Weekly Trumpet Tips 9/10/13

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 – What’s Wrong With the Music Business?

In short – NOTHING!  I decided that this is a topic that seldom gets discussed, but really should be because quite a few young players that read this blog may have aspirations about pursuing music as a career.  So here’s the lessons that I’ve learned about the music business (thus far – I have a lot more to learn!).

#1 – Too many musicians don’t treat the music business like – A BUSINESS!  They do ZERO self promotion, they drink ON the gig, they show up late, etc.  If you land an office job that has a hierarchy, and you do the latter 2, almost guaranteed you’ll be out on the street looking for a new job very quickly!  And if you open a business – say a pizza joint – and do NO promoting, your business will never grow, because people have to find out about you!  The music business should be treated EXACTLY the same…

#2 –  If you look throughout history at the players that have passed on, but are STILL talked about today, you’d find that they were adamant practitioners of their craft!  John Coltrane immediately comes to mind!  I feel (and remember that this is all my humble opinion) that most get “good enough” for where they are, and just maintain.  ALWAYS practice your craft!

#3 – Arturo Sandoval said this in an interview after being asked if he had any advice for young aspiring players… he said, “LOVE what you do!  Don’t do it for the money, for the fame, or for any other reason than you just love it!”  I’m paraphrasing, but it’s pretty darn close to his message.  He’s told me this too… if you ever get to spend any time with Arturo, you’ll find that his mind is ALWAYS working on music – it never really rests musically (I don’t think).

So if you’re thinking about the music business as a career path, just understand that it DEMANDS the same type of respect as any other business.  People HAVE to find out about you, and should be able to count on you showing up on time, and staying focussed on the performance.  And practice – NEVER stop practicing to improve… but if you don’t “LOVE” it, think about another career because loving what you do is more valuable than all the money, fame, or notoriety!

Tip #2 – What Should I be Practicing?

I had several students over the summer that were continuing lessons, but their 30 minutes per week with me was the ONLY playing they were doing at all.  And one of the worst things I would hear is, “well, I don’t have anything to practice.”

The funny thing is, the older I’m getting, the more I’m finding to practice because I feel behind.  And truthfully, I am – because I should have been practicing this way in my teens and 20’s.  But – I wasn’t ready…  But here’s the ironic part, I’m having more fun now that I’m practicing my tail off everyday than I ever have before.

My first question to anyone who asks “What should I be practicing” starts off with scales… ya – boring, I know!  BUT – the more in depth knowledge you gain on your scales (ALL of them), the more you’ll start to get a grasp on the rest of the skills.  Scales are the answer to most everything…

How do I build range?  Scales – 2 octaves, etc.

How do I learn to improvise?  Scales – 2 octaves

If you can play all your major scales, congratulations!  Now learn to do them by linking them together chromatically… start on low F#, play one octave up, come back down using G, up Ab, down A, etc.  Once you’ve mastered that – reverse it.

Now, let’s say that you’ve taken that advice, and want more – do ALL scales in 3rd’s… 3rd’s ascending, 3rd’s descending, etc.  Get the picture?

If you REALLY want to improve, and are thinking about the music business, be the best that YOU can be… learn as much as you can!


“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.”

Anatole France
1844-1924, Poet, Journalist, and Novelist

Have a GREAT week!