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!