The Perfect Lesson Plan #4- Professional Players

Some may question my wisdom on offering suggestions on practice routines to professionals and it seems like a reasonable conclusion. In spite of my lack of concern for accosting negative remarks, I will continue towards my goal for continued perfection in the trumpet world anyway.

If you are a professional player with no problems, please leave this site for without problems, I can’t be of assistance. But, if you have run into some of the problems I have faced in the past and resolved, you may want to continue to read further.

Problem #1.

No work-

I can’t help you.

Problem #2.

The pay isn’t enough when I do work-

I can’t help you.

Problem #3.

My wife doesn’t understand me-

That’s OK. Your wife doesn’t understand me either!

Problem #4.

I can’t play as well as I did in college/high school-

You’re older now and you practiced more back then.

Problem #5.

I have a hard time hitting the high notes-

How often do you practice in the upper register? If you don’t practice up there, what makes you think you can play up there?

Suggested reading

Problem #6.

I have an improvised solo and I don’t know how to improvise-

Suggested reading

Problem #7.

The second chair player is playing too loud all the time-

Mention to the second chair player “You sound as if you have stronger chops than I do and I think you should play lead from now on”. See how quickly he/she gets the idea.

Problem #8.

After hard, blowin’ jobs, it takes me days to get my lips to feel good again.

What I have found to work wonders is to buzz on a trombone mouthpiece as I drive home from the gig. The next morning I feel normal again.

Problem #9.

It seems as if I’m using too much mouthpiece pressure.

Suggested reading

Problem #10.

Our leader tells me how to play my part all the time.

Either learn to play it his/her way or get a new job.

Problem #11.

I know more than the leader of our band.

Start your own band.

Problem #12.

I’m having trouble getting the pages turned fast enough during a show.

Make an extra copy of the problem page and have it next to your score.

Problem #13.

The singer in our band sings out of tune.

I can’t help you on that one other than pulling the cord on her/his mike a few times. I thought all singers were taught to sing that way!

Problem #14.

I keep missing the same phrase every time.

Suggested reading

Problem #15.

I think I need a new mouthpiece to improve my playing.

If you already own more than five mouthpieces, the problem is not your mouthpiece; it’s most likely you.

Problem #16.

I don’t have enough time to warmup before each job.

Keep an extra mouthpiece in your car and as you drive to the job, start warming up during the drive.

Problem #17.

I have a hard time reading the music.

Suggested reading

Problem #18.

The music sits too low on the music stand for easy reading.

Suggested reading

Problem #19.

My valves seem to be wearing out unevenly.

Suggested reading

Problem #20.

How can I oil my valves while playing a show?

Suggested reading

Problem #21.

I suffer from dry, chapped lips.

Suggested reading

Problem #22.

I need a new plunger.

Suggested reading

Problem #23.

I have this obsession to collect trumpet related material and “things”.

Suggested reading

Problem #24.

I have stiff chops all the time.

Suggested reading

Problem #25.

My trumpet is starting to wear through and I don’t want to spend a lot to fix it.

Suggested reading

Problem #26.

I have a hard time coming in on a high note.

Suggested reading

Problem #27.

I hate the chair I have to sit in on stage.

Suggested reading

Problem #28.

I would like to play a very high note at the end of our show but don’t have the chops.

Suggested reading

Problem #29.

How can I build stronger chops?

Suggested reading

Problem #30.

I have problems doing shakes.

Suggested reading

We could go on like this for several days but if I have not covered what you are troubled with, feel free to contact me on this site and if I don’t know the answer, I’ll make something up.

Later….. I have to find out why the check bounced from my last gig!

Bruce was a member of the faculty at the University of Northern Iowa, School of Music in Cedar Falls from 1969 until his retirement in 1999. He has performed with many well-known entertainers such as Bob Hope, Jim Nabors, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Anita Bryant, Carman Cavalara, Victor Borgie, the Four Freshman, Blackstone the Magician, Bobby Vinton and John Davidson.