Weekly Trumpet Tips 9/27/16

Trumpet Shadow

The Shadow

Welcome to Weekly Trumpet Tips:

(1) Self Induced Psychological War-fare!

(2) Ron’s Improv Tip

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Tip #1 – Self Induced Psychological War-fare!

Imagine the excitement (or terror) you feel when you are given a solo in a band situation, or a new song that’s extremely challenging – lead, solo, section-wise, what ever the case may be.  Most folks will go home and shed like mad on what they’ve been given so that they sound great.  But what about that little voice that most of us carry with us?  That little voice that starts flashing pictures in your mind of the sheer terror you would feel if you fell on your face during the performance of this special moment you’ve been given.  Heck – maybe it’s not even a special highlighted moment  per-se, maybe it’s just been a long time since you’ve performed live!

What I’m describing above happens a lot… and it used to haunt me in my sleep!  And since this is an open forum and I have nothing to hide, I’ll tell you about my MOST embarrassing face plant to date!  I was on Maynard’s band… ya – it starts out like that… UGH!   We were in Minnesota – Minneapolis I think, and my parents drove up with my Grandma to see this particular performance… (not to add any extra pressure or anything.)  By this time I was really trying to make the Monette mouthpieces work, and I was failing miserably!  I was absolutely worn out within 15 minutes of our 75 minute show… and Boss was still sending the trumpets to the audience for “Hey Jude.”  If you’d ever seen an MF concert, that was a highlight for a lot of folks…  Long story short, I get out into the audience, my turn comes to play Hey Jude – ascending up to a G above high C and nothing is coming out… well, nothing good.  I was humiliated… so much so that I wanted OFF the band THAT night!  I even went to Maynard and apologized… this conversation started his helping me fix things and without it, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today!  Man – THAT ONE HURT!  And it created this pit of terror deep within me that stuck with me for years afterward.  So much so that if I had a solo or had to play anything that was challenging my range, I would get the shakes and break into cold sweats!

But come to find out, it was all self-induced.  I had heard a discussion on this very thing just a few years back – and what really caught my attention was when the presenter said that Barbara Streisand would spend most of her time back stage throwing up from the shear terror she felt pre-performance.  But – she was able to tame that as she performed more and got more comfortable with the thought of performing.

What did it for her and what has helped me the most is realizing something VERY simple!  WE CONTROL OUR THOUGHTS!  We, as humans in a lot of cases are taught / programmed to fear the worst case scenario or at least not expect the best so that we won’t be disappointed “when” something doesn’t go our way… and when you wake up and realize how damning that alone is, it starts to make you question things.  I was taught that VERY thing – “avoid disappointment later by expecting the worst now!”  And when I knew I was having massive chops problems that fear started to well up inside me and basically helped me to crater even harder.  I’ve had shows where I’ve talked myself into being nervous, and had performances not go as I would have hoped!  But once I got a grip on myself and started kicking out any negative thoughts about my performance, I noticed a steady increase in “successful performances.”  Was it over night?  NO!  The habit was planted a long time ago to think “worst case.”  But with consistency, it improved…

I also noticed how things travel in circles this way… thinking things are gonna go bad, having them go bad and dealing with that side of things seemed to bring more bad shows… but the more I allow myself to feel the success and fantasize about playing great, the more the great shows are happening!  Sure – little things sneak in and happen… but if you let them go immediately they won’t turn into quicksand and suck you under!

Tip #2 – Ron’s Improv Tip

Learning how to put triads to scales
Today we will will talk about the construction of the triads and how they fit in the scales. In my last  introduction to”Ron’s Tips” on Keith Fiala’s  Trumpet Resources site, I  talked about what a Triad was and the different inversions for each triad.and how to play them. See Ron’s Tips for week of 9/20 for a freshen up.
NOW! what I would like to talk about this segment would be to take the triads and inversions and use them in 3 Major Keys for the week.For example we talked about the 4 triads Major 1-3-5, Minor 1- flat b3 -5, Diminished 1- flat b3- flat b5, and Augmented 1-3-sharp #5. These were the basic triads that construct a chord. Now we also said that there are also 6 chord progressions in the last weeks tip., but in reality by ading the Maor 6th and minor 6th that would make 8, So there are actually 8 chord progressions in music.
It’s really simple to thnk about. Take you C,- F- and G Major scales and learn them first  If you know nothing about scales then quite Frankly ‘this course may not be suited for you” until you learn these scales. resorting to Keiths trumpet book may be your best bet for that or any music theory book. I will be talkng about all scalles in the future but for now we will work with three.
We are now going to make the Triads fit the scales So in the C Major scale the Major Triad will be 1- 3 -5 these numbers signify the notes that make up that triad.,so in the key of the C Major scale, the triad notes are C-E-G. So now using the Minor triad of the C major scale you will play 1-Flat b3- 5 So we would now use those numbers and if we put them in the scale of C Major it would look like this, C- Eflat -G.So my question to you would be what Diminished and Augmented triad numbers will make up the C major scale? Now by resorting back to last week of 9/20 you will see how to play all the triads but this week I am trying to get you to learn at lest three Major scales.  I would say three per week would not be too hard to do… after you learn the three Major Keys then you can get a better understanding of al the triads and their inversions… Please Learn the F Major Scale and the G Major scale then put all the inversion to that designated Scale.
This will help you to visualize and to know what the basic chord construction will evenualy be when we talk about 4 part chords but first your homework is to learn the triads very well so when we talk about 4 part chords you will easily feel the transition from triads to chords. This should jump start your jazz inprovisational course . I hope to give you the complete MAnhattan School of Music jazz improvisational course that was given to me by my Jazz teacher Bob Arthurs.

Feel free to ask or respond to me for any questions you may have. REMEMBER Repetition makes perfect! Only if you practice correctly can you improve. and always play something harder each day to see this gradual improvement. Use a metronome! see also weekly tip 9/20!

My success just evolved from working hard at the business at hand each day.

Johnny Carson – 1925-2005, Television Host and Comedian

Have a GREAT Week!

Keith / Ron