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!
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!
Keith’s new CD is available on iTunes! Click on the photo below!
(Physical CD’s Available HERE)
Tip #1 – Confessions of a Lead Player –
It doesn’t take someone who has known me personally for years to see that I am largely a lead player. I spent so much time focussed on the high register that all other facets of my playing suffered greatly! So over the last several years, I have devoted myself to facing my weaknesses, and working on those skills that escaped me for so long. I started with my reading ability (or lack thereof). And as my reading improved, so did my ability to lead the band as a “lead trumpet player.”
But what has really helped to improve my abilities as a lead player was my decision to begin facing my total inability to be able to improvise! I am nearing the end of my first year of seriously working on that ability, and it’s caused a great many changes in more than just my playing. Believe me – I have an EXTREMELY long journey ahead of me still, but the one thing I’ve learned to stop doing is looking for an “end” to the journey. Because honestly, there isn’t one… instead, what I’ve begun to do is revel in the improvements that have been made thus far, and keep focussing forward in my quest to become the best player that “I” can be.
I’m hearing things in a different way now… instead of “just” counting rests all the time, I find myself listening to the form of the song and finding new ways of fitting my part and my voice into the blend.
I now believe that the best lead players are also soloists… fitting into the music with more than just high register notes.
I wanted to share a couple of videos with you from performances from the past couple of weeks… and I want to invite you to send in links to your videos as well so that we can share them, share our performances, and strive to keep making improvements in this craft!
Tip #2 – Your Warm Up Should Fit Your Playing Needs!
In the above performances, I had to approach my warm up for each differently. In the quintet performance, I warmed up with tone, flexibility, fingers, arpeggio’s, and lines in mind. With the lead performance, I spent the better part of my day doing a slow warm up focussed on getting the chops to feel loose, relaxed, and ready to play in all registers.
If I mix the two, for me personally I find that I tend to “over” warm up and run the risk of running out of gas for the actual show. So I have to warm up according to what will be expected of me at the performance.
Keep track of your warm up routine, and be willing to adjust it according to your performance needs. You may find that what you are currently doing could be altered just ever so slightly and help push your chops, fingers, and mind to the next level!
“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”
1952-2004, Actor, Director, Producer, and Author
Have a GREAT week!