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 sitetrumpetlessonsonline.com 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”

“Free Trumpet Sheet Music” Update


I wanted to keep everyone up to date with our free trumpet sheet music section.

At the present time we have 40 free arrangements which you can download at this time.

So far we have had 10,777 downloads from this free section.

Wouldn’t you like to make it and even 10,778?

Check it out at..

Branson Trumpet Ensemble

and enter “free sheet music” in the search box.

Are You Pushing Or Pulling Your Valves Down?


This may seem to be a strange question to be asking but the answer may determine the proper function and life span of your valves.

I have recently been added to the list of unemployed musicians in the Branson, Missouri area. Our show season runs from March through December and due to the fact that we now have some time off, I thought it time to check the condition of my equipment. Due to the fact that I have been experiencing some problems with my first valve, I decided to look it over for any unusual wear or damage. Unfortunately I found some.

After removing my troublesome first valve I noticed an unusual amount of wear on one side of the first valve. Most of my horns eventually develop some wear but my relatively new Bobby Shew, Yamaha indicated much more wear than I expected. This made me begin to question the reason for the early wear. After considerable thought (maybe ten minutes), I realized why my valve had worn so quickly and unevenly. Because of the constant and rapid mute changes during this past season, I was forced to support my instrument primarily in my right hand.

Piston valves on brass instruments are made to go up and down and if this direction is altered in any way, rapid wear begins to show as excessive worn spots on the side of the valve. The location of this area can be seen in the accompanying photo. You may now be wondering why changing mutes has anything to do with valve wear and that is why I posted this material.

Here is an undisputed fact,

“Your hand and finger position will determine the direction your valves travel”.

The ideal hand and finger position is indicated in the next photo. Notice that the arch of the fingers supports an up and down movement of each valve. Also notice that I have my little finger in the hook which was necessary only because I was holding the camera in my left hand to take the picture. In this position, the valves can smoothly travel in an up and down direction. The problem I ran into while playing the show was that most of the time I had to support the trumpet only with my right hand while picking up and inserting/removing my mutes. This unusual holding practice was the cause of the premature wear on my first valve. Instead of push the valve down, I was repeatedly “pulling the valve down and eventually wore the finish off the valve piston.

This week I will be dropping my favorite horn off at an instrument repair shop to rectify my problem and once it is returned, I will give you an update of what was done in case you might be suffering from the same problems with malfunction valves.

Ten Rules For Keeping Your Job When Layoffs Are All Around You


We are still in very tough economic times and to be notified that your employment is no longer needed is something we all think about, even those of us who are retired.

So how can you be certain that your job is secure? You can’t, but there are a few actions which you can take which will improve your chances of continuing your employment and I have listed a few-

1. Make sure everyone likes you-

It’s harder to fire someone who you like. Many times the selection of personnel to keep or fire is based on the knowledge and friendship with that person.

2. Go with the flow-

Many times the best thinkers are the first to be fired for they march to a different drummer than the other employees. There are exceptions and those would be the employers who actually recognize talent and reward it. Unfortunately they are in the minority.

3. Be visible at your job-

Always be seen at your job and actually do your work. If you need to text a personal message, do it on your break and not at your work station.

4. Let people know what you’re doing for your employer-

Keep your boss informed as to what you have been doing. Most of the time your employer has no idea what you actually do.

5. Keep your ears open-

If the company wants you to do something you know is wrong, do it any way and eventually they will listen to your idea.

6. Keep your complaints to yourself-

No matter if you are right in what you say to a fellow employee, it will eventually be shared with your boss and in most cases, and the information will not be what you said in the first place.

7. Always smile-

Even if you have nothing to smile about, just the action will keep people wondering.

8. Frequent the lounge-

This is where all the gossip is spread and if you are there, they won’t talk about you.

9. Be early to work and the last to leave-

That way, no one can say that you don’t contribute your time. It has nothing to do with how much work you do but how can they tell the difference. It’s the image that counts. They don’t like making judgments on the quality of work you do but they can complain on the number of hours you spend at work.

10. Learn a sport that your boss is involved with-

You don’t have to actually play golf, just be able to carry your end of a conversation about golf.

I hope these ten suggestions help you retain your present job for these are tough times as I mentioned before. Some might ask if I followed these suggestions and I have to admit that I didn’t. Although I lasted thirty years in my position in higher education, there were several who didn’t like me (including two bosses). I seldom went with the flow for the flow many times was going in the wrong direction, I was not visible at my job for I was doing my job, I seldom praised my work for my work was teaching students not advertising, I tended to keep my ears closed for much of what I heard was unimportant, I voiced my complaint when I felt issues needed to be addressed, I seldom smiled for it always looked artificial, I seldom spent time in the lounge for it became too depressing, I did get to work early and was one of the last to leave and I never took the time to find out what my bosses sports were for I was there to teach students and that was my only interest at work.

After reading all of the incorrect actions listed above, you might ask how I was able to keep my job. It was a combination of two things, (1) tenure, and (2) my student evaluations were the highest in the department and many times at the university and wherever they moved me within the department, I managed to work it to my advantage and still help the students.

It Could Only Happen In Branson!

And here is still another happening in Branson.

This morning one of the stage managers at our theater got this shot of a bass player going to his job with his bass stuck out the window of the car.

What you might not have known is that the bass player is actually the bass player in “our show”.
On the way to the theater this morning, his car broke down and one of the sax players took off to give him a ride into town. The show was postponed about five minutes so our players could make it to the theater.

You never know what you are going to see when you visit Branson.

While We Are Still Talking About Jazz-YOGI BERRA EXPLAINS JAZZ


Interviewer: "What do you expect is in store for the future of jazz
guitar?"
Yogi: "I'm thinkin' there'll be a group of guys who've never met
talkin' about it all the time.."
Interviewer: Can you explain jazz?
Yogi: "I can't, but I will. 90% of all jazz is half improvisation. The
other half is the part people play while others are playing something
they never played with anyone who played that part. So if you play the
wrong part, it's right. If you play the right part, it might be right
if you play it wrong enough. But if you play it too right, it's wrong."
Interviewer: "I don't understand."
Yogi: "Anyone who understands jazz knows that you can't understand it.
It's too complicated. That's what's so simple about it."
Interviewer: "Do you understand it?"
Yogi: "No. That's why I can explain it. If I understood it, I wouldn't
know anything about it."
Interviewer: "Are there any great jazz player alive today?"
Yogi:  "No.  All the great jazz players alive today are dead.  Except
for the ones that are still alive.  But so many of them are dead, that
the ones that are still alive are dying to be like the ones that are
dead.  Some would kill for it."
Interviewer: "What is syncopation?"
Yogi: "That's when the note that you should hear now happens either
before or after you hear it. In jazz, you don't hear notes when they
happen because that would be some other type of music.  Other types of
music can be jazz, but only if they're the same as something different
from those other kinds."
Interviewer: "Now I really don't understand."
Yogi: "I haven't taught you enough for you to not understand jazz that
well."

Who Is My Favorite Trumpet Player?

3-les-elgart-orchestra-st-louis%2c-missouri-2011-1
This is a question many musicians ask when they have nothing else to talk about.

I was recently asked this question and after careful thought, I came up with a name most of you may not even recognize.

Favorite trumpet player’s names such as Maynard Ferguson, Bobby Shew, Miles Davis, Al Hirt, Adolph Herseth, Wynton Marsalis, “Doc” Severinsen, Armando Ghitalla, Robert Nagle, and equally gifted players first came to mind. But for me at this time in my life, the person who I would rate as my favorite trumpet player would be Doyle Miller.

Most of you are now wondering who this person is and how I decided to list him as my current “most favorite trumpet player” and this post was written to answer that question.

Doyle Miller is a native of Russell, Kansas and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas. Throughout his career, Doyle has performed with musical groups such as Les Brown and the Band of Renown; Tommy Dorsey Orchestra; Harry James Orchestra; Les Elgart Orchestra; Sammy Kaye Orchestra; Russ Morgan Orchestra and Bobby Vinton with the Glenn Miller Orchestra.
Doyle currently lives in Branson, Missouri where he has played in many theaters and shows including The All Hands On Deck! Show; Silver Dollar City – Worldfest; The Rat Pack – A Tribute to Frank, Dean & Sammy; Les Brown and The Band Of Renown; The Rat Pack Is Back! (From Las Vegas); Branson Jubilee; The Magnificent Seven and Swing, Swing, Swing. He has also worked or recorded with celebrities such as Bob Hope; Andy Williams; The Lettermen; Shirley Jones; Marie Osmond; Jimmy Osmond; Merrill Osmond; Mannheim Steamroller; Little Anthony and The Imperials; John Davidson; Jack Jones; Lee Greenwood; The Lennon Sisters; Jan Daley; Gloria Loring; Fred Travalena and the St. Louis Jazz Orchestra. Prior to moving to Branson, Doyle worked for Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line playing lead trumpet in their show bands touring around the world.

Now that you know what he has done in his musical career in the past and now I’ll tell you why I would consider him one of my favorite trumpet players. It is not from what he has done in the past but what he has been doing for the past four months in our current show, “The All Hands On Deck Show”.

When one of the trumpet chairs opened, I suggested that we bring in Doyle to play lead and I would play the solo chair. We have been performing five shows a week now for months and being able to play second to Doyle has been a blast.

I consider myself an above average second trumpet player and when you are able to play alongside someone who is musical, in tune and consistent as Mr. Miller, it makes your life much easier. Each day when the downbeat goes down, I know exactly what he is going to do and he knows what I am going to do. Intonation is never a problem as well as the balance between the two trumpets. Every articulation is matched because of his consistency and fine musicianship.

To give you another example of working in harmony together, today my first valve froze and I mentioned it to Doyle. Within a few seconds he has the top off the valve oil container at the same time I had my valve removed. We had that sucker oiled, reinserted and screwed down in seven measures. No that is team work.

I can’t count the number of lead players I have worked with and in most cases it was a challenge, for most tend to believe that everyone has to follow them. To some degree this is true but when a lead player lays down the correct notes in the proper style, in tune and every time, the second chair player is in heaven.

Thank you Doyle for playing in our show and for making my trips to the office each day an experience I look forward to.