Welcome to Weekly Trumpet Tips:
(1) Trumpet Timbre!
(2) Trumpet Jocks & Ego
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Tip #1 – Trumpet Timbre!
I am fortunate enough to be endorsed by one of the finest trumpet companies on the planet – Austin Winds, and when a new horn comes out owner Doug Mains usually let’s me in on the scoop of the horn.
Years ago (before playing Austin Winds) I was convinced (like most everyone else) that a trumpet’s tone is largely produced by the mouthpiece, player and what coating it had on it. I believed that silver plate horns played brighter than a brass / raw brass instrument.
What I’ve learned about horns (first hand I might add) is that what signifies a horn’s tonality or timbre is actually influenced by its bell flare… NOT what color it is or what it’s plated with. Let’s assume that a player is using the exact same mouthpiece set up (choose your favorite one)… if you line up horns from skinny bell flare to wide bell flare you’d notice a significant difference in sound. The narrower the bell taper the more bright the sound. The wider – the darker… just look at a Flugelhorn.
Mouthpiece’s DO also influence timbre… so if you’re able to do a test – use the same mouthpiece set up as a deeper cup, more open throat and open taper on the back bore will influence a darker sound. The more shallow cups, tighter throat and tighter back bores offer a brighter sound.
Below is a video of this very fact… enjoy!
Tip #2 – Trumpet Jocks & Ego’s
This last week I had a young trumpet jock private message me on a social network commenting on the video I shared with you of me playing “Maynard & Waynard” with Wayne Bergeron. I was fortunate enough to have this opportunity and will cherish it as one of my highlights as a trumpet player / musician – as I do any opportunity to perform with someone I admire.
I share this with you because I think it’s a significant enough learning lesson to pass on to anyone who has the opportunity to perform with one of the greats, etc. The question was posed (I’ll paraphrase) as this:
“I have watched many videos of you performing and I know you can play to double c and beyond, why didn’t you “go for it” while playing with Wayne? Were you scared?”
My reply was something like this (I didn’t keep the conversation):
“Hello ___, first let me say that this opportunity to play with Wayne was a great honor. Secondly, the show we performed was not about me! I was not the guest artist – Wayne was… and to “go for it” made zero sense from a performance stand point. My name is not on the chart and it was Wayne that selected me to perform with him, therefore I felt it best to play well (or as best that I could) and allow Wayne to set the pace as well as dictate. I was a supporting character – not a spotlight stealing jerk… this may be a good lesson for you should you ever be given an opportunity such as this.”
So to any musician / performer that may read this – today, tomorrow, etc. It’s not about the ego! It’s not about who can play higher, louder, faster, etc. It’s about making music and respecting the people you perform with as well as yourself. Creation – NOT competition!
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.
– Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi – 1207-1273, Persian Poet
Have a GREAT week!