Welcome to Weekly Trumpet Tips:
(1) Play Dynamics!
(2) Practice Tips!
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Tip #1 – Play Dynamics
This is a tip that took me a great while to learn and thoroughly understand and I wanted to pass it on to you because this one token of wisdom is what will make your section and your band sound stronger!
As trumpet players, we can easily get lulled into thinking that playing LOUD is a necessity and we’re lesser players if we can’t / don’t. While I have seen a great many students who do not put enough energy into the horn and therefore have no idea on how to create a full trumpet sound, dynamics have all sorts of contrasts beyond just plain loud.
Case in point – playing in a 4 to 5 person trumpet section in a jazz band situation, your lead player should be the one to set dynamic contrast. If you’re playing 4th part and just barreling through the parts with no regard for what’s happening in the other parts of the section, then you’re wasting the musicality. The best thing that ALL section members can do is listen up – lead players need to listen down as well. Staying aware of what’s happening dynamically will strengthen the section and create an “as one” affect.
Tip #2 – Practice Tips
We’re nearing the beginning of a new school year (if you haven’t started already) and most marching bands have been back in rehearsals for at least 2 weeks. For some folks, it’s tough to get yourself to the horn every single day… students were worn out by last years activities and adults have lives, family, business, etc. if you don’t do this full time.
Many are under the impression that to be great you have to practice 8 to 10 hours per day and have some sort of super natural gift that you were born with… I’ve spoken to Arturo Sandoval about this, and he feels that his “gift” was in the form of dedication to practicing and improving every step of the way. Being willing to practice things that you struggle with or just CAN NOT do yet will FAR out-weigh any sudden ability to play something…
Here’s my best advice on approaching practice…
When you’re at home, leave your horn out in a visible (but safe) location. If your horn is OUT of the case that’s one less excuse you can use. Out of sight – out of mind. Piano teachers often tell students to leave the dust cover off of the keys.
Practicing does NOT have to be 30 minutes or more in one sitting when it comes to time commitment. I will play for as little a just a few minutes all the way to 10 to 15 minutes and then take a break. Small practice sessions throughout your day or time that you’re home is far more productive than trying to cram it all into one certain block of time. 2 reasons behind this… your lips need the rest. Your BRAIN needs the break!
I don’t “practice” scales or the Clarke book, etc. I “warm up” with them! When you approach working on redundant, non-musical and boring exercises from a different perspective you will do them more willingly as well as daily. Over time, you’ll notice that they become memorized and you become efficient with them!
Playing a musical instrument (especially brass instruments) require dedication and commitment in a consistent manner. But if you change your view of what you practice, when you practice it and how long you practice, you will surprise yourself!
“Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is poverty. Ignorance is devastation. Ignorance is tragedy. And ignorance is illness. It all stems from ignorance.” — Jim Rohn
Have a GREAT week!