Weekly Trumpet Tips 2/8/11

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!  We truly appreciate all that write in.  It’s hard to answer right away these days, but keep checking back!  I DO answer!  🙂

ATTENTION Chops Rehab Subscribers!!! A new bonus video is now available!!!  Be sure to check it out under Bonus Videos!

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

Focussed Attention – One of the fastest ways to waste your valuable practice time is to let your mind wander or be thinking about anything / everything OTHER than your actual practice goals.  This type of practice habit will also show up in your performance through anxiety or lack of detail when performing.  Remember – there are only two performers that are most memorable.  The best and the worst!  Everyone else will fall into the abyss of forgettable and unmoving performance.

Try this – when practicing, focus on no more than 1 goal at a time.  When your mind starts to wander, take a break.  Better to waste time and being honest with yourself about it.

Tip #2 – Air Myth’s, Misconceptions, & Basic Confusion!

One question that seems to come up quite a bit for folks just finding us and the Weekly Tips is the questions about air, breathing, how much to take in, etc.  Many great players focussed largely on breathing and air intake because most players DON’T rely on their air speed for upper register playing – let alone playing period.

In my practicing as well as performing, I’ve found that taking in a nice comfortable full breath and starting to fill up from as low in your body as you can will suffice.  I stop taking in air once my chest starts to inflate.  I don’t feel overwhelmed with air, nor do I feel short either.  “Most” musical phrases are 4 to 8 bars – leaving ample time (usually) for refilling.  Keeping this in mind and using the lips for vibrational surface ONLY, we can create the necessary resistance with the aperture and push harder to ascend and back off to descend.  Playing louder is the only thing requiring “more” air.

What do I mean by lips as vibrational surface?  Get in a mirror and play a scale – ANY scale will do.  If you find yourself pulling / moving your mouth corners as you ascend / descend, your lips are more responsible for range changes than necessary.  This leads to fatigue, pinched sound, and bad intonation just to mention a few items.  The more stable you can keep your aperture, the more you HAVE to rely on air speed.  Simple, but not necessarily easy.

“To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.”

Leonard Bernstein
Conductor and Composer

Have a GREAT week!