My philosophy in 10 words

There are some words or phrases that keep coming back in my teaching, so I thought I would share them with you. My top 10 trumpet words:

  1. Quality control. Basically this is preparation, but the emphasis is on the product, not the trumpeter. Another way to think of Quality control is “how many times can I do this perfectly in a row?”
  2. Curiosity. This is also a willingness to learn a better way or something new.
  3. Stacking. This is practicing for two or more goals at the same time. The key thought here is not to stack until ready and not to overwhelm yourself.
  4. Listening. To yourself (record!), to others, to recordings.
  5. Vibrating. Thinking of the lip as a vibrating surface, free to vibrate at any pitch with any equipment.
  6. Focus. This is a willingness to let distracting thoughts go, while you keep your aspirations or attention.
  7. Transcend. This word is used in Charlier’s wonderful etude book. It has to do with getting beyond (but not ignoring) the basics. It implies the ability to change people’s lives based on your playing.
  8. Flow. This is an emphasis on the steady air stream instead of a pointillistic approach. I also like the word “fluidity.”
  9. Balance. This refers to the high importance of balancing the components of our equipment and the balancing of our air stream and the embouchure resistance to this.
  10. Efficiency. Arnold Jacobs said, “minimal motors.” Using only as much effort as needed for the musical job. Also considering how to be more efficient with posture, tonguing, embouchure and air.
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