Weekly Trumpet Tips 3/18/12

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.

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Here Are your Weekly Tips:

Tip #1 – Over Practice, Increasing Range, Concert Preparation, etc.

For the last week, I’ve been preparing for a spring jazz festival show with Ed Calle… if you’re not familiar with Ed, just put on an Arturo Sandoval recording, and Ed is the “go to” tenor man!  Simply amazing player.

This particular show is pushing me to my limits!  So, for the first time in a while, I had to go back into “the shed” and try to stabilize, as well as increase my range, endurance, and over all comfort.  The show (in places) calls for some pretty intense playing both in range as well as endurance.  Being the type of personality that I am, I’m not about to let this come to pass just coasting…

What this HAS done for me is caused me to go back and look for a more efficient way to gain the capacity that I need / want.

Here’s what I have been doing that seems to be paying off:

Warming up continues to be slow and methodical.  Focussing my energy on pedal tones, control by playing softly , Clarke studies #1 and 2, etc.  Spending roughly 2 hours on and off the horn.  I finish up this particular set of my playing day with triple tonguing and double tonguing etudes.  NOTHING at this point is above a high C – I then break for 2 hours (at least).

When I return to the horn, I start by doing some flexibility exercises in the middle register of the horn… then I start my ascent.  Seems to be working well… for range, I’m holding notes and doing my “sirens” exercise – soft start – pushing louder – pulling back softer.  I’m also playing through the show from start to finish with recordings to make sure that I’ve got everything going the way it’s supposed to.

Here’s my tip to you – if you’re looking to increase your range from where it’s at… approach it from the stand point that you don’t want to wear yourself completely out, but you DO have to do some taxing exercises and build your strength (and comfort).  REST often!  Do more than just “touch” upper register notes.  You have to learn to “use” them in your normal playing… find new ways to get to them – I.E. slurring, tonguing, octaves, half steps, etc.

Tip #2 – The Next Time You Get Frustrated, Just…

Remember that your MOST valuable tool is your practice time.  DO NOT take it lightly.  When frustration sets in, take a break.  That’s the first step… the second thing you MUST do is go into your practice time focussed and not scattered.  Remember the interview that I posted last week.  The author’s belief (and mine) is that children have been coined as learning faster than adults because they don’t have as many things pulling their attention away.  Paying bills, having kids of your own, car payments, bosses, and today’s world troubles are all quite a bit to handle.  In fact, it makes me miss the carefree days of school, riding my bicycle, and thinking about what seemed to be HUGE at that time.

With this being said, learning a new skill on our instruments seems like it takes forever – ESPECIALLY when we are impatient with progress and keep “wishing” and waiting for perfection.  Take the growth of your skill one step at a time.  Allow yourself to grow gradually at YOUR pace.  You’ll actually find that by not focussing on what you CAN’T do / do well and focus on the incremental improvements, you will have a more positive outlook and things will happen faster.

“I got a fortune cookie that said, ‘To remember is to understand.’ I have never forgotten it. A good judge remembers what it was like to be a lawyer. A good editor remembers being a writer. A good parent remembers what it was like to be a child.”

Anna Quindlen
Author and Journalist

Have a GREAT week!