Weekly Trumpet Tips 1/20/14

The Shadow

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 About Face HERE!!! Check out Secrets to Efficient Brass Playing HERE!!!

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 – When Practicing Alone Isn’t Enough…

There comes a point in every venture that we take on in life that gets to the point where “practicing” just isn’t enough anymore.  You actually have to jump in and do what you’re working on for real at some level.  THAT alone is a tough pill to swallow, but there’s an even bigger one.  Playing with musicians (in our case) better than yourself.  The better they are, the better you’ll become.

Now there aren’t a lot of people out there that will actually follow through with this, and therefore, they get “good enough” to a point, and the growth or forward movement stops.

When I joined the tour with Maynard in 2004 (a full decade ago come early March), I knew I was going to get my butt handed to me.  NOT just by Maynard, but by the band.  And as difficult as it was, it pushed me WAY outside my comfort zone, and I have become a better person and musician for it (or at least I like to tell myself anyway).  While it wasn’t necessarily during my tenure on the band, I had taken so many notes on everything, that when I left the band, I knew I had mounds of work to do.  A lot of it, I didn’t really want to face because I was so drained, beaten down, and overwhelmed.  But here’s the beautiful thing about it… I didn’t have to do it all at once!

So tip #1 for you this week is to realize that there are many levels of practice, growth, and it takes time and willingness to keep putting yourself in harms way “ego-wise.”  Most “true” professionals will respect your chosen path of growth and will be gracious… most.

Tip #2 – Look For DETAILS!

As trumpet players, we tend to get stuck on our range, endurance, etc.  I see those as fundamentals of playing now that can be worked on – but need to be approached like a work out.  What tends to slip away from us then, is the “musicality” side of our playing.  If you think of Miles Davis, Chet Baker, or even Herb Alpert (ya, I mentioned him in the same breath as the legends – sorry), you won’t hear incredible range or even amazing endurance like you do from Arturo Sandoval, Maynard Ferguson, or Wayne Bergeron (which you’ll hear all of the above from them).  But – you WILL hear INCREDIBLE MUSICIANSHIP!  In fact, most people who are not considered “jazz buffs” know who Miles and Chet were.  Most people in their early 40’s and older know who Herb is.  Whether you like(d) Herb’s music or not, he still plays musically, and it speaks to a great many people!

Taking the approach of working on style, dynamics, proper articulation, and technique (fingering, tonguing, etc.) you’ll find that you’ll get a far greater crowd response from the non musicians than you will just belting out high stuff.  After all – playing as high as God with no style, rhythm, or technique attached will only make you a legend in your own living room… at least until your family (including the dog) gets fed up with you.  🙂

“I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence but it comes from within. It is there all the time.”

Anna Freud
1895-1982, Author

Have a GREAT week!