Weekly Trumpet Tips 8/29/10

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! If you haven’t submitted a name for the new book, we’re still accepting ideas!

Check 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.  We are currently running a “Back To School” promotion on Chops Rehab…

Here are your weekly Tips!

Over Blowing – Adverse Effects!

We touched on this a bit last week, but I think this is a common enough issue that it warrants discussing a bit more.  Part of the problem stems from the bell being nearly 3 feet in front of us.  As we start playing (especially when other musicians are playing simultaneously) we tend to start to play harder to compensate and hear ourselves.

As we start to play harder, our muscles that support the aperture (as well as the aperture itself) start to come under greater strain.  Playing louder essentially equates to opening the aperture and allowing more air volume through… as this occurs, we have to push harder on the air to maintain air speed… you can see where this is leading.  No matter what anyone says to get there, high notes are nothing more than a thin stream of air passing through the lips at a fast / high rate of speed.  As that aperture opens more, the air speed does not increase until we push harder and harder on it.

Fatigue, airing out, excessive pinching, intonation problems, and inaccurate playing (missed pitches) tend to occur frequently.  Think about playing more focussed… I like to think of it as the difference between a rifle shot and a shotgun blast.

Spend some time recording yourself either alone or during a rehearsal to see if your sound is carrying enough to have your voice heard.  I think you’ll be surprised as to how well the trumpet sound carries!

Synthetically Induced Calm –

Ever heard that by taking beta blockers can help calm your nerves and allow you to have a more relaxed / focussed performance without nervousness, etc.?  For some, this may work okay… for others, this can cause all sorts of strange side effects.

I tried a beta blocker recently to help with performance anxiety, and actually had a “not so great” performance!  My mouth got so dry that I couldn’t hardly play… in addition to making me feel woozy.  NOT a good feeling as you’re trying to perform!

The absolute best performance enhancer is always preparation!  You may also want to try any natural products such as magnesium, herbs, and valerian to name a few.  These are naturally occurring and essential nutrients that will help you physically as well.

“Getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid faith in yourself. You must be able to sustain yourself against staggering blows. There is no code of conduct to help beginners. That is why some people with mediocre talent, but with great inner drive, go much further than people with vastly superior talent.”

Sophia Loren

Have a GREAT week!