Mike Ponella Trumpet Player - New York, New York

Trumpet Player Mike Ponella's Clinic Notes

Regarding New York City, "In this city of musical variety, the New York trumpet player must wear many differing "hats." In my experience, the key to meeting the demands of today's music business is being prepared for any kind of gig and circumstance. Such preparation requires practice of a wide range of routines which connect with the varied styles of music.

A typical practice day for me consists of non-pressure exercises; pedal tones (from pedal-c to double high-c arpeggios); interval slurs, single, double and triple tonguing exercises, etudes, orchestral excerpts; solo pieces; any type of sightreading material; improvising; playing along with recordings (lead trumpet parts ); listening and learning standard tunes by memory including harmony parts (playing these on piano is helpful); writing original music. Also of importance is reviewing excerpts of the current work week. During the day, I make a point of practicing all of my instruments (Bb trumpet, C trumpet, piccolo trumpet, flugelhom, and cornet). This way I am more comfortable on each instrument and ready when it is time to use them.

Lead trumpet practice differs from jazz and legit! In general, I would suggest using practice routines to cover many areas. Start with full breathing, regardless if the note is loud, soft, short or long. Just let the air out faster or slower depending on the pitch. Also, use the tip of the tongue to articulate between the teeth. This will help to keep a consistent, free-blowing, resonant air stream, and faster tongue. Generally, you keep the embouchure pointing to the center of the lips ("muscle into the mouthpiece") for increased intensity, center, endurance and a non-pinched full sound. Breathe with the throat open (similar to taking a deep breath before swimming). For better resonance and projection, simply holding the trumpet straight out will help. Don't point into the music stand. Remember, you are playing to the audience.

I find that practicing with different mouthpieces is important. Since versatility calls for playing each style correctly. One can use a "legit," "jazz," and "lead" mouthpiece to "play in the style" comfortably. Why work harder using only one mouthpiece? I personally use three different mouthpieces differing only in cup shape for each style, not diameter. Being able to "play the notes" is one thing, being able to have the "right sound" is another. During any given week one might need different horns, mouthpieces, mutes and different cases in which to carry them. Of course, remembering all the right stuff ... all the time is, indeed, a tricky part of the free-lance trumpet profession! So, when one forgets to bring the proper mouthpiece or horn to a gig, being versatile takes on added meaning!

Trumpet Player Mike Ponella is an internationally recognized brass embouchure and jazz ensemble clinician. Brass classes and jazz ensemble master classes were recently performed with The Kyushu University Jazz Orchestra in Fukuoka, Japan and with The Nagasaki University Swing Boat Jazz Orchestra in Nagasaki, Japan. These clinics were so well received that Mike was asked to return to Japan soon to continue with his teaching/masterclass work. Please contact Mike regarding your needs..

Mike Ponella Trumpet Player and Clinician

Trumpet Artist Mike Ponella
Trumpet Clinics In Japan