Weekly Trumpet Tips 8/30/11

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!!!

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.

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

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Here Are your Weekly Tips:

Tip #1 – What You Eat WILL Affect Your Playing – or If You DON’T Eat!

As brass players, we are subjected to all sorts of issues when it comes to playing… I was just telling a student today that if you start a piano beginner and a trumpet beginner on the very same day, in 6 weeks, the trumpet player will have learned little beyond the proper way of producing sound.  While the piano student will have been working on technique, timing, rhythm, chordal knowledge, etc.

With that being said, trumpet players are affected by the strangest of things – from what we brand of toothpaste we brush our teeth with to what we eat and drink.  I personally can NOT have any alcohol before I play – it dries my mouth out something fierce!  As well, eating the wrong kind of foods can cause problems as well.  Eating a lot of gummy cheese, greasy burgers, or extremely salty foods can massively affect the saliva content, etc.

NOT eating though, can have just as much of an adverse affect as eating the wrong things… so this weeks tip #1 is: start monitoring things that you can eat, etc. and cannot – what affects you?  What seems to help?  I know that if I have a light meal, I.E. salad, fish, etc. I’m in pretty good shape for the gig…

Tip #2 – A Successful Lead Player Understands…

The art of pacing!  This is one that takes great restraint and control to master.  We all tend to get excited when the high note section suddenly appears in our parts… the LAST thing we want to do is flop on our faces during that section.  But, you can’t afford to sit out most of the song for just a few stupid high notes.

The greatest lead players know how to blend, balance, lead the section, but yet not over power or dominate the band or the rest of the trumpet section.  It’s important to understand when your voice is needed to ascend above and when it’s needed to blend in and create the balance of the chords being played.  It’s also important to have a solid concept of the feel, the style that you’re trying to portray and lead the band.

By doing these things above, you will find that you only need to come out for a very brief moment in time – not the entire way through – thus conserving your energy and your chops… as well as the people in front of you.

Enjoy this video from tonight – I play with a local jazz group once a month at the Elephant Room – the only Jazz club left in Austin.  Support local music, play music locally, and keep the arts alive!!!


“History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.”

Bertie Charles Forbes
1880-1954, Financial Journalist, Author and founder of Forbes Magazine

Have a GREAT week!