Weekly Trumpet Tips 1/25/11

Welcome to Weekly Trumpet Tips!

“About Face” is out and available!!!  All the waiting, struggle, and energy was WELL worth it!  I’m very pleased with how the book turned out and know you will be too!  About Face is ALSO now available in E-Book download and Amazon Kindle form!

It’s available HERE!!! (Click on image to see full size)

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 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.  We now also have t-shirts!  Check out our new t-shirt design!  We have the “adult version and the school friendly “student version!”

Here are your weekly Tips!

Tip #1 – Habits Of Excellence!

This is a continuation from last week, and will go forward for all 7 topics…

If we’re going to set habits, we might as well make them positive and beneficial vs. something we’re going to have to go back and fix later because of repercussions from laziness or not being clear.  My favorite way to think about that is from the movie Jurassic Park when they were using frog DNA to fill in the blanks.  What kind of information is getting left out because of it?

If we approach our habits of excellence in the following categories, we can certainly improve not only our habits, but our outcomes.  We’ll look at each one in depth over the next seven weeks.  The following seven categories are from Gerald Klickstein’s book “The Musician’s Way.”

1) Ease

2 Expressiveness

3) Accuracy

4) Rhythmic Vitality

5) Beautiful Tone

6) Focussed Attention

7) Positive Attitude

Music exists in time, so musicians must become connoisseurs of timing.  But artistic timing isn’t only about maintaining a pulse and precisely subdividing beats.  Vitality in rhythm results when you also create forward motion that propels a phrase towards its summit and brings it firmly to a conclusion.  Jazzers, R&B, and funk artists tend to lay heavier accents on the 2 and 4, as well as subdividing the beat down to 16th rhythms.  To work this aspect of our timing, it’s important that we develop a relaxed sensation while subdividing beats and rhythms.  As well, work on accenting different portions of the timing – this will change the feel and keep variety in your playing and feel.

Tip #2 – Relax into progress!

For most of us, improvement doesn’t come quickly enough and we can tend to not only get impatient, but uptight.  It’s vital to remember that this is a cumulative endeavor!  It’s NOT a weeks worth of great practice, or the number of hours that we put in.  It’s the quality of practice that we’re putting in, as well as how we’re truly forming our habits.  We first make our habits, then our habits make us!  The goal of practicing shouldn’t be to just “get better” or be “able to do this / that,” rather the focus should be on the habits that we’re ingraining within our subconscious minds.

Ever notice how relaxed and easy other artists make things seem / look?  This “ease” comes from playing from the subconscious and knowing things inside and out.

One of my most favorite sayings is the definition of amateur and professional.  An amateur practices to get things right, a professional practices to NEVER get things wrong!

More on this in the upcoming weeks… this is truly where most all musicians “get it mixed up.”

“Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.”

Earl Nightingale
1921-1989, Author

I know the above is a repeat from last week, but it just rings so true!!!

Have a GREAT week!