Trumpeting by Nature
An interview with Jeanne G. Pocious
In 1998, I had an
interview with trumpeter Jeanne G. Pocious. It was called "The CHOP DOC
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
do not live close to Jeanne in the USA, it can be difficult to get
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
Before we start talking about
the book, could you tell us a briefly about your background as a
Of course, much
of this we covered in your interview, The CHOP DOC
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!).
did this book project start?
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.
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
would benefit from this book, and how should they use it?
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
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!
where can people get the book?
is available through:
or directly from the publisher at www.outskirtspress.com