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Got it, Philip.

Spending all your time in the technical circle will, in my opinion, not produce results. In my early “comeback” and experience with WindWorks, I tried that to expedite my development and it didn’t work–in fact, I believe it held me back for quite some time and almost led to my quitting for good.

In my opinion, it is important to spend a certain minimum amount of time on Music and we must enjoy the basic sound of the trumpet–the sound of the instrument on a G on the staff, or even below the staff and up to a modest range on the staff or just above can be quite pleasing. I know this very well, as that was my limit for many years…while frustrating, I did get enjoyment out of playing tunes in that range.

Prior to WindWorks, my functional range was limited to a G above the staff and my endurance was extremely limited, as I was fighting against myself and the horn.

Perhaps it would be good for you to choose some music that you enjoy playing that only goes up to your current effective range, perhaps slightly above, but ideally to the limit of your range so you can play relatively relaxed and comfortably. I believe it should be somewhat challenging for you, but not to the point that you feel it’s insurmountable.

You’re probably not going to develop an efficient way of playing, in my opinion, by playing too much fortissimo big band jazz or marching band music at this stage in your development. The music that I have found most helpful to spend time on while developing my efficiency is more lyrical music where I have to focus a lot on the air moving through a phrase. It’s helpful if the music has some simple melody components/parts to it so I can focus more on the quality of my tone and efficiency/sensation rather than complicated articulations, fingering, rhythm, all which should be worked on separately (in my opinion).

I have found more lyrical melodies, even some Etudes, helpful. Phil Collins (former Cincinatti principal trumpet) has some great etude books for sale online. Some of them go above the staff. I would simply transpose them down where needed for a while until your range develops naturally.

I never got a lot of enjoyment out of random Etudes (i.e. Sigmund Hering, Arban’s). The Collins etude books include excerpts from the orchestral repertoire, so it’s music we all know–famous melodies that we recognize even if we don’t recall the name of the piece…

I saw a video on YouTube of someone playing the melody from “Malice Toward None” that made me want to learn how to play that melody. The melody itself isn’t too hard and only goes up to a G above the staff (if you do NOT transpose it from C trumpet to Bb trumpet, which I did not as G was the limit to my range at the time… The whole piece actually is more difficult and gets up to a High C# (if you transpose it up a step). I’ve actually worked up to being able to play the whole thing up the step thanks in part to watching the videos of Christopher Martin playing it and making it look effortless; I can’t obviously play it as well as that, but watching him somehow made me realize that it must not be as hard as I was making it…and the fact is that it’s not.

Here’s a link to the video that originally inspired me, BTW FWIW ( ). I I don’t recommend buying a plastic trumpet, BTW. I also recommend watching Christopher Martin playing it, but the whole piece is rather difficult. The video link above is just the main melody.

For some reason, that melody just really stuck with me and I played it just about every single day. Eventually, I worked up to being able to play the whole piece–I bought the sheet music as my range improved and now I can actually play the whole thing start to finish, even transposed up a step.

Another piece that I like which doesn’t go too high that I have been playing a bit lately that is more lyrical and that I find helpful to play is “Intermezzo” by Mascagni–the version I have is in F and only goes up to an F at the top of the staff, most of it lower, till the end which does go to an A above the staff but is very soft and you could just play it down. I think it would still be pleasing to play.

I play a lot of John Williams melodies lately as the main melodies are often simple and I can focus my attention on my sound, efficiency, sensation (relaxing) but the entire pieces can be very challenging and work my entire range, etc. I think part of what makes those melodies so attractive as well are the recordings–the ease of which they are played by great players like Tim Morrison, Malcom McNab, Maurice Murphy, etc.). That ease of playing is helpful to aspire to.

I do want to, eventually, work up to playing challenging stuff–including some higher range / louder stuff, but I’ve avoided it thus far while I work on developing my control over the range I have developed thus far.

But it has to be music that YOU like, that you want to play–that gives you enjoyment. Much of the key to playing efficiently or optimally is trying to get to the point where we are singing through the instrument and the instrument is not in the way, it is an extension of ourselves.

Also, I would make it a point to spend time away from the horn working on your understanding of how the instrument works. Watch / listen to WindWorks videos, watch great players you admire play on YouTube.

I have found Jim Wilt’s (associate principal trumpet of Los Angeles) videos on YouTube particularly helpful for me to watch as Jim makes it look SO easy and he has such a great sound and is obviously a very efficient player. At times while playing, I think of Jim’s videos and how easy it makes it look and I try to replicate that in my playing.

The ideal probably is to see a great player play live (i.e. a trumpet teacher), but I don’t do that anymore and YouTube can be very helpful (stay away from some websites/YouTube channels though… avoid the “sizzle” and focus on the quality of the steak…

So much of playing is mental–if we have the wrong mindset of what it’s like to produce sound on the instrument, we’re not going to get the desired result. It’s really important to use our imagination of what we want and think it can feel like to play a bit higher in our range.

Whether it’s playing music or playing technical exercises, neither is going to do any good for our development if we don’t approach them both with the right mental and physical approach.

Today, for example, was an ok playing day but it probably could have been a great day, but my mind was on other things, I was inpatient and rushed through things and so things didn’t sound as good and I didn’t get as much enjoyment out of playing. I was rushed and I pushed things, rather than cooperating with the instrument / finding an optimal balance. Tomorrow is the weekend, I hope to carve out some time to relax, take my time, play with a more patient mindset and enjoy the music more.

My $.02 FWIW. Sorry for the long post. Couldn’t sleep so thought I would put my thoughts down. Hope there’s something in there that provides some help to you. Good luck and have fun / enjoy playing music.

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