Weekly Trumpet Tips 11/8/11

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!

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Here Are your Weekly Tips:

Tip #1 – What Are You Working On?

A conversation with Sparky Thomason a couple of weeks ago really resonated with me – it took some time for it to sink in, so I thought I’d share it.  I am paraphrasing, so Sparky – forgive me if I get some of it wrong…

The story goes that he was at a Wynton Marsalis concert, went back stage and conversed with Wynton… his question to him was simply, “What are you working on these days?”  Wynton answered him with something to the affect of playing using different approaches to the lines… he then turned the question on Sparky – to which he replied, I’m trying to play more inside the changes.

Minus the exact quote from Wynton (sorry guys and gals, maybe Sparky will chime in), the point behind it is that no matter what level a player is on, they’re always working to improve, learn, and grow as musicians.  NEVER stop reaching for the next level.  When you reach a goal, set a new one.  If you reach passed what you think you can’t do, you have no choice but to grow!

Tip #2 – Days Off – Good Idea?  Bad Idea?

This seems to be an age old question that everyone asks at some point in their playing life.  Should I take a day off?  Once you get “addicted” to playing, practicing, etc. it’s tough to get away from it every now and again (at least it is for me).  I have a sudden panic attack that I will lose what I’ve worked SO hard to gain!

The correct answer is yes – no!  It’s as individual as underwear!  There are the players out there that can take days off (Bobby Shew) and be just fine… never sounding like they’ve missed.  Then there are the guys like me… after one day off I sound like an 8th grader coming back from a long summer break!

What’s The Solution?  I take lighter days and will string them together.  For instance, if things that I can normally do get a lot tougher, I  consider the playing demands that I’ve been putting on myself.  If fatigue comes into play (which we don’t necessarily feel but rather hear) then I’ll take 2 to 3 days and minimize playing to 15 – 20 minutes with pedal tones, flexibilities, etc. on the first day.  Second day, I’ll do more of the same and perhaps add some Clarke Studies.  Third day, I’ll push the upper register for a short time – again keeping playing to only around 20 minutes.  “Usually” by the end of the 3rd day, the chops have recovered enough to allow me to start playing “as usual” again.

I encourage you to experiment to see what works best for you.  If fatigue is an issue, then try taking “A” day off.  We are all different… you may respond well to a day off – in which case, I envy you.  🙂

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.”

George Bernard Shaw
1856-1950, Playwright

Have a GREAT week!