Weekly Trumpet Tips 11/20/12

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!

Check out About Face HERE!!! Check out Secrets to Efficient Brass Playing HERE!!!

ReCheck 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.

Keith is available for clinics and as a guest artist!! Please go to our “Clinics” page for details!



Tip #1 – Got 10 Minutes to Spare?

One of the biggest break-through’s in my endurance, range, and over all strength has been essentially keeping the horn to my face for long periods of time.  I’ve written about this the last several weeks, and I wanted to bring it up again because those of us that celebrate Thanksgiving here in the U.S.A. are going to have some extra time (and stuffing) on our hands.

If you can break away from the dishes long enough, you can grab your horn and set a stop watch.  Once you start playing – don’t stop!  Breathe as you need to, but limit the time without the mouthpiece on your face to a bare minimum… if at all.  We’re looking for a burning sensation (at least that’s what I feel) right in the center of the chops… kinda makes me feel like I’ve put some hot stuff right on my skin and it feels numb and burning at the same time.

Once you are airing out more than you’re playing, stop and rest!  If you plan this 10 minutes out well enough and actually practice something such as an Arban’s etude, play along with Jamey Aebersold (improvisation), do some reading, or work on scales and chords, you can take care of several needs at once – this becomes VERY efficient practice!

Tip #2 – Know When It’s Time To Stop!

It’s kinda funny, because that sounds like drinking… but there have been those of us that get absolutely obsessive about practicing and practice ourselves right into chops trouble!  In “About Face,” one of the interviews I did was with Personal Trainer / Martial Artist / Body Builder; Roland Craeye.  What came to light for me was the fact that when we over-tax a muscle (or several muscles) it can take anywhere between 48 to 96 hours for a full recovery!  That’s 2 to 4 days before things are healed from the damage inflicted from over exertion.

If you are a practicer that tends to just keep banging out the high stuff day after day after day, understand that you WILL pay a price for that fairly soon.  It’s really best to plan / strategize your practice week in advance.  Have an idea of the playing demands that are in your week, and plan your practicing accordingly.  I always lighten up 2 days before a show!

Remember – for me, a lighter day consists of doing pedal tones, Clarke studies, and little else.  MAYBE some improv, scale patterns, and transcribing… but no long playing (as mentioned above), or excessively high playing…

“Reduce your plan to writing. The moment you complete this, you will have definitely given concrete form to the intangible desire.”

Napoleon Hill
1883-1970, Author of Think and Grow Rich 

Have a Great week (and a Happy Thanksgiving)