Welcome to Weekly Trumpet Tips:
(1) Blowing Harder Won’t Help!
(2) Engage Brain Before Putting Mouthpiece In Gear!
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A NEW Week 3 for the Jazz Improv course has been added… subscribers, please visit the course page to see this new addition. A new week 4 will soon be posted as well… These courses 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!
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(Physical CD’s Available HERE)
Tip #1 – Blowing Harder Won’t Help!
One of the most confusing things to trumpet players (especially young trumpeters) is the whole concept of making air move faster… many believe that by “blowing harder” you’ll make the air automatically go faster. While it does add force to the air, it also creates a lose / lose situation with the chops because they can only endure so much force.
I personally feel that the act of “blowing harder” causes us to use excessive mouthpiece pressure, pinch the lips closed and all of the other things that will lead to diminishing range, endurance and power.
By balancing how much force you put on the air with you diaphragm and utilizing the thing inside your mouth (better known as your tongue) you can speed the air up without forcing things. Endurance is built on how much work the muscles have to endure (or don’t) for prolonged periods. They will get only “so strong” because they are small (fast twitch) muscles. The muscles in your face will not grow like those in the arms, legs, etc. Therefore putting them under more and more duress will not solve things.
Power comes from not shutting down the aperture. All this talk on the internet about embouchure, etc. will not give you more power or better tone. That comes from an aperture that allows air to pass through while vibrating the inner tissue of the lip. If you pinch the lips closed or close them by smashing the mouthpiece into your teeth you are shutting down the aperture tunnel.
Check out Chops Rehab for in depth lessons on this…
Tip #2 – Engage Brain Before Putting Mouthpiece in Gear!
I first saw this little phrase years ago posted by Wilmer Wise, a fantastic trumpeter in New York! When you first read this, it’s cute and kinda makes you chuckle. But when you really sit and think about what this is saying and look at some of the practice sessions you’ve had (we’re ALL guilty of it), I’ll bet you can think back to a few that were steeped in “going through the motions” and weren’t pushing growth!
I spent years “going through the motions” and not practicing with much thought beyond how bad my chops felt, etc. I lived for the days that my chops felt great and abused them accordingly… but even during those “good” days, I wasn’t practicing things that were inspiring growth.
I truly believe that when we sit down to practice, we have to have a calm mindset first and foremost – free of worry, anger, frustration or random thoughts passing through. I spend a few minutes listening to a few tracks to help inspiration and assemble a plan for my practice session! This helps me focus my mind more on the thought of practicing / playing rather than outside influences. If you can feel inspired vs. dread for your practice session, almost always – it will be a worthwhile endeavor! That starts in your mind, not in your horn.
If we worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true really is true, then there would be little hope for advance.
– Orville Wright – 1871-1948, Inventor and Aviation Pioneer
Have a GREAT week!