Weekly Trumpet Tips 12/25/12

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!

Merry Christmas to one and all!  Thank you for following the weekly tips and for all the great comments, commentary, and suggestions in 2012!  2013 is going to be another GREAT year filled with opportunity for all of us to learn.

Tip #1 – Learning HARD Music – 

We have all run into pieces that when we first look at them, sends shivers down our musical spines.  For me, it’s usually a justification reaction to help myself feel better for not being able to read it straight down.  Saying to myself, “What the heck was this composer / arranger thinking?  Doesn’t he realize that a human has to read this and not a machine?”  But after calming down a bit, I settle into my routine for practicing difficult material.

My first thing is to mentally note any strange accidental markings, key changes, or anything that will take me away from some form of melody.  Difficult fingering passages, I usually play extremely slowly for the first few passes, and try to figure out exactly what will cause me to hesitate or crash.  Then I set a metronome – and I play the piece down at a slow and manageable pace.  Upping my tempo 5 clicks, I then begin to build speed and accuracy.

Depending on the complexity of the piece, you have to understand that getting consistency takes time and patience with your own learning style.  Allow yourself to run through the piece several times per day for several days or weeks in a row (depending on the time frame).

Most importantly – remember this… “An amateur practices to get something right.  A professional practices to NEVER EVER get something wrong.”

Tip #2 – Record Yourself Often!

One of the greatest training tools that a musician can utilize to improve their playing is to “know” and understand what you really sound like.  How is your feel, rhythm, timing, etc.  Are you coming across as uptight, stiff, or unnatural?  How’s your tuning?  What are you doing dynamically and articulation wise to enhance the piece of music you’re playing?

The more you “listen” to yourself, the faster you can improve your playing and how you respond musically.  But understand that “listening” is more than just hitting the “stop-record” button and pressing play.  You have to listen actively and critically – to a point.  Be willing to listen back and think, “I can do that with a better feel, etc..”  Or – be happy with the way you sound… we all have a concept of what we really hear the trumpet (and ourselves) as.

“Always… Unconditionally… Follow your heart. Understand that persistence, hard work, and determination are the keys to success.”

Barbara Cage
Poet

Have a WONDERFUL Christmas –

Sincerely,

Keith