Solving your Jazz and Legit Mouthpiece Problems

On one day you are playing Brahms in an orchestra and the next you are playing Kenton in a club and the choice of sound is becoming a problem. One requires a soft and gentile timbre and the other a more edgy tone with an increased high range. One solution would be to change trumpets for each situation but at the cost of instruments today, who has that kind of cash. Another possibility would be to attempt to color your tone with your existing equipment but you will find this is only an act of desperation. This scenario was exactly…

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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…

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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…

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…

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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. http://www.thetrumpetblog.com/free-mute-holder/

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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…

Put A Spring In Your Playing

With all the advances in trumpet materials and design, you would think someone would do something to improve our valve springs. There is one thing that you can do yourself to possibly improve the performance of your instrument. And the answer is inside your valve casings. Valves are made to go up and down when we perform and in most situations, they work well. Sometimes they stick and in most cases a good cleaning will solve that problem. But if a nice warm bath and cleaning has not improved your valve action you might consider changing your valve springs. After…

How A Soda Straw Can Improve Your Playing

In our last post we talked about the use of a modified, plastic, water bottle to improve your air intake and today we will be using another simple and readily available gadget to improve the air flow out of your body and through your instrument. Many have pondered exactly how we produce the correct air stream when playing a brass/wind instrument and in most cases, the concept has been grossly misunderstood. Here are just a few of the comments I have heard- 1. Tighten your stomach- WRONG! 2. Tighten your diaphragm- WRONG! 3. Firm up your stomach- WRONG 4. Blow…

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How A Water Bottle Can Improve Your Breathing

Taking in a sufficient amount of air before playing trumpet is a very simple yet confusing action. Some say that “you take air in as if you are coming up for the last time when drowning”. I never did understand that one. Some say “lift your shoulders and fill your lungs from the bottom up”. Still others tell their students to “breath low”. I wish I had a dollar for every time I have heard that one. Some encourage the player to “take a long, slow breath through the nose”. That person must have very large nostrils and a long…

How To Oil Your Valves in “25 Seconds”!

Some may ask, “Why should anyone need to oil their valves so quickly”? Trust me, it sometimes happens and being able to finish the job in less than half a minute can mean the difference between success and failure during a concert. Years ago, I sometimes needed to oil my valves in a short amount of time during a faculty brass quintet concert at UNI. It always seemed to be a challenge which required me to get the job done between numbers during our numerous high school concerts. We all have had incidences where one or possibly two valves began…

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