Weekly Trumpet Tips 12/01/15

Trumpet Shadow

The Shadow

Welcome to Weekly Trumpet Tips:

(1) Tromba Plastic Horn Review

(2) Simple Answers… Hard Change

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Tip #1 – Tromba Plastic Horn Review

Over the Thanksgiving weekend I received a “belated” birthday gift from my Mom – which was a metallic blue Tromba Bb trumpet… if you’re not familiar with it, there has been an upsurge of attempts to make a good playing plastic trumpet with a relatively low sticker price.

New pro line horns are well into the thousands of dollars these days and even the cheaper mid level and beginner horns are not as inexpensive as they once were.  A decent pocket trumpet will run you close to $1,000.00 or more!

I had heard a lot about this horn but never played this particular one until I received it as a gift.  The Tromba / Allora models all have sleeves in the valve casing that are actual metal and the valves are metal as well.  The rest of the horn is plastic… they recommend the use of Ultra Pure valve oil.  GREAT – that and the Austin Winds brand of Valve oil is what I use!  Light, etc.!

When I first dropped my mouthpiece in, it was a very strange feel!  And since the receiver is all plastic, my mouthpiece (with any pressure) tends to slide deeper into the horn.  I’m assuming there is no gap since it’s a plastic horn and the mouthpiece never seemed to “bottom out.”  After some getting used to, I found I was having fun on it!  It doesn’t “sound” right as I’m actually playing it, but as you’ll see on the video below, it’s surprisingly a good / decent sound for being a plastic horn!

Slotting – there’s an issue… at least for me.  I had to make several passes at a video as when I would go above high C, things got extremely squirrelly!  Like – I couldn’t find an E to save my life!  That will take some getting used to as well I’m sure, but over all – it’s an extremely fun horn to play… and for $170.00 in metallic colors, it’s worth it!


Tip #2 – Simple Answers… Hard Change!

It’s funny where my inspiration for these weekly tips come from, and this particular tip is no exception at all!  Last night my wife and I watched a documentary called “Fed Up!”  It’s about the food industry and how lobbyists are helping the food and beverage industry make billions at the expense of the public health.  In particular, they were talking about youth obesity.  Now I know what you’re thinking… this is 180 million miles from trumpet playing.  Well – no, not really.

There was one 12 year old girl that was one of the focus’s of the show and she was extremely active… on the school swimming team, riding her bicycle, walking the dog, running, etc.  But she was well over 200 pounds.  The mis-information being passed down about food is, “eat less / exercise more.”  While that’s okay advice to a degree, it’s not 100% the answer.  WHAT we eat (and what ingredients are involved) really is what can make a difference.  They were saying 1 12 oz. coke has 10 teaspoons of sugar in it… that’s a ton!  So instead of eating food that actually came from nature, she was largely eating pizza, burgers, fries and prepackaged foods and not losing any weight.  At best she was staying the same…

Trumpet players are much like this in what we do.  We’ve been “fed” information about how to build better range, approach tonguing, building endurance, etc. and most of that information is WRONG or filled with half truths!  Just the mouthpiece myths alone are so twisted from the truth it’s not funny!

You’ve heard me use the analogy of running shoes and a track coach before I’m sure.  Imagine you’re back in 8th grade and you suddenly have a deep desire to run track.  The track coach is delighted and say’s here are your “team shoes.”  They are a size 13 – yet you wear a size 8.  He proceeds to tell you that you’re growing and you’ll grow into them and to use cotton balls to help them stay on.  Does that make much sense?  That’s essentially what some band directors and lesson teachers do to their students when they are playing successfully on a 7C and they are suddenly switched to a 5, 3 or even a 1 size.  Everyone’s face is different… what about smaller?  10??

And once this new information (smaller vs. larger) is passed onto us, it’s a tough pill to swallow because the authority figures who were guiding us, told us one thing and now we’re hearing another… imagine the absolute shock and AWE when Maynard himself suggested that I try smaller vs. larger.  I couldn’t ignore HIS advice though, and I’m forever grateful that I didn’t!  But what he told me was extremely foreign to anything I had ever heard before.

So just like that little girl on the documentary, trumpet players are resistant to change when it breaks the traditional ways of thinking.  If she stays away from processed foods latent with sugar and ate more natural foods, she would lose the weight… especially with all the exercise she puts in!  Imagine what trumpet players could accomplish for themselves if they realized that we are all physically different and have vastly different needs.  Just because a famous trumpeter makes one mouthpiece work – doesn’t mean you will.

Whatever you think about all the time you will attract into your life. Not what you want – what you think about.

Bob Proctor – Speaker and Author

Have a GREAT week!