Wayne Cameron’s unique teaching style and uncanny insight into diagnosing and solving problems encountered by trumpeters has prompted one former Peabody colleague to call Mr. Cameron, “A teacher’s teacher!”
Trumpet Teaching Philosophy
Evaluating students as individuals, care must be taken to pinpoint weaknesses in each student. Even though a student may have achieved some measure of success, every aspect of his playing must be continually re-evaluated to seek out every ”loose end” no matter how small and tie it off! The student must be taught to recognize the difference between a “symptom” and “cause”. Treating the symptoms of a problem rather than the cause of the problem is the overwhelming mistake many players make. For example, a tight throat is a symptom of a problem. Working to simply relax the throat without first eliminating what is causing it in the first place will render only partial or no success. It’s the same with too much mouthpiece pressure. Excessive mouthpiece pressure is a symptom of a much more fundamental embouchure problem that cannot be addressed successfully until the “cause” is first dealt with.
We must understand that all those who are successful playing trumpet (especially classical trumpet) are fundamentally doing the same things. The problem is perception! Since almost all players seem to have a different perception of how they play, there seems to be many “methods” to choose from. This is very confusing for students! It is my goal to distill the mechanics of great playing down into a concise yet comprehensive curriculum that will enable my students to fulfill their personal potential and become accomplished performers and great teachers.
These are the most common problems that students who come to me have:
- Lack of range and endurance
- Embouchure—change or not?
- Lack of consistency
- Feeling on a given high note that a ½ step higher is higher than a ½ step
- Tight throat
- Excessive mouthpiece pressure
- Feeling of having to reset embouchure going from middle register into high register
- Lip slurs are difficult
- Difficulties going into the low register from mid or high register
- Slow or unresponsive double and triple tonguing
- Difficulty double or triple tonguing above the staff
- Difficulty changing between different keyed trumpets
- Difficulty with wide interval leaps, especially going up
- Unfocused tone
- Spread tone
- Stage fright, dry mouth, lack of concentration during performance
- Improper air support
If you recognize yourself on this list, feel assured that insight into solving these concerns is available. Contact Me
“BLOWN-OUT CHOPS ” In November 1989, Mr. Cameron ruptured his obicularis just to the left of the mouthpiece rim on his top lip. This is sometimes called the “Sachmo Syndrome,” or “blown-out chops.” In 1991 he underwent surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital to repair the damage. He has had a very successful recovery and would be happy to counsel any brass player who has had this problem or thinks he has this problem.
CAMERON’S LAW This is a checklist of fundamental mechanics trumpeters must use in order to perform with ease and efficiency. Review these daily as you warm up. Choose warm up materials that will help you develop and coordinate these mechanics into a smooth and consistent routine. Your ultimate goal is for all these factors to work effortlessly, without much thought. Please make a copy to keep in your case.
Before you put the mouthpiece on your lips…
- Set your embouchure firm
- Pucker towards the Center
- Flat Chin
Then make sure you…
- Breathe from the Bottom
- Blow from the Bottom
- Arch your tongue, say “eee”
- Think Forward