Make Your Own Practice Mute

The Internet has become a wonderful place to share ideas and this post will direct you to a helpful do-it-yourself instructional video you really need to view. A very big thank you to ARMYstrong419 for sharing this information with us. I have tried this and it works great. Sometimes the cheapest can be the best.

And for additional information

New Flow Studies Material- Part III

Slider-Woman-Hat-FinalThis is my third and final post in this series of material on “New Flow Studies” and I have included two additional sets of exercises.

In this post I have included a series of exercises using the intervals of a third, fourth.

I would suggest that you do the following.

1. Start with the interval of a second until it becomes easy for you at the faster speed.

2. Begin the intervals of a third at the slow speed until it becomes easy for you.

3. Begin the intervals if a forth with caution……

When I recorded this exercise, I was surprised at how taxing it was when compared to the first two exercises. I had a difficult time even recording it. Be sure that you have spent enough time on each exercise before beginning the next.
Good luck and let me know how you like these exercises…. (or don’t).

Interval of a Third Flow Studies

Intervals of a Fourth Flow Studies

New Flow Studies Material- Part II

Slider-Woman-Hat-FinalIf you have played through my material from my last post, some may find the tempi too fast. If you like the concept and would like a slower tempo, I suggest that you read an earlier post called “Using Technology to Improve Your Trumpet Playing- Using an Audio Recorder” where I describe how you can download a simple and free app. which will enable you to do your own recordings.

When comparing my exercises with Mr. Cichowicz’s etude on page 9 of his booklet, you can see a strong similarity. Obviously his material stressed long flowing lines with constant slurs. This, I believe was his focus when compiling his booklet and it is also mine when using scales, rather than melodic etudes. “You might as well learn your scales while you are improving your tone, range, air control, etc”.
Page 9TFS

New Flow Studies Material- Part I

TFS 001To older trumpet players the title Flow Studies brings up fond memories of one of the great trumpet players of our time. The younger practitioners of the tromba may not be familiar with the name Vincent Cichowicz but to the more seasoned, the name represents one of the finest trumpet performers and teachers of our life time.

The name Cichowicz represents the Chicago Symphony when the likes of the following represented the Chicago Symphony dynasty in the mid 1960s.

Cichowicz, Vincent Trumpet 1952 – 1974
Clevenger, Dale Horn (Principal) 1966 – 2013
Farkas, Philip Horn (Principal) 1947 – 1960
Gilbertsen, James Trombone (Assistant Principal 1968-1982,
Herseth, Adolph Trumpet (Principal 1948-2001, Principal Emeritus 2001-04) 1948 – 2004
Kaderabek, Frank J. Trumpet 1958 – 1966
Kleinhammer, Edward Marck Bass Trombone 1940 – 1985
Lambert, Robert Trombone (Principal) 1955 – 1965
Leuba, Christopher Horn (Principal) 1960 – 1962
Scarlett, William H. Trumpet 1964 – 1997
Jacobs, Arnold Tuba (Principal) 1944 – 1988

It was during this period that Mr. Cichowicz’s booklet “Trumpet Flow Studies” was published by the School of Music at Northwestern University in Chicago. To say that this collection of preexisting etudes was a booklet is giving more credit than it is due for nearly half of the examples are taken from other sources.
The most important feature of his book is how he simply altered old etudes with a series of slurs.

As the tile indicates “Trumpet Flow Studies” is a collection of slurred etudes. Slurring was a big part of the “big air” movement at that time and I’m sure that the advice and expertise of Arnold Jacobs, the “God Father of breathing as applied to brass instruments” may have had some influence on its birth.

Through my own experience, the use of slurred passages tends to open a player’s throat and begin to darken a player’s sound. On the flip side: the more tonguing you do, the tighter and edgier your sound.

In my own practicing I have incorporated this thinking to the point where I have put together a series of exercises which actually continue where Mr. Cichowicz’s booklet ended. I use these daily and have found them to be very helpful in sustaining an even and open air flow.

When you look through the material in Trumpet Flow Studies, pages 5,6,7,8 are the only exercises which were actually hand written by Mr. Cichowicz or Assistant Professor Luther Didrickson. Every other exercise was taken from other published material and adapted to the constant slur articulation. We can only guess at the reason behind this decision to change from hand written to coping others works. My guess is that it was faster and easier to copy existing material and at the time of its first implementation, any copyright issues could be dismissed; sighting a nonprofit/educational usage. Also copyright laws cover a very small portion of the total material under copyright.

Now back to my exercises…..

Intervals of a Second Flow Studies

MM 80

MM 100

As you will see, the printed material and the recordings are consistent with my “rest as much as you play” method which you will find to be very easy to follow. By limiting the amount of time your mouthpiece is on your face and the fact that once you start the recording you will usually complete the exercise, beneficial practice time is guaranteed. and Claude Gordon- All you need to become a professional trumpet player! Part 5

Warm up and Cool Down

In this free lesson, I have included a couple interesting and helpful posts which will more fully explain the importance of a regular warm up and cool down.

The video speaks of my daily routine of warming up with chromatic scales; first starting at the bottom and gradually adding octaves as I ascend. The benefit of chromaticism is that each note is only a one half step from the previous note and this very gradual increase is almost unnoticeable.

Due to the minimum distance between notes, only a minimum amount of embouchure change should be made. Each day I ascend to a predetermined top note which is usually about a third higher than I will be playing that day. Once I have reached that note, I retrace my scales back down to where I began, which is another example of my “Bell curve” philosophy.

After my warm up, I begin practicing all the additional material I need to cover that day.

After my practicing, the next step is to cool down and to do that, I have recently found that playing on a larger mouthpiece, in this case a trombone mouthpiece I am able to relax the embouchure very quickly for a speedy recovery of oxygen in my lips.

Check out the instructional video and supplemental material on this site.

You will also be able to play along with the same recording I use every day during my warm up. and Claude Gordon- All you need to become a professional trumpet player! Part 4

Slider-Woman-Hat-FinalMoving on from my endorsement of the Claude Gordon “Systematic Approach to Daily Practice, I will try to justify my support for nothing less than my on line lessons at…

This compilation of decades of experiences of borrowed, stolen or otherwise collected ideas covers not the way to play as much as it is a collection of tricks and practical solutions to a trumpet player’s life.

On a previous post on this topic, I listed the areas covered so at this time I will concentrate on only one which is available free of charge on my site.

Alterations to your Equipment

Curry Sound Sleeve Mouthpiece Tone Intensifier

When you read this previous post, you will understand why I recommend this simple, yet effective device whenever you need to darken your sound. Sometimes you will be in a situation where the sound you usually are content with is too bright for the current setting and you don’t want to change mouthpieces at that time.

Every trumpet case should have one tucked away in a safe place just for that occasion. Even if, while playing a show with multiple trumpet players, when the lead switches on a number with the second player, you may want to try it to see if you can get a better balance in your section. This is especially true for you that play on one of those blood curdling, laser etching, lead mouthpieces.

For you screechers who need to pass you semester juries by performing the second movement of the Haydn Trumpet Concerto, this might get you through. If you think your triple high C peashooter is too bright for your uncle’s funeral, try this alternative.


Modifications to Your Mouthpiece

Sometimes a slight adjustment to your existing mouthpiece is all that is needed to put you on course. These modifications can take one of many forms. Most require some removal of material which is non-correctable while others may change things with the addition of other materials. In this topic, I cover the alteration made through boring out your mouthpiece’s throat which is not a suggestion that I recommend unless you have a lot of money to spend on a replacement.


Valve Slide Conversion Rings

Of the several improvements I have done to my trumpet in the past ten years, nothing has been as helpful as my “Valve Slide Conversion Rings”. Sometimes problems can be solved with no expense and very little labor; and that is what I have done with my conversion rings.

No longer do I have to “push out my third slide” on low D and C#!

Be sure to check out this marvelous improvement which can be done to any trumpet and it only takes about 30 minutes.


Several additional alterations are illustrated and discussed in the video lesson found at… and Claude Gordon- All you need to become a professional trumpet player! Part 3

51SnzIF9+PL._SX375_BO1,204,203,200_Now we will complete my review of the Claude Gordon “Systematic Approach to Daily Practice”.

As I stated on my first post when speaking of this method, I mentioned that it is a complete and structured outline of what you need to do to become an accomplished musician on a trumpet. Everything is there and is explained in a very simple yet effective manner. If you follow his instructions as indicated, you should continue to develop your trumpet playing skill in the following areas-

• Range
• Flexibility
• Valve control
• Air usage
• Tone
• Articulation
• Endurance

What other method book can make those claims?

If you suggest the Arban Complete Method, remember that even though it covers several areas listed above, it lacks any substantial range exercises and pedal tones are not mentioned or even possibly known back then.

As you progress through this guided method your lessons continually become more difficult and the possibility of anyone completing all the material in this method is slim. Every lesson is geared to slightly challenge you more and more. Mr. Gordan has compiled a set of exercises which progress slowly in all directions as he adds tonguing exercises, flexibility exercises and finger exercises to each lesson.


I GAURENTEE IT! and Claude Gordon- All you need to become a professional trumpet player! Part 2

51SnzIF9+PL._SX375_BO1,204,203,200_Now let’s start first with the Claude Gordon method.
Why is this method so helpful when learning to actually play your trumpet? I will list some of its features and discuss the advantages of this total “Systematic Approach to Daily Practice”.

Systematic Approach to Daily Practice is complete by itself!

Many methods cover a few areas of trumpet playing and leave out other areas which need to be addressed. Mr. Gordon, on page 5 begins with an attitude about your playing and has covered many physical as well as mental topics you need to know.

Systematic Approach to Daily Practice is based on the belief that through the use of pedal tones, a player will be able to increase his/her high range. If you have considered and tried this concept and feel that it has no place in your daily routine, stop reading for without confidence in this process, this method will not be of interest to you. For those who have tried pedal tones and feel this practice is beneficial and for those who have not tried them and are open minded to the challenge, continue reading. I have used pedal tones throughout my career and am totally convinced that they are beneficial.

While I was attending North Texas State as a Master in Music candidate, I worked on the Gordon with constantly. When I reached my ultimate high note (Eb above double high C) I made note of the date on the page of the exercise. The method does work and even today I am learning more and advancing more because of the exercises.

Before you start adding the exercises to your daily routine, be sure to read all of the material at the beginning. Currently there are discussions being circulated in trumpet bulletin boards wondering exactly what Mr. Gordon meant when explaining the correct way to tongue notes and for now I will only say that using the correct term is less important than understanding the full concept.

How do pedal tones work and why are they important?

• Pedal tones relax the lip muscles.
• Pedal tones increase blood flow.
• Pedal tones decrease recovery time.
• Pedal tones tend to open the aperture between the lips.
• Make you feel good!

Beginning with Lesson I

Why are you instructed to rest 15 minutes after playing pedal tones?

• After playing a series of pedal tones, your lips are slightly swollen.
• If you proceed to playing high notes without resting the appropriate amount of time, it may do damage to your lips.
• Resting for 15 minutes gives you a break from practicing which can be helpful.
• The 15 minute break gives your lips a chance to recover from the swelling.
• Pedal tones tend to make the player increase the amount of air they are expelling.
• Pedal tones tend to make the player breathe deeply on intake.

How can a player keep track of the pitches as he/she descends into the pedal range?

• Softly preface each pedal tone with the pitch an octave above.
• Check your pitch frequently for accuracy.

Why does the player need to rest one hour after the high notes?

• The player has just gone through the hardest part of his/her routine and needs the time to rest the lip.
• Although this long break may upset your practice time, it is vitally important to follow this suggestion.

Why are you told to play with such extremes when breathing in and playing out each exercise?

• The amount of fuel (air) in your tank is very important.
• Big air in……big air out.

Why are we asked to make three attempts for the highest note?

• If you miss the highest note you may achieve it on your next or third attempt.
• By trying three times you are recreating the situation which will help you develop more consistency and accuracy.
• By repeating three times, you are solidifying all the notes before your highest note.

One thing I would add to this routine is this-

Mark your highest note with the date so you will be able to see if you are improving.
In my next post, I will explain the importance of the additional material you will be practicing in this method. and Claude Gordon- All you need to become a professional trumpet player! Part 1

Slider-Woman-Hat-Final51SnzIF9+PL._SX375_BO1,204,203,200_So many try to complicate life with new ideas and “all you need to know” sites. And some may have value while most turn out to be less than helpful.

So why do I think the combination of my is any better than the others you might ask?

Well I will tell you…..

After playing and teaching trumpet for over seven decades, you’ve got to learn something!

I have tried many concepts, methods, tricks, routines, patterns and methods which have been interesting and sometimes helpful to my trumpet career. But after a considerable amount of contemplation, I was able to limit the material down to two very important and helpful products, i.e. and Claude Gordon’s method, “Systematic Approach to Daily Practice”.

One (Systematic Approach to Daily Practice) gives you everything you need to know to become a proficient player of the trumpet and the other ( gives you the insight into the requirements of a trumpet position in the world of music.

Knowing how to play your instrument is vitally important for you will be expected to perform in a consistently accurate and musical fashion.

In addition to knowing how to play the correct notes, you will also need to know how to get along as a professional musician and Mr. Gordon did not include that important information in his book.

Through the many video lessons at you will be introduced to real life expectations and problem solving information.

To give you a small sample of the practical material in these video lessons, read the following subjects.

Warm Up & Cool Down

Alterations to your Equipment

Visual Tuning


“And these four examples are even the free lessons available on the site”.

Additional topics illustrated in this series of video lessons are the following-

Cleaning Your Trumpet
Balancing Practice with a Heavy Performance Schedule
Controlling Nerves
Ensemble Playing
Finger and Lip Trills
Finger Control
Holding Your Instrument
Lip Flexibility
Marking Your Music
Mouthpiece Placement
Mouthpiece Pressure
Pedal Tones
Picking a School
Playing a Show or Big Band
Playing in a Chamber Ensemble
Playing in an Orchestra
Practicing Music
Practicing Technique
Preparing a Solo
Preparing for an Audition
Proper Horn Angle
Sight Reading
Study Material
Teach or Perform
Tone Quality

You have to learn something after playing a trumpet for seven decades!

In my next post I will elaborate on these two very important products and substantiate my claim “ and Claude Gordon- All you need to become a professional trumpet player!