Words I Say When I Teach Trumpet

S*%! Phil Says...

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to a student about when I first began teaching in quantity. That was fall of 2001. I feel comfortable saying at that time my playing was at a high level and uniquely mine. My experience teaching one on one however was non existent. 

I was very aware of how much of my vocabulary seemed borrowed. I would channel so much directly from Charlie and Jeff and other influences. I wondered when that would change. I wondered when it would sound like my voice. 

For better or worse after 17 years and 80,000 lessons or so I have a voice. All of the below has been said and often better by others but these are in my voice. 

In no particular order I’ve made note of some of the things I often say. Perhaps one or two will strike you in a new and different way. 
  • Relax your mechanism.
  • Accuracy depends on structure
  • Only attempt each note once.
  • Don’t react to the past. Play the present.
  • Air comes before sound.
  • Don’t play “faster”, instead play the same in less time.
  • Time and pitch are not subjective.
  • Rhythm depends on beat.
  • Always play like its right
  • Confidence is a role you play.
  • Notes are only forward. High and Low are meaningless words.
  • Choose science instead of superstition.
  • Zoom out and observe your story.
  • Correctness of embouchure is determined by the beauty of the sound it creates.
  • If you’re smart your future self will thank you for today’s practice.
  • Act like you’ve learned something since sixth grade.
  • My patience is faster than your impatience.
  • “Breathe” has a different meaning when the trumpet is in your hand. Train the connection.
  • Make calmness the first goal.
  • Be willing to start over every day.
  • You don’t buzz your lips...the air does.
  • Acknowledge the beauty in your imperfection.
  • Don’t be boring.
  • Play good trumpet.
  • Respect your fatigue.
  • You get stronger while resting.
  • Lack of familiarity and difficulty are often confused.
  • Less thinking more reading
  • You don’t need to remember it. You need to see it!
  • Don’t mark it. It’s already marked.
  • Always search for the overlap of ease and beauty.
  • Even with the slide in you’re still playing leadpipe.
  • Retreat to a point of calmness and control.
  • The answer is hiding in the search.
  • There was something you didn’t hear yesterday. Look for it today.
  • Before you can be beautiful you have to turn in the right answers.
  • The discipline to be correct will make you stand out in a room full of mistakes.
  • Risks are exciting.
  • Don’t confuse completion with mastery.
  • Ask for better and you’ll get it.
  • Adreline increases with excitement. Sweating increases when running. Don’t be afraid of your biology
  • Breathe with awareness and energy.
  • You are unique and valuable. Make a sound that reflects that.
  • Chase the experience.
  • Your playing isn’t something that happens to you like the weather.
  • Be correct.
  • Decide what you want.
  • What are you playing and why are you playing it.?
  • Dont keep re-solving the same problem.
  • You won’t win a chili cook off with everyone else’s recipe.