Today I took to the horn to spend some time recording long tones.  I have never been the type of musician who played a single tone for as long as possible.  I do on the other hand like playing long tones in Allen Vizzuti Trumpet Method Book 1.  There are a variety of long tones all based on chords.  It helps to hear these chords.  I also buzz these chords using my BERP while fingering.  I will play these tones on both Bb and C trumpets in order to help distinguish between the transposition while always keeping in mind the concert pitch.


  1. Long Tones #1
  2. Long Tones #2
  3. Arbans - The Art of Phrasing: Loving I Think Of Thee
  4. Arbans - The Art of Phrasing: Robin Adair

Today I decided to spend some time working on my attacks of middle G in the staff and middle C.  This is a very difficult skill.  This along with lip flexibility.  The problem that I am running into is that I took so long off from playing that my skills have severely diminished.  While I still have some skills, I have a serious lack of endurance.  I am so impatient with my practice as I want to have the skill right now but I know that it all comes with time.

Here are two recordings of my most recent practice on attacks both buzzing and playing.



Any constructive feedback would be appreciated.  Telling me that it sounds horrible is something I already know.  Each day is a step in the right direction.

So it has been 10 years since I took a break from any type of playing music at all.  In 2008/2009 my family transitioned into moving to a new area in the state.  A brave move that we did to move to an area where we didn't know any people and our family was 3 hours away.  

I remember the transition well.  Every single weekend, we loaded up the kids and headed back to our hometown to be with family and friends.  We did this every weekend for 3-4 months.  Many people thought we were crazy, but we didn't think so.  We needed a social aspect in our lives and we were not getting it where we lived.  It was hard to connect in a small town.  We were the outsiders.  After that transition time then we only went home once every couple of weeks, then once a month.  Eventually, it became only for Thanksgiving and Christmas and if we had the energy and the fish were not biting, then over spring break as well.

During this new and adventurous move of ours, I put down my trumpets and focused more on work and building a career.  I did manage to play once during our time in that tiny little town on the north Oregon Coast, but that was all.  I didn't have the passion to pick them up and practice any longer.

Days past, weeks past, months past.  After 7 wonderful years, we were moved in a new direction across the state to Eastern Oregon.  Far different culture and climate than that of the Oregon Coast.  My principal just said to me about a month ago, "How brave you and your family must have been to move all the way over here and not know anyone or have any family."  That is true.  It did take some guts.  We were right back where we were when we moved to the coast in 2009, isolation.  Social isolation.  Luckily this time we did not have the luxury to head home each weekend.  Mostly because our home was not back in the Willamette Valley, it was on the Oregon Coast which was 7 hours away.  Not an easy drive just for a weekend.

This caused us to do something that we had never had to do, force ourselves out to meet people and form roots.  This happened quite quickly for us and before you knew it we had many gatherings over to our home and have great friends here, friendships that will stand the test of time.

The purpose of this post is not to outline how these moves have allowed us to grow, but to point out that in school leadership you must take a very important look at self-care.  Being forced to get out and meet people to help form roots was not for a lack of boredom, it was for our self-care.  Just like music was for me in the past.  I was never going to be a well known professional musician playing in large orchestras.  Even though it was something that I would have loved to do, it just was not what I was put here on this Earth for.  

After really taking an interest in self-care to help reduce the stress that my job brings on, I figured out that there are just a few things that I have that are so important to me for this self-care.

First is my family.  They are everything to me.  I cannot ever get enough time with them.  I miss the ones that are still on the other side of the state but we do get to see them quite often.

Second is archery.  You ever see a stressed out person shooting a bow?  Of course not.  It is so relaxing being outside and among nature.  Whether it is competition archery or bow hunting, both are relaxing. (Archery Articles)

The third is playing the trumpet. This just recently came back to me. My son has decided to play the trumpet and with that, we have been exploring this together. When we first sat down together it hit me like a ton of bricks "Man I really miss this!"  I missed practicing etudes, technical skills, scales, all the boring stuff that students hate to play, I missed it.  Now I am doing it again, and daily I might add.

Finally is riding my road bike. I have gone through seasons of my life where I could not hit the pavement enough. While this is not the case any longer I still do try to get some rides in from time to time.

I encourage you to find what helps with your self-care in your leadership position.  We all need time to recharge and rejuvinate our souls to help the ones we serve.

Today I got a LotFancy aluminum trumpet practice mute in the mail (see attached pictures).  It does a great job of stopping the sound.  I can practice when my family is now sleeping.  From what I can tell it is not great for intonation but it will give you a great option for late nights working on technical skills.

I got the mute on

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  • prac_mute2
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Simple Image Gallery Extended

Many of us have heard the story of rocks, pebbles, and sand filling a jar.  If not I have pasted it below.  See all of us have large rocks in our lives that are extremely important to us.  The problem with the culture of the times is that the less important things (pebbles) seem to consume all of our time pushing out any room for the larger rocks, the items that we will cherish at the end. 

As time goes on, sometimes larger rocks get replaced with other rocks that seem to have more meaning in your life.  At times the rocks still stand but you have not had any time due to the pebbles in your life.  I recently have had to opportunity to reconnect with a large rock in my life, music.  I have played the trumpet since I was in middle school.  A very long time.....but I digress.  I have always found some great peace in playing and practicing my horn.  While I did give it a run for a time in my life, I moved ahead to other achievements to help provide for my family.  While my time is limited, I have been able to play more over the last few months.  My son has decided to start playing so it has been another activity for us to spend time together.

This has really just rejuvenated me in my daily life to sit back and take some time to do something that I really enjoy.  Another thing that I can do with my kids and family, much like archery.  Part of the resurrection of playing has been good.  Lots have changed since I was last playing actively.  The internet is so widely ingrained in everything we have that it is so much easier now to find sheet music.  I have spent some time practicing old etudes that I just loved and some that were my complete nemesis.  Much like the Charlier No. 2 Du Style.  Love and hate this thing so much.  But with the internet, easy to find recordings of and be able to listen how other artists play.  A great recording of this song can be heard here.

Just remember, there is more to life than the pebbles.  Don't fill your jar with pebbles first.  You won't have time for the rocks!

A teacher walks into a classroom and sets a glass jar on the table. He silently places 2-inch rocks in the jar until no more can fit. He asks the class if the jar is full and they agree it is. He says, “Really,” and pulls out a pile of small pebbles, adding them to the jar, shaking it slightly until they fill the spaces between the rocks. He asks again, “Is the jar full?” They agree. So next, he adds a scoop of sand to the jar, filling the space between the pebbles and asks the question again. This time, the class is divided, some feeling that the jar is obviously full, but others are wary of another trick. So he grabs a pitcher of water and fills the jar to the brim, saying, “If this jar is your life, what does this experiment show you?” A bold student replies, “No matter how busy you think you are, you can always take on more.” “That is one view,” he replies. Then he looks out at the class making eye contact with everyone, “The rocks represent the BIG things in your life – what you will value at the end of your life – your family, your partner, your health, fulfilling your hopes and dreams. The pebbles are the other things in your life that give it meaning, like your job, your house, your hobbies, your friendships. The sand and water represent the ‘small stuff’ that fills our time, like watching TV or running errands.” Looking out at the class again, he asks, “Can you see what would happen if I started with the sand or the pebbles?”