Weekly Trumpet Tips 8/13/13 (We’re Back)

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!

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 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 – Out of Comfort Zone & Into Scary Zone!

This year has been one of MASSIVE changes for me as a player.  I’ve left the cover band that I have been a part of for the past 22 years, and am stepping more into a role of soloist.  Interesting results are occurring though… as I break out and do more and more solo work, (duo, trio, and quartet work), I’ve noticed an impact on my ability to lead a section and a band as a lead trumpet player.

Since high school, I was always being trained and pushed into the “lead” realm.  Back then, I never really had exposure to the fact that soloing was something I should have been working on.  I came from the school of thought that soloists were the guys that were great players, but struggled with range, and that lead players were great players with great range.  In fact, as a naive youth, my gauge for a “great trumpet player” was based on how high they could play.  So, I naturally gravitated to and listened strictly to Maynard, Roger Ingram, Arturo, Doc, etc.

I’m now 44 (gasp!  I said it publicly!)  And most people are pretty set in their ways, and stable in their careers… or at least looking back through the decades, there weren’t too many “middle-aged” people doing career changes or total overhauls to their current ones.  But, I had decided it was time to really become the player that I hear in my dreams!  Never realizing that this pathway would improve my current role as a section player as well.

So tip #1 is simple!  Break out of your current box and face the things that scare you!  If you’re a soloist looking for more range, then explore that angle!  Vice Versa as well… to be a GREAT lead player, you have to understand the style, lines, and how to lead (I mean TRULY lead) your section and band through the music!  Lead playing is SO much more than just high notes…

Tip #2 – Summer of Practice or Summer of Avoidance?

It’s always interesting to me to watch the students that come in and have continued to practice throughout each week.  And then see those who still come in for lessons, but didn’t touch their horns AT ALL!  I used to look forward to summer break as a time for myself, being able to hang out with my friends, and practice!  Whether that meant listening to new records (back then) or playing along with a new MF recording (as best I could).

Here in Texas, marching band season starts a full month before actual school does.  So the majority that get back into marching band, but have failed to pick up their horns are really kinda not enjoying things right now.  We lose muscle memory in 10 days (sometimes less).  So if you’ve had 2 months OFF the horn, your face has gone back to what it was designed for… talking, and keeping soup off your shirt!

What did you do this summer?  Even as adults… did you use your time wisely and practice, or did you let things just kinda “rest” for the summer months?


We’re back up and running!  I apologize for being “off-line” for several days… but malware was discovered in our main server, and to prevent passing on viruses, etc. we went off-line!  Things are clean and healthy… let’s keep rolling!


“The chains of habit are too weak to be felt
until they are too strong to be broken.”

—Samuel Johnson: English writer

Have a GREAT week!