisalign which were a lot better than the other braces. But it still hindered my playing a year later now I am almost where I was without my braces. Do you have any tips of exercises to help a full tone of sound on lower notes and in the upper range? And any tips to increase my upper range? And lastly I was wondering if you ever go to the Midwest clinic in Chicago every year. Because this year my high school wind ensemble have been accepted and wanted to know if you we're going this year. 

   Thank you

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Sunday morning problems

Post  botahoratiu on Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:57 am

Hallo
Mr.Vizzutti, I have some problems every Sunday morning when playing because my lips are so puffy in the mornings after the sleeping hours. The response is very bad and the resistance is very high. I play a Schilke B1 and a GR 66M if that matters at all, as I am very happy with the current setup. I am an amateur player so I do not play at all in the morning except for Sundays at church. Do you have any solution for this?
Thank you
Horatiu

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HI

Post  CroatiaTrumpetboy on Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:34 pm

I was wondering is the forum still running because there aren't any new post,and offcourse I have a question for the great Allen!

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Re: Ask Allen (Questions for Allen Vizzutti)

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