Weekly Trumpet Tips 2/26/13

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!

Tip #1 – Approaching Trumpet From A Physical Stand-Point!

As a general rule, whether I’m in a rehearsal, recording session, at a gig, or just practicing, I’m playing full out!  I try to give it my all every single second… while this is great for over all performance, it can be VERY taxing on the chops and me physically.

I have now entered into my own personal study of sorts… I took Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and played very little.  I warmed up my usual way, then stayed off the horn for several hours.  Coming back for only 10 minutes or less, playing a few more things and packing it in for the day.  For an addict like myself, it was difficult to do!  I tend to play a lot, so having to force myself away was a strange feeling.

What I’m looking for in this “study” that I’m conducting on myself, is what the actual time frame is for me to fully recover so that range, endurance, sound, etc. doesn’t fluctuate so dramatically.  Thinking back to the times that we’ve been away from Austin, this is the exact routine that I fall into… kind of a “maintenance” type routine.  Enough to keep my chops going, but nothing that’s going to really tax me, etc.

If you’ve read my latest book; “About Face,” the interview I did with Roland Craeye (personal trainer / body builder) he suggested that it is between 48 and 96 hours for full muscle recovery after an extensive work-out.

In the weeks to come, I hope to have some definitive things that I can pinpoint and extend to you, the readers of weekly tips, to help you analyze and create your own rest / work period to help your growth!

Tip #2 – Make Your Practice Sessions Hit MORE Than Just One Thing!

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Work SMARTER, NOT Harder!”  And what my path has morphed into with trumpet is trying to cut my own path that allows me to work on multiple facets of playing in one practice session vs. playing classical for an hour, jazz for an hour, exercises for an hour, etc.  I want to do all of the above each day as efficiently as I can.

What I propose is very simple… when doing a classical exercise – let’s use the Clarke Studies for an example, why not turn them into something other than just the written exercise.  For instance… play them as written the first pass, then play them as a dominant on the second pass.  You’ll be flatting the 7th note of the scale toward the end of the exercise.  Not horribly difficult, but enough of a twist that it starts to make you think about things in a different way… ESPECIALLY in harder keys.  You can also work them making the dominant beat 2 and 4 vs. 1 and 3 in the rhythmic sense.

More practice ideas to make your playing efficient coming next week!


“Energy is the essence of life. Every day you decide how you’re going to use it by knowing what you want and what it takes to reach that goal, and by maintaining focus.”

Oprah Winfrey
Talk Show Host, Actress, Producer, and Philanthropist

Have a GREAT week!