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!
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Here Are your Weekly Tips:
Tip #1 – Tension Kills!
I have found that through the years of trying very hard to break bad habits and set new positive ones, every now and again I slip into those bad ones again… when I catch myself, it’s both frustrating and relieving at the same time! As both Chad Shoopman and Wayne Bergeron said in their interviews for “About Face,” “The head games kick in really quickly!”
Tension in the aperture (or tensing the lips to speed up the air) has been a major problem for me and I’ve seen it quite a lot in students too. Playing more efficient equipment has helped me to not have to work NEARLY as hard as I do when I was playing a 3C. But, if I’m not paying attention, I’ll still set the chops to tight and not push the air with my abs like I should.
If you’re missing notes that you can typically play regularly, or they are coming out, weak, thin, airy, and generally just not pretty – there’s a good chance that it’s because of this very reason. TRY THIS – Let’s use second line G as a good example. If G’s above high C are just being stubborn, play a G in the staff… KEEPING that same relaxed set, ramp up the air speed and try to play the G on top of the staff. Once you can successfully do this, ascend to High C and then high G. Remember – try NOT to let the lips tense.
Tip #2 – How Much is Too Much Practice?
Practicing is one of those necessary things that we must all do to stay on the improvement path as well as just maintaining our strength, stamina, tone, etc. But at what point does it become too much practice?
Remember that we are dealing with VERY small facial muscles. And if you’re in the habit of picking up the horn and playing exercises, etudes, scales, etc. for an hour or more straight, there’s a good likelihood that you’re over practicing.
Now – I AM NOT saying practice less! I AM saying – break it up… allow yourself breaks. Both mental and physical breaks will help you avoid fatigue. Over fatigued muscles can demand upwards of 48 to 96 hours for a full recovery. And if you keep beating on them day after day, they are not healing. Remember that it’s NOT the tear down process that builds muscles stronger… it’s the resting period afterward. You HAVE to have a balance of both practice and rest.
I often suggest to students that they spend time off the horn working rhythm patterns by clapping, tapping, and singing the counting aloud before playing the passage. Saves face!
“It’s not what you do once in a while; it’s what you do day in and day out that makes the difference.”
Co-Founder of Jenny Craig Weight Loss
Have a GREAT week!