Weekly Trumpet Tips 3/10/15

Trumpet Shadow

The Shadow

Welcome to Weekly Trumpet Tips:

(1) Building Range!

(2) The Weather & Chops!

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        Check out About Face HERE!!! Check out Secrets to Efficient Brass Playing HERE!!!

A NEW Week 3 for the Jazz Improv course has been added… subscribers, please visit the course page to see this new addition.  A new week 4 will soon be posted as well… These courses 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 – Building Range

Building reliable and useable range seems like a giant mystery to a great many trumpet players.  There are literally COUNTLESS articles, programs, books and witch-doctors claiming that they can show you how to create better range, etc.

Here are a few things that you cannot avoid on the road to better range…

1)  You must play daily… playing every few days will not yield the results that most are looking for as the muscles atrophy quickly.

2)  You MUST allow for rest after working the muscles hard.  I view the upper register like a heavy weight lifting work out.  I”m not going to go back in the very next day and work the muscles equally as hard with the same exercises.  They NEED rest!

3)  Endurance playing in ALL registers is mandatory… if you can only play for a few seconds (or under a minute without removing the mouthpiece from your face) before things get tired this is an area that needs to be strengthened.

4)  Hydration!

If you’ve been playing for years and struggling, there are most likely habits that need to be corrected in your playing.  No one can give you “quick fix” answers to get your range better in days or weeks.  Be patient and ask tons of questions… we’re all unique and all require small tweaks to our personal approach.

Check out Chops Rehab… we’re in the process of developing a new video course that will truly help in breaking range restricting habits!

Tip #2 – The Weather & Chops!

It’s amazing as to how many variables our lips face each day.  Whether it be hydration, the food we eat to our personal health as well as the weather conditions, it all affects how efficiently our lips will function on any given playing day.

This past weekend is a good example… While we haven’t had any snow here in Austin, we have had rain followed by extremely dry conditions… humidity levels as low as 29%.  Now I like / prefer the dryer conditions, but when it hits levels THAT low things start to become exceedingly dry.  Dry lips do not willingly vibrate at high rates of speed (affecting range and tone).

Keeping yourself hydrated and maintaining optimal lip moisture is paramount.  This may all seem like a bunch of voodoo, but it really does affect our playing.  Using Chops Saver (I prefer Egyptian Magic) will help keep the chops in a healthy condition externally.  Drinking plenty of water each day will also help this.

If you keep this little bit of information in mind, your chops will be more apt to consistency, especially during winter months and inclement weather conditions.  It’s very easy to stop drinking enough water during the winter months as well as think about our lip conditions until it’s too late.  This is something that I am personally very aware of and take great care in maintaining.  It’s helped me through the years to be more consistent in playing and save me thousands of dollars from not throwing my horn into walls.  🙂

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.

– Winston Churchill 1874-1965 Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Have a GREAT week!