Fast and Half-Fast Practice

First things first..yes, we said “half-fast”.

Here are a couple of very effective ways to learn how to, as Bryan puts it, “play faster than you can play.”

First check out our good friend Dr. Jason Sulliman’s ideas here:

Trust us, Dr. Sulliman knows what he’s doing.

Next, here’s an idea from Dr. Valissa Willwirth:

You might have noticed that these people aren’t trumpet players. It might be surprising to find out that we’re not the only ones with great ideas. We might actually be able to learn from other people.

Okay- now that you’ve got this great information, you should be playing faster than you can play in no time.

Get to work!


The Rules Part 2: How to Get Called Back

In episode 20 of The Open Bell, we gave you The Rules: Part 1. In episode 35, we’re back with The Rules Part 2: How to Get Called Back. We’re assuming that you paid attention to The Rules: Part 1, so you’ve been called for some gigs. Good work! Now you’ll want to make sure and get called back…so we’re here to help. Here are some easy, but necessary rules for you to follow. For details, listen to episode 35 of The Open Bell.

1. Keep your mouth shut 

2.  Remember your horn

3.  Bring the right equipment for the job

4.  Bring your mutes 

5.  Don’t sit in the first chair 

6.  Double check the dress code 

7.  Be early, stay late. (Early is on time, on time is late, late is unemployed)

8.  Know your role (principal, second, section) 

9.  Just be happy to be there

10.Don’t ask the conductor questions 

11.Don’t be the reason the rehearsal is derailed or delayed for any reason

12.Don’t bring (or recite out loud) your resume

13.Wear black socks 

14.Be nice

15.Don’t (attempt to) show up the lead player

16.Bring a pencil

17.Don’t bring food to rehearsal 

18.Stay off your phone

19.Thank the contractor for the call

20.No Cologne

The Rules: Part 1

In episode 20 of The Open Bell, we offered The Rules: Part 1. So that you always have them handy, here they are.

  1. Obey the Rules!
  2. If It Doesn’t Sound Good, No One Cares.
  3. It’s not about the Trumpet
  4. Free your mind, and your chops will follow. 
  5. A cornet is not a trumpet. (But it should be)
  6. Mouthpieces will be clocked and cleaned. 
  7. Daily Practice is non-negotiable. 
  8. Excellence isn’t pie, there is plenty for everyone.
  9. If the Clarke Book is Open, the Metronome is ON!
  10. Warming Up Is For The Weak and Insecure. 
  11. It isn’t the mouthpiece, it’s you.
  12. Consider the source. 
  13. My part is not your problem. 
  14. Wear A Tie.
  15. Breathing is so easy, even a sleeping baby can do it. 
  16. The word is Embouchure not Armbouchure. 
  17. It doesn’t get easier, you just play better.
  18. No complaining about your range unless you practice range every day.
  19. Good teaching is more than just good modeling. 
  20. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. 
  21. Endurance only matters if you want to make it to the end.
  22. Early is on time. On time is late. Late is unemployed. 
  23. High notes don’t get better by showering them with hope. 
  24. If every group you’re in has problems, what do they all have in common? 
  25. The Trumpet is God’s Instrument. 

Weird Horns

As I mentioned on episode 34- How to Start Beginners, I recently gained possession of two interesting instruments. They were both made by King. One looks kind of like an oddly wrapped cornet, and the other looks like a small baritone…or maybe an alto horn. When I got them working, as they’d been sitting in a basement for the past 20 years, I was surprised at how good they sound. As it turns out, one is a flugelhorn, and the other is, according to the bell, a trombonium (no, I don’t know what that is either). I promised a demo, and so that you can see them as well, take a look and listen here:

The tune is something I’m working on for my next 6-trumpet arrangement. I thought it worked perfectly for this. Let me know what you think.


30 for 30

For our 30th episode of The Open Bell Bill, Bryan, and Joey each chose 10 recordings. They are not in any order, and if asked next week, might be quite different. Here are their lists:

Bill’s list:

SF Symphony  Hindemith: Mathis de Maler/Symphonic Metamorphosis, Herbert Blomstedt, Conducting 

Wynton Marsalis Wynton Marsalis (the gray album)

Terell Stafford Taking Chances: Live at the Dakota

Wynton Marsalis Standard Time Volume 3: The Resolution of Romance

Maynard Ferguson Conquistador

U.S. Army Blues With Gratitude 

Brad Mehldau After Bach 

Bernstein Romantic Favorites for Strings, NY Philharmonic 

Chris Thile Phosphorescent Blues 

Glenn Gould Goldberg Variations (1981)

Bryan’s list:

A Festival of Carols in Brass:  Gilbert Johnson and Symour Rosenfeld, trumpets; Mason Jones, horn; Henry Charles Smith, trombone; Dee Stewart, euphonium; Abe Torchinsky and Peter Kryll, Tubas

Maynard Ferguson:  Trumpet Rhapsody

Maurice Andre:  Great Trumpet Concertos

Sergi Nakariakov:  No Limit:  The Philharmonia Orchestra, Vladimir Ashkenazy, conducting

The Antiphonal Music of Gabrieli:  Brass Sections of Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras,  and the Chicago Symphony

Sergei Nakariakof, Trumpet and Martha Argerich, piano Shostakovich Piano Concerto

City of Birmingham and Rattle: Buckner 7

Wynton Marsalis:  Standard Time Vol 1

Los Angeles Philharmonic with Bernstein:  Barber Adagio for Strings, Gershwin- Rhapsody in Blue, Copland-Appalachian Spring

Haitink:  Staatskapelle Dresden, Mahler Symphony No. 2.  Live on the 50th Anniversary of the bombing

Joey’s list:

The Tonight Show Band- Vol. 2

Clifford Brown and Max Roach at Basin St.

Maurice Andre- Toot Suite

The Best of Chet Baker Sings

Count Basie Swings-Joe Williams Sings

Kenny Dorham– Afro-Cuban

Maynard Ferguson- The Blues Roar

Woody Herman- My Kind of Broadway

Buddy Rich- Swingin’ New Big Band

Dizzy Gillespie in Paris