Weekly Tips 5/2/10

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 #1Think Past Conventional Wisdom!

Sometimes what is an accepted theory or practice for generations can have its foundation shaken up by new discoveries, explorers who “dared” test the theory and look for a more direct approach.  Christopher Columbus comes to mind immediately… when everyone was convinced that the world was flat, he was brave enough to explore.  Venture past the fear and into the unknown…

My first tip for you is to open your mind to the possibilities that you hold!  If you are struggling on a 3C mouthpiece, I challenge you to at least “try” a smaller diameter rim!  If you’ve been dreaming of: starting a group, joining a group, playing in public, performing a difficult song – I challenge you to take on that fear!  Fear can be absolutely paralyzing and put a complete stopper on our dreams and our goals.

Tip #2Let There Be Rest!

I often hear from young trumpet players who have seen a decrease in range, endurance, sound quality, etc. and for the life of them can’t figure out why.  I’ll let you in on a little secret – I had this far too often in my life!!!  When we practice, we’re using 1 muscle group known as our embouchure.  It is designed to support and sustain a small hole in our lips known as our aperture.  When these muscles get pushed to the point of fatigue and we keep using them (abusing them), we are actually causing more harm than good!

I’m sure somewhere along the way, you’ve heard the terms “Rest as long as you play” & “Heavy day / Light day.”  If not – here’s the concept.  When your muscles are at rest, they are actually rebuilding… to help promote the building process I’d suggest turning to a heavy day / light day practice session.  For you avid / habitual practicers, this will be hard at first!  On your heavy day – do what you normally do… on your light days, incorporate less playing and more off horn activities… listening, transcribing, rhythm exercises, etc.  Keep in mind – I did NOT say NO playing… I said LESS playing.  If you alternate days, you can find yourself actually building strength, endurance, range, better tone, etc.

We’re in the process of writing a new book about this very topic (tip #2).  Keep your eyes peeled for it toward the end of the summer!

“Don’t be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it, you can make it so.”

Belva Davis
Award-Winning Journalist

Have a GREAT week!