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!
Keith is available for clinics!! Please go to our “Clinics” page for details!
Here Are your Weekly Tips:
Tip #1 – Range Mysteries, Answers, And Myths
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I have an issue with the myths that are perpetuated by band directors and private teachers alike that have their students doing exercises that are great, in a counter productive way. For instance – doing flexibility exercises by moving the lips inside the mouthpiece rather than focussing on air and air speed, or by convincing young students that they should ALL be on larger mouthpieces to help produce a “bigger” sound.
For todays tip, I’m going to focus on doing exercises incorrectly or without educated guidance. Buying new books and tearing into the exercises because someone recommended them can set you up for prolonging the habit that is keeping you stuck in the first place. Many times, it’s the approach that needs to be tweaked or modified slightly, vs. adding new material to an already tight practice schedule.
If your issue resides in range and endurance, it’s best to take a good hard look at how you play… get into a mirror and watch yourself play something that typically taxes you. As a trumpet player that has had to endure ALL of the wrong techniques to get to the right ones, I can honestly tell you that by watching your chops as you play (corners and the connection with the mouthpiece is most telling), you can see if you’re using smaller muscles vs. pushing air with your abs. I really have to set myself up properly everyday – or I will fall back into bad habits and use / over use my face. Keep your aperture (lips inside the mouthpiece) set as close together as possible. This helps create the resistance needed. BUT – a stuffy feeling will develop if we start to tighten up or tense our lips inside the cup while trying to go higher… the stuffy feeling comes from pushing air and the lips not being flexible enough to vibrate or create a proper aperture. That’s one of the bigger reasons I chose a small cup diameter (.580).
Tip #2 – Super Hero’s & Musical God’s Teaching With Their Music…
This past week, I spent a lot of time reflecting on my time that I was able to spend talking with Ed Calle. If you’re not familiar with Ed, he’s Arturo Sandoval’s “go to” tenor man… see last week’s performance video that I posted. Ed has become one of my newest super hero’s – not just because he’s an incredible musician, but because he’s down to earth, genuine, and plays from his soul! I saw this same exact “stuff” with Maynard and Arturo! These are people that take their listeners on an endless journey through heart, soul, and passion!
Remember – your job as a musician is to take your listeners on a journey… share your passion with them in the musical language. Tell them stories – make them laugh… make them cry. And most of all, make them say, “Wow, I know what that person was feeling when they wrote / played that song!” With that my friends, you will never miss!
“I realized early on that success was tied to not giving up. Most people in this business gave up and went on to other things. If you simply didn’t give up, you would outlast the people who came in on the bus with you.”
Have a great week!