O.J.'s Trumpet Page Interview

Trumpeting by Nature

Book cover
Jeanne G. Pocious

An interview with Jeanne G. Pocious

In 1998, I had an interview with trumpeter Jeanne G. Pocious. It was called "The CHOP DOC speaks".

Good "chops"  is a nickname among brass players for having a good embouchure - in other words to be able to play well.  Many  brass players have  problems  with their "chops" and this is why some of them seek out  brass teachers like Jeanne. There are not very many teachers like her and if you do not live close to Jeanne in the USA, it can be difficult to get direct help. Luckily, we now all can learn from Jeanne by getting her newly published book "Trumpeting by Nature". On the back cover of the book you find the following description:

Discover the secrets to playing trumpet with ease, efficiency, control and finess. Trumpet Chop Doc Jeanne G. Pocius shares her experience and wisdom about trumpet playing, performing, and teaching.

In March 2008, I had a "cybertalk" with Jeanne about
"Trumpeting by Nature".

Before we start talking about the book, could you tell us a briefly about your background as a trumpeter and teacher?
Of course, much of this we covered in your interview, The CHOP DOC speaks!
Here is a briefer synopsis:
I began playing trumpet at the age of seven, and was performing professionally by the age of 10, and teaching professionally by the age of 12.  I have done all types of playing, from solo work in churches and with bands and orchestras, to lead trumpet in big bands, to brass quintet and principal trumpet in orchestras.  I've also done a fair amount of traditional jazz combo work, although I don't consider myself a jazz improviser, but a lead trumpeter who fakes traditional jazz a bit. ;^)
I've also been delighted to work as lead trumpet with a number of name acts through the years, as well as stints with the Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers' circus band and the American Musical Theater (an off-off- broadway company that specialized in true-to-form revivals of popular American musical theater productions).
I began teaching in 1970, with two adult amateurs and a 7 year old beginner with asthma as my first students.  Through the years I have taught anywhere from 20 private students per week to more than 100 students in a week. Besides teaching trumpet, I also teach the other brasses and some woodwinds. 
I have always been fascinated with the embouchure, and helping trumpeters to find more efficient ways to use their chops.  So many trumpeters use excess pressure, injure their lips and then come to me looking for a quick fix that wouldn't have been necessary if they had been taught to play properly from the beginning!
I've often had professionals with lip injuries consult me, as well as many CBP's (comeback players), amateurs and students of the trumpet (ages 5 through 95 years of age!).
How did this book project start?
Through the years, many of my students have commented on the different nature of many of my concepts of embouchure, music interpretation and teaching. Two years ago, several of them ganged up on me and held me hostage until I agreed to write the book (just kidding about the hostage holding: they DID pressure me pretty strongly, though!).
I'd created Encore files of exercises and the warmup routine I recommend (now known as the DAILY DIAGNOSTIC CHOPCHECKTM), and done a lot of posting to TPIN (Michael Anderson's listserv for trumpeters, the TRUMPET PLAYERS' INTERNATIONAL NETWORK, www.tpin.org ).
So writing the book became a matter of compiling a lot of previously written material as well as writing some new material, in an attempt to anticipate questions that readers might face in their practicing.
How is the book organised?
The book is in 6 X 9 inch format (available in soft or hard cover or e-edition or kindle edition), and is set into chapters. I am in the process of creating an index, which has been suggested by a number of readers (there is a comprehensive table of contents included).
It also contains several appendices, including the DAILY DIAGNOSTIC CHOPCHECK, as well as some additional reading suggestions and websites.

CHOPCHECKTM, what is that?
The CHOPCHECKTM is a daily diagnostic tool that gives you a daily evaluation of your chops/embouchure condition and assists you in preparing for the playing you'll need to do in a given day or evening.
Each step is designed to help you judge whether you need to repeat an exercise or you are ready to progess into the next exercise.
I suggest doing the CHOPCHECKTM even on days when you think you have no time to play, as it helps to condition you for playing readiness. It works best when done twice or more often per day.
I recommend doing the CHOPCHECKTM each time you've been away from the horn for more than 30 minutes at a time, although it can be shortened as necessary.

Who would benefit from this book, and how should they use it?
Any trumpet player (for that matter any brass player), from beginner to amateur to comeback player to professional, could benefit from TRUMPETING BY NATURE. I recommend people keep it in their cases to read on breaks on gigs, for example.
It is possible to read it through from cover to cover, but I think the best results come from working through the suggestions, chapter by chapter.
Applying changes gradually WILL help any player become more efficient in their approach to playing the trumpet, and will increase their range, their endurance and their versatility accordingly!

Finally, where can people get the book?
The book is available through:
www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, or directly from the publisher at www.outskirtspress.com

o.j. 2008