Friday, June 9 - 9:30 am.
Patrick Hession - The Trumpet is a Soprano Instrument
Chuck Tumlinson, reporter
Patrick Hession has been Maynard Ferguson's lead player the past 6 years. His morning clinic opened with a brief performance of Ferguson's solo on Macarthur Park in typical dramatic style. He then introduced himself and related his life story, including early influences (starting with Maynard and including Maurice André, Harry James, and Bill Chase) and musical associations.
The clinic consisted mostly of helpful tips for the trumpet player, particularly in a lead and high note context. He emphasized using the body while playing to help keep the chops strong. The body can work when fatigued, but the chops cannot. He also emphasized pacing and waiting for the peak in a long musical phrase, both for musical and endurance purposes.
Hession related some things he learned in his college marching band years that have continued to help, such as playing the mouthpiece into gloves or a cloth to warm up. He then played the mouthpiece along with recordings (particularly Maynard) to help internalize the music. He also recommends practicing shakes and lip trills into a cloth.
He addressed vibrato and the Harry James vibrato that sounded somewhere between a vibrato and a shake. He also advocates adding lip trills to pretty melodies. He related advice from Maynard that the ability to play with vibrato in upper register is an indication that you are not using too much pressure.
The clinic included several ideas for high range playing. If you improve in the normal range, this will also help your higher range. Also practice pretty melodies in higher keys. Either practice up in half steps, or take those melodies up an octave. (Hession learned this from Maynard!).
These are just a few of the ideas that Patrick Hession imparted to the receptive audience. He is obviously a strong player with an easygoing, pleasant personality. Hession is a goldmine with regard to his perceptive insights in the lead and bravura tradition of trumpet playing.