Trumpet playing - trumpet lessons and trumpet books by Clint Pops McLaughlin - Check our trumpet lessons our online trumpet lessons and our trumpet books.


My references come from real players that you have heard of.
I met "POPS" on the Internet and he helped me through some frustrating problems that I was struggling with on the horn.
Herb Alpert
Pops is one cool trumpet teacher. Here I am, a long time student of Claude Gordon and what's my problem?? Tongue levels!! Pops diagnosed me right away and helped me out tremendously in a short time. Thanks!!~
Eric Bolvin
Hey Pops, keep up the good work. Even us "old pros" need a little help every now and then. I check in with your site regularly. Thanks.
Bill Churchville
Pops: I'm so glad I got your books - some great stuff in there for every trumpet player!!! Keep up the great work!!!
Kiku Collins
Many, many thanks to you and your knowledge of the trumpet and the embouchure. It has helped me immeasurably since my lesson with you!
Mark Curry
Pops: You have single-handedly given me the confidence and the ability to meet - EXCEED my wildest dreams. When I first came to you I never would have believed I would tour with Maynard Ferguson!!!
Keith Fiala
"Clint McLaughlin is one of the leading experts on embouchure. His books discuss many of the embouchures used by leading trumpet players. I consider his publications excellent resources!"
David Hickman
It was only after reading/playing your books, did I get the range thing!
Roddy Lewis
Check out Pop's trumpet books. This guy knows what he is talking about and can write it!!!! Thanks for all your intelligent advice.
Jim Manley
I think you're doing a great service for the brass community. I once heard that the art of teaching is in finding out how to explain the same thing in different ways to have it hit home for each individual student.
Matt von Roderick
You have said two things which have really helped me and have brought about an instant improvement in my trumpet playing. It's all 20% easier! So thanks again for your positive contribution to the brass world.
Eddie Severn
I have also been in the ITG Journal multiple times and written about in several books.

When 1 person writes to tell you that you changed their life; it feels great.
When hundreds of people write to tell you and you receive articles from magazines telling the world that you changed their life; well it is humbling.

I am sharing these with you because the people who wrote these want to share their experiences and they want others to have the same experience.

These people helped me write my books by submitting chapters and have given endorsements.

I met "POPS" on the Internet and he helped me through some frustrating problems that I was struggling with on the horn.
Herb Alpert
..... Sold 80 Million records, Grammy winner, star on Hollywood walk of fame.

Lynn Asper: Author of; A Physical Approach to Playing the Trumpet; Trumpet Professor @ Grand Rapids Community College -

Thanks for the opportunity to be in your book.
Rick Baptist - Los Angeles Studio Trumpet player with 850 Movie and over 1000 TV and cartoon recordings.

Just wanted to thank you for the impromptu lesson you gave me in Waxahachie, TX. After a couple of weeks of practice I found myself being able to:
BUZZ up to and beyond high C, making the upper range on the horn so much easier.
MINIMIZING MOVEMENT which allowed me to have increased flexibility in all registers of the instrument.
SETTING MY CHOPS for the middle or upper part of my range thus not having to work so hard overall when going from low passages to high.
YOU AND MICHAEL SACHS are the two people most responsible for changing my sound and physical approach to the instrument and you did it in one lesson!
Darryl Bayer......

John Bennett: 33 years playing lead trumpet in Vegas. Over 20,000 Shows

Seneca Black: Trumpet @ Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra; -

Pops is one cool trumpet teacher. Here I am, a long time student of Claude Gordon and what's my problem?? Tongue levels!! Pops diagnosed me right away and helped me out tremendously in a short time. And he didn't even have to change my embouchure!"
and later
Doing great man! Your stuff really helped me. The tongue level thing is great. Guess I just kind of lost my way with it over the years since I did study with Claude. Anyway, working on a new book for students devoted entirely to tongue levels. Will give you props of course!
Eric Bolvin ..... Editor of Studio column for "ITG Journal", author "Tongue Level & Air"

Joseph Bowman: Trumpet Professor @ Mahidol University College of Music - Host of 2005 International Trumpet Guild convention

Jim Buckner: Trumpet Professor @ Henderson State University; -

Sam Burtis: Author of; The American Trombone;

Barbara Butler: Trumpet Professor @ Northwestern University - wind_perc4.html

I was truly honored to have been asked by you to contribute to your trumpet book. I was named a Bach performing artist several months ago, it was in some part due to my contribution to your book. Thanks again,
David Champouillon: Trumpet Professor @ East Tennessee State University; -;

This is GREAT ! Trumpet 101.
If you're having trouble with endurance... listen and practice this.
Thanks Pops for spreading the gospel.
and later
Hey Pops, keep up the good work. Even us "old pros" need a little help every now and then. I check in with your site regularly. Thanks.
Bill Churchville ..... 6 Tours with Tower of Power.

Thanks for asking all of us to contribute to such an interesting study. I hope that we all learn something from the collection of ideas and opinions.
Kevin Cobb Trumpet @ American Brass Quintet -

Pops: I'm so glad I got your books - some great stuff in there for every trumpet player!!! Keep up the great work!!!
Kiku Collins ..... Recordings, tours with Beyonce, Michael Bolton...

Many, many thanks to you and your knowledge of the trumpet and the embouchure. It has helped me immeasurably since my lesson with you!
Mark Curry - Curry Precision Mouthpieces - and former lead trumpet player with Ray Charles.

John Daniel: Trumpet Professor @ Lawrence University -

Charles Decker: Trumpet Professor @ Tennessee Technological University -

I've been a pro brass player for nearly 25 years, Pops' tips and advice are always well thought out, useful, and lacking in the emotionalism, personal bias and hyperbole that are so common on the net. He's definitely an experienced trumpet player and teacher, and a resource to be valued.
Carl Dershem

Vince DiMartino: Trumpet Guild President 2002; Trumpet Professor @ Centre College -

Nick Drozdoff: Author of;Embouchure Design; Former lead trumpet with Maynard Ferguson -

When it comes to trumpet pedagogy (and my doctorate was in trumpet performance and pedagogy) Pops' information is excellent. Regards,
Bryan Edgett - Trumpet Professor @ Eastern University - music/BryanEdgett.html

Jon Faddis: Trumpet Professor @ Purchase College, High Note Trumpet Artist -

Pops: You have single-handedly given me the confidence and the ability to meet - EXCEED my wildest dreams. When I first came to you I never would have believed I would tour with Maynard Ferguson!!!
Keith Fiala ..... Formerly with Maynard Ferguson, author of "Secrets To Efficient Brass Playing"

Mic Gillette: Former Trumpet @ Tower of Power 19 years - -"

Pops, you're a wealth of information on trumpet equipment & embouchure. I'm writing a new textbook for future public school music teachers (published by Prentice Hall), I'd like to quote you: Thanks.
Thomas W. Goolsby, Coordinator Music Education Georgia State University -

George Graham: Academy Awards Trumpet Player -

Matt Graves: Author of; Fundamental Flexibility Studies; -

Thanks for recommending the Berp. It seems to fit very well with your approach to practicing the trumpet.
Mario Guarneri - Trumpet fifteen seasons with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and hundreds of T.V. and motion picture soundtracks -

Nick Hansinger: Assistant Personnel Manager, Detroit Symphony Orchestra

Pops; Your book is just fantastic and thank you for inviting me to offer up some of my thoughts on the subject. Congratulations on a job well done.
John Haynie - Author of "How to Play High Notes, Low Notes and All Those In Between". Professor Emeritus of Trumpet @ University of North Texas 1950-1990

G's on command and an A at one point (yeah, it was written) playing lead on a gig yesterday! Pops for President!!
Jeff Helgesen ... Formerly with Ray Charles

"Clint McLaughlin is one of the leading experts on embouchure. His books discuss many of the embouchures used by leading trumpet players. I consider his publications excellent resources!"
David Hickman Author of the new book "Trumpet Pedagogy".
David Hickman is a Regents' Professor of trumpet at Arizona State University, recording artist, author, past President of the International Trumpet Guild, founder of Summit Brass and as a trumpet virtuoso has appeared with over 400 orchestras around the world.

Clyde Hunt: Author of; Sail The Seven C's; ; Many CDs of trumpet Methods like Brandt or Schlossberg -

International Trumpet Guild Journal review of "Trumpet FAQ's". From a teaching standpoint, the questions asked are interesting, not only with respect to the various levels of performance, but in how topics are addressed by the author. Many answers are based on the philosophies of the late Don (Jake) Jacoby and his well known teachings and methodology.
Full review found in Vol. 26, No. 2 January 2002 Trumpet Guild Journal

"Congratulations to Clint McLaughlin for this informative collection of professional opinions. "The Pros Talk Embouchure" is a helpful tool for better understanding both the differences and the common ground relating to the embouchure. It will hopefully lead to further candid discussions about this vital aspect of trumpet/brass performance.
Trumpet Guild Journal June 2004 -

Walt Johnson: Author of; Double High C in Ten Minutes; Trumpet high note artist; replaced Bill Chase on his band; many movie soundtracks -

All the air and chops instruction is right on...just like Jake would've done it!
John Julian - Long time trumpet student of Don Jacoby

It is absolutely wonderful!!! May be the most complete book on embouchure ever compiled. You have done trumpet players a wonderful service!
Bill Knevitt - Author of several trumpet method books including: "The Truth About How To Play Double High C On Trumpet". -

John LaBarbera: Trumpet with Buddy Rich band; Professor @ University of Louisville -

Lucinda Lewis: New Jersey Symphony; Author of; Broken Embouchures; -

It was only after reading/playing your books, did I get the range thing! I assure you that it was only your book (and Mr. Jacoby's) which gave me the help I needed.
Roddy Lewis - Author of "Embouchure Enhancement" vol 1,2 and 3, 12 years playing trumpet in the West End in London - http://www.R-o-d-d-y-T-r-u-m-p-e-t.cC

John Lynch: Author of; A New Approach to Altissimo Trumpet Playing; Inventor of the "Asymmetric trumpet mouthpiece; -

Check out Pop's trumpet books. This guy knows what he is talking about and can write it!!!! Thanks for all your intelligent advice.
Jim Manley High Note Trumpet Artist -

Gordon Mathie: Author of; The Trumpet Teacher's Guide; & Drudgeries; (Routines for advanced wind players); Professor Emeritus ofbutton19b Trumpet @ Crane School of Music

Larry Meregillano: Played with Truth, Disland, Temptations and others.

If they don't get it from reading this; then they should take up the sax.
Leon Merian - Author of "Trumpet Isometrics", "The Man Behind the Horn"; Jet-tone personal trumpet mouthpieces. -

Gary Mortenson: Trumpet Professor @ Kansas State University, Publications Editor Trumpet Guild -

Dennis Najoom: Principal Trumpet @ Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Trumpet Professor @ University of Wisconsin � Milwaukee; Trumpet Leadpipes and mouthpieces -

Vaughn Nark: 20 years lead trumpet with Airmen of Note -

I have played trumpet with Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson, and Buddy Rich. I was on Stan's band with Mike Vax and Jay Saunders. I've played trumpet at Universal studios on shows such as "Hawaii 5-0", "Gunsmoke", "Quincy", and "Incredible Hulk". I am delighted, and also more than just a bit nervous, to have a chance to share my thoughts on embouchure in such distinguished company.
Dennis Noday - author of "High Velocity Trumpet Playing" -

Flip Oakes: Wild Thing Trumpet - (This is the best Trumpet I have ever played. Pops)

Jim Olcott: Trumpet Professor @ Miami University, Former Trumpet Guild President -

Don't waste any more time searching for the *ultimate guide to trumpet playing*. It has already been done.
Jeanne G Pocius - Author of new book "Trumpeting by Nature", Teacher, Player and trumpet embouchure clinician -

Chase Sanborn: Author of "Brass Tactics", "Brass Tactics Companion" & "Jazz Tactics"; Trumpet Artist; mouthpieces; Professor @ University of Toronto -

Arturo Sandoval: twelve Grammy nominations for trumpet playing; Trumpet Professor @ Florida International University -

Carl Saunders: Played trumpet with Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson, Harry James -

Jay Saunders: Trumpet with Stan Kenton, Army band in D.C.; TV and movies - Professor @ UNT -;

You have said two things which have really helped me and have brought about an instant improvement in my trumpet playing. It's all 20% easier! So thanks again for your positive contribution to the brass world.
Eddie Severn - Author of "Trumpet Solutions" and European trumpet artist. -

I think you're doing a great service for the brass community. I once heard that the art of teaching is in finding out how to explain the same thing in different ways to have it hit home for each individual student.
Matt Shulman; Trumpet Player, Composer, Inventor of the ShulmanSystem for Brass -

Karl Sievers: Trumpet Professor @ OU School of Music, Principal Trumpet Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Board of Directors Trumpet Guild - -

"After nearly thirty years of pro and semi-pro trumpet playing, I thought I had seen it all. Clint is, without a doubt, a pro's pro! His "cyber teaching" has made him a living legend to all of us who have benefited from his vast knowledge of brass playing. "Thanks Clint!"
Don Smith

Richard Smith: Smith Watkins Trumpet -

Dave Stahl: Lead Trumpet with Woody Herman, Count Basie, Buddy Rich -

Marvin Stamm: Trumpet with Stan Kenton and Woody Herman bands -

Michael Stewart: Author of; Courting the Upper Register; - -

Andrea Tofanelli: Italian High Note Trumpet Artist; many TV shows in Europe - -

Jon Trimble: Lead in several house shows in Branson MO.

Mike Vax: Lead Trumpet with Stan Kenton; Yamaha Trumpet model and mouthpieces. Recorded over 70 Albums - -

Robert Weast: Professor Emeritus of Trumpet @ Drake University; Author of; Keys to Natural Performance; and Trumpet Players, Principles, Quotes and Commentary of Trumpet Players and Pedagogues From 1584 to the Present.

From time to time someone will ask me if my material/lessons would be of any benefit to a "serious" or "legit" player. Some even think that strenuous lessons might ruin them intrue terms of tone, flexibility... So I asked a man who is a College teacher, symphonic player and ITG presenter if he had experienced anything like this from the lesson I gave him.
Here is his reply.

OK, let me respond as a college trumpet teacher who has 35 years of teaching under his belt:


In order to play higher notes on the trumpet, you need to make the air go faster. This is just physics! The rule applies to "serious" trumpet players, "legit" trumpet players, "commercial" trumpet players, "lead" trumpet players, "jazz" trumpet players, "Dixieland" trumpet players, and even "country and western" trumpet players! You make the air go faster by blowing harder, by making your embouchure compress the air more, or by changing the size of the oral cavity inside your mouth. If you receive information that will help you do that, you will play higher and/or with greater endurance on the trumpet. The person who gives you that information doesn't even have to be a wind instrument player. Carmine Caruso didn't play the trumpet.

This attitude of someone "ruining" you may have several sources. One might be that people want to learn from someone who has the right pedigree. The only people who can possibly know anything are the people who teach at reputable universities, and have a Dr. in front of their name.

Let's see. That means that guys like Don Jacoby, Arnold Jacobs, and Phil Farkas didn't know what they were doing, right? None of those guys had an earned DMA.

Also, in order to be "ruined" by someone else, you have to give them complete control of yourself. You must be a willing participant, and have no mind of your own. This reduces learning to a process whereby one person simply pours knowledge into someone else's brain, and that "someone else" simply regurgitates the information forever after!

I prefer getting as much information as I can about something, and then sitting down and assimilating that information until I understand how it works, and how it applies to me. This process can take years, and it means that a lot of it is up to me! I believe, however, that learning this way leads to a deeper understanding, and it also happens to be a lot more fun! You get to have "ah ha!" experiences that way. (Oh! THAT'S what he meant!)

I have already gotten a boost in range and endurance from the one session that I had with you, and several of my students have gotten a similar boost. Pops keep putting that information out there.
James R. West
Louisiana State University -
James West (Associate Professor of Trumpet). Mr. West has been at Louisiana State University since 1978, and began his career teaching trumpet at Arkansas Polytechnic College in the fall of 1969. Mr. West is currently the state chairperson of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors in Louisiana. He is Principal Trumpet with the Baton Rouge Symphony, and was the conference chairperson for the 1991 meeting of the International Trumpet Guild, and has presented clinics at several ITG conferences.

Rich Wetzel: The Army Band, 4 Tops, Wayne Newton and his own band Groovin Higher Jazz Orchestra. -

John L. Worley, Jr.: Trumpet Professor @ San Francisco State University -

Pops; My daughter in Las Vegas sent me this email, titled as "Inspirational". It was in an internet magazine. When I saw your name, I had to send it to you. Thought you might want to know that you are a positive influence in the world.

Never Give Up!
Ever since I was a little boy, I've known in my heart that I wanted to be a professional trumpet player. Pretty much everyone discouraged the idea because "the music business is tough to break into" I was told.

Even after receiving a full-ride scholarship to UT, Austin to study with Raymond Crissara, I was told "you won't last". After my second semester at UT, I received a letter from the University stating that my "full-ride" scholarship funding had been pulled by the Texas keep instate kids instate, and undergrad out of staters paying some or full tuition.

Being young, and hearing all my life that music was a bad choice, I too believed that music was too hard to break in to. So - I set out into the world, and found a steady "day job".
Finding myself locked into a career with a LD telephone provider and NOT playing at all, I was miserable! I gave up my "BIG" dream to become just another worker bee in a huge hive we call society.
2 years of this "worker bee syndrome" went by before I even looked at my trumpet again. Feeling lost, miserable, and out of sorts, I began to incorporate practice into my daily routine again.
A year later, I was auditioned to join a band just starting out that would play R&B, Funk, and Soul.........called Memphis Train. I was hired!

9 years later, this band would become the mainstay of my income, and help me realize my life long dream! I AM a full time professional trumpet player and private instructor!

I was given an article about a man in Grand Prairie, TX by the name of Clint "Pops" McLaughlin. He was a private teacher able to help trumpet players fix "high note" problems. My first session with Pops was a 4 hour long butt kicker! But come to fi nd out, the biggest hurdle I had to overcome, was my state of mind. I believed that I was no good, and that I couldn't do what I really wanted to do...........but refused to give up. Since changing my outlook, I have more than exceeded my playing goals, and have set new standards for myself!
1. NEVER give up - failure comes when you stop trying!
2. Be nice, but not a pushover - no one likes to work with an ego-maniac or a whiny child!
3. Think Positive - reach for solutions, don't dwell on problems!
4. Humor & Laughter = a smile. I have fixed more problems with a smile than I could shake a stick at!
5. Eat your vegetables!!!!
Keith Fiala....... Professional Musician

Hi Pops,
Thanks for the note and also all your intelligent advice on TPIN. I do not know how you find the time! Have a great holiday and NY-let's hope the Y2K bug improves everyone's playing!
Jim Manley

I've taken several lesson with Pops over the last four or five months and feel I have to speak up. I think you have some of the same misconceptions about him that many people have about your teacher, Claude Gordon.
Clint is more than a chop doctor.
Yes, I was skeptical at first also, but I've heard him play a triple c. And he immediately pointed out that you can't really play music up there, its just a demonstration of the possibilities once you learn to play efficiently. But even if he didn't have high chops, or for that matter play at, all my lessons have been well worth the two and half hour drive through Dallas rush hour traffic (Why do they call it rush hour if nothing is moving at all for miles in any direction?).
What did we work on? Lyric playing, extremely soft playing, ear training, one of the Williams concertos, relaxing and enjoying the horn again (the next step in my recovery from attending North Texas). No, he didn't try to convert me to the _________ embouchure. For that matter he didn't tell me what type of embouchure I play on and frankly I don't care, the exercises he has me play always get results. And yes, when our schedules converge I plan to go back and study more.
Best wishes,
Matt Stock

Printed in the July 2001 edition of the International Musician.

By Len Bergantino, Ed.D., A.B.P.P, member Local 47

The Trumpet high register has always been a problem for me. My quest began with Jimmy Gozzo, in 1962. Jimmy was Conrad Gozzo's father, the greatest lead player of all.

Throug*1 p: Author of br: Lead in several house shows in Branson MO.h much diligent work and study with some very excellent trumpet players among them Frank Szabo and Charlie Davis; I was able to develop to a point of a good high E on the stand and an F sharp every day when practicing, with a once in a while G above high C in the practice room.

In a rehearsal band, I had the unusual experience of sitting next to a very likable and benevolent lead trumpet player, Rex Merriweather, who played second while I played lead, so as to develop his capacity to solo. I said to him, "Look, I like high notes and I have no problems with you playing as high as you want to keep your own chops in shape, even though I am playing the lead book" Invariably, whatever I played, he could take up an octave whenever he wanted to. I used to delight in his ability to do this.

Rex said to me, "I went to study with Pops McLaughlin in Grand Prairie, Texas, and he increased my range an octave in about two 8-hour days." I told him I didn't think I had the endurance to have such long sessions. He said, "You ought to do it. He increased my range by an octave and I have no mental limitations as to how high I can play. High register is a state of mind."

Then he said the key motivating words, "Hey, Pops McLaughlin is very sick He may not live too long If you are going to do it, it had better be soon."

I had previously called Clint McLaughlin and sent for three books he had written. My experience as a clinical psychologist for 30 years told me that he was obsessive and had devoted his life to figuring out more details about the high register than anyone had exposed me to.

Yet, others who had heard of him were skeptical. "Well, he isn't a great trumpet player like the others you have studied with," they'd say. "What makes him think he can teach?"

I called Pops and set things up for Wednesday through Sunday. He turned out to be good company, too.

As a psychologist, trained in the '60s and '70s, I had attended marathons which were intended to break down the resistance by having group psychotherapy for long hours, and sometimes for three days. This trumpet experience was like those marathons in that it was dealing with my mental and physical resistance.

I had heard of people who were great teachers who were not particularly great trumpet players, such as Carmine Caruso a saxophone player from New York; Clint McLaughlin is one of these and maybe one-of-a-kind in this day and age.

He had a double major in college of music and physics. The physics part, I think, was a major factor in his ability to pay attention to problems and resistance as they arose through about 26 hours of lessons in five days and to find "immediate relief"; in terms of a solution to the problem.

This was very different for me. He knew what to do to fix it right on the spot and then I played differently.

The highest note I ever hit was an A above high C prior to working with Pops. During these five days, I hit three double high Cs, one screaming double E flat and one double D.

Further, he gave me the tools to carry on the work and develop the range and power from that point, and to do it in the context of actually playing music and songs, something I hadn't done in the five years since I took on the task of trying to be a superman in my mid-50s.

I am writing this short article about Pops McLaughlin and it was unsolicited; because the trumpet high register he helped me achieve is something that a person would be unlikely to come upon of their own accord, and if they did, they wouldn't believe it was possible.

Just a side note he went up to triple high C several times while I was there.

P.S. Another unusual thing was that Clint McLaughlin took lessons from Don "Jake" Jacoby . . . on giving trumpet lessons, not on playing trumpet!
Len Bergantino, Ed.D.,

My lesson with Jim Manley excerpt:
by Spencer Hager Jr.
Jim explained why some players need to do pedals to get their air & embouchure working right & some folks like Maynard & Pops don't.
He had lots of kind words to say about Pops & said a student of his took a lesson from Pops & was very impressed with Pops playing.
I throw that in because Jim explained to me why some of the different opinions about the use of pedal tones & many other things concerning trumpet playing are out there.
Spencer Hager Jr.

From: Rex Merriweather
The lessons are doing great. I can now keep my teeth apart to "D" over high "C". Because of my playing schedule, I made this change gradually. I shocked a few band mates after a show one night as I glided easily up to and just over triple high "C"! It really helped me to except the fact that I could do it, hearing you play it.

I wanted to thank you for the copy of your book. I have been using all three regularly and love the results!

Mean while I am working hard to finish my C.D. I promised Nick Drozdoff a tune to use on his "Tpin" C.D. And I am incorporating some EXTREME upper register melodies similar to those found in " The Next Level" into a tune I wrote for this album. I took your advice and have started incorporating some very high, but pretty, classical works into the jazz and rock.

I have been stiring a little attention your way with other trumpeters that are hearing me play. I'm not sure whether its the clear and loud triple high c's, or the style of my soloing (blistering then melodic way up high) in any event you should be getting some visiters to your web page and E-mail from some.

As you might tell, I am feeling great about my playing as my confidence level is the highest it has ever been.
I am still amazed at how little work it is taking to play this way. Now I can sit back, relax and truly enjoy playing my horn. ......Rex

P.S. You are a trumpet god, well thats what I tell everyone!

In 1979, as a sophomore in college, I received a call from an internationally touring jazz/pop band, asking if I'd be willing to leave school for a two-year tour. Interestingly, they took a chance on me without an audition, based on the recommendation of a keyboard player whose advise they trusted. I had two days to answer them, and five days before I had to fly to San Diego from my home in Louisiana, for a marathon crash-course rehearsal that preceded the first nine-month non-stop leg of the tour. (The emergency need for a replacement lead player was due to the fact that the previous guy ran off with one of the vocalists, got married, and gave up the road life.)

At first, my playing was impressive to the band, and especially to the woodwind guy. (This was fortunate for me, as he had not only lost a great player standing beside him every night, but also lost his best friend to the wiles of that evil soprano seductress who enticed his partner away.) But, the sudden change in my playing and practice routine, not to mention the grueling travel schedule began to take its toll on me. I was over-playing and under-resting. I was the only trumpet, with a woodwind player and bone man. Unlike all the years of section playing in school, I had no one to hide behind when fatigue set in. Even at 19 years of age, a guy needs a break. We were playing 6 nights a week, sometimes 2 or 3 shows a night.

About 8 or 9 weeks into the tour I was beginning to develop severe tone problems, and nightly my range was becoming more inconsistent. I don't remember the name of the guy who saved the day, but he was invited by our woodwind guy to one of our shows in the SF Bay area, specifically to hear me, and assess my situation. He had played lead for Stan Kenton, and had been a student of Claude Gordon. (On a side note, he told me that CG had made him stop playing for 6 months before he would take him on as a student.) Anyway, he convinced me that I needed to get CG's SA, and start a daily regimen of pedal tones. Here comes the irony. It worked . . . but I hated the process, with a passion! My tone and range fairly quickly returned, but I have to say that there is one quote from CG's book that I wish I'd NEVER read . . . "There is no such thing as 'no pressure,' and it is beneficial to dismiss the subject from your mind." - (Claude Gordon)

Well, I NOW think I understand what he was trying to communicate, but from that day forward I became an "ultra-pressure" player for the remainder of not only those two grueling years, but also up until an "accident" that pre-maturely ended my professional career.

At 25 years of age, I was working underneath my Datusn 280-Z, and dropped the rearend differential on my face. To make a long story short, my mouth was wired up for over two years. As it turned out, I COULD have continued to at least practice, and maybe even continued performing after a short while, but with the orthodontics on my teeth my "ultra-pressure" habit I'd developed turned playing into an extremely painful experience. After all the metal was removed, I gradually started working at playing again, but never found the satisfaction or rediscovered the lost abilities I'd enjoyed prior to the accident. I increasingly became involved in the business side of music, and five years later the horns went into permanent hibernation in my closet. This was 1992.

Fast forward to the fall of 1999. I've now been dreaming about playing trumpet for several months. Not figuratively. Literally DREAMING! And following these dreams, I was experiencing a certain and increasing level of guilt about not playing. I run out to the music store and bought new method books, dug old ones out of the attic, and put the horns in the bathtub to wake 'em up. Next, I fired up the search engines on my trusty Mac, searching for the latest info on trumpets, teaching methods, etc. I was specifically looking for advice to "comeback" players, and in the process of my search I stumbled upon: "A collection of Net Trumpet Lessons," by none other than, Clint 'Pops' McLaughlin.

I read everything on both of his sites, wrote him an email asking for some basic advise, eventually speaking with him at length over the phone, and then I flew to Dallas for a couple of hours of personal instruction and evaluation. Now, as everybody here probably knows, 'Pops' instruction and advise to me DOES NOT include any pedal tone exercises, and he has certainly NOT advised me to dust off my old copy of Systematic Approach. And although I am convinced the pedal tone regimen I undertook 20 years ago saved my young professional career, I must say I am relieved that I'm not spending 15-30 minutes a day renewing those vows!

'Pops' has me free-buzzing 15-20 minutes daily. Doing "no-pressure" exercises. (Look, I KNOW there is no such thing as "no-pressure" playing, but the act of TRYING to play with no pressure is producing amazing results.) He is forcing me into an embouchure change, which is coming along slowly, and my experience vacillates daily between frustration, and significant and obvious improvement.

I've got to tell you. I didn't touch the trumpet for EIGHT YEARS! ALL muscle development was GONE. Techique . . . muddled and rusty. Intervals . . . a joke. Range . . . non-existent. My first lesson with 'Pops' was on January 22nd, 2000. And just this past Monday night, barely a month later, I picked up my horn during the opening music of the Letterman show and played along with the guy in the CBS Orchestra. Note for note, loud, big wide shake and all. I flushed with pride, excitement, . . . and this is no exaggeration . . . I even teared up. I've got a long way to go. The embouchure change has not yet taken permanent hold. Practice time is still inconsistent. Fingering is still a tangled mess in many keys. Endurance is a long way off. Some days my tone sounds like a chain saw, and on others its as magnificent in reality as it is in those dreams. I may never perform again, for anyone other than my family and my dog . . . but I'm so happy to have back my Hey, Pops McLaughlin is very sick He may not live too long If you are going to do it, it had better be soon.old friend. It feels like a class reunion dance with your first love.

Thanks TPIN, for the daily input from so many fine and diverse contributors. I wish such a forum had existed 25 years ago.

Thanks Claude Gordon, for saving the day 20 years ago, when I thought I was about to lose my first fulltime pro gig. Because of that one student of yours, I saw the world, and have never regretted leaving school.

And a special thanks to 'Pops.' Because of your dedication to understanding ALL the possibilities in playing trumpet, and because of your own personal experience with a long hiatus and successful rediscovery, you were able to show me more in two hours than all my previous teachers had been able to convey over the course of 15 years.

Sorry this post was so long. But that's my story, and of course, I'm sticking to it. :)
Steve Baker

Well, I'd love to post the story of the ultimate trumpet lesson here on the list, complete with all sordid details, but the trip has left my brain more than a little dead.(Too many hours in Memorial Day traffic...) With that in mind, I'm going to give an overview--chock full of opinions and impressions--and one that is certainly all my spin on a reality designed to help ME with MY particular problems. Once my head clears a bit, I'll be posting a more detailed story on my Web Page--no need to clutter the list with all of my subjective points of view. So, if you're curious, check it out more towards Friday or Saturday... I should start with the "why" of this idea--"Why did I travel hundreds of miles to take a six hour lesson from a complete stranger?"

Well, this list has given me some insight to the teachers available out there--I have already written of my lesson with Nick Drozdoff back in December--and Clint Mclaughlin's name was one that kept recurring in many areas where I was interested. Specifically, air, lips, set-up, range and sound. I'm sure Pops' name has appeared in threads discussing technique, tonguing, etc., but these were not my areas of interest. A few threads had me nodding in complete agreement--the "Air,air,air not Lips, lips, lips" thread had us in an adversarial position. In short, he had opinions that sparked me.

A few e-mails, some calls to my wife, and then the travel agent, a few more e-mails and I'm suddenly booked from Chicago to Denver to Tulsa to rental car to Farmington, Arkansas.(Now Dallas, Texas) Whew! I left at 3:00 PM Sunday and returned 1:30 AM Tuesday early morning. (There were several more direct routes, but none that fit the budget and time-table.)

Clint McLaughlin surprised me right away--he's 41 years old (same as me--I don't turn 42 'til August...), much younger than I expected. He welcomed me into his home and proceeded to show me his world, boxes of trumpet material, several horns and cases, books and computers, and his Renaissance horns. All very cool, very homey. I was comfortable from the start. His family was exiting as I arrived, heading to a Memorial Day family bar-b-cue. They were, like Clint, very friendly and welcoming.

I won't go into a blow-by-blow description (sorry...) but rather try to put into my words what I learned. I apologize if this steers anyone the wrong way--it is my interpretation of advice given to me to fix MY problems and may not be applicable to anyone else's. Let's hope that's not entirely true.

First off, I have played for several years with both a high and low embouchure--they share some overlap of range, but it takes a second or two to switch between them. The overlap is around high C. The low embouchure can take me up to a G above that while the upper embouchure has a range from about G in the staff to a Double C, D or higher depending on generous you are feeling! I wanted to combine the embouchures, or perhaps lose one and extend the other. The upper embouchure, being very bright and difficult to control (both pitch wise and dynamically) was the candidate for extermination. Pops thought that my lower embouchure was fine, only it needed a little tweaking to extend it to the range that I enjoy with the upper embouchure. I have been able to do three octave G scales with the low embouchure, but that high G always felt forced, too much arm pressure, no endurance or articulation, no ability to trill at the top of my range. Pops told me that Mendez said that a three octave G scale was only being played by about 1% of trumpet players. And I have to admit that wanting a larger range is mostly for my own fun--it certainly isn't something that I am called upon to play. But, I really considered my usable range with the low embouchure to be about high A-C somewhere. (Useable range=a range where I can do it all, tongue, pp, ff, sixteenth notes--the whole the end of the night. NOT squeaking out a half note Q# during my warm-up...) I did not have that.

I learned several things--although I had been pushing air from "the bottom" (and quite a bit of it) I was not "squeezing" the air from all sides. Also, I was taking a full breath every time--and blowing out all sorts of extra air at the end of a phrase or note. It truly scared me to take a big breath, blow half of it out, and then squeeze the h*ll out of it. But it does make a difference. I recommend trying it.

I also found out that what I considered to be corners were waaay too wide. I knew that they were supposed to be firm, but I was envisioning corners as being way out at the edges of my lips. In this regard, I think corners is a misnomer. While those muscles at the actual corners ARE flexed, the muscles to the inside (toward the center of the lips) are also flexed and firm. The "relaxed center" I kept hearing about is the part at the rim or even inside of the rim. Everything outside of the rim is considered "corners" or at least should be flexed. (Keep in mind this may vary with your mouth and mouthpiece setup.) Where my embouchure was probably as wide as the center of my eyes when I arrived at Pops', I now am trying to line up the "corners" with my nostrils or eye teeth. This involved a sort of pucker, everything moving forward, "corners" squeezing in. I am not actually puckering the lips, that is, I am not turning them "inside out" as you might do in a "cartoon" kiss. The lips are more towards a puckered curl--although I am not actually rolling the lips in, it sort of feels like I am because I have to counter-balance the pucker. Once everything is firm (relax the center) you are free to pinch the center (the lips inside of the rim) independently of the corners (everything outside) that stay firm.

Notice I am saying "firm" and "flexed" and not "tight". By pinching the center, I am referring to a vertical movement of upper and lower lip, pressing together. Sort of like chewing, only no jaw movement at all. One of my problems: I pinch too much. Try this. Blow a relaxed mp second line G. Your abs should be relaxed, you don't need them for this register. The blowing is very small, just enough for the G to drop out of the bell and fall on the floor. Now, WITHOUT pushing more air, play louder. Yes, about a forte to double forte. No fair tightening the stomach muscles or squeezing the chest. Keep the air the same. How? Most likely you were able to do this--you accomplished it by dropping your jaw a bit, creating a larger aperture, ALLOWING the air to move through. This is an exercise that Pops showed me to help me relax my pinch, to control my jaw opening, to be aware of the aperture and it's effect on volume and range. Try it on a 3rd space C. Play with it. Another thing that we discussed was tongue placement for articulation. Pops' told me that, at least for basic articulation, that it didn't matter--it's going to move around (and should) depending on your mouth and the register you are playing in. To some degree, the tongue arch will limit some options in articulation (at least as far as WHERE your tongue goes), but mostly you tongue the note where it is comfortable and rapid. The anchor tongue (Pops felt) might create difficulties in double tonguing. (I didn't agree, but, hey, I can't double tongue worth a squat, so who am I to argue?)

I also discovered that when I could relax and play high C with all of this going (squeeze air, firm corners, press center of lips together gently, jaw open slightly more than I'm comfortable with--currently) that high F was available by arching up the center front of the tongue (not the center back as I have done for years, often forcing air up into my sinuses for some really marvelous headaches...) I suspect that I was sort of blowing the whole wad with this movement--not keeping anything for high G or even double C--but it was sort of interesting that it felt like the tongue arch was the ONLY change I was making between the two notes. More practice research needed here.

Pops is allowing me more arm pressure at this stage than I am comfortable with. I detest pressure 'cause I'm a wimp and it hurts! (Oh, yeah, it screws up your playing in the long run, too.) He does make it very clear that if I must use pressure, to transfer it to the bottom lip (rather than the top one) by pivoting the horn. I can do this, but one of my goals is to get rid of this pressure entirely. Not there yet, but Pops certainly is.

Oh yeah, majorly important. It's time to put pressure on this guy. WE NEED TO HEAR POPS! Trust me on this--the man can PLAY. And I heard very little, mostly just demonstrations that rattled my teeth and turned my head around! I have never sat in front of a trumpet bell putting out as effortless and as loud an F above double C as I did yesterday. It's one thing to hear that MVC wave file, another to hear essentially the same range (with more power) tossed off like it was nothing. (No offense to MVC--I want to hear more of him, too!) So, a call to arms! Let's request tunes! Let's donate studio time! Let's order some CDs!

Seriously--the man is phenomenal. I know that there are other players with similar abilities, but this man is a fine teacher, one of the best. I think he needs to understand the sort of enthusiasm that his playing can generate in his students. It is important for all teachers to realize that much of their teaching abilities will be wasted without reinforcement--and short of another odyssey to Arkansas, there is no audio record of this particular teacher. IT CAN MEAN SO MUCH TO THE STUDENT, 5 YEARS, 10 YEARS FROM NOW. "I studied with the guy who recorded this." "Hey man, listen to my teacher. I know that I'll be able to do that someday!"

I know I am forgetting things--got up for work 3 1/2 hours after going to bed last night. I'll run through my notes and get something on the web site by the weekend. The address is there, after my signature. (Enjoy the Duke Levels while you're at it!) What a great experience--well worth every minute! I encourage you to do it, too. There are several great teachers on this list who do similar lessons--seek them out. I have found them generous, warm, giving.

Do I now have a continuous range from Double Pedal C to the Quad C? No. My range has not really extended itself yet--but what I am doing feels like the start of a new path--one that a Great Player has already trodden. I don't expect it to be easy, but it does seem fairly simple. There is much work in front of me.

That's it for now--gotta knock off the 10 pages of Arban's each day. One more thing about Pops: he's merciless! ; )
Kurt Schulenburg Home Page:

Thanks for your post on TPIN and the 3-D view of the chops. Our community band had its last concert of the season on Friday night. We don't start up again until September. I had made a commitment to take a hard look at my chops and use the same setting with the mouthpiece that I had while buzzing. The buzz without the mpc is loose and full, but something was happening once the mpc hit the lips. After looking at the 3-D view, I realized that there was way too much tension in my upper lip. I was thinking of the aperture as just the outside red part rather than the full lips. I was using a lip curl on the top lip even in the staff and as I tried to compress the lips to play higher, the chops had a tendency to stop vibrating all together. I definitely had an "aha" moment and playing breakthrough over the weekend. I used the new setting in church Sunday morning and the sound was much more open and free, the air flowed more easily, and I was not near a s tired as I have been in recent weeks. I also feel that in time, I will use a lot a less face while playing. I've said it before and I'll say it again, "You are a genius," and a generous genius at that. Blessings,
Bill Knight

I recently spent a morning with Clint 'Pops' McLaughlin here in TX. Clint showed me how to really get the most out of my current setup (Thanks again, Clint!). If your ever have the opportunity to get to DeSoto, TX for a lesson with 'Pops' --- DO IT! After Clint took me through some pretty interesting trumpet gymnastics, it became even MORE apparent to me that the setup one uses is secondary to the efficiency of one's physical trumpet-playing mechanism. Although this is not a new idea, I learned some new ways to tweak and fine-tune my playing that has really added to the enjoyment of practicing/playing. Regards,
Walt Hertman

Hi Pops: I really love your website . I think its great. I love listening to your sound clips you have on your site. I improved my embrochure with the advice of using the pencil exercise . I had to start learning to play trumpet all over again in Jan of 2003 because I have been recovering from open heart surgery since Sept of 2002. I had to completley stop playing during my recuperation process. In Jan of 2003 I began slowly to rebuild my embrochure and breathing techniques and I have been eager to find good info on trumpet playing searching the web. I have been making pretty good progress and I appreciate info like you have on your website. I would like to thank you for the help your website has given me .. Thanks Pops
John P Healy

I am 81 and about three years ago I started taking trumpet lessons -- and eventually blew my lip out and quit. Had creases in upper and lower. I decided to check embouchure on the IT and bought your book. Within a week I had developed a new embouchure a combination of overlap and pucker, and am sailing along without lessons. I can now play for 30 to 60 minutes on good days without a problem and the tone can be sweet. Also I can reach notes up to 2 octaves above C but better yet, have the methodlology to advance. I now must strengthen the muscles to change notes more quickly ans slur octaves -- but it is fun. You have changed my life for the better, given me a freedom on the instrument previously denied me, and I thank you very much. Sincerely
Charles Harris

By the way, here's a plug for the writings of Clint"Pops" McLaughlin. In the last five years or so I've lost my best excuse for not being a good trumpet player -- I actually play equipment that I believe is the best possible equipment for me. With 100% confidence in my trumpet and cornet, I had to confront my limitations pretty straight on. Three books have represented breakthroughs for me. They include Pops's "The Next Level," and, most recently, his "Extended Range and Endurance on the Trumpet: AIR on the move." Each of these books is short and, at first reading, deceptively simple. Yet with each, I made substantial improvement in my playing skills in just a few days. To a substantial extent, this was a case of me being ready for the message through 50 years of playing, including a brief stint of professional training in 1960/61 and informal coaching from a great player and person (Jeannie Pocius) about 10 years ago. But, without the message there would have been no breakthrough and the message came from Pops. Really, it's the same old stuff, but written in a new way -- direct and pointed -- that worked for me.
Tommy Taylor.

Hi Pops, You may remember that I came by some months ago for two 4-hour sessions with you in your home. It was a great experience, and this email brought it back to mind. I am playing a Scodwell horn now, which helps me slot better, and your techniques have given me a much more solid upper register, up beyond double C at home sometimes, but much more importantly, G on the job. You're great!
Mack Horton

Hey Pops! Just wanted to give you an update on how I'm doing. I've been working on trying to lip buzz correctly and it really cut down on the pressure. After playing for 5 hours and screaming g's and a's in the end, the red mark was barely noticable. My high notes now are HUGE. Thank you,
Josh Burton

I don't have all the method books for trumpet ever written, but of the many I have purchased, yours is the only one I use for guidance. Yours is the only one that emphasizes tone over shrill high notes and advises moderation in all phases of trumpet technique. I admire your mention of Harry Jame's gorgeous tones. To me, your're the greatest teacher since Joseph Baptiste Arban. Jack Teagarden used to prod guest musicians with his trombone slide when they went on a tangent telling them to play the melody so the paying public can tell what you're playing. THANK'S SO VERY MUCH"
Melvin H. Chapman

I've been playing steady, most every day of the week, and enjoying it as well. My steady band is still the Pecos River Big Band . We just finished recording our 3rd CD. Our jazz trumpet player, Ken Edwards, just left for LA to play with the Maynard Ferguson Band - he inspired me to work even more on improvisation. Getting ready to start a bebop study with the Baker books. Still have a lot to learn, which makes the journey enjoyable and full of variety. I also do a lot of subbing in the North Dallas big band circuit (TI jazz band, Celebration, Swingtime and Crosswinds) and a group of us brass players perform about once a quarter at classical gigs with choirs/orchestras in the area.
John Vonwetzel

Here's a brief 3 week plus report on progress since I saw you; buzz has improved now I'm focussing on the more WASP like sound. pencil hold at approx. 3 mins + and is really helping shape the chops, beginning to feel a much more compressed,bunched feel. sometimes on range pushing ex's I can get above high G (although the pitch tends to not always centre. big improvements in tonguing generally tone beginning to improve much less pressure needed and thus less marking on the lips
A few days after my return to the UK I had an audition/interview for a new and better job. Played all of Carnival of Venice from memory and it went like a dream.Instantly offered the post. So can't thank you enough for your incredible teaching abilities. For ever in gratitude.
Laurence Davison

The last time I corresponded with you, you were about to take a little time off. I went back to your web site tonight and am excited to learn about your new book. When I was there in August a year ago I learned much, but one if the best pieces of advise that you gave me was to find my own niche. I am still exploring, but have found a very nice niche. I am playing lead with a local big band and am now directing a church orchestra and playing lead there as well, when I am not conducting. I am about to piece together a small combo for other gigs as well. The niche advice was right on target! The instruction that you gave me has truly revolutionized my playing. I am not able to spend as much time as I would like and need working on all that I learned from you, but what I do get to do creates some amazing results. I played a fairly hot Christmas program with a fair amount of upper register work this year. I played this with a college student who is a trumpet major and using what you taught me, I blew his socks off in range, power, endurance and tone! When I get a little more time to really work on what you taught me, I want to come back for more! Sincerely,
Greg Kelsoe

When I was playing in the Marine Corps field bands back in the mid to late 70s, I studied the Gordon method from Dave Evans, an excellent player and a Gordon student and colleague. (I might add that Dave had more technique than anyone I've known since.)
I got some good instruction in reliance on the air, banging down the valves, etc. I did gain something from that method. I also used corollary methods (e.g., Colin, St. Jacome, Irons, Clarke.) Now, many years later and with much more experience, I dislike the Gordon method (NOTE--not the man) not for what it includes but for what it leaves out.
1) The size of the breath is only one component. Good breaths are relaxed in nature, too.
2) The arm pressure situation never is addressed in the book. While not everyone who uses heavy arm pressure fails, it does cause the failure of many. The closed aperture is far more effective.
3) It is not self-monitoring. It is possible for well-meaning students and teachers to use the book and overdo it believing that they are doing precisely what they are supposed to do. It is kind of like self-help electrical wiring books. It has a lot of good information but it can be devastating when used by those without proper supervision. John's explanation of what Mr. Gordon meant by "Don't hold back" is a perfect example.
I have been a list member almost the entire life of TPIN. I've read a lot of drivel here. But when it comes to trumpet pedagogy (and my doctorate was in trumpet performance and pedagogy) Pops' information is excellent. I read most of TPIN's pedagogy posts. Among the pedagogical contributors, many of whom are very good, 3 stand out as first-tier in my judgment: Clyde, Jeanne, and Pops. These three have gone above and beyond to dispel misinformation, communicate good information, and help TPIN's readership time and time again.
Bryan Edgett

Well it's time to hear from a current student of POPS. I do not intend to get in the middle of the debate about which method is best, but I do believe my opinion is of some value here.
I have a degree in music performance and studied music edu. for three years. I have been playing professionally for 30+ years and I have currently 18 trumpet students. I have had a copy of CG's book (and other method books) for many years, and I like many others played from the book but did not practice it. I don't think it was a bad attitude I had, I think it was because I did not understand it and none of my instructors (i have had many) ever took the time to explain it, because they couldn't. One of my college instructors said not to use the book because it takes to long and you can get the same benefits from others in less time.That was in 1969. I am not knocking this method book or bashing MR. GORDON, but without a private lesson (in person) it's damn difficult to grasp the intended information in this method book or any other. Reading any method book is easy, applying it from the head to the physical body is not.
POPS may disagree with certain methods, but don't all the great teachers have their own methods of teaching? I hope so, I love teaching and I would like to think my method is different than others, (I don't put myself on the same level with POPS or Mr. Gordon) but I do think our goals are the same.To give a student the knowledge and tools he/she needs to play the trumpet to the best of their ability.
Thanks to POPS and his devotion to teaching my playing has improved 100%.I now am able to play RELAXED and understand how to THINK about how to practice.I am passing this knowledge on to my students and I see the great results everyday. LIP BUZZING and thinking LIP TO LIP COMPRESSION may be the two most important things I have ever learned about playing the trumpet, I'm sure other great teachers though this, but I have never been told this or read it.
I am 52 years old and for the first time since I began playing at the age of 8, I am very happy knowing that if I continue my lessons with POPS (and I intend to do just that) that I just might be good at it someday, now that POPS has made things so much easier for me to understand.
As for FREE information, POPS has GIVEN me all three of his books, and some of the information contained in them is on the Internet, FREE.! The bottom line, if the Arban's works for you that's great, if it's the CG method that works for you, that's great, my trips to Dallas are working for me, and it's all about our personal choice, ain't it. AIR! AIR! AIR! a very happy student
I'm buzzing pops :)
richard holmes

I have been thinking about posting my own (not so?) humble opinion about one of the timeless debates about trumpet playing that has seemed to be a common thread here lately. One TPINer has recently scoffed at another for over analyzing and worrying too much about chops. This is a very common idea that not worrying about the chops and just focusing on things such as air, concept of sound, and music will solve most (all?) problems.
I have studied with many teachers who have told me the same thing, including Don "Jake" Jacoby and many other great players. ("Just forget about your chops and let them VIBRATE!!!") As everyone can easily see Jake, Claude, and countless other great teachers have shaped and molded some of the greatest players that are around today.
One thing that I witnessed about Jake is that if a young, inexperienced phenomenal player came to him to study, Jake would mold him into a mature, solid phenomenal player. Good lead players would study with him and become AWESOME lead players. Also, as we have been told, it is possible for a 16 year old to begin working on the Claude Gordon SA and emerge an incredible player, but I will bet that this 16 year old was not your average high school player to begin with. I am sure we could insert many more names and come up with other great success stories and to all this, I say WOW!!!!!
So you may ask, what's your point? Well, here it is: I really believe that those who don't have any major problems with their chops can practice more, focus on air and concept of sound and become GREAT players. BUT ... what about the rest of us? Those of us who: (at least me anyway)
1. Could hardly play a high C the first lesson with Jake (or the first time we tried to play the CG SA)
2. Practice everything anyone tells us to for 2-3 or more hours a day religiously for years and work up to a seemingly all new level of playing, and then a month later of the exact same routine begin to wonder if we have really gotten any better since High School.
3. Can't have even the slightest break in practicing without DISASTROUS results, but even steady practice doesn't guarantee much either.
4. Seem to play well in some situations and terribly in others with no real pattern that can be learned from.
I could go on and on. You see, if you don't have these problems, you don't have much to worry about. I have taken lessons with so many teachers that were such good players at a young age, that it is obvious they had NO IDEA what I (and others like me) go through!!!! Many times I have wondered what the problem was. Why did I have to work so hard for such a low level of results? I always have improved under these great teachers, but never beyond what I would consider a decent "recreational" player ability and had to make up for this lack of ability with lots of blood (no joking here), sweat, and tears. (Sorry, it just fit so well.)
The real problem is that through all this extra effort (plus being a good reader, decent jazzer, and handling my business well), I have been able to cut enough gigs to get by (cruise ships, freelancing, private teaching, and now an Army Band-but that's another story) and make a living, but now that I am married and have a couple of kids, I need things to get easier or I will have to find another way to make a living. I am not wanting much, either. Just this:
1. A good, consistent sound, free of excess air and fuzz.
2. A solid F above high C, anytime of the day or night.
3. Good enough technique to play the whole Arban book cleanly. All this with only having to spend 2 solid hours of practice a day. That is all I want.
I am sure this may sound very strange to some of you. Some of you probably had all this right out of high school. For those of us who were not able to develop these things by "traditional" means, we need a little more.
Here is where Clint "Pops" McLaughlin and his "unorthodox" ways of analyzing players' embouchures and giving them advice has helped me and countless others.
You see, people don't come to him for help if they can already play lead. In fact, if you read his website, many people that he has helped are those who quit playing earlier in life and are now wanting to come back to playing trumpet, but do it right this time. After reading his site (which btw is full of totally FREE info from his books, not the typical "the answer can be yours for only $XX.XX") I finally realized why I have been beating my head against the wall for so many years! It is not that I am stupid, or lacking in some way, I JUST WAS NEVER SHOWN THE PROPER WAY TO PLAY!!!!!!!!
Granted, some take to playing the trumpet easily from the very beginning regardless of their first teacher, but most do not. If your first teacher did not know how to properly play the trumpet, or did not know how to show you the proper way, or did not take the time to show you, how could you know?
This is the basis for Clint's teaching. He is taking the time (and I do mean LOTS of time) to help those of us who didn't "get it" the first time around and have been frustrated by teachers who didn't know what to tell us.
So, as I have said, if you are satisfied with your current level of playing, then totally disregard everything Clint has to say and never visit his website, because it may not help you at all. BUT.... If you can never seem to play at the level you think you ought to and you can't find any REAL help (other than what everyone has been saying since your private lesson teacher in college), then I recommend checking out Clint's website.
But be prepared ... he will say a lot of things that would make your college professor roll in his grave.
Well, there it is. Remember, if the shoe doesn't fit, just hand it to the next guy. -
-Brian Reilly

shoulders of greatness
For good or for bad, Mr. Gordon was shameless in his consistent claim that there is only one correct way to play brass instruments. It's not surprising that his students believe likewise. I think Gordon was extremely talented, a superb teacher, and very, umm, shall we say, confident.
Judging from his published materials, political correctness was not very important to him. Actually, in all these areas, I think he and Pops are "two peas in a pod". You love 'em or you hate 'em, but you never have to wonder what they are thinking!
Anyway, I think Gordon earned the right to be that way. He distilled all the mystery of trumpet playing down to a program of study that repeatedly produced great players, probably more consistently than any of his contemporaries. I'm very glad he did so.
I think Pops has taken the next logical step, probably improving on some things by promoting multiple approaches to technique. None of that makes Gordon's approach less effective however. It still can produce the same kind of players that it did 40 years ago.
Each of these guys stood on the shoulders of the great ones who came before them, and added something new that many players found valuable. They both deserve respect. - -------------------
Alan Rouse

I am very pleased to have happened upon your web site. My story is an odd one, at least for me, in terms of playing trumpet. I've been playing since age thirteen--some twenty-plus years. I've achieved some successes on a local scale playing jazz trumpet. That is, more as a soloist than much else (but I do that well). I've had some bright moments along the way--brightest: opening with a quintet for Terrance Blanchard at Bimbo's in North Beach, San Francisco, among other dates.
My point, I've been playing many years, and have had troubles throughout. To bottom line things: I found out that every teacher I had told me the wrong mouthpiece to use. They said go medium and shallow, and I did, and I died. I now play a Schilke 17D4D with a ML Bach I bought in 1970 (I have pretty full lips). Wonderful combination for me now, though
it wasn't until I came upon the Closed-Lip way of doing things that it all took off for me. I mean, endurance, consistency, range, facility, and on top of all that less hours of practice each day--even a day off here and there with less come-back time. I was not a closed-lip player before, and it cost me (closed-lip being oddly easy as opposed to tense or tight, more easy-does-it than I thought--chops not scrunched tight but there, closed).
I happened upon your web site some six to eight months ago, and it took a little time for what I read to make it happen for me. I've been playing a long time, struggling a long time (20+ years), but it took only six months, some changes along the way, and I gained 200 to 300% in terms of endurance, CONSISTENCY, and a boost in range (air pretty good, of course). I play up to a G and more above high C now (+/-); D and Eb was a ceiling for me for too long. I aspire to jazz solo work and a little more; anything above a G above high C is gravy and extra for me, and of little concern. I don't play lead, wouldn't want to. Second trumpet and solo spots are everything I could ever want.
Anyway, thanks for being there. Thanks for the web site, thanks for the inspiration, thanks for being Pops M. as you are.
I recommend your method, study materials, theories whole-heartedly. Hope to meet you some day, too.
Larry C.

Hi Pops!
We've never met and I hope you don't mind me addressing you that informally. I am very impressed with all of the great information that is contained on your website.
I studied off and on with Bobby Shew for about five years in the early 90's. When I started with him I had very severe embouchure problems. It's hard even to describe or even remember now but I used to play on the inside of both lip and I would cram the mouthpiece on my top lip. Not very effective. He never directly changed my embouchure but gave me all knowledge I needed to change it which I did just a couple of years ago. I've made leaps and bounds since then although my upper range is still inconsistent.
Bobby always made me aware of the benefits of buzzing without the mouthpiece and it was because of this that I was able to "wake up" my chops and begin to play more correctly. I haven't done lip buzzing since I changed my embouchure and I think that it's probably my missing link.
I just wanted to thank you for making this information available for me to find so that I could confirm what I probably knew all along. I hope I can meet you sometime to thank you in person.
Thanks again and take care.
Brian Swartz

Comments on "The no-nonsense trumpet from A-Z": I have found this book to be very interesting and useful. It manages to present a great deal of information, information I have found nowhere else. The descriptions of proper use of air and alternative embouchures are excellent. Reading this book has led me to change my whole approach to trumpet playing. It's (ultimately) up to the player to decide what to believe, but this book has been a great resource to me in this quest.
Clint ("Pops") has been a great resource as well. He has answered many questions that have come up as I've worked at developing the different aspects of my playing, from mechanical embouchure adjustments to equipment to practice philosophy. His advice and willingness to "follow up" on questions has helped me considerably, and is something I truly appreciate.
I think that anyone who is serious about improving their trumpet playing, and isn't afraid of trying new ideas, will benefit from reading Pop's books and sending him a tape for evaluation and follow-up.
Thanks again,
Doug Endicott

in early 1998, i decided to return to trumpet playing after a 20-something year hiatus. and quickly found that there was more information on trumpet playing available on the internet, than i could believe. web-pages, a good mail list and a good usenet newsgroup ( whenever i had something giving me a hard time, i'd post my problem on the newsgroup and tpin. then i would receive several answers to my question. each from a little different perspective. as you may know, there is no such thing as "one way" to play the trumpet, due to embouchures, teeth formation, and lip size/shape. there are good pro players successfully doing things that others would consider taboo. thus, hearing different viewpoints gives you the opportunity to glean what is helpful to you. often times, one person phrases things in such a way as to make you "get it".
several times "pops" was the one who posted the insightful info that made something make sense to me. after continuing to see his good replies to other people's queries, i decided to buy his book. it is chock full of good trumpet related info. and i can say that any comeback player (and there seems to be a lot of us) would be well served to add it to his collection. my thanks to "pops" for his giving spirit.
dennis hill
(p.s.- don't add caps, or they'll think it wasn't really me ; )

Your books have wealth of information that most of us "old guys" had to search for for days, weeks, months to get. All the historical material is great, all the air and chops instruction is right on...just like Jake would've done it, I think, and that's a high compliment! I, as do many trumpet players, appreciate having so much material readily available as "one-stop-shopping!"
John Julian

I think your knowledge is first rate and I have personally benefited in many ways. A couple of days ago, you gave an explanation about "air projection". Until the explanation, it didn't really make sense. I have since been able to utilize the concept to aid in taking the stress off the chops. If I can only now learn to utilize it subconsciously. Additionally, one of the best tips I ever got from you was how to control timbre with the shape of the aperture. I use it often.
SK website
Stanton's Trumpet Page

I recently purchased copies of *Pops*'s books, and have taken a bit of time to peruse them before posting to the list....
Clint McLaughlin has distilled a lifetime of knowledge into these volumes--_PRACTICAL_ knowledge which deserves to be put into use in every trumpeter's practice room/studio. While I can't say that I agree with EVERY approach he advocates (I'm not an advocate, for example, for thrusting the lower jaw forward because I believe the potential tension caused by this technique outweighs the benefits of it), I CAN and DO agree with most of what he recommends....
This is not a book of theories or generalities, but a real resource designed BY a trumpet player FOR trumpet players. The exercises have real merit, and the *Trumpet FAQ*'s are PRICELESS! (talk about distilling decades of individual lessons into a single text!)
Don't waste any more time searching for the *ultimate guide to trumpet playing*....It's already been done, and between Clint's book and Ole Utnes' site there is enough material to last a lifetime (as long as you already own the mandatory texts of Arban's, Clarke Techs, Bousquet/Concone, Charlier, Colin Lip Flexibilities or Matt's *Fundamental Flexibilities*, etc ;^)
And you'd better hurry, because once the word gets out about the contents of these books, they'll be out of print sooner than you can tongue the cornet part to *L'Histoire du Soldat*!
Thanks for providing such a fine reference, *Pops*! --
Take Care!
Jeanne G Pocius
Archer Music/North Shore Brass Associates

*Mizpah* (The Lord God watch between me and thee while we are parted one from the other)
Genesis XXXI.49

I've been a pro brass player for nearly 25 years, and have been on-line for about 12, and reading "Pops'" advice on-line over the past years have made him one of the few people in the trumpet forum whose posts I always read and consider. His tips and advice are always well thought out, useful, and lacking in the emotionalism, personal bias and hyperbole that are so common on the net. Not that he doesn't have his own personal preferences - but that he labels them as such, recognizes the fact that all players are different, and then gets on to the business at hand. He's definitely an experienced player and teacher, and a resource to be valued.
Carl Dershem

When I returned to playing trumpet after a 35 year layoff, the first thing I did was look on the Internet to see what helpful information might be available there. As I expected, I found a multitude of web sites, newsgroups, and other services where all kinds of helpful tips and playing techniques were explained in detail. Some of the information I found extremely valuable. Many well-intentioned people were quick to provide answers to many of my questions, and I found the sage wisdom and advice communicated by Clint 'Pops' McLaughlin to be particularly helpful.
I thought the "on line lessons" from 'Pops' were extremely useful in facilitating my quick return to playing again, and I truly feel 'Pops' advice has actually helped me surpass my ability of many years ago.
The lessons I most appreciated from him were on the subjects of:
1. Embouchures - 'Pops' not only understands a variety of proven embouchures, he also knows how to describe them in ways which help players of all ability levels understand and benefit from his advice;
2. Buzzing - His explanations on how to buzz, both on and off the mouthpiece, as well as the value of buzzing was a revelation to me. I had no idea buzzing could be so helpful to the new player, or the comeback player;
3. Breathing - It is here where I feel I benefited the most from 'Pops' words. By focusing on proper breathing techniques, I have enhanced my range AND increased my endurance. Previously I had no idea how important breathing was in playing trumpet. I frankly paid no attention to it. I just played. Now I focus on breathing more effectively, and my playing has come along much faster than I had ever hoped.
4. Mouthpieces - Here again I had never paid any attention to my mouthpiece. 'Pops' helps explain why the proper mouthpiece is important if one is to attain ones maximum potential, but he also warns against the temptation to play the revolving mouthpiece game.
Anyone playing the trumpet for fun or profit should not be without 'Pops' book, "The No Nonsense Trumpet From A - Z." It is an invaluable guide for any trumpet player, new or old.
I highly recommend it!
Bob Dumon

I bought "The No Nonsense Trumpet From A - Z" because I was impressed by the helpful posts which Pops has made to the newsgroup excerpts from this book. I was happy to find that the book is a comprehensive synthesis of just about everything relating to trumpets and the basics of trumpet playing. It's not a slick packaging of one player's special techniques.
Instead, Pops discusses and compares various approaches and types of equipment. Neither is this book a collection of nice-sounding theories; Pops has mastered the techniques he teaches, and carefully researched his material. His approach is always practical.
The sections of the book which have been the most helpful to me personally were the discussions of mouthpieces, and especially, embouchure. I've often been confused by the different descriptions of embouchure I read by top players. They describe what works for them, but Pops has mastered all five embouchure systems available to trumpet players. He can compare them and discuss their relative advantages and disadvantages. In particular, I learned that my embouchure was too open, and would benefit from a small amount of lip curl and a bit more of a pivot. I haven't been able to play trumpet much lately because of graduate school, but I'm looking forward to a much easier time with it when I finish my doctorate this spring and pick up the horn again.
David J. Finton
David's page

I have been reading and pondering Pop's contributions to the cyber trumpet community for quite a while. It is clear to me that he is extremely knowledgeable about all the physical aspects of trumpet playing. More importantly, however, he has taken that great volume of contradictory opinion, anecdotes, methodologies, pseudo-science, scholarly literature, and personal experience, culled the wheat from the chaff, and simplified, reconciled, and articulated the best and most coherent of that material into reliable mainstream advice about playing the trumpet. He regularly brings clarity to matters which often grow quite confusing and anxiety provoking.
I find that I have understood my own playing better, recognizing what works and why, from reading his information. Many times his informed opinion has confirmed what I had discovered for myself, but was not confident about. That alone made me a stronger player and more valuable teacher. In many instances, I have applied his suggestions and tips to improve my own playing and that of my students.
I recommend his materials highly.
Jim Donaldson
The Schilke Loyalist

Pops is one of the most complete trumpet resources you will ever runacross. He is a master at helping you learn more about your trumpet playing so you can achieve your goals. Pops goal is watching his student succeed.
Thank you Pops.
Warren Lopicka

"After nearly thirty years of pro and semi-pro playing, I thought I had seen it all. Clint is, without a doubt, a pro's pro! His "cyber teaching" has made him a living legend to all of us who have benefited from his vast knowledge of brass playing. In my case, after asking Clint about how to "open up" my upper register, he suggested a slight mouthpiece alteration. At first I was skeptical because I don't often change equipment but, I went ahead and took his advise. Clint was right on target! My sound opened up and, as a bonus, I gained much more control over my timber and intonation - everybody wanted to know if I got a new horn!!
"Thanks Clint!"
Don Smith

I have named Pops "the cyber teacher" - and that is what he has been to me. I even made a web page where I collected some of the posts that Pops have sent to or to the news group The URL to that page is: 'Pops'
It all started late in 1997, with my friend Rune, lending me a book by Pops, "The No Nonsense Trumpet from A to Z".
Wow! - a lot of good information that one cannot easily find elsewhere, but the layout was poor (typewriter format). I scanned the book, and ran it through an OCR program. The output I sent to Rune. He then formatted it into a book and sent that to Pops. After a while a copy of the new edition arrived in my mail.
From then on, I have been in regular contact with Pops and I consider him also my friend. Maybe someday we can meet in person?
In the autumn of 1998, I proposed a project for Pops and Rune that Rune named "The Comeback Trumpeters Guide".
If you go there you will see that Pops have made a great contribution called "Tips for a CP". He has also made a booklet of it, that you can get almost for free from him.
Another excellent idea that he have recently implemented is the "TRUMPET FAQ's" Here you will find a distilled compilation of his "cyber teaching".
I know Pops is now working on another exciting project - but I will not tell you what it is. Just monitor his web site for a while.
Needless to say: I recommend all his books and his next projects as well.
Your friend Ole - from the other side of the "pond" --
"Oulee the Gentle Viking"

OJ's Trumpet Page

I first met Clint on the net about 3 years ago. After reading his book, this was a revelation to me, it made all sense:
There are several ways to play the trumpet!
Most books only teach the "one correct way of playing", sometimes with religious undertones. All methods being different, confusing the poor reader.
Clint's books are not like this. He describes several ways to play the trumpet to a level of detail not found anywhere else!
I soon contacted him, and he helped me to learn how to play the Stevens embouchure via e-mail support. I am very grateful for the help he gave me! Without him, I might still be figuring out how to do it myself.
During the past year, I have got to know him as a caring and sincere person. I wholeheartedly recommend his books, they are some of the best out there!
Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us all,
Rune Aleksandersen
Trumpet Playing Thoughts

In 1979 I wrote a paper for college. Through the years it was added to, written and rewritten many times. In 1995 I finally applied for a copyright. I sold in test markets out of different brass publications and continued to make changes to the book. I never changed my ideas or concepts but I did change wording to try to make each new edition easier to understand.
In October or November of 1997 I sold a copy to Rune Aleksandersen in Norway. Shortly after that Rune and his friend Ole Utnes did my typesetting and music notation (FOR FREE). They also each made me a web page. Rune did Trumpet College at & Ole set up a collection of internet lessons Pops Page
All of this they did for free because they love the trumpet. They also have a desire for everyone to have access to knowledge.
What ever other endorsements I get in the future; NOTHING will say more than all of the time and effort that these 2 people who I have never met gave to my projects. If you learned something from what I've written thank these 2 because without them it is doubtful you would ever have seen 2/3 of my work. And FAQ's would not exist.
Thanks for all the help.
Clint 'Pops' McLaughlin

Copyright protected from 1995 to date.