Weekly Trumpet Tips 6/7/16

Trumpet Shadow

The Shadow

Welcome to Weekly Trumpet Tips:

(1) More On Soft Playing

(2) Scales & Arpeggio’s 

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Tip #1 – More On Soft Playing

Last week I wrote about how playing soft (whisper tones) is a great tool for building range, endurance and a familiarity with playing notes that are nearly out of reach – or inconsistent.  What I failed to mention last week is that I am not referring to the 20 minute G (Cat Anderson Method)… I am talking about playing chromatic scales, major scales, Schlossberg Exercises, Clarke Studies, etc. in a soft fashion.  A great many of the “misses” that made me nervous, upset or feel like my performance didn’t go well can be traced back largely to over blowing and over playing.  There is a balance that we must reach with the resonance of the horn.  Over playing is simply – over playing!  It causes tension in the chops – which automatically wears us down extremely rapidly and affects intonation, tone, control, flexibility, etc.  Learning to use your air “wisely” and allow the chops to relax into the cup (at least for me) will ensure you’ll last longer than you would by over blowing!

I practice with a lot of resting in between… in the coming weeks, I’ll shoot another video for you to give you an idea of what my personal method looks like when I’m warming up using soft playing as well as practicing.

Tip #2 – Scales & Arpeggio’s

Recently, I had a younger student ask me why it was important to learn scales and arpeggio’s.  I found this question interesting as he’s studying jazz improvisation… we talked a bit, and he made the comment, “if I’m just running scales and playing arpeggio’s in my solos, won’t I sound mechanical?”  I pointed out to him that playing musically over anything (scales, arpeggio’s, etc.) is our first task!  Then I pointed out that if he broke down “Joy To The World” the opening phrase is simply a descending major scale (any key) set to a different rhythm… the opening to the “Star Spangled Banner” is the 5th, 3rd and root of any given key (in the beginning) again set to a now familiar rhythm.

In my humble opinion (as I’ve had to learn), it’s vital that we become EXTREMELY proficient with scales and arpeggiations so that we can call them up at a moments notice.  There are 12 different notes that anyone can really play… in multiple octaves.  Learning scales ascending, descending, in 3rds, 4ths, etc. will only further enhance your command of your instrument as well as your command of the musical language.

Anyone thinking to themselves right now – “UGH, that’s gonna take a lot of time (insert amount you’re thinking here)!  Time is going to pass anyway… why not improve and use the time that is passing… “GO!”

Live life as if everything is rigged in your favor.

Rumi 1207-1273 – Poet and Theologian

Have a GREAT week!