Weekly Trumpet Tips 2/11/14

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 – Learning To Improvise Has Helped!

I’ve been in the midst lately of revamping our Beginning Jazz Improv” course that Sparky Thomason teaches.  A little background: I have never been an improvisor because in school we were lead to believe that there was a distinct difference between a soloist and a lead player.  NEVER COULD I HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG!  It turns out that the greatest lead players have the ability to improvise to some degree or another!  If you listen to Wayne Bergeron, Arturo Sandoval, or even Maynard, you’re hearing a more than competent soloist at work.  Yet, they can / could play lead and really make a section come together.

I started my serious improv journey about 2 years ago… and in that time, I’ve noticed more growth in my playing than just the ability to play over chord changes.  Rhythm, timing, style, and over all musicality has improved far beyond what I ever imagined.  Largely, it comes from the fact that when something is written out it’s all right in front of you – rhythms, notes, dynamics, style cues, etc.  It’s ALL there!  But – take that stuff away, and be given just a couple of rules (chord changes and style), and it’s a total game changer.  Anymore, when it’s laid out in front of me, it’s almost a relief… but – it’s annoying when others in the section just blow right through the dynamics and other subtleties.  Whereas years ago, I probably wouldn’t have caught the difference because I was so focussed on the high F, etc. at the end of the phrase.

So being that this is still the first part of the year, may I suggest that you delve into improvisation.  Learning the true ins and outs of this skill is not a quick jaunt down the block and back, it’s a lifetime journey, but one that will surely bring musical pleasure!

Tip #2 – Music Education In Schools – Music In Our Lives

We’ve all heard that communities are cutting fine arts programs, which does more than just deprive the next generation of a fine arts education.  I could point out multiple studies that have been done showing how music lessons increase an individuals learning abilities.  And sadly, TV is setting an example that all you have to do is go on a show like “The Voice” or “America’s Got Talent” and you’ll become rich and famous… end of story.  How many of us are old enough to remember when it was a common thing to find piano’s in homes?  It used to be a way of entertaining the family, and the groundwork to music introduction.

If you follow Arturo, you’ll hear him say that we have to protect live music, and music education because without it, we’ll be in serious trouble.  The state of a nation can be graded by it’s creative arts, or lack thereof.

This week’s second tip is simple… support live music, theater, and the arts.  Not just Hollywood, major concerts, etc.  Start locally.  You just never know – you could be watching the next Meryl Streep, or listening to the next Beatles.

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

Nelson Mandela
1918-2013, President of South Africa, Revolutionary, and Philanthropist

Have a GREAT week!