Thursday, August 3, 2017

How to Play the TRUMPET - 6 Tips For Playing Like a Pro!

The trumpet is a magnificent instrument which produces a beautiful tone. It's versatile and can be played in many different types of bands, including orchestras, pop bands, and big bands.

However, mastering how to play the trumpet is a long process requiring immense dedication and passion, but having played the trumpet for over twenty years, I think it's well worth it!

So, to help you out here are six top tips for propelling your trumpet playing and to help you learn how to play the trumpet like a pro...

Photo  by   oddsock 
1. Warm up by buzzing just with your lips and then with your mouthpiece. This really helps build strength without causing lip fatigue which can happen if you just practice on your trumpet.

Do the following just with your lips and just with your mouthpiece:

- Buzz a note for a count of four, and then continue up the scale one tone at a time. You can vary this with different exercises you know or by buzzing louder of softer.

2. Rest for as long you play. This is so simple but players rarely do it. This helps your lip muscles recuperate quicker and means you can play for longer without getting tired.

I would recommend regular mini breaks rather than playing for 10 minutes and resting for 10 minutes. Practice an exercise or a part of your music and rest for as long as you played. While resting you can practice finger patterns on the valves or just stretch out your lips.

3. Practice with a metronome. Again, this is a very simple idea that is rarely adhered to.

Most music you play will require you to play in time and doing this really helps you to regulate your internal metronome. It also helps when practicing exercises or difficult musical passages as you can gradually build up the speed you play them at by increasing the speed of the metronome.

4. Practice your pedal notes. Pedal notes, for the purpose of this exercise, are all the notes below middle C. By playing the low register you build strength and range with less pressure on your lips. This means you can play for longer.

When you play the notes below bottom G you will need to create the notes using your lips and the fingering you would use for the octave above. This is great for improving tone and intonation.

5. Play without taking the trumpet off your lips. This is a fantastic way to build strength and endurance as well as learning how to control your breathing.

To do this, find an exercise that you can play continuously without stopping. Continue playing for 5mins non-stop, then 10minutes then for as long as you can at the end of every other practice session.

When you're gigging, especially in Big Bands, you can be playing for anything up to 2 hours with few breaks so this is a fantastic way to practice for these gigs and build your chops!

6. Plan your practice session. This will make a huge difference in the effectiveness of your practice while learning how to play the trumpet.

First, make a list of every element of playing the trumpet, eg tonguing, breathing, and tone, then before each practice session, list what you will practice during your session. This will always ensure that you regularly practice all the different elements, it will keep you focused and make the most efficient use of your time while practicing.

That's it, obviously, there are many more skills to learning how to play the trumpet but these have made a huge improvement to my playing and I hope they do for you too!

It takes some discipline to integrate these ideas into your practice regime but do it for a month and it will become a great habit that will feel like you've always practiced this way!

    Ingram Sanders is an experienced trumpeter who has played for over 20 years.

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