Weekly Trumpet Tips 12/09/14

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! Do you enjoy the Weekly Tips?  Please help support this site by donating here…


        Check out About Face HERE!!! Check out Secrets to Efficient Brass Playing HERE!!! A NEW Week 1 & 2 for the Jazz Improv course has been added… subscribers, please visit the course page to see this new addition.  A new week 3 & 4 will soon be posted as well… These courses 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 – Fear of Mistakes Will Hold You Prisoner!

This first tip goes right into my personal background as well as others that I know… students, family, friends, acquaintances, etc.  It seems to be the one deciding factor in a great many aspects of life that keeps us on the porch and not running with the big dogs!

When I was 14 I got my first job at a Haagen Dazs Ice Cream Parlor (aside from a paper route that I had had previously), and one night during closing the owner was barking out orders.  The more he barked the more I made mistakes and the more fear that welled up inside.  At one point, he asked me what I feared so much… I remember telling him, “making mistakes!”

In rehearsals with bands throughout my career, I feared making mistakes because of potential ridicule from other members or the directors.  Fearing that I would be let go for being the weak link…

It wasn’t until I started to realize one of the best teachers I had (especially in the practice room) was the mistakes I was making.  When I work on soloing, reading, etc. I record myself.  Then I listen back… it’s a tough pill to swallow at first – no one likes to hear themselves sounding bad, but I found that I would learn from those mistakes and my playing would exponentially improve.

Bottom line – EVERYONE makes mistakes… and if someone tells you that they don’t, they’re too afraid to try!

Tip #2 – Building Range & Endurance…

Maynard told me years ago (and it took me a REALLY LONG time to fully understand this) that playing in the high range is like being a body builder and having endurance – REAL endurance is like being a long distance runner!

As trumpet players, we have to approach our practice from different angles and with different intentions.  I have read on the forums, Facebook and other mediums where guys are talking about exercises to build range.  Most use arpeggio’s, etc. and try to peel the paint off the walls with what ever note they are trying to reach.  I can tell you from experience that this will NOT in any way build endurance!  It “can” help build range if you approach the exercise properly, but it’s not a one-stop-shop kinda deal!

Much like if you were to go into a gym and lift the heaviest weights you could possibly muster, it doesn’t mean that you’ll gain in muscle strength… in fact, if you don’t know how to properly execute the exercise you can really hurt yourself!  Trumpet playing is NO different!  If you do not approach the exercises properly, you will create or at least reinforce bad form and can eventually hurt something.

Building endurance takes playing for long extended periods of time, between bouts of rest!  You can’t expect to run a 10K marathon if you only run to the mailbox and back daily… unless your mailbox is at least THAT far away!

Much like athletics, rest and work have to be balanced out… you have to gain an understanding of when muscles are tired, when to let them rest as well as when to work them.  Proper practicing includes working the fundamentals of Clarke, Arban’s, Schlossberg as well as more focussed practice toward the style of music you wish to perform!

For more in depth information, check out Chops Rehab!  Over the next several weeks, we will be revamping the courses… exciting changes are on the way!


As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that

the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live

by them.

– John Kennedy – 1917-1963, 35th U.S. President

Have a GREAT week!