MXL R144 Ribbon Microphone is a great microphone for recording trumpet.
Art Tube Project Series preamp with USB is a great preamp that gives you the options of connecting directly to your computer through your USB or standard outputs (XLR and 1/4 inch).
Korg TM-40 Large Display Digital Tuner and Metronome.
Korg MA-30 Ultra Compact Digital Metronome is a great, inexpensive metronome. It also has reference pitches to help with tuning. Note: this is not a chromatic tuner but does provide the reference pitches for you to tune by ear.
Arban is the first method book any serious trumpet player should buy. This edition has a CD with piano accompaniment and .a better binding that allows the book to lay flat on the music stand.
The etudes in this book are great for sight reading, lip flexibility, and improving overall technique..
These studies are great. If you are faithful to use these in your practice you will definitely see progress.
These books by Herbert L. Clarke are excellent for developing your embouchure, tonguing, wind, and fingering skills. These studies will help you take your playing to the next level.
This book contains "Advanced etudes, scales, and arpeggios in all major and all minor keys." This is an excellent book of etudes to broaden your ability to play in all major and minor keys and work on your musical expression at the same time. It's pretty easy on the budget also--definitely worth the money!
These trumpet method books by Allen Vizzutti are outstanding. Highly recommended.
Joy Spring is one of my all time, favorite, jazz tunes. Clifford delivers an amazing performance in this classic recording. I wasn't able to find a video performance, but, this is the best recording (in my humble opinion).
If you are not very familiar with Clifford's music I encourage you to spend some time on YouTube and listen to some of his classic tunes and great solos. Here are a few links to get you started.
Below are some recommendations to help you increase your knowledge and love for Clifford Brown.
Here are three great deals on classic Clifford Brown albums. The middle CD is actually 4 albums in one. The one on the right is one of my favorite Clifford Brown albums--It is Clifford in a New York studio with a string orchestra. I love his smooth playing and consistent tone. In the liner notes they speak about his professionalism and how he was there ready to play and didn't need a lot of in-studio practice.
If you really like Clifford you should get this biography and learn more about his life and art.
If you like Clifford's playing you should check out these transcriptions. Volume 1 (green) includes Joy Spring and 29 other charts from his early years. Volume 2 (yellow) has 25 transcriptions and Volume 3 (red) has 16 solos.
Embouchure is an important topic of concern for all people who play trumpet. Developing your embouchure is a process that takes a long time and a lot of effort. I recently read an article by William Cramer that was originally published in The Instrumentalist. I would like to share some of this article with you. There are a few direct quotes which will be in quotation marks, whereas the rest of this post will be a summary of information from this article and my thoughts about it.
"The act of performing on a brasswind instrument is essentially that of properly manipulating muscles of the body in such a way that air is directed to the lips which are set in vibration and they in turn cause the air in the instrument to vibrate and produce musical sound. Tone production is accomplished by the human body in motion. The instrument itself acts as a resonator and amplifier only. The instrument and the body must be in sympathy with each other to achieve maximum results."
I agree completely with Mr. Cramer’s statement, "the instrument and the body must be in sympathy with each other to achieve maximum results." When I read this, it reminded me, I spent a lot of my early years as a trumpet player, struggling with, or against, the instrument. I did this by pushing too hard against my lips to force them to stay in place in my effort play a little bit higher (which doesn’t work very well). Another problem I had, related to my weak embouchure. I was not focusing my wind so it entered the trumpet cleanly. When the wind left my mouth it bounced around inside of the mouthpiece and eventually into the trumpet. This produced fuzzy tone, poor control, inability to play in the higher range consistently (or below middle C very well), and a lot of frustration. My instructor showed me some tone focusing exercises which made all the difference in the world.
In the many years since then, I have learned the importance of a strong embouchure to produce a smaller, but still firm, aperture through which the air is forced into the instrument producing the vibrations that are amplified by the instrument. Another thing that helped, came about 15 years ago; I read an article that recommended lip buzzing, without the mouthpiece, to help produce a strong embouchure, with muscles alone changing the size of the aperture. Lip buzzing helped in a couple of different ways. It helped me strengthen my embouchure, specifically, allowing me to change the size of the aperture without using force against my lips. Also, lip buzzing helped me understand the concept of why I needed to improve my embouchure--I began to see it was possible, for me, to play in the higher range without excessive force (the mouthpiece against my lips). I can’t over emphasize how important it was for me to understand that I could play in the higher range without the excessive force. Basically, I had come to the conclusion that I would never be able to do this. As I have said in other places on this blog, my poor self-esteem has really hindered me in achieving my potential.
In this diagram, we have two pairs of lips with different sized apertures. The aperture is the actual area through which air is forced; where the upper and lower lips vibrate, to produce the sound that is amplified by the trumpet. I have frequently used lip buzzing, especially when I did not have a trumpet handy, for example, when driving to and from work.
Now, back to the original article by Mr. Cramer. He outlines the muscles involved in playing the trumpet and the purpose of each set of muscles:
Inhaling/Exhaling - wind
Tongue - articulation (rhythm and styles of attack)
Embouchure - operates the vibrating medium to control the tension and set the proper pitch
Muscles to control the valves and slides
"Muscle tension in the embouchure is the only practical method of altering the vibrations of the lips. Excessive pressure on the lips in place of muscle-controlled tension will produce thin tone and decreased flexibility."
"There are two well known methods of embouchure control but these methods have problems:
smiling - stretches the lips and makes them thin.
puckering - closes off the aperture requiring more wind and changes the quality of the tone." (I have found a couple of websites that describe more than two methods. Below you will find links to view these.)
Mr. Cramer describes the ideal method, which is a combination of the following:
Pucker muscles - ring of muscles in the lips
Muscles on either side of nose that pull lip up - like a snarl
Muscles in chin with pull lip down
"If the lip muscles (1) can be made to contract at the same time muscles (2 and 3) contract, there will be a change in tension (and a change in pitch) with little outward facial motion or changes in tone quality. The situation will be one of muscles apposing each other."
"Great care should be taken that only the facial muscles are being used and that the instrument is not being jammed against the lips with the arms."
"Development of strength and endurance, as well as range, now follows exactly the same pattern as that which an athlete follows in getting himself into shape. The muscles must be exercised deliberately and gradually made to take on greater loads that will lead to extended range and endurance. Hurrying this process can, however, cause injury to the lips."
Below, are a couple of links to sites that speak about several different methods of developing your embouchure. One thing to remember, there are many different opinions about how to develop and form the best embouchure. Each person is different, the shape of their teeth, the thickness of their lips, and many other factors come into play in deciding which method or technique is appropriate for you. I encourage you to speak with your instructor if you feel your embouchure is a concern that should be addressed. If you are not working with the instructor I encourage you to begin.
http://www.bbtrumpet.com/embouchures.html - this page is found on Pops’ Trumpet College by Clint 'Pops' McLaughlin. Pops provides a lot of good information on this website, including books, videos, and other resources to help you learn how to play the trumpet better.
This is one of Dizzy's great tunes and one of my favorites by him. This is a pretty recent performance. It's interesting to go on YouTube and watch an earlier performance of this same song and compare the differences. I have watched several different videos spanning the time between the 1950s and now. Each video has some interesting stylistic differences.
While I watched this video I wondered how many times he has played this tune over the years. I'm guessing he's played it an average of 200 times a year for at least 40 years (in performance alone) which would be about 8000 times. What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know your guess.