Weekly Trumpet Tips 10/23/10

The Shadow

Welcome to Weekly Trumpet Tips,

Please always feel free to respond / comment on any of the tips listed in these weekly posts.  Your input may help clarify details for someone else!

Check out the Chops Rehab and Jazz Improv courses.  These are designed to be 4 weeks worth of lessons to help the student gain insights and skills in each specific area.  We are currently running a “Back To School” promotion on Chops Rehab…

A couple of updates – we’ve selected a name for the book – keep checking back to find out what it is… the book should be finished by October’s end.  A month behind what I wanted, but it was worth the extra time!!!

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Here are your Weekly Trumpet Tips:
Tip #1 – Get OFF The Page and INTO The Music!
The only reason a trumpet exists is to create another musical voice.  All too often I see / hear players (both young and old) playing far too technical.  Reading the notes and the rhythms on the page like a machine – lacking any kind of emotion, dynamic contrast, articulations relevant to the style they are playing, etc.
When you listen to the greats in any genre, typically you can hear little personalization’s or inflections that they do as a signature.  Maybe it’s a little vibrato, or a screaming double C so musical that it makes you gasp with excitement… nonetheless, you can “hear” that persons voice through the trumpet.  Maybe that’s why improvisation is so freeing and yet so frustrating.
The next chance you get, take a piece (jazz, classical, etc.) and make it your own by adding “your voice” to the song.  Just like a vocalist has a different timbre, so do we as players.
Tip #2 – Section Playing!
This week’s second tip is inspired by Ed Hernandez… Whether it be in a big band with 5 trumpets, an orchestra with 10 or more, or a marching band, there will always be various parts that have to be there.
All too often young trumpet players associate playing 2nd, 3rd, and 4th parts with being a weaker player or someone who can’t hit the high notes.  While this may be true in some High School situations, it is never the less extremely important that ALL voices be heard.  In a great section, all voices are not only supporting the lead part, but are actually creating harmony and filling out the voicing’s written by the composer.  3rd, and 4th parts NEED to be there as they offer “support” for upper register work by the lead player.  Many times, 4th / 5th parts are the octave below what the lead is doing.  Ever heard a band with only 2 horns?  When the trumpet player plays up (like the recording) and there is no harmonic support, it’s kinda like a rock thrown from left field hitting you in the forehead.  Without those supporting voices, the lead just sounds completely out of place.
As a section player (whether it be lead, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th) your voice HAS to be there.  Think of the voicing’s like a pyramid ^!!! There can be no top without the supporting structure underneath.  Often times, the section parts are more challenging than the lead because they are not playing in a natural melodic sense… a little known fact (or so it seems) is that Maynard NEVER played lead!  He was usually on the 4th or 5th parts in his section…
Thanks again Ed for a great suggestion!
“Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.”

Samuel Johnson
1709-1784, Essayist, Biographer and Poet

Have a GREAT week!