“Amateurs Practice Until They Get It Right. Professionals Practice Until They Can’t Play It Wrong”

When I first ran across this statement, I knew I had to have it posted where I could read it every morning. Comparing the two different work ethics can be a rude reminder that most of us are still amateurs. On which side of the isle do you stand? If you think you should be referred to as a professional, I would like to submit this challenge to you. Below I have posted a simple passage which at first perusal might seem an easy collection of notes to perform. With closer investigation you might consider this example as possibly more…

Trumpet Hand Playing Position

Sometimes the obvious can be overlooked as in the case of your hand position while holding your instrument. If you search on line for pictures or video of successful trumpet players, you will find a variety of hand positions ranging from the normal to several extreme positions. Each performer has settled into his/her favorite hand position because of habit or preference. Left Hand Playing Position I have included normal as well as unusual positions and will explain the advantages as well as the disadvantages of each. It is not my intent to try to influence anyone into any one position,…

Now Here Is A Great Idea!

One of my very good friends is Jen Houck and when she sent me this picture of her new trumpet bathtub, I ask her to share her experience with our readers. Please give it up for a great trumpet player and good friend Jen Houck “I have been following Bruce’s Trumpet Blog posts for quite a while now and have really learned a lot of very useful information here. I am an “older” come-back trumpet player always on the lookout for ideas to make my life a bit easier. Recently he posted a video on how to correctly clean your…

Clark Terry (December 14, 1920 – February 21, 2015)

The following information was taken in its entirety from Wikimedia.com Clark Terry (December 14, 1920 – February 21, 2015) was an American swing and bebop trumpeter, a pioneer of the flugelhorn in jazz, composer, educator, and NEA Jazz Masters inductee. He played with Charlie Barnet (1947), Count Basie (1948–1951), Duke Ellington (1951–1959), Quincy Jones (1960) and Oscar Peterson (1964-1996). He was also with The Tonight Show Band from 1962-1972. Terry’s career in jazz spanned more than seventy years during which he became one of the most recorded jazz musicians ever, appearing on over 900 recordings. Terry also mentored many musicians…

How To Learn A Solo (an easy way)!

This is the time of the school year when thousands of student musicians are spending countless hours in band rooms around the country trying to learn their solo for this year’s Solo Ensemble Contest. Anxieties are starting to set in and each performer wonders how they will play and what grade will they receive at contest. In order to help those faced with this nerve wrenching experience I will try to give a few hints as to how you can more productively spend your time preparing your solo. Here are a few of my observations when judging a young student…

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We Have Recently Lost Another Trumpet Great- Mr. Lew Soloff

The following was taken directly from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Lewis Michael Soloff (February 20, 1944 – March 8, 2015) was an American jazz trumpeter, composer and actor. From New York City, he studied trumpet at the Eastman School of Music and the Juilliard School. He worked with Blood, Sweat & Tears from 1968 until 1973. Prior to this, he worked with Machito, Gil Evans, Tony Scott, Maynard Ferguson and Tito Puente. He was also a longtime member of the Manhattan Jazz Quintet and Mingus Big Band. In the 1980s he was a member of Members Only, a jazz ensemble…

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Can you cope with quarter tones?

Our harmonic and melodic system is based on half steps and other systems are based on quarter tones. When we listen to the quarter step system, we are uncomfortable because of this unusual pitch relationship. Our instruments are not capable of playing quarter tones. So why am I posting information on how to perform the imposable? I think you might find the exercise interesting, or even mind altering. Our brass instruments are based on an overtone system which overlaps each fingering series, i.e. open fingering followed by 2, 1, 12, 23, 13, and 123. If you think of each series…

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Better Living Through Chemistry

When the PBone first appeared on the market, many trombone players were very skeptical as to the quality and sound this plastic oddity represented. Gradually the response began to filter in and player’s acceptance steadily grew. More and more professionals began to show up on the stage with these less than average instruments and were seen in many well respected ensembles including the David Letterman show, the Boston Pops, and many other professional groups. Today, the original PBone has made its way into high school and college marching bands and the obvious advantages are well documented. Advantages of the original…

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