Alex Carter Posts

Trick Out My Trumpet

When we buy an instrument, just like the old classic muscle cars, there are plenty of things we can do to it after purchase to tweak how it performs. Let’s talk about aftermarket add-ons!

Two Of A Perfect Pair

I feel like I talk about mouthpieces WAY too much. And you know what they say; “The first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one!” At one point I definitely had 70 mouthpieces of all different sizes with different purposes and I would just try to make things work even if they didn’t want to, which I now realize is the wrong way to go about selecting equipment. This brings me to a very important topic and an anecdote to help try to prove my case. I bought a very specific, specialized trumpet from a friend that was designed to be an orchestral Bb and pair well with the matching C trumpet model in this brand’s line. Now, I truly believe there isn’t much this horn can’t do, but I definitely feel that it favors larger mouthpieces in general to achieve the purpose for which it was built. There are many factors to consider such as bore size, bell, leadpipe, and instrument weight, as well as many others.  I’ll take a few horns and give some examples of mouthpieces that might work well with it and why.

When to Buy Which Trumpet? Classical Edition

Last time we discussed instruments that would be good for those of us who primarily want to play jazz or commercial types of music and left it by discussing studio musicians who may need to do it all. This leads us nicely into the classical side of trumpet playing and the instruments needed for that work. In order of importance here are my suggestions. (Your timeline may vary. Please consult your teacher/professor on when it is appropriate to purchase these instruments)

When to Buy Which Trumpet? Jazz/Commercial Edition

I’ve got some news for everyone: I am a trumpet junkie. I have always been fascinated by different brands and models and have even experienced many cases of FOMO (fear of missing out) when it comes to my equipment. I’ve taught several students and have had to have this conversation many times and have even asked for personal recommendations. Today is just a quick look at what instruments you should purchase and when, depending upon your musical path. While it is super difficult to give a recommendation without hearing people play or know what their interests are, I will give some fairly general model recommendations from the “Big Three” brands of trumpets along with a few special suggestions when needed. Today we will discuss instruments needed for those who want to primarily be Jazz/Commercial players and they will be in order of importance. (Your timeline may vary. Please consult your teacher/professor on when it is appropriate to purchase these instruments)

How To Keep Your Trumpet Clean

To further clean your instrument remove all valves, slides and caps from the trumpet. You may submerge the trumpet in warm water (should be noticeably warm but not scalding hot) with mild dish soap such as dawn. Let the instrument sit for five minutes and then use your valve casing brush and snake brush to remove excess dirt and debris from the trumpet. Absolutely DO NOT force the brushes into smaller spaces such as the valve ports or the ends of smaller tuning slides. The crook ends of the 1st and third valve tuning slides can be cleaned by running water through them.

Once all easily accessible areas of the trumpet have been scrubbed thoroughly rinse the trumpet in warm clean water and let air dry. Once the trumpet is dry you may then apply your necessary lubricants to moving parts and reassemble. Stay safe!

The Case Against Beginner Buzzing

To start with, this is not an anti-buzzing campaign. Over my years of working with students whether it be privately, in group settings, or even observing other teachers working with them I have come to a conclusion: I think having your beginning trumpet players mouthpiece buzz is harmful to their development. Here’s why.

Deciphering your ISSMA Sheets and Other Feedback

These past couple weekends have been going full tilt with ISSMA Solo & Ensemble events. You’ve all worked hard on your solos. The ensembles large, small, and mixed have all been rehearsed. During this long period of preparation from November until now, you have probably heard many thoughts about your solo from your band/orchestra/choir director, friends, or private teachers. How do we take the things they have said and apply it? Is there really anyone out there that can read judge’s handwriting on those ISSMA sheets? What if your judge accidentally compliments your Baroque style when you are CLEARLY playing a classical era piece? There are ways to take all the comments you receive and organize them into your plan of attack when going to state.

What’s Your Favorite Orchestral or Concert Band “Cover”?

One thing I love about music that is performed by orchestral or concert band musicians is that we get many different interpretations and sounds from them. There are so many different recordings that are great and while people usually have a favorite recording, it’s not quite the same as popular music where Stairway to Heaven is usually best done by Led Zeppelin or wanting to hear Lizzo perform her own material. This week I wanted to share some “classical” music, and the recordings that I personally enjoy and even strive to emulate.