Saying Good Bye To An Old Friends


After several decades of working with this great cup mute, it may be time to retire him (her), for newer and more improved models are now available.

Your corks have been replaced at least a dozen times.

Your bottom has been epoxied at least twice and you colors have faded.

The number of scratches, dents and scuffs show a well-used history which includes some of the best (and the worst) bands around.

You have performed on concert stages performing contemporary as well as classical compositions, and if I remember correctly you actually were used to warmup in front of Aaron Copland many years ago.

The many bands you have played for would include the following- Anita Bryant, Barnes Rodeo, Billy Williams Orchestra, Bix Biederbeck Dixieland Festival, Blackstone the Magician, Bob Anderson, Bob Hope, Bob Over Orchestra, Bobby Vinton, Branson All-Star Jazz Band, Brass Transit, Bye, Bye Birdie, Carmen Cavalero, Cedar Basin Dixieland Festival, Derwood Cline Orchestra, Des Moines Big Band, Don Jacoby Orchestra, Farm Progress Show, Ford Motor Corp., Greene Jazz Festival, Holiday on Ice, Ice Capades,International Recording Industry Studio (Dallas), International Shriner’s Circus, International Trumpet Guild, International Water Follies, Jerry Murad and the Harmonicats, Jerry Presley, Jim Nabors, John Davidson, John Deere Corp., Laurence Welk Orchestra, Les Brown, Lipizzaner Horse Show, Mal Fitch Orchestra, Mary Lou Turner, Massey Ferguson Corp., Missouri Trumpet Guild, Orchestra de Salsa, Ray Nobel.Ringling Brothers/Barnum & Bailey Circus, Roy Rogers/ Dale Evens, Royal Canadian Air Force Mounted Police, Sound of Music, State Fair Band of Texas, Steve Lawrence/Eddy Gourmet, Steve Samuelson Big Band, Ted Weems, The Four Freshmen, Tommy Amador Orchestra, Warren Covington Orchestra and are currently doing you job with the “All Hands On Deck Show” in Branson.

What a dedicated friend you have been and to just chuck you for another seems cruel and heartless. But we do have to keep up with the times…. Don’t we?

On second thought, a dedicated friend needs to be justly appreciated and for all the many years and “clams” we have shared, it seems impossible for me to replace you with another. NO! YOU DESERVE TO BE TREATED MORE HONORABLY! I CAN’T DO THIS TO YOU MY OLD, TATTERED AND ABUSED COLLEGUE!

We will be together to the end and when I am at last returned to the ground, it will be my wish to play our last gig together, as true friends should.

You are salvaged once again and for that reason, I have written this memorial to you my original cup mute.

I once had a cup mute that served me well.
It rested so warmly at the end of my bell.
With every note played, as all there could tell
my bettered old mute….Dang! It fell out again!

Finally! I found the best lead pipe brush, again.


After searching for more than a decade, I finally found a source for the best lead pipe cleaning brush in the world. When I bought my first Schilke trumpet, I also purchased a cleaning brush they had in the shop and now I have I have finally found a source who stocks the same brush. I think it is time now to retire the old and send in the new!

715325 Black Nylon Smooth 1/2″ 1.2 3″ 7.5 18″ 45 $3.69

Mute Holder Revisited

This very simple, cheap and easy device has saved us on more than occassion.
The number of must changes is tremendous in this show and sometimes we have only two or three beats to get a mute in. Having the mutes resting at the end of my bell makes the change possible.

Check out my first posting on this $2.97 mute holder which will make your life much easier.

Free Mute Holder!

Trumpeter Sean Jones

Trumpeter Sean Jones is a firebrand musician with a bent toward muscular post-bop. Born in Warren, Ohio, in 1978, Jones began playing trumpet in the fifth grade, and by high school had developed a strong interest in jazz, especially the music of legendary trumpeter Miles Davis. Gigs at local jazz clubs and performances with the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra followed, and Jones ultimately enrolled in the music school at Youngstown State University in Ohio. Graduating with a bachelor’s degree, Jones then earned a Master’s degree from Rutgers University. Since that time, Jones has performed with a variety of name musicians, including Joe Lovano, Frank Foster, and others. He is also a member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and a professor at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He released his debut album, Eternal Journey, on Mack Avenue in 2004.Gemini and Roots followed in 2005 and 2006, respectively. In 2007, Jones featured various vocalists including Gretchen Parlato on Kaleidoscope. Two years later, he released his fifth Mack Avenue release, the ambitious The Search Within. In 2011, Jones returned with No Need for Words, an album loosely conceptualized around the idea of love and the various ways it can be expressed.*

*Taken from

How To Place Your Mouthpiece In Your Horn

Have you ever heard or read something that does not make any sense to you at all and then you set out to prove it wrong only to find that it is actually true? This happened to me this past week and even though it is an embarrassment, I will swallow my pride for the betterment of the brass world.

This past week I read a post on one of the brass bulletin boards which stated that this person claimed that the rotation of the mouthpiece could actually change how the instrument responded when played. Just the thought of someone claiming this conclusion made me want to grab them by the neck and shout, ARE YOU SERIOUS? What a stupid assumption, and to make my point, I proceeded to try to prove this person wrong, only to find that I was wrong and they were correct.

The assumption- “By rotating the position of the mouthpiece in the mouthpiece receiver, you will affect the response of the instrument”.

The author of this information (unfortunately I have not been able to find this post in order to give due credit to it’s original author) stated that some days when we play our brass instrument, it is our friend and other days, even though we feel the same and have been practicing the same material, we can not get the instrument to be consistent in its performance. I have experienced this many times and have not been able to explain why this happens. The assumption made by this person sounded interesting even though I had a strong predigested opinion even before trying to prove the assumption false.

My test to prove it wrong

We all assume that the mouthpiece is consistent in all respects- summitry, dimensions, tapers, material, mass, weight and because of these assumptions, we would seriously doubt that the amount of rotation, no matter how little or how much, could affect the response of the instrument when played. My friends, after completing my tests, I was amazed and I was forced to eat my doubting words.

I marked my mouthpiece on the shank and the mouthpiece receiver with lines indicating the original position. Around the entire mouthpiece receiver I added lines every 1/8 of an inch and began to play a series of exercises and consciously evaluated the sound, ease of response and feel of the instrument. As I continued to play and rotate my mouthpiece, I first noticed that there was indeed a difference in some of the positions of the mouthpiece. My first thought was that I may be inserting the mouthpiece with different tension in the mouthpiece receiver. I inserted the mouthpiece with the same force each time and still I felt and heard a different response at some positions. After completing the 360 degree rotation, I redid the exercise and this time I indicated where the best sound and response was located on my horn. After this test I concluded that at every eighth of a turn, I was pleased with the feel and sound and at the other positions, the horn felt stuffy and unresponsive. It was at this point that I began to mentally apologize to my original poster of the article.


From my exercises, I found that the position of each mouthpiece did in fact have a noticeable affect of the sound and response of all of my horns.

I had been proven wrong and if you ask my wife she would not have been surprised, for she experiences that situation on a daily basis. This finding is very important and again I would like to thank the original author. We have all found during our daily practice that some days it works, and other days it doesn’t. There is only one way for you to decide whether your mouthpiece rotation makes a difference and that is to do the experiment yourself. It only takes about thirty minutes but the possible outcome may change the way you approach your instrument each day. For me, I have marked my horn and mouthpiece so that they will line up the same way every day. After a week of doing this routine, I have not had one of those, “it doesn’t feel right days”. That’s enough proof for a skeptic like me.

Free Rhythmic Study with Recording

You may find this useful to practice your jazz rhythms for all of these examples have been taken from our current show in Branson, “The All Hands On Deck Show”.

If you become tired of the cymbals in the recording, you can do two things to improve the sound-

1. Move the left and right fader control back and forth to lessen the drums.
2. Add more bass and less treble to cut down on the edge of the cymbal.

Trumpet sheet music- rhythmic-study-trumpet-in-bb

Practice recording-

The Presidential Race- “The Ultimate Reality Show”


If you are like me, I have had it with all the name calling, mud throwing and character assignations going on in the race for the White House.

We have finally hit the lowest level in our countries history when speaking of the the next occupant to the oval office.

We have two candidates with apparently the lowest moral fiber ever to run for this esteem position.

Even the Republican Party cannot support their offering and most on the Democratic side of the isle have distanced themselves from their candidate.


With this said, then why do the news networks keep amplifying each candidates shortcomings ever hour of every day as if it were a huge reality show…….


The presidential race is a reality show and sells advertising just like any other reality show.

Here are a few reasons why reality shows are popular and after reading them, you may agree with my original statement “The Presidential Race- The Ultimate Reality Show”.

”Is the popularity of shows such as Survivor, Big Brother and Temptation Island a sign that the country has degenerated into a nation of voyeurs? Americans seem hooked on so-called reality television–programs in which ordinary people compete in weeks-long contests while being filmed 24 hours a day. Some commentators contend the shows peddle blatant voyeurism, with shameless exhibitionists as contestants. Others believe that the show’s secret to ratings success may be as simple and harmless as the desire to seem part of the in crowd”.

By Steven Reiss, James Wiltz, published on September 1, 2001

“Reality TV shows without interactivity still have their appeal. People tend to feel better about their own lives when watching the marital turmoil on Jon & Kate Plus 8. And viewers can fantasize about becoming stars when watching ordinary people attain celebrity on shows like Survivor”.

S. Shyam Sundar, Ph.D., is a Distinguished Professor of Communications and co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory at Penn State University Park. His e-mail address is

“Reality television is also popular because the public likes drama, which is what reality television is mainly composed of”.

Steve Gervin

“Whenever I have a bad day, I turn on TLC. My Crazy Obsession, My Strange Addiction, Hoarding: Buried Alive —almost anything the network airs (that’s non-wedding related) immediately lifts my spirits by relativity, because being dumped is nothing compared to living in house full of 100 dead cats! I realize that I should just be grateful that no one has ever propositioned me to do a coffee enema and that even though I might be home watching TLC on a Saturday night, at least I don’t spend my time pretending to be a mermaid. Compared to these people, I’ve got nothing to complain about”.

TV Guide

3 Reasons Why Actors Are Better Than Musicians

I’m sure that I have your attention at this time for a statement like that should raise the hackles on any musician worth their weight in valve oil.

For several months I have had the pleasure of performing with an exception troupe of actors (actresses) from New York who every day amaze me with their ability to “sell” there lines. Each performs at an amazing consistency and polished level of their art which humbles me when comparing it to the mere notes I play during each show.

Some may question my enthusiasm for these talented performers and some may even question my loyalty to my own craft, but after viewing these amazing professionals, I must admit, they are more prepared for their stage performance than any instrumentalist I have ever worked with and for that reason, I decided to compare their product and preparation with the product of instrumentalists.

I believe there are at least 3 reasons why actors and actresses are better prepared for their performance than are their instrumental counterparts.

Reason #1.

Actors and actresses are better at selling their product because of the following elements-


Facial expressions
Hand gestures
Body language
Emphasis on words and syllables
Reaction to previous lines
Costumes and makeup



Wow! That even surprised me!

Reason #2.

Actors and actresses have an advantage over instrumentalists for the following reasons-

• Their text is based on known facts and related story lines which convey real life actions and experiences.
• Their performance is generally reinforced by a continued conversation with another actor (actresses) which adds continuity to the performance.
• Many times the application of costumes gives their performance more realism and authenticity.
• Each line adds reinforcement to the overall plot of the story.
• Each character represents an actual person who the audience is able to understand and relate to.

Reason #3.

Actors and actresses are better prepared than instrumentalists

Due to the previously listed advantages that actors (actresses) have over instrumentalists, more time is required to perfect their art. Not only are they expected to produce a convincing portrayal of their character, they are also expected to interact with their fellow performers on stage in order to give continuity, flow and perform in a convincing portrayal to their audience.

Many hours are spent on the small details required to represent their character on stage. They have refined through many hours of trial and error the very best way to get the most out of every word, line and expression as well as the best interplay with their fellow actors (actresses) on stage.

What amazes me the most when observing these incredible actors (actresses) in a show such as ours is the consistency with which each has been able to bring to the stage. Every line has been refined in order to get the most out of every word and syllable and every performance, to my ear, seems to be the same each and every show. This is the sign of true artistry.

As an incentive to our orchestra, I place a five dollar bill on my stand and challenge my fellow musician by saying, “Five dollars to anyone who can play a perfect show”! To this day, no one has been able to collect the money.

My opening title reads “3 Reasons why Actors are Better than Musicians”. Perhaps I should restate that by saying that actors (actresses) are better prepared than instrumentalists. Even qualifying this statement brings into question of which of the two is better at their art.

I encourage my instrumental colleagues to reply as I know you will to my observations for I am aware that I have touched on a nerve in many of you.

Music (born 2000 BC – died 2012 AD) One man’s view of the evolution of music

Much can be said about evolution. Darwin had his revolutionary views and even though he was wrong, he was still able to voice his opinion. In the same vein, I will present my hypothesis as to the evolution and decline of music as we know it today. It is my hope that my thoughts on the history of music will also, in time, be proven incorrect.

All living forms tend to follow the same path, i.e., birth, development, increased knowledge and productivity, maturity, lessening of productivity, decline, and eventual death. So do non-living things follow the same pattern, i.e., creation, knowledge, industrialization, freedom of expression, religions, and in this case- music. To illustrate my point, I have listed the similarity between the life span of a man and the possible life span of music as we know it.

Class handout- The Lifespan of Man and Music

After reading my comparisons, you might be asking why I think music is on its death bed and my response is this- “In the past decade, nothing new has developed in music. Our musical history is filled with great periods of time which produced immense expansions in music. During some of these periods we had the development and expansion of Jazz. Tremendous developments were reported during the Classical period. The extension of popular music was compounded with Rock and Roll. Even within Rock and Roll were gigantic subcultures such as Surf, Grunge, metal, post Hip Hop, Funk and the list went on for decades. But my question is this- what new forms have been introduced in the past ten years? Before you start to bring up names like Susan Boyle’s and Britney Spears’ comeback, please notice that I am searching for new developments in music not remakes of old styles. New developments in music would be similar to Arnold Schoenberg’s concept of 12 tone compositions or Miles Davis attempt to establish Doo Bop music. It bothers me that nothing new has surfaced in the past ten years and if this is true, we may be living through the declining years of music.

I found this quote very interesting which was posted in an article written by Bill Wyman entitled Current Trends in Rock Criticism: A Seminar
“Here’s another example: a year or so ago Spin reviewed a demo tape by the California band Pavement, concluding with a line to the effect that the band was “inventing rock and roll again.” Pavement is the latest indie guitar band, with a nice off-kilter sensibility and the ability to pull off an occasional songwriting coup, but it’s not inventing anything;” That last statement “it’s not inventing anything” is what our culture is producing. If Pavement in the authors opinion is “the latest indie guitar band” and it has been described as “it’s not inventing anything”, there might be more truth to what I am suggesting than many might think.

After continuing my quest to find something new in music, I stumbled over such expletives as algorithmic processesalgorithmic processes, electroacoustic composition, synthetic-driven electronic dance music, which are the type of titles used to get government grant money but when broken down to street language, they still describe things already in place. After several more pages of claims touting “the newest advancement in music” I finally closed my Internet Explorer and decided to finish this post in despair.

In closing, I would like to give credit to one of my grandsons for getting me started on this search. My wife and I are truly blessed with the most wonderful family anyone could ever possess and it was during one of my enjoyable conversations with one grandchild that the question of what is new in music came up. He and I spent a delightful afternoon sharing our thoughts on this topic and by evening, I had decided to write this post. To my wonderful grandson, thank you and now it is time to retire for the evening.

Good night.