Solving your Jazz and Legit Mouthpiece Problems

On one day you are playing Brahms in an orchestra and the next you are playing Kenton in a club and the choice of sound is becoming a problem. One requires a soft and gentile timbre and the other a more edgy tone with an increased high range. One solution would be to change trumpets for each situation but at the cost of instruments today, who has that kind of cash. Another possibility would be to attempt to color your tone with your existing equipment but you will find this is only an act of desperation. This scenario was exactly what I was facing this past year. Performing classical music on the same mouthpiece I was performing our show in Branson was becoming a problem until I remembered my pair of Purviance mouthpieces resting securely in my endless collection of unused mouthpieces.

Switching mouthpieces for some people can be a problem because of the different size of the rim. The rim is the only section of a mouthpiece to contact the lip and because of this fact, changing rim dimensions, to some people is not possible with confidence. Because of this issue, the Purviance mouthpiece manufacturing company decided to offer two very fine mouthpieces with identical rim size and contours to their customers. And this was the beginning of the Purviance 4* and 5* mouthpieces. Each mouthpiece had the same size rims but the cup, shoulder, throat and backbore were different to accommodate two different playing situations; namely orchestral and commercial settings. The 5* produced a darker and more broad sound and the 4* just the opposite; a more edgy and focused tone. The more shallow cup and tighter throat and back bore on the 4* also helped to increase the players upper register required in a more commercial setting.

To some players, switching back and forth from a darker to a brighter mouthpiece may not be an issue, but for those forced to change tone in two different setting, the use of identical rims on two different mouthpieces may be worth looking into.

With the advent of removable rims, came another possibility for comfort in playing and at the same time versatility in unmatched venues.

Shortly after the Purviance (two mouthpieces/ same rim size) offering came the removable rim. Removable rims meant that you could play on exactly the same rim and change the lower section to match the tone and range requirement. This was an even better solution for now you could keep your comfortable rim and change your tone as easily as changing your socks each day. Every mouthpiece manufacturer began offering removable rims in their catalogs and the trend took off like Maynard Ferguson playing “MacArthur Park”. Several of my fellow section players opted for this possibility and have stuck with it throughout their career.

One must face still two more decisions when performing on interchangeable rimed mouthpieces; whether you want your rim plated in silver or gold. This decision is something only the player can make for some players can tell the difference in feel and sound and to others, no difference is recognizable. To me, I can’t tell the difference and go with the silver every time. I will admit that a silver mouthpiece with a gold rim looks “way cool”. Also, people think you must know a lot to have something that different even though most people choose them because they look prettier. Another possibility of rim change would be more radical than just gold or silver. You may opt for a rim fabricated from something other than brass. Rims are offered in nylon, plastic and wood, just to mention a few. The thought of a nylon or plastic rim while performing with the Floyd Warren Orchestra at the Farm Progress Show in the middle of Winter in some unforgiving town in Iowa does sound more appealing to my now that I think back to that miserable job as the snow was blowing around us on a makeshift stage dressed in parkas with wind chill at 10 below zero!

I have reviewed the options of only the changing of rims but to add to the confusion, you also have the choice of changeable rims, cups, throats and backbores. If these weren’t enough choices, realize the possibilities if you wanted nylon rim, stainless cup, wood backbore in silver gold and polyurethane varnish!

No matter which option you decide, the possibility of “same rim/ different playing situation” may be in your future.

Does Anyone Have Some Valve Oil?

Hold on to your spit valve campers!

You choose the tempo and the circus will do the rest.

I had the great honor of performing this march under the direction of Merle Evens many years ago when the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus came to Dallas, Texas for a week.

Mr. Evens was the most famous director of the shows history. I found him to be very laidback and able to stop a story in its middle, direct twenty minutes of music and return to the story without missing a word. Meeting him was as moving to me as meeting and performing under Arron Copland in Davenport, Iowa decades ago.

Merle Evans was born in Columbus, Kansas in 1891. His father was a foreman in a coal mine. He had six siblings. Evans had an early job selling newspapers on corners. He used his cornet to call attention to the headlines. After holding several other jobs, Evans left home and joined the S.W. Brundage Carnival Company as a cornet player. Evans held several other jobs, including as a band director for the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Wild West Show featuring Buffalo Bill Codey.

Evans was hired as the band director for the newly merged Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1919. Evans held this job for fifty years, until his retirement in 1969. He only missed performances due to a musicians union strike in 1942 and the death of his first wife. He wrote eight circus marches, including Symphonia and Fredella.

My “2017” Update on our Friend Victor Haskins

As you can see (read) from my two earlier posts on the tallents of this young man, I was very impressed and predicted that his future as a forward moving and thinking musician was something everyone should pay attention to.

I was correct in my prediction as you will see from his continued success in the music world.

Be sure to read or reread my two previons postings on Victor before you read this most current followup.

Please welcome Victor Haskins

“Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome back to our stage, Mr. Victor Haskins”

Victor Haskins is a visionary, world-class trumpet and electronic wind instrument (EWI) player, improviser, composer/arranger, bandleader, and educator.

Victor Haskins has worked directly with a diverse cross-section of masters of improvised music, including, but not limited to, Craig Handy (Herbie Hancock), Roger Lewis (Dirty Dozen Brass Band), Lonnie Liston-Smith, Jason Moran, and Phil Wiggins.

Victor brings a one-of-a-kind, unique spirit and perspective to all that he does in life. This worldly approach to life is a result of growing up in a variety of diverse settings, and traveling extensively. Through music, Victor is able to synthesize his thoughts
and experiences into audible emotions and sonic stories to connect with audiences.

Some notable highlights from Victor’s artistic achievements thus far include the creation of his own improvisational concept–Melodic Improvisation–as well as anindependently conceived musical genre that is based on the Melodic Improvisationconcept, called ImproviStory. He released his debut album of all originalcompositions– “The Truth”–on 32 Bar Records in March of 2013. In 2012, He was aspecial guest teacher and performer at the inaugural Izmir International Jazz Campin Izmir, Turkey. He has been the Director of the Jazz Outreach program for theKennedy Center of the Performing Arts National Symphony Orchestra EducationDepartment since its inception in 2014.

Victor is currently (2016) the Instructor of Jazz Trumpet at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Victor has
also been featured at the Richmond Jazz Festival (2013-2015), Richmond’s 2nd Street Festival (2011), the Elkhart Jazz Festival (2014), the Apex Jazz Festival (2014), and the Festival of New Trumpet Music (2014). In addition, some of Victor’s activities are supported by grants from the National Endowment of the Arts, and the Virginia Commission for the Arts. Victor holds a Jazz Studies/Performance degree from Virginia Commonwealth University where he completed the 4-year music program inonly 3 years (the first and only person to ever accomplish this feat).

Victor is proud to be sponsored by Eclipse Trumpets, and Denis Wick mouthpieces.

Expanding Your Upper Register

We are often asked to give some insight into material which would improve trumpet players higher register and this might answer some of these questions.

One reason we seem to put a limit to our high notes is because the studies we practice do not include material in that register. Even the Arban Method is very dated in this area.

So the question should be “where can I find decent material which includes higher notes than trumpet books offer”?Here is one such book and it will open a whole new world of material to advance your higher range playing.

Gekeler Method for Oboe
by Kenneth Gekeler
Book Two

The material in this method is perfect for the trumpet player who has developed a solid range up to and including a high C. When first perusing these exercises, one realizes that all of the notes seem to be transposed a third higher than one would expect in a trumpet method. Raising your practice material a third is exactly what you need. Any higher will create more effort than would be needed at this point.

You will also find that each etude is short, which is also a great benefit to the player for you will not be pounding away at your lip for extended periods of time. The flowing melodies in this collection will also be a pleasure to perform and in addition to improving your higher playing you will be performing in a melodic fashion rather than repeating dull and boring scales.

I have included the first page of this fine book so that you can get started to gain confidence in your upper register. Also included is an MP3 demonstrating how you can benefit from my “Rest As Much As You Play” routine. If this form of practicing is new to you, “by all means check out my where it is more fully explained.

First Page-

Practice Recording-

Note that the etudes have been recorded separately on both the left and right channels. On day one, listen to the left channel and continue playing the second line, etc.
On day 2, begin after the four bar click track and rest on the even numbered lines.

By doing this, you will increase you endurance as well as help expand your sight reading ability.

Happy Pappy Popper Pills- “The Musicians Answer For Success”

Finally we have advanced to a stage in our musical lives where practicing is no longer required to become a successful musician.

Throughout most of my life I have voiced the opinion that I would love to be able to take a pill which would eliminate the boredom of practicing. And finally it has happened!

Let me introduce you to the new wonder pill of the musical world- “Happy Pappy Popper Pills”

No longer will you be required to spend endless hours slaving over orchestral excerpts, jazz transcriptions and one more variation of the Carnival Of Venice. One amazing pill will relieve you of all the anxieties and wasted time worrying about your preparation and technique. It’s all combined into one small yet amazing pill which will revolutionize every musician’s life.

Please read further below to understand all of the benefits of this new medication and be the first in your neighborhood to reserve a room at Carnegie Hall for your next world premiere performance. One pill will send your career to heights previously unattainable.

Taking one “Happy Pappy Popper Pill” each day will free you from the many agonizing hours of practice which used to be required to master your chosen instrument. One pill will replace the boredom, pain, embarrassment and all of those wrong notes. Not only will you be elated with your success, but think of the joy you will be giving to all those forced to listen to you practice. Your life will change overnight and the praise from all who doubted your musical talents will suddenly change their opinions to accolades of praise and astonishment.

Only one pill in the morning will send you on your way to stardom throughout the world!

Several hours of research have gone into the many ingredients in “Happy Pappy Popper Pills” and after the three tireless day of intensive testing done by the developer and his wife, the miracle pill is now available in limited numbers and a few locations.

To give you some idea as to the multitude of benefits this miracle supplement has to offer, please read below the makeup and benefits of “Happy Pappy Popper Pills”.

Happy Pappy Popper Pills contains the following ingredients and benefits-

Vitamin A- Helpful for strengthening bones and teeth in order to sustain high notes for longer periods of time.

Vitamin D- Needed for proper absorption of calcium; stored in bones which takes the edge off your lead trumpet playing.

Vitamin E- Antioxidant; protects cell walls from lip damage and splitting.

Vitamin K- Needed for proper blood clotting in case Vitamin E doesn’t work.

Vitamin B1- Part of an enzyme needed for energy; important to lowering nerve function such as stage fright.

Vitamin B2- Part of an enzyme needed for energy; important for improved vision for reading the smaller printed notes.

Vitamin B3- Part of an enzyme needed for energy; important for digestive system after too many tacos and enchiladas.

Vitamin C- Antioxidant; part of an enzyme needed for protein metabolism; important for immune system health; aids in iron absorption as well as absorption of brass particles from your instrument.

In addition to the Vitamins listed above, be aware of additional supplements related to brass players in particular. Read on for related supplemental benefits-

NMAN- (Never Miss A Note) has been added to improve your sight-reading.

SCWTCB- (Stay Cool When The Check Bounces) This is particularly important to the single engagement musician from out of town.

LTE- (Lead Trumpet Enhancement) Every lead trumpet player will enjoy this supplement for it completely blocks out the grumbling from the second chair player about your ugly sound and ego.

OCB- (Orchestral Concept Blocker) This is absolutely require if you are faced with a situation where an orchestra player has joined your section.

NKITS- (New Kid In The Section) This amazing supplement filters out all the high notes a young player screeches before the job and all the clams the new player splatters during the job.

NLATL- (Never Look At The Leader) After taking just one pill a night this supplement will allow you to completely block out any and all directions from the leader of your ensemble.

AVFF- (Automatic Valve Failure Function) This alone will sell you on this product. Every time you miss a note, the Automatic Valve Failure Function kicks in and instantly freezes your first valve in a halfway down position so you will have something to complain about.

As unbelievable as this may sound, the benefits of the “Happy Pappy Popper Pills” are endless. Be sure to contact your local pharmacy to learn more about this miracle product.

Or maybe not……. for a lawsuit brought on by the Better Pharmaceutical Council has not yet been settled nor has the Governmental Study of Fraudulent Activities in Drug Sales been resolved.

Until these two, small issues have been finalized, only regular practice will insure success in your musical future.

PLEASE NOTE: This post in no way condones nor promotes the use of mind, body or thought enhancing medication for personal improvement.

And…….”Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires”