As If We Dont Have Enough Valves Already!

Professor David Hickman is a very well respected trumpet teacher as well as a fine trumpet player. His newest project has been working with Clifford Blackburn to develop and make available a new five valve trumpet. In this video he demonstrates the versatility of this new horn and explains its use for simplifying fingering and improving accuracy. I find it amazing that he is able to remember which set of valve combinations needed to be used in each example. To the average trumpet player this might seem a bit over the top but you have to realize that playing in…

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How To Become A Midi File Arranger

What is a Midi File? MIDI refers to “musical instrument digital interface”. This is the industries standard which enables electronic musical instruments to communicate with each other. Midi protocol was defined throughout the music industry in 1982. How can I begin to arrange without knowing how to write music? Working with midi information is as easy as copying letters from a page. All that will be required is the knowledge of the names of the notes and you will be able to copy and place these notes on your own score to make your first midi arrangement. You are basically…

Inside The World Of A Cup Mouthpiece

In our never ending quest for scientifically proof of what goes on in our trumpet playing world, we find yet another bit of information to confuse and delight our readers. Here is a video showing what actually happens in the cup of a trumpet mouthpiece as it is being played. For those with weak stomachs, please be advised that what you are about to see might be too graphic for the casual viewer. For the rest of us, it looks exactly as we thought it would. Enjoy and remember to keep buzzing, no matter what it looks like!

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Practicing In Front of a Computer Screen

More trumpet players are beginning to read their music off computer screens and this new trend has advantages as well as disadvantages as we will address. More players are beginning to take advantage of on line lessons through Skype as well as other programs and many times their material is sent to them as PDF files. Some may choose to download and print this material so that they are able to practice in the conventional manner, using their music stand to display their material. Some, on the other hand have begun to read their material off the computer screen, thereby…

Welcome to the Bell Curve System of Practicing

Just what is the “Bell Curve System”? A Bell Curve is a representation of graduated increase and decrease of anything. It could represent income changes, temperature differences or the stock market. It is a gradual representation of change and this “gradual” change can be beneficial to your practice habits. I will illustrate this concept by using a practice habit most trumpet players use every day. The proper use of the Clarke Technical Study book. Open your book to the first series and we will begin. Start on the first exercise and continue to the last example. Visualize the bell curve…

Teaching An Old Dog A New Trick

Who said the old can’t learn from the young? I am living proof that the youth of today are far more resourceful than we give them credit. If you have ever been performing with an ensemble when someone trips over the extension chord and all of the bands lights go out, you have experienced the helplessness we have all experienced. There is nothing you can do to get back into the action and the show stops. It has happened to me on more than one occasion and little can be done to resolve the problem. You can have the most…

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Advancements in Trumpet Water Keys

From time to time we run across new innovations for trumpet that actually work. Let me know what you think of this newer approach to trumpet water keys. One of life’s little problems, the sticky Amado Water Key, is now a thing of the past! The Pollard Water Key is the solution. Not only does it work great every time, it looks great mounted on your horn! The Pollard Water Key  For more information on trumpet water keys, check this out….. Water Key Developments For Trumpet

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How to Develop Perfect Pitch in 5 Steps

As I stated before, the ability to develop Perfect Pitch is highly unlikely if you expect to be perfect all the time. Even those with Perfect Pitch have off days as I indicated in the previous post. Extenuating factors will affect your consistency but be assured, with practice; you should be able to improve dramatically. I wandered through the maze of claims this morning in search of the perfect routine to be using and found many sites which promised instant success on your road to Perfect Pitch. If they claim to have the “easy” answer to success, click out of…

Even More Interesting Assumptions Proved and Disproved

It seems as if there is an endless list of miracle changes which can be made to your trumpet to make it play better and this is just another idea I wanted to test for myself. Some have criticized me for not “using more individuals and instruments” as test units or not doing “blindfold” tests. Some feel that I have not entered enough variables into my testing to make my observations conclusive. To these comments I can only say this; these are my findings and from what I have tested, I feel very confident that I have answered the questions…

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More Interesting Assumptions Proven and Disproven

In our never ending quest for truths and the American dream, I came across this assertion which sounded very plausible, yet questionable. On one of the more popular trumpet bulletin boards I found a reference to a trick which apparently Mr. Armando Ghitalla was given credit. The writer mentioned in passing that “Ghitalla did a lot of experimenting with paper clips, and various hand fashioned doodads, placing them in the backbore of the mouthpiece and other places”. Now I am not a strong fan of placing paper clips in my instrument but the name Ghitalla raised my interest. If this…