Weekly Trumpet Tips 11/7/10

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 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.  We are currently running a “Back To School” promotion on Chops Rehab…

A couple of updates – we’ve selected a name for the book – keep checking back to find out what it is… the book should be finished by October’s end.  A month behind what I wanted, but it was worth the extra time!!!

We now have t-shirts!  Check out our new t-shirt design!  We have the “adult version and the school friendly “student version!”

Here Are your Weekly Tips:

Tip #1 – Warm Up For SIX Hours!

Okay, so before you think I’ve fallen off my rocker and someone calls out the guys in white coats, here’s what I mean by this!  The last 2 weeks have been (to say the least) EXTREMELY taxing and busy – which is great!  But it can also cause fatigue and consistency problems… for me, it has in the past.  I would have some stellar days, followed by some really frustrating days because of stiffness, tension, and just being pure exhausted.

Now I understand that many can’t afford SIX hours of  warm up.  But this will at least give you an idea of what you can do to help get yourself back to a “baseline” so the chops will respond properly.

I start off with my pedal tone exercise – for those of you not familiar with my routine, I use a modified version of Claude Gordon’s descending arpeggio’s down to pedal F below pedal F… double pedal F if you will.  I rest for AT LEAST the same length of time that I play and many times longer – in front of the television works best so I’m not bored silly and having to sit in a “Zen” position…

After this – it’s straight to the Schlossberg book.  By starting with exercise #5 – quarter note exercise starting on second line G, going down to F#, then ascending back to G.  I monitor my volume (extreme soft), move slowly, and I try to start my note as gently as possible… no sudden “attacks.”  This attention to detail really helps start to loosen up the chops.  One more note on this though – I also make sure that I am using my air properly and not just using my lips to “squeeze” the air in to a soft sound.  I then continue to a series of intervalic studies to complete and complement what I’ve started… again, resting as much or more than I play!

The actual playing time is probably less than HALF the amount of time total, and I am NOT warmed up to the point of being able to go play a job… but I HAVE put my chops back to a relaxed  state that I can do a final warm up to get “gig ready.”

Tip #2 – Middle Register & Why It’s SO Taxing at Times!

For many years, I would completely wear myself out during shout chorus’s in the middle register before I have a chance to get to the upper register (fun stuff).  By middle register, I’m talking about notes from second line G up to High C.  In many instances, we tend to get complacent and forget to use air speed when playing in this range – rather, we start closing and opening our aperture (pinching) when in this range.  It’s REALLY easy to “forget” that air is needed for ANY upper register type note – and that for me starts after second line G.

I see this time and time again in students and cohorts.  Many times – we can fool ourselves to think that we are pushing air… check yourself in the mirror!

By following this one EXTREMELY simple tip, you can save yourself a lot of frustration 10 – 20 minutes in!

“To grow, you must be willing to let your present and future be totally unlike your past. Your history is not your destiny.”

Alan Cohen

Have a GREAT week!