Dr. Carrillo's Trumpet Blog

This page is targeted at my trumpet students here at James Madison University and any other trumpet students or enthusiasts. I hope you find something helpful to your path here.

Be the kind of student you'd like to teach.

My fantastic colleague and JMU professor of flute, Dr. Beth Chandler, has this phrase posted on the outside of her door for all to see.  I pass by Dr. Chandler’s office multiple times each day and everyday I look at that sign.  How can any student walking our hallway not notice that glorious sign? You know, that’s really all anyone needs to think about when preparing for his or her lesson. 

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Equipment Tips for Making Video Recordings of Your Trumpet Playing

Many contests, performance jobs, scholarship competitions, summer music festivals, and schools of music allow for video submissions of audition materials.  In fact, many require a video submission of your playing for the first round to be considered for a live audition. Knowing this, it would serve you well to make the best possible and highest quality video recording you can.

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Permission to Make Mistakes

As you perform in rehearsals and work in your personal practice today, I'd like you to take a few risks:

  • Sing through the horn with beauty and clarity
  • Go for the high note
  • Go for the low note
  • Hold the note to the bitter end
  • Decreschendo a niente
  • Sing all the way through the phrase
  • Articulate with absolute clarity
  • Sing out the sound that is in your head

What's the worst that could happen? You make a mistake?

Mistakes are opportunities to learn and improve. Mistakes are where we find out what our limits are so we can push those limits further out.

Please use the attached form and give yourself "Permission to Make Mistakes"

Happy trumpeting!

-Dr. Carrillo

Follow up to 2/13/17 Studio Class - Mouthpiece Specs and the Morning Warm up

Hello JMU trumpeters,

In studio class yesterday we talked about mouthpiece specifications/general tendencies and some ideas for warming up and getting started on the trumpet everyday. If you have specific questions about mouthpiece customization and how those might effect your playing, send me a message and we can discuss those on an individual basis.

As for warming up each day, here are my thoughts...

I think my warm up each day as building a skyscraper of trumpeting. The skyscraper must be built each day.  Some days the building goes up quickly, other days, it does not.  The foundation of that building though is the correct fundamentals of breathing, articulation, and lip vibration under the umbrella of unflinching musicianship and focused concentration.  I spend time each morning reminding myself of what those good musical and technical fundamentals are so they can be positive habits that I don't need to think about consciously for the rest of the day. Start your day thinking about the good habits that make your playing sound great!

Try this as a recipe for your next few mornings:

1.  Stretch and move your body for 3 minutes
Before you pick up your trumpet make sure you're moving as freely as possible.  Move your arms around, move your head from side to side then up and down and rotate your shoulders.  Try some basic stretches that work for you and get your blood flowing in general.  If you're not quite awake, try some jumping jacks to get your body moving.  There is a connection between how the body moves and how the brain thinks.

2. Breathing exercises for 3 minutes
Use your breathing tube or blow through the mouthpiece for these. The numbers below represent inhale:exhale (e.g. inhale 1 quarter-note:exhale one quarter-note at quarter = 60)

1:1 (quarter = 60)
1:3 (quarter = 60-72)
1:6 (quarter = 152)
4:4 (quarter = 80)

3. Mouthpiece buzzing with a reference pitch for 7-10 minutes
A piano is a great reference pitch and do use the handouts I gave you in studio class. Hold your mouthpiece as lightly as you can in your non-dominant hand. Use your other hand to play the piano and remember to transpose the part down to concert pitch so your sounding the correct pitch on the mouthpiece. When buzzing on the mouthpiece let the intervals move like a siren (portamento) and keep the dynamic mezzo. Light and easy should be at the forefront of your mind here. Buzzing the correct pitches on the mouthpiece lays the foundation to a centered sound. 

After completing these exercises, take a break for 5-10 minutes then proceed with your regular warm up. Try this everyday for at least one week and let me know your results!