Video transcript
@The Arts Unit Art Bites – Trumpet – 02. Developing consistency

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[Music playing]

CRAIG MITTEN: Hi everyone. My name is Craig, and thanks for checking out this video. I hope you find some useful suggestions to help you in your daily practice.

So, what is consistency? Well, to me it is playing and sounding the best we can every time we play the trumpet. This can sometimes be difficult to achieve. So, here are some suggestions that will help you develop more consistency in your playing from day to day, which as an added bonus, will make your time on the instrument much more enjoyable to you.

Number 1 - Always warm up properly and start exactly the same way every day. This way our muscles are getting used to the idea that we are about to do some playing. I'll now demonstrate an exercise you can use to get your lips vibrating without forcing them. We want to always gently wake them up. So, what we're going to do is start on a low C, and use what we call a breath attack. It means no tongue, we just breathe in and [inhale], [slow exhale], start the note that way with no tongue.

So, I'll demonstrate. 1, 2, 3.

[Playing note]

And, another one. 1, 2, 3.

[Playing note]

OK? Your turn now. Here we go. 1, 2, 3. [inhale], [slow exhale]. And, once more. 1, 2, 3. [inhale], [slow exhale].

I would suggest you do that several times, to really get your lips working. And, you can also try it on different notes too, on D, E, F, G. And, once they are awake, you can move on to the rest of your warmup that you normally do. Now, even if you have an early morning band rehearsal, and you've only got 1 or 2 minutes before you start, always do this first. Your lips will thank you.

Number 2 - Practise breathing in time, and take relaxed, full breaths. By breathing in time, I mean you count yourself in, breathe, and then play the note. So, for example, 1, 2, 3, breathe, play. Do this on all of your exercises - scales, lip slurs, long tones, whatever your teacher's got you practising. So, I'll now demonstrate it for you on a low C. And then, I'll count you in, and you can have a go. So, here we go. 1, 2, 3. [inhale]. [playing note]. And, I'll do that again. 1, 2, 3. [inhale]. [playing note].

OK? Your turn now. 1, 2, 3, breathe, play. And, once more. 1, 2, 3, breathe, play. That's it. Do this every time, and once again, it'll build up your consistency.

Number 3 - Always practise carefully and never rush through things. Play something, rest, and think about how it sounded, and how it felt to play. Was it hard? If so, rest a minute, and then play again, trying to make it easier. Usually on the trumpet, if it feels hard to do, it sounds hard to do. So, take your time to learn things correctly.

Number 4 - Always hold our trumpet the same way. As you know, there's a few ways we can hold the trumpet. Some people hold it like this, or like this, or like that. But, whichever is most comfortable for you, always do it the same way. Now, holding the trumpet also means hold it on the same angle all the time. Some people might tilt it slightly one way, usually to the right. But, make sure we always do it exactly the same. And, once again, that helps our consistency.

Number 5 - Always sit the same way. We should be sitting forward on the chair with our feet flat on the floor, if we can, and our back away from the back rest of the chair. Sitting the same way all the time will help with our breathing and our consistency.

6 - Always have our music stand in the same position. That means have it the same height all the time, and also, some people read on the left, and some people read on the right. So, always have it the same way, and that will keep our embouchure consistent. When you're playing in band, that may mean working it out with your friends, sitting either the side of you, if you're sharing music stands. But, once again, try to always keep your music stand in the same position.

Number 7 is an interesting one. Always put your mouthpiece in the trumpet the same way every time. So, our mouthpiece has letters and numbers on it. Let's pick the number which is the size of the mouthpiece - say a 7c. And, when we put the mouthpiece into the trumpet, make sure that that 7 runs along the top of the lead pipe here. That way the trumpet will play exactly the same way every time the mouthpiece goes in.

Number 8 - Always have our valve caps done up. So, we usually like to do them up what we call finger tight, so, not so tight you can't undo them. They're not loose, so they're rattling around. So, when you put valve oil in your valves, and you do your valves back up, make sure they're all done up finger tight. Another one is, resist the temptation, when you're in band, and the band director's talking to the clarinets or something, to sit there and loosen and play with the bottom valve caps. Because what could happen - you can lose them, because they can fall off. But also, with them being loose, it once again changes the response of the trumpet a little bit. So, we want to have all our valve caps consistently done up finger tight, and our trumpet will respond the same every time.

So, there you have it. These suggestions are all about doing things the same way every time. And, eventually, these become automatic and will improve your playing. So, thanks again for watching, and have fun practising. See you next time. Bye for now.

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