Chad Shoopmantrumpet player is originally from Tucson, Arizona. Chad Shoopman is the former Music Director/Conductor of the Brass Band of Central Florida as well as a former Distinguished Adjunct Faculty Member at Rollins College in Florida. Chad has performed as lead trumpet for the Walt Disney Company. Chad has played lead trumpet with The Chuck Owen Jazz Surge Big Band, affording him the opportunity to work with artists such as Gordon Goodwin, Bob Brookmeyer, Bob Mintzer, and Chick Corea. Chad has also performed with the Sam Rivers RivBea Orchestra and the Dan McMillion Groovin' High Big Band with whom he has recorded several albums.
Chad has also performed in pops concerts for The Florida Orchestra. One memorable pops orchestra performance featured Patti Austin singing the Ella Fitzgerald Songbook. In 2006, Chad had the honor of performing with Gordon Goodwin and The Big Phat Band in Los Angeles and was asked to go on tour with the band to Canada.
Chad is also an avid studio trumpet player. Among numerous recordings for Disney shows and theme parks all over the world, Chad can also be heard on the Danny Elfman soundtrack to the motion picture "Extreme Measures" and, on the opening of the 2007 Rose Bowl Parade with Kristen Chenoweth.
Along with an active trumpet playing career, Chad is also a freelance conductor, trumpet clinician, and adjudicator. As a clinician for Disney's Magic Music Days, every year he had the privilege of working with over 100 high schools, college bands and orchestras from all over the world. Chad graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education (1996) and a Master's Degree in Conducting Performance (1999) from the University of Arizona. Chad is now an Assistant Professor of Music at The University of Arizona and resides in Oro Valley, Arizona.
Chad is a Powell Signature Trumpets Artist and performs on a Custom Powell Trumpet. Chad plays both the 3 and 4 bells. He doesn't really like super light stuff. He has also used Powell's "B" and "D" slides at various times with his ML bore Custom Powell Trumpet. Chad has performed on Warburton Mouthpieces of his design. The Warburton Chad Shoopman Signature Mouthpiece Top has an inside diameter of .587 and a shallow modified V-Cup with a 28 bore. Chad prefers the #10 Warburton backbore for all his lead trumpet work. As of this writing, Chad is using a GR trumpet mouthpiece.
I play a custom Warburton mouthpiece top with a 10 back-bore for my upper register playing. The inner diameter of my top is roughly .560 and the outer is 1.005. I play a Powell Custom Trumpet designed with lead and upper register playing in mind. Both components were designed to be efficient. The mouthpiece is quite small and the trumpet is medium large in bore size. Being able to play effectively with a good, full sound while using as little tension as possible is the reason for my equipment choices. In working with custom equipment makers, I have found a higher level of flexibility in design. They worked with me to create something that reinforces my strengths and compensates for my weaknesses.
The proper equipment for upper register playing is truly a unique and lonely decision. What works for one, may not work for another. However, the desired effect is efficient work with optimal results. It is often the mindset that the bigger the equipment the better. I have found this to be erroneous in my own personal experience. It may work for some, but I equate it to trying to hammer a nail into a wood board with a banana. Obviously, you need the right tool for the right job. If I am playing in an orchestral situation or a lower section part, then I might choose slightly larger equipment suited to the environment. For upper register work, I want to create the sound in my head with the most ease without sacrificing any other aspect of my playing. If it sounds great and allows me to play musically than that is a good piece of equipment. Keep in mind, too small is equally destructive as too big.
The search begins in discussions with players/teachers that have had experience and success with equipment choices. The resource successful musicians provide one another are invaluable. Equipment is no exception. These discussions create a great starting place. The next step is honest evaluation of your musical goals. From the type of music, to the sound you want to have performing it, this self-discovery is critical. Chasing a high note with equipment is a recipe for musical failure. Ultimately, you need to decide on equipment that allows you to do what you would like without taking away from the other aspects of your playing. The final step is trying out different equipment. Ideally, finding a brand of equipment you like more than others can point you in the right direction for custom work or tweaking a design you like to be even more suited to that your specific needs.
I believe it is 50/50. Playing in the upper register is a punishing physical endeavor. Beyond the embouchure, the muscular exertion of the abdomen and back are extremely demanding. There is no doubt in my mind of the physical nature and athletic ability needed to accomplish upper register playing. With any physical activity, tension can arise and create problems. This leads to the mental game of upper register playing. Physical tension is the most common mental block to successful high note playing. It sounds like a contradiction, but I believe tension is 90% mental. Whether it is the visual stimuli of seeing several ledger lines and realizing how high something is or knowing you have to play a high passage and it is going to be hard to do, the mind is the great blockade to overcome. Players often forget that a G on the top of the staff was high for them at one point. Slowly, it became familiar. With that familiarity came comfort and relaxation about playing that pitch. Suddenly, you can "taste" the note before you play it and realize where it will be. There is no tension because the note is played often and becomes a comfortable part of your trumpet vocabulary. This process extends into the extreme register. Not only tension, but also air power and pacing are part of the mental considerations that can yield wonderful or discouraging results. All the physicality in the world cannot overcome a mental state unprepared for the demand of upper register playing and vice versa.
There are varying degrees of talent for any skill set. Some are clearly born with the ability to perform certain aspects of a skill better than others. I do believe upper register playing is a natural ability to varying degrees. However, I think hard work trumps talent more often than not. I believe high note playing is a learnable skill with the variable being time. It may take one person years longer than another. Desire is often the deciding factor. Obviously, when talent meets hard work you find the true masters of upper register trumpet playing. Maynard Ferguson, Arturo Sandoval, and Wayne Bergeron are just three examples of this.
Air is everything ! Air speed, air temperature (hot vs. cold), air support, and air capacity are absolutely essential to successful upper register playing. A lot has been written about this subject. Bobby Shew has the most convincing thoughts on this in my opinion. Whether you use the Wedge Breath or not, the notes in the upper register require fast, cold, powerful, relentless air support. Without an established breath in and out you cannot play high well ... period. The breath in is of great consequence. You need to take in enough air and expand your lung area to accomplish the desired note, or passage, but you can take in too much and the back pressure return will limit your output, or cause you to faint (something that can happen if you don't get enough air too). My first and last thought, in the instant before I play, is about air and breathing. I, of course, am thinking of a million other musical factors in that instant, but the first and last concern breathing.
Even when playing in the lower register the air is compressed. It is really about air speed. More to the point, it is about how much compression. My first priority is quality of sound, followed by presence (volume). You can play a great high G quietly with vibrato and not need the same rate of compression you would need for the fff end of the chart high G with a shake on it. In my opinion a player should be able to play with a lot or a little compression based on musical demand. Ideally, there should never be a situation where you cannot accomplish the musical goal of a composition. You need to be prepared for every situation.
My situation is unique as I am fortunate (or not !) to be asked to play in the upper register 5 days a week, several hours a day. That alone allows me to work on that aspect of my playing regularly. My practice time is spent playing opposites. I play slow, low, and lyrical to help balance the daily requirements of my gig. The times I do work on range are when I am feeling very good and my chops are working and I play a note or passage and nail it. I stop immediately and close my eyes, put my horn down, and mentally recreate the sensation and feeling of that experience. I set my chops (without the horn), try to remember the air and how I used it. I replay it over and over in my mind trying to imprint the positive things I did and establish a good memory to draw on in the future. We always listen to ourselves so critically. We sometimes forget to reinforce the things we do well. I find that kind of practice very helpful.