Weekly Trumpet Tips 7/3/12

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!!!

ReCheck 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.

Keith is available for clinics!! Please go to our “Clinics” page for details!


EUROPEAN FRIENDS!  I will be on tour from July 2nd to July 18th performing at Jazz A Vienne (July 4), Montreux (July 5&6), Vienna (July 13).  Hope to meet you at one of these performances…

Here are your weekly tips!

Tip #1 – Difficulty Focusing?  

I had an interesting conversation with an adult student last week.  The basis of the conversation was how each of his work days were littered with so many distractions, tasks to get done, and electronic mediums to use that he felt like practicing trumpet was a relief because he could do just ONE thing vs. 100.

In SO many ways, technology has given us GREAT practice tools.  But – it’s also given us TONS of distractions.  Our smart phones do almost EVERYTHING for us now and keep us in constant communication.  Email / texting is (I think) the new crack.  So when we sit down to focus on just ONE thing (such as practicing trumpet), our minds are conditioned to be ready for distraction and we find it hard to stay locked on that one thing for very long.  In fact, most younger children’s attention spans are nearly seconds long before they are on to something else (or so it seems).

I’ve said this before, but I think it’s worth repeating!  Before you actually start to practice… clear your mind.  SHUT OFF your phone / chat / email / texting devices, and allow yourself to just focus on the ONE task at hand.  Some call it meditating, some just call it getting in the zone.  What ever you wish to call it, it doesn’t have to be for hours (although the longer the better), and you don’t have to miss the news about the neighbor kids on old man Johnson’s lawn… I’m sure someone will capture him running out his front door in his bathrobe screaming “You damn kids, get off my lawn!” and post it to Youtube for your repeated enjoyment…  🙂

Tip #2 – Warm Down?  Why / When?!?!

Recently I have been asked about warming down and if I incorporate a consistent warm down at the end of every day / every gig.  My basic answer is, “No, not consistently.”  The main reason behind that is that if I am practicing or teaching, most of my time will not be spent playing high velocity or in the extreme upper register.  BUT – on the days that I do practice in this manner, or on the shows that require me to become a masochist and beat myself silly (chops wise) I will spend about 5 minutes at the end of the day / night warming down.

For me, I turn back to the Clarke studies – Study #1, and typically exercise #1 as softly as I can muster.  I’ll do some pedal tones, and follow that up with a lot of “horse flaps.”  “Horse Flaps” are where we do loose lip raspberry’s.  These alone help get the swelling down and aid in healing… but don’t do them too harshly.  You’re trying to recover – not make things worse.

How many of you warm down at the end of a tough day?

“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

James Baldwin
1924-1987, Novelist, Playwright and Poet

Have a GREAT week!