Weekly Trumpet Tips 10/9/12

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!

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Here are your weekly tips:

Tip #1 – Are You Hungry Enough to Hunt Down Your Dreams?

We all have dreams!  But the difference between making a dream come true and something remaining “just a dream” is how hungry you are for that version of your reality.

As I was driving home from a gig last night, it dawned on me… our trumpet is and has to become an extension of us!  Another voice, if you will.  And when we practice, we have to think of our work (practice) in 2 parts.

1) The technical work… what I consider the “trumpet practice” – this to me is working on fingers, tonguing, rhythm, timing, range, tone, endurance, etc.  Basically everything that we need to have in our tool box.

2) The musical work… this is our approach to how we play a certain style, improvise, and how lyrical we play.  Ultimately, this will be some of the biggest clues to your own “sound!”

For many of us, we see practicing as having to pick up the horn and devote time behind it.  This IS important – but there is practicing without the instrument too.  Active listening – learn about your favorite players by hearing what makes you like what they do.  NOT just the high notes… what makes Maynard and Arturo  my favorite players is the excitement they create!  How lyrical they approach things, and how they “take no prisoners!”  Some players don’t agree… but that’s what gets my blood pumping!

So the next time you can’t spend time behind the horn, take just a few minutes and listen!  Or – finger through Clarke Studies, Arbans, etc.  Or work on “saying” double / triple tonging exercises.  But don’t let your dreams fade, and don’t let the fear of what you feel you can’t do stop you!

Tip #2 – Try This!

To develop the necessary balance in the upper register, we have to learn to hold our higher range for long periods of time.  One of the exercises I do “sparingly” is to take a note that is near the peak of my range, and hold it for as long as I can at a metso-forte volume.  NO LOUDER!  Trying to play the extreme upper register (no matter where it is for you individually) is that it creates anxiety and bad habits.  You need to learn how to relax in that range – not become more uptight!

Remember – there is a delicate balance between the lips and the air.

On the air side, you have to have enough support to keep the air moving at a fast pace… but that does NOT mean to over push or over blow!

On the lips side, you want to have them be relaxed enough to vibrate without blowing open, but set small enough that it will create a tiny aperture allowing the higher pitch to resonate.

Higher notes are NOT more air… they are faster air in lesser amounts.  Believe it or not.


“Being a winner is never an accident; winning comes about by design, determination and positive action.”

Bob Proctor
Author and Speaker

Have a GREAT week!