Weekly Trumpet Tips 2/9/16

Trumpet Shadow

The Shadow

Welcome to Weekly Trumpet Tips:

(1) Internet Forum Dangers!

(2) Listening!

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Tip #1 – Internet Forum Dangers!

I have a general rule of thumb to avoid the “trumpet forums” as they tend to fester aggression, bullying and in general, bad advice!  On Facebook, there are some “trumpet” based groups and occasionally someone will ask a “how do I” question.  As in the case of the forums, a great many players jump in to answer and offer all sorts of advice… some is sound / good advice.  However, there was one that popped up on Saturday that I couldn’t avoid because the advice being given was vague and incomplete… the same kind of advice that kept getting me into DEEP trouble as someone who wanted desperately to improve but kept hitting a brick wall.

A young player came on and expressed a desire to learn to be a great lead trumpet player and wanted to know how to extend his range / endurance.  The immediate response he got was “Colin Lip Flexibility everyday until you have to force it.  Then do it again the next day for 15-20 minutes every day.”  No. 1 – it’s NOT a good idea to do anything until you have to “force” it.  No. 2 – telling someone to just do exercises without precise instruction can and will cause more problems than they will solve!

This is the EXACT advice that I was given as a kid and it landed me in serious trouble.  The exercises never helped and in fact, made things worse!  Now – I happen to think that the Colin book is a fine exercise book. But – doing those (or any other exercises) improperly only reinforces bad habits.  I believe that it’s the over use of the lips that causes the most extreme problems in playing… range, endurance, intonation, lack of air support, etc.  After all, why would you need air support if you’re squeezing the air with your lips?  Taking in more air will only cause a more uncomfortable feeling… causing a total lack of proper breathing and air support.

Long story short… be careful with the advice that you freely get via the internet.  While most of it will have your best interest at heart, it doesn’t mean that it will always be clear and useful.

Tip #2 – Listening!

Kind of following along with tip #1 – a lot of players turn to the internet for answers… but what strikes me as funny is that those same players will turn around and ask the very same question in a new way looking for a quick and easy solution.  If they get an answer that “seems” like it’s going to be a lot of work, they turn their question once again – looking for a quick and easy answer.

I’ve walked these shoes as well… instead of listening to the advice being given by the people that know how to do what I’m wanting to learn, I would search out a quicker / easier solution.  Once I realized that years – DECADES had slipped by with little to no improvement, I gave in and started doing the work… daily!  I realized that by simply listening to the instruction I was given, and doing it daily without fail, my progress started to grow.

Just like taking a thousand mile journey, it’s not just the first and last steps that are important… but rather every step that you take in between as well!  As I quoted last week… you don’t have to practice every day… but know that someone, somewhere on this planet is choosing TO practice.

Listening to those that know is half the battle… there is no short cut.

“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and 
– John F. Kennedy

Have a GREAT week!