Welcome to Weekly Trumpet Tips:
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Tip #1 – Section Etiquette!
This past weekend I had the chance to be reminded of how inappropriate “hot-dogging” is from players within the section of a jazz band. So this week’s first tip is about how to play cohesively as a section and as a team – vs. over stepping tasteful choices and playing things that are for your own pleasure or ego satisfaction.
Maynard made it a point to demonstrate that the AUDIENCE is THE most important thing, and that we were to always keep them foremost in our minds while performing. Pieces have been orchestrated in such a way to create voicing, harmony, balance, blend, and music!
While the lead trumpet helps to dictate dynamics, style, and musicality, the section members have to be aware that without their voices in the proper place, the lead is just a higher voice hanging out alone. No lead player really sounds great without the support structure beneath. And when someone within the section chooses to play something higher or louder than the lead player, this destroys what the section unity should be.
So remember the next time you step into a musical group that your voice (the part your playing) IS important… in fact the smaller the group, the more critical this voicing becomes. Therefore, we all have our specific jobs that need to be performed without ego…
Tip #2 – Building Range, Endurance, and Maintaining On A Practice Budget
I think we all understand that we have chosen an EXTREMELY physical instrument, and building strength and the memory for higher range and reliable endurance is no easy task – even if you have all day to practice! Here are my thoughts on what needs to be done to achieve this with a budgeted time table.
Keep in mind that endurance is something that we can approach and practice with as little as 5 to 10 minutes of practice time. You just have to be willing to keep the horn to your face (and play) for the full time. The goal there is to get the chops used to buzzing and playing for extended lengths of time. Most phrases in pieces have us playing roughly a few seconds to 20 seconds, and then we rest. BUT – if we extend that out for MINUTES, we can build the necessary endurance to help set a platform for better range.
For range growth, it’s important to have a stable platform (as mentioned above), but to also keep reaching for the higher pitches that seem unaccessible. What is today’s squeaks become tomorrows notes… don’t focus on power. Focus on getting the air to hit the right speed for to produce the pitch.
When working on extending range – remember to treat it like you would working muscles in the gym (check out About Face). They will need rest after going through a heavy workout. So mix it up and only make extreme range extension attempts every couple of days. Trust me on this… wasted chops will NOT play high notes, and you will get frustrated very quickly!
“Stand up to your obstacles and do something about them. You will find that they haven’t half the strength you think they have.”
Norman Vincent Peale
1898-1993, Minister and Author
Have a GREAT week!