Weekly Trumpet Tips 3/22/11

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!!!

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.

About Face Book Tour West! We are tentatively motoring westward this summer (looks like early July) and are going to be looking to set up clinics and limited Private lessons.  If you’re interested in hosting a clinic or in a private lesson and live in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, or California, please contact us at keith@trumpetresources.com!

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Here Are your Weekly Tips:

Tip #1 – Myth’s in the Trumpet World can Kill Your Drive!

I think one of the most comical and at the same time, sad things about our “Trumpet Universe” is that there are so many myths floating about… creating not only bad advice, but seriously bad habits to boot!

I have learned to avoid topic discussions on open forums, etc. because when you get several people that are very passionate about something, it’s easy to ruffle feathers, trigger wars, or just flat out not be taken seriously.  But this one I had to help on and have to share with you because it’s just THAT absurd to me… the topic was how to stop cracking notes.  I answered with my usual “tension” in the top lip.  Then – someone suggested that this player pick a “marker” on his mouthpiece, and turn it clockwise to the 3 / 6 / 9/ 12 position and see where it works best as inconsistencies in the equipment causes this.  Now – I’m a reasonable person, so I experiment… using the same “tensed up lip set” I rotate my mouthpiece as instructed… guess what?  SAME RESULTS!  I cracked EVERY TIME!

This weeks tip is simple – just as in money it is true in playing trumpet… if it sounds too easy and puts the blame on the equipment, most likely it’s not going to be a permanent fix!  There is NO replacing smart conscious and consistent practice!

Tip #2 – Feeling Stuck?  Transcribe!

I think at one point or another, we all can feel “stuck” in a routine, or just like we’re not making progress.  And for trumpet players it can get REALLY old just doing exercises.  They’re fine and dandy, but remember our main goal is to go out and MAKE MUSIC!  The last thing a paying audience wants to hear is the same exercises the neighbor kid down the block uses to drive their dog nuts!

If you’ve never transcribed anything before, start very simply and very slowly.  Even something as small as a melody or a hook that you’ve heard on a commercial… “plop plop fizz fizz, oh what a relief it is.”  Ring a bell?  Find the starting note, then the next one… the more you do it, the better you get.  Transcribing things from Herb Alpert was always fun for me…

Bottom line, you’ll pick up on what that player was thinking about when they were actually playing that song.  As a soloist (Miles, etc.) was performing, this gives you insight into how they approached the chord changes, what mood they were in, etc.  It will truly help your musical skills in the long run… just start with 10 minutes per day!  You’ll be amazed!

We’d love to hear from you:

What ridiculous things have you heard or been told as a player?  Please post them… they can be fun to read –

“I am grateful for all of my problems. After each one was overcome, I became stronger and more able to meet those that were still to come. I grew in all my difficulties.”

James Cash Penney
1875-1971, Entrepreneur and Founder of J.C. Penney Department Store

Have a GREAT Week!