Weekly Trumpet Tips 11/2/11

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!

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

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.

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Here Are your Weekly Tips:

Tip #1 – Pinched Sound, Range Problems, Endurance Issues, Flexibility Problems?  

Believe it or not all of these issues have a common denominator!  Switching mouthpieces changing horns, doing new exercises blindly, and praying to the Trumpet God’s will NOT fix these issues until you are fully aware of the problem causer!

The cause of ALL of the above is essentially over using the lips to change ranges and NOT the air.  Setting up too tight in the aperture before playing, tightening and loosening the aperture to change ranges and do lip slurs limits your range and causes us to have fatigue problems (small muscles vs. large being used) and can add to flexibility problems.

How do I fix this?  Simple – understanding first HOW to take a full breath in at all times.  You must understand that a simple “at rest” breath is enough to keep you alive – but NOT your horn as well!!!  Filling your chest with air is not putting the air low enough to be “in the power band.”  You HAVE to breathe in and allow your stomach to push down and out!  That’s the first step…

SECOND step is to do exercises properly!  You MUST watch yourself in a mirror and look for facial movement as you ascend.  Simple flexibility exercises like what you’ll find in the Schlossberg book are great.  You can also pick a major scale (I prefer second line G) and start it extremely soft.  Play it slowly without increasing your volume as you ascend.  IF you feel yourself starting to close down, there is your work.  If you can make it to the G on top of the staff, move to the High C, then upward until you find the point that you start to close down.  If you can’t play these notes softly and under control, you’ll experience the same problems loud…

Tip #2 – DEEP In The Shed at ANY Age!

 I’ve had mentors, relatives, and friends say that the older you get, the harder it is to learn something new.  At the ripe old age of 42, I have to whole heartedly DISAGREE!!!

For the fellow adult players who are come back players, reinvigorated players, part time players, etc.  DON’T buy into this theory.  I was reminded just a few weeks ago (as simple simon as this was) how the tortoise beat the hare… steady consistency and never stopping!  No matter how long the process, slow the growth, or frustrating things may seem, it’s still forward movement.  Even if you’re having to take something in half notes, quarter notes, or down an octave, you’re still moving forward because you’re not giving up.

I believe (and this is just me mind you) that adults in general have a lot more to try to push aside to allow for the time to practice – mentally.  Making time is simply a commitment to the time for practice.  Clearing your mind enough to be able to cram new data in is a totally different topic.  Kids, traffic, bills, home, work, co-workers, spouses, family, etc. are all things that tend to swirl around our minds like an F-5 Tornado.  Add trumpet playing to the mix, and something has to fly out like the house that landed on the wicked witch of the East.  And whatever is not getting your full focus and attention will surely spin out…

In short, I believe that at ANY age and at ANY time in your life, you can make the necessary changes to your playing to be the player that you want to be.  Focus is the key…

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Steve Jobs
1955-2011, Co-Founder of Apple Computer

Sorry for the tardiness of the tips – I’ve been DEEP in the shed myself…

Have a GREAT week!