Weekly Trumpet Tips 6/28/11

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!

Check out About Face HERE!!!  Check out Secrets to Efficient Brass Playing HERE!!!

Check out the Chops Rehab and Jazz Improv courses.  These are designed to be 4 weeks worth of lessons to help the student gain insights and skills in each specific area.

About Face Book & Clinic Tour West! We are motoring westward July 9 – 22 and are going to be looking to set up clinics and limited Private lessons.  If you’re interested in hosting a clinic or in a private lesson and live in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, or California, please contact us at keith@trumpetresources.com!  You can check out more information on Keith’s Workshops and Clinics via Trumpet Resources Home Page.

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Here Are your Weekly Tips:

Tip #1 – Basic Essentials

I hit on something the other day that just made too much sense not to share.  I feel that there are 3 basic essential things that each player has to have in order to improve their playing and maintain a consistency… those 3 things are:


Equipment: The right equipment for the player AND for the job at hand (or what the player does most).  If you’re playing lead in a big band more than you’re performing with an orchestra, chances are that a 3C mouthpiece is going to just eat you alive at some point in the night.  If you’ve been following these tips for any length of time, you know that I believe the smaller the mouthpiece diameter (indicated by the # on Bach mouthpieces) the more efficient things can become.  There ARE those players that do quite well on larger diameters (Arturo Sandoval) but I personally am not one of them.  I tried everything in the book to make my 3 equivalent work for me – but I just kept getting worn out, cut, hitting a ceiling on range, etc.  I say – the right mouthpiece to suit your performance needs!

Exercises: Brass players are technically the athletes in the band.  I really can’t compare playing to any other instrument (with the exception of maybe drums).  We have to be conditioned to endure what we put ourselves through physically.  I think by doing endurance exercises that will test your ability to play for long periods of time without removing the horn from your face, you will in turn improve your over all strength in the aperture muscles as well as the embouchure muscles!

Approach: This is probably the trickiest thing to get right.  What I’m referring to as “approach” is the way in which we practice.  I am an advocate of a nice rounded balance between doing the physical practice necessary to condition the muscles and maintain the strength needed to perform, and practicing “music!”  All too often I hear many brass players (not just trumpet players) getting caught up in the physical demands, so their musicality slips… dynamics, articulations, styling, etc. all suffers just as much when not approached properly.

Tip #2 – Hydration!

I’m not sure about your neck of the woods currently this time of year, but here in Texas it’s hotter than a billie goat in a pepper patch (for all you Texans out there).  Now THAT’S HOT!

With heat comes dehydration!  It’s important to realize that just because you drink a glass of water when you’re thirsty, that you’ll quench your true thirst.  Thirst is actually the body’s way of saying “WATER!”  When you’re performing, it’s VITAL to stay hydrated… #1 – it’ll help you NOT pass out and wake up to a dance floor full of paramedics!  #2 – it helps with the dizzies that we can tend to get from blowing.  #3 – You will fair much better!

The best advice I’ve gotten on staying hydrated is to start drinking lots of water a day or two BEFORE your performance.  This way, the body is not under duress and trying to make up for lost hydration!

“The moment you commit and quit holding back, all sorts of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, will rise up to help you. The simple act of commitment is a powerful magnet for help.”

Napoleon Hill
1883-1970, Author

Have a GREAT week!  And Happy 4th of July to all my fellow Americans!