This is a compilation of various lists I have collected over the years based on the Cichowicz philosophies.


Air is the most important physical aspect of playing. It is of ultimate importance in establishing all facets of performance. Breathe correctly - deep, full, relaxed, using an OH sound as if yawning - before every attempt.

After inhaling, immediately turn the air around to begin playing. Do not indiscriminately set abdominal tension prior to starting the sound. Concentrate on the speed of the air stream to automatically tighten the muscles "just enough".

Airflow is the necessary element for sound, control and dynamics, register, etc. AIRFLOW is the key to the nebulous term "support". 

Allow the air to flow through the horn; let resistance and airflow balance into a harmonious, symbiotic relationship.

Do not blow "hard" - blow "freely", like blowing a flute.

Let  the air do the work.

The quality of your playing depends on the quality of your airstream.

Maintain total relaxation in muscles that aren't directly involved.  AIR + RELAXATION = SOUND!! Big, fat, pure and focused.

Focus your sound to a point out in front. As you ascend, focus further out.

Lips stay formed but relaxed until the air hits them. Do not present tension. This allows the embouchure to find its own center of vibration.

The embouchure should respond to the air, not vice-versa, and not to the mouthpiece.

Play naturally. Do not manufacture an embouchure. Do not manipulate while playing.

The only job of the lips is to vibrate - fully, freely and relaxed.

The strength of the embouchure is in the corners, which also focus the aperture. The middle stays loose as possible to respond easily and fully to the airstream.

Get the feeling of playing away from your teeth to release pressure and maximize vibration.

Always aim for the core of the sound - the center - where airspeed, lip tension and wavelength are match perfectly, to achieve maximum resonance.

Keep perfect time to synchronize muscle movements.

Allow the music to determine actions. When change is required, allow the music to give you direction. Do not employ a predetermined muscular manipulation.

Play aggressively with abandon and courage. Never apologetically or wimpy.

Apply effortless effort. Use only the amount of energy necessary to accomplish a particular task, thus reserving energy for endurance, range and volume.

Rather than controlling with chops and pressure, allow a balance of efforts on airspeed, corners and tongue arch to provide security.

The feel of playing should be one of a constant outflow energy focused forward through the horn to the audience.

Playing must become easy - that is, no matter how much energy we expend, we must be as relaxed as possible and waste no energy on isometric tension.

Again, no isometric, muscle vs. muscle tension, not in chops, abdomen, neck, face, arms, shoulders or anywhere else.

Let go of the embouchure as a controlling force.   Thrust the air.

Observe your playing, analyze it, don't judge it.

Eliminate the ego, thus eliminating fear and frustration, false pride and false humility, which can blind you to your true abilities.

Maintain total concentration; aim for tangible results.

Isolate problems to solve them, but keep them in the total context of playing.

To extract poor traits from playing, concentrate on the desired result, not on what you are trying to eliminate.

Each note and phrase is part of a larger idea.   Play in context. 

All musical concepts must be clearly conceived mentally before they can live through the horn.

The trumpet is an extension of the performer - all that happens in you is reflected in  your performance.

Range is an extension of the middle register. Development depends on a strong foundation and systematic practice.

The tongue is used to articulate in music just as it is in speech - to make obvious the meaning of the phrase.  Let the tongue shape the various attacks to clarify meaning.

Use the tip of the tongue, striking approximately where the upper teeth and gums meet. Only the front part moves, as this allows faster tempos and cleaner, more precise attacks.

In multiple tonguing keep the "k" syllable as far forward as possible.

Rest as much as you play during practice. Don't play when your face is fatigued. Compensation will cause incorrect habits to form.

Stop practicing when comfortably tired, while still playing well correctly.

Practice until the task is mastered - completely under your control and easy to perform.  Mastery will build confidence.

Trumpet playing is a highly refined physical skill, as well as a musical art. Train physically as an athlete, but play from the heart as an artist.

Just going through the exercises or studies won't develop abilities. You must know what you are trying to achieve and how you are going to achieve it.  Have goals and plan for reaching those goals.

Performing on any instrument is a matter of growth, not push-button technology. Strive to build and mature gradually and consistently.

Remember that the ultimate goal of all skills and techniques is to make music. Apart from that, all your efforts are in vain. Communication, from performer to listener, must be the end result.
 

 

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHIES

My main philosophy is that WE, as musicians, must continually share our ideas and experiences with one another - teach one another so we may better educate upcoming generations. We must also excite others about music to rekindle our dwindling audiences. The survival of the arts and the progression of our art-form depends on it.

I have a had many magnificent teachers and have learned infinite amounts from all of them. Most of the goals were the same, the techniques and approaches are what differed. I feel fortunate to have learned trumpet playing from several different approaches for it makes me better able to help my students. I am just going to list certain general aspects and name a few texts which I use on a regular basis. This is all from "my" perspective and is not meant to discount anyone else's methods. I am putting "out there" some of the things I have successfully learned and used myself as well as with my students. I want anyone who can benefit from this wisdom to do so.

Just a few valuable morsels of info.....

One of the main philosophies I took with me from Eastman was the importance of BALANCE when striving to always improve. We must touch on all the areas possible in our playing everyday. And when we touch on these areas we must push them a little more each day...practice the extremes so the comfortable "envelope" is vast!...allowing us to do magnificent things when performing music and doing them more comfortably, more confidently.

The trumpeter must have a vast selection of studies/etudes to draw from in cases where the repertoire poses difficulties. The purpose of the etude is to isolate one or two problems and "iron" over them repeatedly throughout the exercise. Through practice the individual conquers the "difficulty" to the point of being confident with his/her new ability. Then one can re-approach the location in the repertoire that originally posed a challenge to his/her ability with the means to execute it perfectly!!

A trumpeter can never have enough mutes it seems. (It is such a temperamental process!) Have a desired effect in mind and then select the mute that best expresses it. (That's right! A Denis Wick is not necessarily fitting for EVERY and ANY lick that says "sordino"!) Pay close attention to the capabilities of the mute. Some function well in one register and not in others. Some react differently when it comes to intonation and dynamics. Record yourself playing several mutes because it might project differently "out there" than it sounds to the player.

When multiple tonguing in the low register, try "thug-ga, thug-ga" instead of "ta-ka, ta-ka". Practice on Clarke Technical Studies No. V - exercise in G major for instance. Slur it through and then tongue on repeats always keeping airstream fluid and straight. Play these as Mr. Clarke expresses PAYING CLOSE ATTENTION TO DYNAMICS. This brings the embouchure into focus.

When playing literature, there are certain times when we must chose appropriate guidelines in our style of playing. In this instance I am pertaining to the difference between French and German playing. Just keep these in mind when approaching the literature.

German - Vertical harmonic stress, longer - like bow strokes, the third of a chord is lower giving the chord a darker character of sound.

French - More horizontal, more inflection in/on melodic line, more fleeting and dancing, the third of a chord is higher giving the chord a more brilliant character.

Try playing a vocal works on your trumpet recital. This opens up a myriad of repertoire for us! A couple I have performed are "Urlicht" by Gustav Mahler and "Standchen" by Franz Schubert. If you do perform these works, make sure to include the translations for the audience or read aloud the text before performing. And as you prepare these works, accept the challenge of conveying the meaning of the text. Make sure phrasing aligns with important words in the text.

The Greeks believed the voice (when in song) was the soul escaping the body.  We are designed to make sound.  We are persons, Latin for "persona" meaning " that through which sound passes".  And the Bel Canto Style (meaning "beautiful song") is the style in which we aspire to play.  Of 17th and 18th century Italy, the Bel Canto style demands the singer to communicate genuine emotion musically and precisely, spanning a vocal range of three octaves.  Great attention to diction (diction being our articulative abilities)   refinement of tone,  flexibility of the sound,  and quality of the timbres combined with beautiful expressive sound make it unique.  It is the demands of the orchestral repertoire since the 19th century that have required the trumpeter to maintain this level of thinking and performing as well.

Play duets as often as possible with all kinds of instruments - not only other trumpeters. It is good to learn to play with all of the orchestral instruments since we must do it so often in the literature. Practicing piccolo trumpet with oboe or flute is good training for Bach for instance.

To practice intervals it is good to find an organ (or other sustaining keyboard) and practice intervals against the sustained tone. Learn where fifths and fourths fit for they are the most difficult (and revealing) to keep in tune. This is important work for the ears!!