A BRIEF PHILOSOPHY OF PLAYING THE TRUMPET
Producing a beautiful resonant tone is the most important aspect of trumpet playing. All other areas of playing, including range, articulation, dynamic contrast, as well as more physical aspects such as breathing and embouchure should derive from the sound that the player hears in his or her head. If the sound that is produced is not musically acceptable then others issues such as the ones listed above will become more prominent. This is not to say that a player should expect his articulation to be fast just because he has a nice sound when playing long tones. But it does mean that without a clear concept of sound the results will not reach the desired level of achievement. The same holds true for intonation. For a player to be perceived as playing in tune, a rich, ringing sound is of the utmost importance.
Where does the sound concept come from?
Listening to recordings and live performances helps develop our imagination and concept. This sound concept directly effects what comes out of our instrument. This is a process that is constantly being refined. It is important to seek out the highest levels of musicianship and listen constantly. This applies to listening to other trumpet players as well as listening to vocalists, string players and other wind players. The more one listens, the more the aural imagination will grow. Many times I have heard conductors or teachers say to approach a passage in a way that imitates a singer or a string instrument. Without a wide palate of aural concepts to choose from the analogy is lost. One cannot play an accurate rendition of the Haydn trumpet concerto without some aural knowledge of music of that period. The same holds true in jazz music. It is an aural tradition that depends upon imitation of past musical ideas for the growth of new ones. Phrasing, articulation and tone color all derive from imitation.
How and what to practice
The physical and mental make up of every player is different. Practice schedules and what materials are used may change from day to day depending on performance demands. Because of these factors a player must be organized and efficient to produce the maximum results from personal practice. It is my belief that a player benefits most from three to four practice sessions per day. Each session should last somewhere between fifty minutes to an hour. Sufficient rest should follow each session. Each session should have specific goals. It is important that these goals are clearly defined and the player has the flexibility to alter them accordingly. The following is a suggested outline for a practice day.
Etudes and Specific Fundamental Practice
Repertoire-both Solo and Ensemble
Additional Repertoire or Specific Technical Practice
The first session of daily fundamentals is a crucial part in the make up of a successful player. Typically the session should cover the following basic aspects:
Scales and Technical Exercises