My Lesson w/Roger Ingram

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by ALLCHOPS, Apr 24, 2007.


    ALLCHOPS Piano User

    Nov 14, 2003
    Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
    Had a very cool hang w/Roger yesterday for a few hours in a room upstairs at Proctors Theater that must have been 100 degrees! We started out just shooting the breeze and name dropping! He dropped many more names than I did. Then we got right to it. He asked me what I was looking to gain. He said you’ve worked steady for twenty years blah blah blah, what you want from me. I simply told him that I don’t have it figured out and I want to figure it out!

    He then started to play some octaves from low C to High C all The way to double C. Very cool and loud in a brick room that measured 10 x 10. Great sound by the way and he does use some pressure! He did that because while giving a lesson the day of a show he also has to do his thang!

    He asked me how I warm up and I told him middle G soft, maybe some chromatics, about 10-15 minutes depending on stiffness. He said No No No No!

    Here’s what we did. He had me flapping my chops gently at what he described as 8 flaps per second. Stop, let the blood begin flowing. Flap some more… Stop; let the blood flow and so on for about 3 minutes on and off. Then a light free buzz on any note. Flap some more after then buzz again. Flap again then do some arpeggio buzzing. Flap some more the maybe some slow tonguing while buzzing.

    Next, take just your mouthpiece and buzz on any note that’s comfortable. Flap some more. Buzz the mouthpiece again doing some short gliss’es up and down! Flap some more… Insert mouthpiece and then a middle G softly lipping it up and down (Sharp and flat) until finding its center. Once you find the center add a nice hand vibrato… Flap some more. Then some light chromatics from middle C down to F#. Flap some more then some more light chromatics up and down to middle G. Done! Warming up is simply getting blood flow to your face and the lactic acid out.

    From this point we went into breathing… He had me stand up to watch my profile while playing just chromatics up to high C and down softly. He asked me why my shoulders were staying down. I told him that I am trying to keep them relaxed and that that has been pounded into me like a senseless beating for 30+ years! He replied, NO NO NO. First off, look at old pictures of Maynard while playing… His shoulders are so high they almost cover his ears. He mentioned some other high profile catz and when you really look at their bodies while they played, there shoulders were up. Basically, why keep your shoulders relaxed where they can be a burden to the top of your lungs! Utilize your entire lung then use your diaphragm up and in twice as much as your use to for compression. Do this for all volumes. Make’s sense. Actually doing it was another thing, but I made some positive strides and yes there was difference in stability. My stomach did hurt in the beginning so I was using a different set of muscles…
    Chop set, the most important aspect of playing the trumpet. We got out the visualizer. And he wanted to see what was going on in all registers. My aperture was for the most part pretty tight and I thought that that was the idea…. NO NO NO NO. First off he said I was not using enough pink! When he showed me with the visualizer his chops were rolled out and you could drive a bus through his aperture while he was blowing! Unbelievable to me… He said "the more pink you can use the more cushion you create. More cushion = much much more endurance. That’s how me and the rest of us, Bergeroyne, Arturo, Maynard, Cacia etc, can blow like this all night long"… As awkward as this was I was able to play a middle G then a low C that just slammed. Then he had me go to middle C then E – G – C - E – G Dubba C… It worked, while the tone was suspect as well as being very uncomfortable for obvious reasons. I understand it. I will dedicate 15 minutes a day to this and the breathing and he said after awhile it should work it’s away in to your everyday playing!

    We got into gear. As you all know I play the Stage 1 California Light… He played it and critiqued it. First off it’s a medium large and that’s too big for his taste. He thought the build quality was excellent but would have liked some standard bracing… His trumpet as most of you know is a Schilke S-42… Not quite, not even freaking close… He’s had the horn for 10 years, 50 modifications in the process mainly lead pipe and brace placement… He will be building his own horn not with Schilke but with a another gentlemen and I do not remember his name… Small and tight!

    Here it is in the nut shell. Because you can drive a bus through his aperture, the smaller and tighter the gear the easier it is. He was really passionate about this subject! His mouthpiece throat is a 30…. He looked through mine and said what the hell are you doing???? His sound is pretty big and focused obviously! Tight Mouthpiece and horn with a big bell...

    He also said that at times depending on the theater he’s playing in the guys in the band say they can’t hear him… He tells them, I’m not playing for you, I’m playing to the back of the room… This business with having sound around the front of your horn is for the dogs! A trumpet is built to project forward not around you… Leave it at that!

    In closing: He said, look: I’m not trying to push my ways on you! Today I simply told you what works for me and went down the line with name dropping all the biggies of our sport and said he got it from them! He said quite comfortably, why do you think we work all the best gigs and have to turn down work! He told me he would only like to see me again if I chose to apply what he showed me…


    Oh Yeah, the show was great and the other guys could blow as well.

    Thanks for reading,

    Last edited: Apr 24, 2007
  2. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

    May 11, 2005
    Metro Detroit

    Nice to hear from a top lead pro, there ARE different ways to do things!


  3. TrumpetEd

    TrumpetEd New Friend

    Feb 26, 2007
    Green Bay, WI

    With 35+ years of playing trumpet, I am one of Roger Ingram's students. I began studying with him in September 2006 and I get in a lesson with him every chance possible. His way of playing does work, but as he will tell you, you're not going to want to play like that in a symphony orchestra. Like you, I have been playing the way orchestral players have been teaching for so many years and I made a good living at it, but I could never get above a high "G". Now Gs and A-flats are solid. High A was always a breaking point for me and I had the hardest time hitting it. Now I can hit the A and am working on the B-flat, B and Double C. I'm hitting them, but they aren't notes I could use on a gig right now, but hopefully in time. I truly believe in Roger's way of playing as he has proven that it works. I have also spoken with Bobby Shew and Marvin Stamm and they speak highly of him. You can't ask for better testimonials than that. Roger doesn't say that his way is the only way, just another way, but he firmly believes in it as I do. I just wish one of my teachers could have turned me onto this way years ago. I too play a medium large bore trumpet. He actually likes my horn, but said he still has to work harder than on his. By the way, the gentleman he is working with on his trumpet is Steve Winans (aka Doctor Valve). Steve worked many years for Schilke under Renold Schilke, not the new management. I had some big time problems with my valves and after Steve overlapped them, I haven't had a problem since. He really knows his stuff. I am really excited to see what he and Roger come up with.


    ALLCHOPS Piano User

    Nov 14, 2003
    Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
    Well noted about the legit aspect... I forgot to mention that part as he did not demise the legit world for their teachings. He just felt really strong about the method to the madness of lead playing and high chops....

    Off to the dentist. I'll be back shortly to add more as things come to me....
    Again; As much pink as you can muster!

  5. rickperon

    rickperon New Friend

    Jan 17, 2007
    Tucson, AZ
    Well Tony, I think it's great that a player such as yourself feels there is still room for learning and growth. I would like to mention however (for those of you who have never heard Tony play) that I have been in the audience on more than several occasions and was thinking the same thing! Wow! this guy (Tony) has it figured out, and I don't! LOL! Thanks for sharing the story, very insightful, and a little surprising too. Could you please clarify for me what more pink means? - more upper lip? less? not sure what he means. Thanks!
    Rick Peron

    ALLCHOPS Piano User

    Nov 14, 2003
    Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

    Thanks for the kind comments... I practice long and hard daily... My feeling is that I am sometimes inconsistent in my approach that yes after many years of experience I've been able to mask for show biz reasons! Never letem see you sweat kinda of thing!

    I've been here on the TM since the beginning.. To my recoloection I've never really chimed in on chop discussions because I've always felt that I really didn't know what the hell I was talking about! I'll probably continue that belief forward. What I've written so far regarding this topic is just one of our industries best opinions and belief and how it relates to my personal issues with the trumpet... Nothing more, nothing less!

    I for the most part have never had what I cosider to be a useful lesson in my life. Infact, this was my first lesson in over 20 years My prof in college was 84 years old at the time God rest his peaceful soul! Need I say more... I took my natural drum corps developed chops if there is such a classification and went on the road. So for my entire career I've tried to figure things out on my own with some degree of success. I still feel that I don't have it figured out. That's what I told Roger. I think he enjoyed our lesson because I think he saw a person in front of him that has had some nice moments in his life professionaly but was in no way satisfied with personal results.
    Yes, I do have a strong range w/oodles of volume! Infact i was louder than him.... So what! I have been used for that purpose my whole life....

    Now, I can't play Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy with the tone it deserves. I use a fairly shallow mouthpiece and have my whole life... I guess I just won't let go of believing there is a way to get that lower middle register to bark like the old timers did with small pieces. I practice this constantly to no avail.

    Having said that: I rolled out a bit, opened the apeture and I have something started with the tone in that register after 1 day of working on it! It sounds like the older recordings where and in my opinion if you listen to them the trumpet was the best sounding instrument recorded. Fat and sassy I guess!

    What Roger means by pink: Try to get as much of your mouthpiece off of the white part which I guess is actually considered your face. By doing so the apeture opens naturally. This creates a larger cushion and surface area for the mouthpiece. The thicker the pad under your carpet the more comfortable it is on your feet! Again, smaller gear will give you back the neccessary backpressure to compensate for the larger apeture.

    I can tell you that 3 ocatve chromatics are clearer yet still very awkward....

    I'm messing with it! Who knows, Friday when it's gig time I just might toss my horn across the room! Just kidding Felix!:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

    Tony G
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2007
  7. wilcox96

    wilcox96 Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 31, 2005
    charlotte nc
    Thanks for taking the time to post this, Tony. I, too, have stood in front of Tony....and had my hair parted..haha. (hey,,at the time, my hair was "already" parted!!!... ?? gotta love the long hair days, right Tony?)... Anyway... your story is very similar to mine (the path taken to where you are today). Great that you took and got the chance to meet up with Roger.

    Most of what you chronicle makes sense to me (ie: the warm up, etc...). Still, some of the aperture concepts are making my head rattle. I guess it really has much to do with balance of chops & equipment.

    Thanks again, man....
  8. miles71

    miles71 Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 8, 2004
    I too am confused by the "more pink". As a teacher, I see kids using alot of pink and getting a horrible tone and having no real usable range. When they use more "face" it improves the control, tone, and range in both directions.

    Personally, I find I have a much fatter tone and more consistent range with more face in the mouthpiece. I really thin out if I let my lips separate to much.

    Hey, everyone has their way and whatever works for them may not work for others. As long as you sound good and arent hurting yourself do what gets the job done.

    ALLCHOPS Piano User

    Nov 14, 2003
    Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

    I agree with your statement... Here's the thing: He is a huge proponent of small gear.... Tight mouthpiece backbore (30 drill ) and a horn with a bore size of under .460! Thats where you get your feedback from to compensate for a large apeture. The students you notice playing like this are probably on standard out of the case mouthpieces which have deeper cup sizes as well as larger throats.

    The amount of compression he uses is way more than I'm use to. Infact, after 2 days of breathing and tightening up my core I do feel physically sore to a point.. I'm not hurting but I do feel like I've sparked some different muscles in the process...

  10. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    Obviously Roger Ingram is one of the top lead players in the world, so what he does works for him extremely well. He's incredible at what he does and a joy to listen to.

    I'm a bit concerned about a couple things with his approach; first would be the amount of daily work it most take to maintain the strength to "play on the pink" and to "keep your shoulders up". The physical toll would be too demanding for all but the most serious full time pro, I'm guessing.

    A second concern is the kind of tone produced with his embouchure and equipment. His tone is certianly fantastic on recordings where he's playing lead at forte and above in the upper range, what is it like if he were to play in a brass quintet, for example, or in a small intimate hall accompanying a chorale?

    My concerns are for students and amateurs who are so covetous of a pro lead player's range and endurance that they take to his approach whole heartedly and foresake all other aspects of their playing, much as many young trumpet players did (myself included) when MF was so hot in the 70's.

    I don't know - its just so opposed to what other top notch pros like our own Manny L. preach that its just hard to imagine it working for players who need to play any style in many different settings during a typical week of working gigs.

    Skeptical - (for those not named Roger, Maynard or Arturo, at least :) )

    Last edited: Apr 26, 2007

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