Weekly Tips 1/11/2010

The Shadow

The Shadow

Welcome To Weekly Tips!

Just a reminder, as a special thank you to our friends that have purchased “Secrets to Efficient Brass Playing” we are offering a reduced rate on webcam online lessons. So an $80 hour long lesson will be reduced down to $50… a $45, 30 minute lesson will be reduced to $25… again, this is our way of saying “thank you” for buying my book and to help further support you on your journey! If you’re interested in a lesson, please respond to this weekly tip and we can arrange a time!

Please check out Trumpet Resources!  We have a new Jazz Improvisation course up and running – presented by Sparky Thomason!  This guy can improvise his tail off, and is a great teacher!  Please be sure to have a look!

I also put up my own personal website Keith Fiala.com – here you can watch video and listen to audio tracks that I’ve played on… including recordings with Bill Watrous, Gordon Goodwin, and Guitar star Lance Keltner (Rod Stewart).

Please also keep in mind that we always offer a 25% commission on book sales that come from a referral. Just have the person purchasing the book put your name in the “where did you hear about us” section and we’ll in turn put 25% of the sale back in YOUR Pay Pal account.

If you have any “tips” that you’d like to offer for our weekly tips that seem to work well for you or things that seem to cause you more struggle, please submit them to bugsytrumpet@gmail.com.

Here are your weekly tips –

Tip #1 – Comes from Sparky Thomason who teaches the Beginning Jazz Improv course on Trumpet Resources!

Here’s a drill for spelling chords that will work, no matter what instrument you play. As you know, spelling chords is the first thing theory knowledge thing you should know and is pretty much the gateway to all other jazz theory. Ken Frazier, my improv theory teacher back at McLennan Community College in Waco, Tx, had us do this and it really works.

Take all 12 notes of the chromatic scale, plus some common enharmonic tones, like G#/Ab, C#/Db, etc., and write them out big and spread apart on a sheet of paper. You are going to make little flash cards. Then tear them so that you have one note per slip of paper. Take another sheet of paper and write the types of chords, major 7th, dominant 7th, minor 7th, half diminished 7th, fully diminished 7th, and augmented 7th. Tear them into little slips. In one pile, put the notes. In another pile, put the chord types. You can put the piles into hats, bowls, Dixie cups, whatever. OUt of the piles draw one note and one type and start spelling. If you keep getting the same one, put it back and do another one. You can make a game out of it. If you do this a little bit every day, you will get better. Also, when you start using these chords a lot in your playing and writing, it’ll get a lot better.

Major 7th – 1,3,5,7 Dominant 7th – 1,3,5,b7 Minor 7th – 1 ,b3,5,b7 Half diminshed 7th – 1,b3,b5,b7                                  Fully diminished 7th- 1,b3,b5,bb7 Augmented 7th – 1,3,#5,7

Tip #2 – What causes a person to give up?

Last week I did a video for tips, and focussed largely on practicing from the outside – in vs. the inside – out.  Most all of us are “quick results” oriented because we’ve been conditioned to be – just look at the advertising we’re bombarded with on a daily basis!  Over the internet, on the radio, television, newspaper, billboards, etc.  Most ads promise fast results for something or another.  And when we don’t get them as fast as we’ve been promised, we give up, get mad, demand our money back, etc.  Granted – a lot of advertising is just to get your money and the rest is history… but take a diet / exercise program.  People see the “end” results of others and buy into it solely on that.  What they’re missing is the dedication, not giving up, regimented / altered behavior that results in the visible changes… not just because some super model work out queen is telling you it will make you thin.

How does this relate to your playing / practicing?  There are tons of exercises, exercise books, methods, and theories floating about to help brass players improve.  Most are great exercises – IF DONE PROPERLY & CONSISTENTLY! Since I can only truly speak about my own experience, what set me on the wrong path multiple times was not the exercise itself, but my improper use of the exercise as well as my mindset that “if I do these for 2 weeks I’ll be better.”  All too often we don’t trust the process and we look for outward results that we can see quickly, and when we don’t see the results that we wanted, we give up.

What do I mean by proper use of exercises?  When I was doing range exercises, I wasn’t focussed on holding my facial muscles still and using my air… hence all I was doing was reinforcing bad habits.  If a player is practicing an etude from the Arbans book and doesn’t do the proper articulation or count the rhythms properly, they are setting up (creating) / practicing (reinforcing) bad habits that will carry through to their performances.  And the more we have negative outward playing characteristics, the more we start to believe inwardly (your mind) that we “can’t” do something.  Everything starts with a thought… even quitting!

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”

William Shakespeare
1564-1616, Poet, Playwright, Actor

Have a GREAT week!