Notes from Joe Cooper Masterclass

Here are a few notes from the April 24th masterclass with Dr. Joe Cooper, trumpet professor at Oklahoma State University. These are some of the specific suggestions he gave the student performers. I wrote them in a more general way for us all to apply to our own playing.

  • Always work smarter, not harder
  • Eliminate tension/inefficiency in right hand position – fingers should curve comfortably and naturally
  • Use tongue level (raise tongue toward roof of mouth) and air attacks to address ranges that begin to feel uncomfortable or inefficient
  • Tongue lighter on spots that have a lot of articulation
  • Phrase more horizontally, less vertically
  • Think more musically during technical passages
  • Isolate and break down the most challenging spots into small units to practice separately
  • Exaggerate different character changes in any piece of music
  • Know what the piece is about (to you) and express those musical ideas
  • Create as much tension (musical, not physical) and release in your performances

A huge THANK YOU to Dr Cooper for his time, expertise, and inspiration. Thank you to all 4 student performers for their excellent recordings, and thank you to all other students who listened and attended the class!

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