Weekly Trumpet Tips 2/1/11

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!

ATTENTION Chops Rehab Subscribers!!! A new bonus video will be available Friday 2/4/11!!!  Be sure to check it out!

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

Beautiful Tone is probably the most recognizable characteristic to an average listener right off the bat that will keep them listening or make them walk out / turn the channel.  In “The Musician’s Way,” guitarists are being addressed more directly, so here I will address trumpet / brass players to make things clear.

Tone problems all too often get blamed on equipment (mouthpieces), closed throats, and lack of using air.  Most sound problems that I’ve encountered with students comes from the aperture itself.  Your tone is influenced by how easily the lip tissue vibrates.  Thin, pinched sounds stem from an aperture that is pinched and too tightly closed.  By realizing that the vibration surface is the “wet pink part” of our lips, and allowing freedom for that tissue to vibrate, we can create instantly, a better sound.  An airy tone primarily stems from an aperture that’s too open or loose.  Practicing extremely soft long tones and listening to your sound as you play will improve your tone and control in time!

Tip #2 – The Difference Between Standing & Sitting

One of the benefits of being a working trumpet player is that I never seem to run out of material for weekly tips.  I am continuously facing new and different challenges.  One of those challenges was so subtle that at first, I didn’t really even think about it… I play lead for the Temple Jazz Orchestra, and we typically sit when we practice and perform as the trumpet section is on risers that put us above the seated trombone section as well as the sax section.  Last week during a performance, we were on a different stage and had to stand.  Air support COMPLETELY changes.  I then began to realize that when I teach, I’m seated as well… so a larger portion of my playing is seated.

So this week’s tip is to practice both seated and standing… you’ll start to notice subtle differences that over the course of a 2 hour or longer show will affect your performance.

“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.”

Erich Fromm
1900-1980, Psychologist

Have a GREAT week!