It's Not A Daily Routine Unless It Happens Daily


I am constantly battling with the conflict of two realities in opposition.  One the one hand, I have to teach trumpet truth to my students.  The simple truth is they will thrive on a daily trumpet routine when approached mindfully with good form every day.  I immerse them in this reality from their very first lessons, often at the young age of ten or eleven.  The opposing reality is that the high achieving kids with the most potential are likely the busiest.  Frankly...this is all of my students.  They are truly spectactular kids.  Especially true in their high school years, they are more often than not involved in Jazz Band, AP Classes, Athletics, Marching Band, Orchestra and any number of other cool collegiate application space fillers.  How to deal with the reality of their very real time constraints is a constant struggle for us on both sides of the learning equation.

The routine I'm demonstrating in the following two videos is the current evolution of 16 years of experimentation in around 70,000 trumpet lessons that I have taught.  In the first video I'm alone talking through my ideas and demonstrating while the second is with my new 11th grade student Grace in her very first trumpet lesson with me.  I love that it's her first crack at hearing these specific ideas and you can see how quickly she puts them into action.  She is VERY teachable. Her former teacher Bob Barnett who has moved was an expert at setting kids up right and helping them fall in love with the trumpet.

This brief routine can be accomplished in ten to fifteen minutes and goes a long way to allowing the trumpet player to start the day from scratch with responsive lips and a ringing tone.  Unlike longer routines I've experimented with there is less temptation to rush through and lose form and concentration.  I've walked through this sequence in about 150 lessons in the last two weeks and overjoyed with how the students have embraced their time with it.  Even on their busiest days they can do at least this.  Even if it's at the end of the day it will serve to help them end the day with response so their tomorrow is less difficult.  It is not a warm up.  It is not a warm down.  It is a routine.

If you have any questions about the hows and whys I'd love to hear from you.  I made these videos as a reference for my students but hope they can be helpful for any guests here as well.

- Phil

The Art of Learning
— Josh Waitzkin

Shadowcatcher by Eric Ewazen

This recording is from a live performance with the USAF Heritage of America Brass Quintet accompanied by the USAF Heritage of America Band.  I'm pretty sure this was in late 1999 or early 2000.  The Piece is "Shadowcather" by Eric Ewazen for brass quintet with wind ensemble accompaniment.  

The trumpets are myself and Michael Huff.  Jemmie Robertson is playing trombone, Phil Burke the tuba and David Crites on horn.  All are great players and we had an intense time working together.

We had performed this every other night on tour and I remembered it going very well.  I reached out a few years back to the former audio tech of the band to see if he might be able to get me a copy of one of the tour recordings.  Graciously he found a recording and sent it my way.  It wasn't one of the tour recordings, it was one from a performance at an MENC conference a couple of days later.  I was bummed because I had remember that performance being a tough night for me.  Sometimes the trumpet is like a nice old friend and can anticipate your every move.  This was not such a night.

Listening to this so many years removed it doesn't seem nearly as painful as I had remembered and I'm glad to have it.  Either way it was a lot of fun playing and seemed like a good first recording to toss up here.

I hope you enjoy it!