Weekly Trumpet Tips 11/15/11

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 – Ready? Set… BLOW!

This past Saturday night, I had the honor of performing with the Temple Jazz Orchestra in our tribute to Duke Ellington. I was given a couple of feature tunes (one below) and roughly 32 bars to say everything that I could come up with in that time frame. On Sunday, I sent this particular video clip to one of my improv hero’s (Nick Mondello) for feedback. His feedback was not only constructive, but inspired this weeks first tip.

Our conversation consisted of agreeing that given a limited amount of time basically limits your progression of ideas. It was only afterward that I started “hearing” cooler licks in my head.  With that being said, we both agreed that soloing in a big band setting is a challenge because you only have “X” amount of time to come up with intelligent, hip, and inspiring licks that will complement the song.

Trying to avoid being a “one trick pony,” my goal was to not instantly turn to the upper register after my “attention grabber opening.”  My heros such as Arturo, Maynard, Doc, etc. all tastefully use the upper register to really add an exciting element to the song… I think as trumpet players, we all want to attain that skill… but mind the word – tastefully… below is the clip… enjoy –


Tip #2 – Practice Mutes (SHHH)

As trumpet / brass players, I think we’ve all contemplated purchasing, used, borrowed, or have been told to get our hands on a practice mute.  Most people that I’ve spoken to about them (Arturo, Maynard, etc.) really don’t like them.  They view them the same way most of us do as “necessary evils.”  But they can also be considered PEACE keepers…

I have found that when I practice with one, I can turn this into a positive experience because it seems to help me balance the air stream so that I don’t over blow (or under blow) in the upper register.  So the next time you want to add a challenge, try playing in the upper register with a practice (hush) mute in the end of your bell.  It’s an interesting concept that I still experiment with (and my family appreciates – right Honey?)  🙂

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.”

George Bernard Shaw
1856-1950, Playwright

Have a GREAT week!!!