Weekly Trumpet Tips 5/13/14

The Shadow

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! Do you enjoy the Weekly Tips?  Please help support this site by donating here…


  Check out About Face HERE!!! Check out Secrets to Efficient Brass Playing HERE!!! A NEW Week 1 & 2 for the Jazz Improv course has been added… subscribers, please visit the course page to see this new addition.  A new week 3 & 4 will soon be posted as well… These courses are designed to be 4 weeks worth of lessons to help the student gain insights and skills in each specific area. Keith is available for clinics and as a guest artist!! Please go to our “Clinics” page for details!

Keith’s new CD is available on iTunes! Click on the photo below!


(Physical CD’s Available HERE)

Tip #1 – Deep Level Practice; No Horn Required! I’ve imparted this information on a few students who were struggling to learn scales, arpeggios, and passages – which has REALLY helped me!  I discovered this quite by accident, but have noticed how deeply I “know” scales, arpeggios, etc. When I’m teaching younger students scales and arpeggios, there are times I’ll finger the note and call out the note name for them so that they can follow along.  By doing this, it helps guide them through the scale successfully, but it’s also “programming” my brain on the subject we’re working on.  I noticed that when I first started doing it (say with F# major) I was slow and clunky, but the more I did it the faster I could call out the notes and finger the valve combination.  I also noticed that it was becoming more subconscious and I could focus on their sound, breathing, etc. So my first tip for you this week is that if you are convinced that you have to have your horn to do some worthwhile practice, STOP!  You can actually do this anywhere (well, almost).  Try calling out the note names and finger along and see how deeply you know your stuff.  Be sure to completely accurate with note names as well… Db / C# – depending on the scale / arpeggio. Oh – and HAVE FUN!  Without that – what’s the point…? Tip #2 – Are You Over Blowing? After struggling to finally get that video posted for everyone to see last week, I had time to sit back and think about the next tips I wanted to write.  One of the things that I want you to take note of is that even though my face was turning red and I looked like I was going to explode, I wasn’t playing loudly at all!  In fact, I was doing the best that I could to play softly… partly out of respect for the people nearby and partly to challenge myself. This brings up my second tip – be aware that we are FAR louder than we realize when we’re actually playing.  There’s a couple of reasons for this. #1 – we’re at a 2 foot disadvantage!  What that means is that our bells are nearly 2 feet out in front of us, so when things are being directionally channeled AWAY from us, we have a harder time hearing it. #2 – To a small degree, our ears shut down from back pressure!  I’ve noticed (at least for myself) that when I start blowing louder, my ears tend to close down just a little.  The higher I go (adding more resistance to the air) the more this affect occurs. So when you’re practicing in the upper register, be conscious that your sound is FAR louder than you perceive while playing, and focus on sound “quality” not “quantity!”

“As long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you otherwise might.”

Marian Anderson 1902-1993, Concert and Opera Singer

Have a GREAT week! Sincerely, Keith