Weekly Trumpet Tips 8/27/13

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 – Lips In / Lips Out… What’s the Right Answer?!?

Just as we are all different people, we all have different playing set ups and requirements from our physical faces in order to play this beast of an instrument!  What I’ve discovered in my years of playing is that I don’t do it exactly like anyone else.  I have a cupid’s bow that is pretty pronounced on my top lip… requiring me to set up differently, play a slightly deeper cup with an under cut, and can cause issues at times when my face swells due to humidity, excessive playing, etc.  But the bottom line is, I am happy with my sound, my range is decent, and I feel really happy about what I’ve learned to make what God gave me, work.

So this weeks first tip is simple, yet profound… don’t get caught up in all the discussion on the internet these days about right and wrong, equipment, and all of the voodoo that seems to get discussed.

What works for you?  What mouthpiece depth?  What mouthpiece rim size?  Where do you have to set the mouthpiece on your face to get the best response?

Tip #2 – Give Your Chops The Workout They Deserve!

Your chops are essentially made up of muscles… like every other muscle in your body, they need a work load, rest, and protein for growth!  The right work can be anything from range based exercises to endurance based exercises, and a mixture – in a balanced way.

Range Exercises – I like using scales – playing scales in 3rds, or chromatically linked can give your brain a great work out too.  So you’re doing more than just playing high notes for the sake of playing high.

Endurance Exercises – This can be classical etudes, running scales without stopping, or my favorite as of late – improvisation!  Nonetheless, keep the horn to your face for extended periods of time.

After you’ve worn yourself down and range or endurance starts to become a struggle, allow your muscles to rest.  If you push too far into “fatigue-land” you’re running the risk of needing 48 to 96 hours of recovery time.  So practice smart!


“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude
from achieving his goal.”

—Thomas Jefferson: American Founding Father,
the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and
the third President of the United States

Have a GREAT week!