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How to make a better Trumpet section? Answered


I am a Junior in High School and next year I will be Trumpet section leader for both Marching and Concert Band. Our Trumpet section is not very good, I am sorry but we just aren't. Except for one person, this year we are losing an awesome Senior who most of us underclassmen have leaned on at one point or another. As section leader I am taking on the attitude of "This year is going to be the best yet…Brass…lets kick some a*s". Unfortunately I don't think the section will. Does anyone out there have any tips on any music/warm-ups or technique's that I might consider looking into so that our Trumpet section is the best it can be, so our band can shine?


Have you ever heard of the "Lip Clamp technique? I learned this exercise from my band teacher which he got from a book [ I'll get back on you about that book ], but it's like a new technique to learn. Because we only have 4 trumpets in all of our bands, he wants most of us to hit the higher register and lucky for me, I'm one of them. :D

For the Clamp, basically you need to look like "a mean old man". You need to clamp your lips together using your muscles and it should start to cramp up after a minute or so. You should all do this once a day, but not before practicing or a performance.

After you get that done, you should start to try and blow air while holding the clamp, creating a high squeak.  Well, that is a start to how you could get a better section. Also, here are some tips about the lip clamp:
  1. When doing the Clamp Squeak, be sure to generate the sir pressure from your Stomach Muscles. 
  2. If you feel a headache starting to form, bend over until your head is below your waist. The headache should stop.
Well, this is all that I remember from the book, [I only got a short glance at it] but I hope that this little bit of information helped you get a better section. Remember, practice, practice, and PRACTICE. :D

I'd add: Get someone with a good ear to critique, and possibly direct, your joint practices. It's a lot easier for someone who isn't playing to listen to the blend and pick out what is and isn't working. (I don't play brass; I have directed some informal choruses.)

Pay attention to articulation -- make sure you're all starting and stopping notes exactly in synch with each other, or it will sound ragged. Pay attention to blend -- most of the time, each performer should be able to hear all the other performers clearly. Watch out for the temptation to substitute speed or volume for precision.

Practice alot and practice together.  Practice with a metronome.  Practice scale but don't forget to practice your songs most of all.  You know which songs you are going to play so practice them until you can cook together on them.

Remember it's nice when you ALL get the the end at the same time!