Weekly Trumpet Tips 4/28/15

Trumpet Shadow

The Shadow

Welcome to Weekly Trumpet Tips:

(1) Self Talk!

(2) Chops Swelling, etc.

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Tip #1 – Self Talk!

We all use some sort of self talk to ourselves, and one of the things that can be MORE detrimental to your playing than any equipment issues, etc. is your perception of things.  I’ve had lengthy conversations with a vast amount of trumpet players that range from hobbyists to world renowned greats, and there is one thing we can’t let happen – negative / doubtful self conversations!  Every time I start to doubt myself on the stand, whether it be playing a solo through chord changes or it be a line with high notes written in them, if I start to doubt myself, I’m gonna train wreck somewhere!

This is something that some would say, “Ah, nonsense!”  But it’s not!  This one single thing can make you or break you on the stand!  Don’t let a couple of bad notes or self doubt creep in and sabotage your performance!  Stay positive!  The more positive personal outlook you have for your playing, the less mental barriers you’ll create that will stand in your way when the time comes to shine!

Not only does this start to help chip away at stage fright, but it also helps us in the practice room.  Far too many people have been taught to be extra hard on themselves or that having a positive perception of yourself and your playing creates a cocky / arrogant individual.  Nothing can be further (or detrimental) from the truth!  A great way to think of this is as follows:  People that are cocky / arrogant on the outside are actually insecure and feel a need to protect themselves on the inside… the people who are confident and secure enough on the inside have no need or desire to protect themselves on the outside because they don’t let outside influences affect them.  I believe this is what makes players like Maynard, Arturo, Wayne Bergeron and others such great people!  They are confident in what they do, they believe in themselves and have no need to be arrogant or rude.

So go ahead… get cocky and arrogant on the INSIDE!  Your attitude toward more difficult things will improve and your chances of getting psyched out in the moment of truth is far less!

Tip #2 – Chops Swelling, Etc.

Let’s face it… the summer is knocking on the door and with summer comes higher humidity, higher temperatures and the affects they cause to us physically.  Swelling is something your body does because of either too much pressure or as a reaction to the climate, etc.  When your chops swell up, the vibrating tissue becomes stretched and less willing to respond.  For me it’s a big problem if I don’t monitor it!

Here’s a few things to keep in mind when you run into this issue:

1)  Too much pressure causes swelling… back off the mouthpiece pressure!  I’m not saying “NO pressure,” I’m saying you don’t have to jam the mouthpiece through your teeth!  We need enough pressure to keep the lips sealed against the mouthpiece… nothing more.

2)  A good SLOW warm up starting with low / soft / long tones (pedal tones) can help reduce some tissue swelling.  It’s like giving your lips a good massage.  Be sure to stretch this over hours!  LOTS of rest!

3)  Using some anti-inflamatory medication such as Tylenol, Aleve, etc. can help reduce swelling and puffiness momentarily.  But I would use this as a last resort (and not often) because this causes a false read on other things that may be going on…

Drinking plenty of water and practicing / resting smart will help you through times when the chops become swollen and angry.  Just be patient with them…

“Give the world the best you have, and the best will come to you.”

Madeline Bridges
Poet

Have a GREAT week!

Sincerely,

Keith