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S is for Sound

Updated: Jun 30, 2021

Let's delve into my take on Ray Sasaki's SAFARE principle a little more. Sound is number one! This has to be the overriding goal of everything we do on the trumpet. Why did you choose the trumpet? For most people, the answer is "I love the way it sounds" or "I heard Doc Severinsen or insert other famous player here" and I wanted to do that. What grabs you is the sound of a player. If you have a great sound, you can captivate a listener. You make them lean in and hang on every note you play. No one will buy a sound that doesn't grab you.

How do you develop this?

First, you need to listen to great trumpet playing. You need to know what a great trumpet sound is. Don't just listen to recordings, go hear live music. There is no substitute for first hand experience. That being said, there are so many avenues to hear great players today with Spotify and YouTube. Having the goal in your mind is essential for you to achieve it in your practice.

So you've been listening. Now what?

Take that sound and get in a practice session. Try to approach the simplest exercises with the sound of your favorite player in the forefront of your mind.

What exercises? Well, I like these:

1) Long tones - I use the ones Mr. Adam had me do.

2) Cichowicz flow studies - Slowly. Think Trumpet Yoga. Slow stretching.

3) Descending half steps like early Schlossberg exercises.

4) Michael Sachs Daily Fundamentals

Remember, everything you do is a tone study. It doesn't matter if you can play high or fast if the tone is garbage. Everything we play, every exercise, study, excerpt, solo, band piece, whole note, must have a beautiful tone. Approach the simple things with a simple goal: play with a beautiful sound.

Now, get after it. Find the rich, resonant center. Find the sparkle and brilliance in your sound. Go fire it up!!

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