Weekly Trumpet Tips 9/12/10

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!

Looking Through the Vail of Frustration!

In the last week, I have personally ascended past another rough spot in my playing!  This one seemed to last the entire month of August.  The biggest thing to realize as a practicing musician is that we ALL hit rough spots through our journey to improve our playing and our ability to perform.  This rough spot for me was ill-timed in a few ways (as if it’s ever a “good time”) as I had a performance that I was really looking forward to, go less than the way I had hoped.  But – in that, I learned valuable lessons that I shared with you through this rough phase…  over blowing, weight loss consequences, etc.

I have since been made aware that when we ascend beyond our rough phases (and we always do), we always come away with improvement.  Without these phases, we would not have significant growth.  It would be a fair statement to say “growth can be painful.”

My message to you is very simply – if you’re in a rough phase, DO NOT give up or feel suddenly like “I suck!”  Trust me – I had that a lot this past summer… but my growth is now clear!

Everything Works Together!

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I am a self professed (and absolute) car nut!  I bought a 1968 Dodge Charger nearly 13 years ago and never really did much with it.  This year has been dedicated to getting it going… the body work has been this years challenge.  To finance the project, I decided to part out the big block motor (440 for you fellow motor-heads).  But I had a HUGE “AH-HA” moment as I was disassembling the motor.  Here’s where I’m heading with this – ready?

I realized that it starts with fuel getting atomized into the motor through a valve opening, the spark plug igniting the fuel / air mixture and exploding in the combustion chamber – forcing the piston down… then another valve opens allowing the exhaust to be released.

When you put this in terms of trumpet playing, you are compressing air within your body and then pushing it out through your windpipe, into your mouth, through your aperture and into the horn.  All of this requires a balance between how much air you take in, how hard you push on it, how your mouth is set, and what your aperture is doing… is it set too tight (pinched sound) or too loose (airy / loud sound).

When everything is functioning in a harmonious balance, playing becomes easier… when something gets out of whack, it becomes more difficult.  Look at the motor – when something stops functioning optimally (or at all) the motor suddenly loses balance and doesn’t perform optimally.  Your SOUND is your biggest indicator if your playing is balanced and harmonious!  Look first for a beautiful sound, then start analyzing the other components… the biggest culprits to our problems usually lies within the aperture or lack of air being utilized.

“I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. It might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.”

John Steinbeck
1902-1968, Writer and Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature

Have a GREAT week!

Sincerely,

Keith