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Special Considerations for Trumpeters

1.  Mutes


Straight mute:  Denis Wick (metal)

Cup mute:  Humes and Berg (less expensive; more of a jazz tone) or Denis Wick (more expensive)

Harmon:  B Model Wow-Wow (less expensive), Jo-Ral Bubble Mute-aluminum (more expensive) or aluminum/copper (even more expensive and very heavy; sounds great but tends to fall out of the horn)

Mutes will typically make the trumpet sharp.  Some make it flat.  Students should determine how each mute affects their intonation and, time permitting, adjust the tuning slide during rests accordingly.  If time does not permit, one must use the valve slides or lip the notes in tune.  Mutes tend to have a greater effect on the intonation of notes already naturally out-of-tune on the trumpet.

All high school trumpet students should own a straight mute.  Once a student owns more than one mute, a mute bag may be needed to carry them.

2.  Multiple tonguing

Multiple tonguing is executed by combining the traditional “ta” articulation with a “ka” articulation.  Double tonguing is used for duple subdivision:  “ta-ka-ta-ka”.  Triple tonguing is used for triple subdivision:  “ta-ta-ka” or “ta-ka-ta” (either is fine; the student should do whatever is more comfortable for him/her, but should select one quickly and only use this method).  The syllables “tu-ku” and “da-ga” can also be used.  Students should get used to the multiple tongue pattern by whispering it as they walk to class or drive.  The pattern should become automatic.  It is usually easier to multiple tongue between quarter note = 100-120 to start; slower is usually more difficult.  Find where it is easiest or natural for the student.  The student must use a lot of fast air to drive the tongue and to get the air past the tongue.   It is important that students who are multiple tonguing practice keeping the notes long and connected and use the very tip of the tongue with minimal movement.  Get the “k” out of the throat.  One can also practice exercises using just the “k” articulation to strengthen that syllable.

3.  Flutter tonguing

Flutter tonguing is executed by “rolling your R’s” while you play.  Lots of air is needed.

4.  Shakes

A shake is most commonly seen in jazz band music and is a squiggly line above a note.  A shake is when the trumpeter performs a lip slur between the written note and the next partial up repeatedly, very fast (or in the case of wide shakes, several partials up).  It is called a shake because once sufficient lip strength is developed, the trumpeter can “shake” his/her horn back and forth (adding more and less pressure) very fast to create the lip slur.  It therefore has a more “wild” quality appropriate for jazz.  To develop the ability to shake, the trumpeter should first become very adept at fast lip slurs between neighboring partials (called lip trills); this can take many years.  Once the trumpeter has mastered the fast lip trill without the assistance of the horn movement, he/she can practice using the horn movement to work in tandem with the lips to create the shake.