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I just heard Band-in-a-Box on YouTube
Joined: Jan 2021
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Posts: 12
I wanted to make a trumpet exercise, Clarke Study #2, more interesting for trumpet students. So I created a play-along video with recorded accompaniment to complement it. I shared the play-along video on Facebook for other trumpet players to try, and to perhaps share it with brass students they may have. It seems to get steady traffic on YouTube for a video targeting a very specific and narrow demographic.

From a Band-in-a-Box standpoint, it's pretty simple... I cycled through a bunch of styles and key changes. And I synced the audio to a video that I made via MuseScore to display scrolling notation.

But things that I think make this play-along useful for trumpet students in isolation:

  • Exercise is ordered for "expanding range" based on the William Adam approach to Clarke studies. Video cycles through a variety of accompaniment styles, including funk groove, wistful modern jazz, rumba, tango, bossa, and others to make play-along more interesting than playing solo or with a metronome.
  • Tempo is set to 115 BPM to ensure students don't zip through the exercise too quickly. Arrangement includes the originally-published repeats and pauses (set at 1 bar rests) to deter taking short-cuts.
  • Opportunity for ear-tuning that comes from playing along with in-tune accompaniment.
  • Notes are displayed and highlighted on screen as the video plays, while a link is available for optionally downloading and printing the exercise.

I thought I'd share it here simply to show a way in which I've used BiaB for a non-standard purpose.

Last edited by satchmo67; 06/03/22 02:04 PM.

Gary Badger
Trumpet Player
I just heard Band-in-a-Box on YouTube
Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 18,585
Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 18,585
it's interesting, but I wonder three things:

1: why you didn't include the trumpet performance in your example
(even though I know that wouldn't be used in the student practice. How would the student know it they were performing correctly?)

2: No timing variation? Surely timing is an important aspect of performance, so I thought the consistent repetition of eighth notes (quavers) in each four bars would not encourage the student to practice their timing skills.

3: 11 bar phrases? Unusual?

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I just heard Band-in-a-Box on YouTube
Joined: Jan 2021
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Posts: 12
Excellent questions. Thanks very much. Each of these was a deliberate choice and intended to increase the likelihood that students would transition to using the play-along recording.

1. I want the student to feel like a soloist and play without the distraction of "some other guy" having already recorded the melody. I don't think I'd feel as motivated to play along with a recording of someone else playing an exercise that's not very inspiring in the first place, so I left it out. But I could certainly upload an accompanying version with the melody, resembling the Hal Leonard Play-Along CDs.

2. Yes, I considered varying the tempo. The exercise is intended to be played with a metronome, with the notes played smoothly and evenly. The student should concentrate on making each note should even and equal. Varying the tempo might distract students from this objective. I thought that if I made the recording follow the structure and discipline of a metronome there would be an easy transition and a greater chance that people would give it a go.

3. Indeed 11 bars is unusual. The original exercise is a 4-bar phrase, repeated, with the held note on the 9th bar then a pause (over the double bar line) before proceeding to the next line. Check the sample copy below. I reasoned that it is common for students to play the exercise as a 5-bar phrase, then repeated as if the repeat sign were at the end of bar 5 instead of bar 4. So I moved it to create a 10-bar phrase. Then I chose to account for the pause as a single bar rest that could also serve as the key modulation for a less-abrupt key change, making a total of 11 bars. It is unusual, but I think more playable.

I felt that every decision I made was a trade-off for something else. In my experience music tutors usually follow a set routine for the students with little deviation from the well-trodden path. So I tried to structure the exercise to closely resemble the way that I think it is commonly taught, to make the transition from solo trumpet and metronome to Band-in-a-Box accompaniment as easy as possible.

Thanks again for your questions, and for taking the time to listen and consider. Very much appreciated!

Gary Badger
Trumpet Player
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