Welcome to Weekly Trumpet Tips:
(1) Play 75 – 80%!
(2) Building Endurance
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Tip #1 – Play 75 – 80%!
What does that mean? Quite simple really… NEVER play full out! Play up to 75% of your full power and in most situations you’ll more than be easily heard and will be able to last all night! I’ve discussed over blowing in the past and it’s a large enough problem for most players that I wanted to address it once again. The biggest problem most musicians have is that we get tricked or fooled into thinking that we’re not projecting or being heard out in the audience. Once this starts, we work harder to compensate and in a very short amount of time, we’re running out of steam!
If you’re playing in a largely electronic setting (electric guitar, mic’d drums, vocals, etc) chances are (unless you’re the leader and the focal point of the show) you as a trumpet player will not be dealt a fair hand in the actual stage mix. It’s an EXTREMELY rare day when I can hear myself well enough that it affords me to naturally back off… unless I’m running the sound. I used to come home from gigs with my lips just shred to pieces because I was unaware of the damage I was doing to myself trying to keep up with the electrified instruments / microphone’d and amplified voices. NOT fun!
By backing off, you’ll not only have an easier time playing, but it will help with accuracy and intonation! DON’T over work it… there is a heavy price to pay when you do.
Tip #2 – Building Endurance
Much like an athlete trains to improve their strength, stamina and endurance, we too have to approach what we do intelligently. Beating your face with no breaks will NOT improve your endurance… it will tear down the muscles and cause you to fatigue – actually making things worse! Just like a good work out at the gym, you have to have the exercise balanced with ample rest and the right nutrition to feed the muscles as they rebuild and grow stronger.
I take very frequent breaks when I practice… in fact, my break period is longer than my exercise period. If I play for 10 minutes, I rest for 15 to 20. I also make sure that I do things to the point that I start to feel tired… push just a little past and then stop. The muscles HAVE to be worked… there’s no way around that.
To build range, it’s the same thing… let’s say you’ve got a nice solid High C that you can play on command for an hour, but D is as illusive as Bigfoot… errr… a mythological beast. The absolute best way to make that D become a reality is to play scales, arpeggio’s, etc. to it and allow yourself to miss that note. For me, when I’m working range, I miss, air out, and just plain can’t get to the note I’m working on. Then, one day… it will start to appear. Mine are usually EXTREMELY weak and airy, but if you keep working on them intelligently and don’t stop, you’ll eventually gain the strength, memory and balance necessary to make that next note a part of your range. Best way to say it – “ACT AS IF!” In other words, play our line like you own that D… play that scale like it’s a simple note to play… but giving up will yield ZERO results.
NOTE: I am updating Trumpet Resources this week! Finally! You may find the site doing strange things or not allowing you to access it. But don’t fret, Weekly Tips and Trumpet Resources will return new and improved!
Have a GREAT week!