Weekly Trumpet Tips 11/14/10

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’re literally a couple of weeks away from the release of the new book!  I’m most excited about it as I’m sure it will be very beneficial to everyone who reads it!  The interviews are intriguing and extremely informative!

We now have t-shirts!  Check out our new t-shirt design!  We have the “adult version and the school friendly “student version!”

Here Are your Weekly Tips:

Tip #1 – Your Beliefs Affect Your Abilities

Working with one of my students this week, he suggested that I talk about beliefs and how they affect (positively or negatively) what we do and how we play.  If you believe that you can’t play a passage, then it will make things much more complicated to learning and mastering that passage.  I hear a great many players say they “can’t” do something (range, improvisation, sight reading, etc.) and have come to the point that I tell them no matter what they believe, they’re right.  You have to believe in yourself first and foremost in anything you do – trumpet playing is only one example of that.

Without trying to get into too much psychology and positive thinking here, give this a try.  If you are having difficulty with a passage, a high note, a solo, etc. hear yourself (in your mind) playing it perfectly.  After all, if you don’t get it mentally, you’ll never get it physically.

Personally, I know that when I start doubting my playing (tired chops, etc.) things start to tumble down hill pretty darn quick!  Better known as “head games!”  This is something that I encourage all of us to look at during our “bad days!”

Tip #2 – Aperture Control IS the Key!

Whether we’re talking about extreme upper register playing or we’re discussing a nice “even” sound throughout your range – the aperture tends to get over looked pretty darn quick.  One of the biggest problematic habits I see as a teacher and had to break / change as a player was the desire to close the aperture down either by pinching my lips or by using mouthpiece pressure as I ascended into the “scarier” notes.

The true job of the aperture (lips) is to maintain a small opening – aka “aperture” while we push air through and into the horn.  Poor sound quality, diminishing volume, complete close offs, and air outs can all be attributed to the aperture NOT staying the same size throughout the playing experience.

I believe that we develop this habit quickly as young / new players… we discover that by closing the aperture down, we can speed the air up and get the higher notes.  This also has a sub-conscious affect because we involuntarily stop pushing the air with our abs, and just use the aperture – hence last week’s tip about using the aperture in the middle register.

My tip for you this week is to address this habit from the first note you play EACH day.  In your warm up especially!  If you do the Schlossberg exercises – FOCUS on NOT closing the aperture to ascend through the intervals and allow the air to do the work.

“Deliberately seek the company of people who influence you to think and act on building the life you desire.”

Napoleon Hill
1883-1970, Author

Have a GREAT week!

Sincerely,

Keith