Weekly Tips 3/21/10

The Shadow

The Shadow

Welcome to Weekly Tips!

If you’re looking to improve your range, endurance, tone, control, and over all ease of playing the sometimes brutal instrument known as “trumpet,” check out Chops Rehab Course.

For those of you that are finally ready to dive head first into improvisation, check out Sparky Thomason’s Beginning Jazz Improv Course.  Sparky walks you through step by step on the best way to ease into improvisation and start playing freely.

Here are your weekly tips!

Tip #1 – “I Know That!”

Probably the 3 MOST DANGEROUS words in the English language when referring to learning.  Essentially it is a “cop-out” for I’m not really listening or willing to open my mind to new information.  We all have it to some degree, but recognizing it when it starts to occur is vital so it can be stopped and we can learn and grow.

I hear and see this with students of all ages… imagine trying to share information that you know they need, but the student cuts you off with “ya, I know!”  In most of my work with students wanting to improve range, it typically comes down to a lack of control.  Pinching the aperture closed, playing too loudly, straining, or just not blowing hardly any air at all.  “Hey John, you’re… ya, I know!”  Really?  Then show me…  🙂

Tip #2 – Improving Range – PLAY SOFTER! If you’ve been playing for some time, or have been back to playing, and are trying to increase your range to or above High C, there’s a good chance you’re trying to “kill” the upper register notes with volume.  Think back to when you first started playing and how volume wasn’t the concern, but playing the notes was.  If we work to just “play” the upper register notes, we will have much greater success long term!  Power and volume comes with time… not impatience!

Here’s a simple little exercise that I do on a regular basis… play a G major scale starting on the 2nd line G in the staff.  BUT – as you ascend, go slow (2 counts on each note) and DO NOT let the volume creep up… try to play it as softly as you can without pinching.  Try to have the aperture remain relaxed and vibrant.  Balance the air and the lips together – feel the force flowing through you… oops!  I always think of Luke training to use the force when I practice this…

“If people knew how hard I worked to gain my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful.”


1475-1564, Painter, Sculptor and Architect

Have a GREAT week!