Trumpet Player and Berklee Professor Wayne Naus of Boston, Massachusetts was born and raised in a small town in central Pennsylvania called Berwick. It was a factory town with the main factory being the American Car And Foundry. They produced war machines during WWI and it was said that the town was on Hitler's bombing "hit list". I listened to whatever music was on the radio. Wayne grew up listening to his father play trumpet. He was one of the best players in the area. Wayne remembers him subbing on the Lawrence Welk Show when they played at the local Fall Country Fair. He use to go out into his car at night after work and practice so as to not disturbed anyone. Wayne started to play when he was in tenth grade around 1961. Wayne remember practicing "Jingle Bells" with the valve combination numbers written under every note. Wayne listened to records of Al Hirt and Maynard Ferguson. Wayne listened to Al Hirt's recording with the Henri Rene Big Band on RCA "Honey in the Horn" and "Al He's the King Hirt." Two tunes "I Can't Get Started" and "Holiday for Trumpet" were amazing. Arturo recorded "Holiday for Trumpet" and it sounded great but not up to Al's performance of that tune.
While in high school, Wayne played in concert and marching band. Wayne didn't play in a jazz band until 1966 when he was in the Navy at the Navy School of Music in Norfolk, Virginia. Wayne remembers listening to the "A" band perform an arrangement of "Dearheart." In today's standards it wouldn't hold up but to Wayne back then it was really exciting to hear. This is when Wayne met Mike Vax. Mike was playing lead trumpet for the Navy's Showband. They were rehearsing for a South American tour and the band was very exciting.
Trumpet Player Wayne Naus professional music career began in 1966 when he was drafted into the Navy. After Wayne graduated from high school in 1964, he stopped playing and got a job in a local kitchen cabinet factory. Wayne's job was spraying lacquer on cabinets as they passed by him on a production line. Two years later, Wayne was about to be drafted into military service so his father said he should start practicing and see if he could get into the military service as a musician. Relates Wayne, "I remember the audition. I could barely play but fortunately for me the guy let me in the Navy music program. Had I gone into the regular Army I would have been shipped to the front line in Viet Nam and most likely not be here writing this. For that opportunity, I feel the trumpet saved my life. I've been practicing it every day since then. I got out of the Navy in 1970 and started as a student at Berklee College of Music in Boston. I took a few years off from school to travel with Lionel Hampton, Buddy Rich and Maynard Ferguson. After a few years traveling, I returned to Boston and graduated from Berklee in 1976. At that time, Berklee hired me as a full time faculty member. I just retired from Berklee in May 2010. In 1998, I did a short East coast tour playing lead trumpet for the Arturo Sandoval Big Band. Our last concert was at Carnegie Hall opposite Tito Puente's Big Band. For the past five years, I have had the opportunity to perform the National Anthem for Boston Red Sox and Bruins games. I've had my own bands over the years. I'm still performing with my three horn Latin Jazz group called "Heart & Fire."
Wayne continues, "The first and only time I met Dizzy Gillespie I shook his hand and said that I was also a trumpet player. He looked at my lip and said, " I know, you have the mark of distinction." Having traveled with Buddy Rich for one year I obviously have many stories I could tell, too many to mention here. I was present for most of the famous Buddy tapes now available on the internet. Maynard was a great guy. No one has ever had anything bad to say about Maynard. He was a real star and always showed a lot of respect for everyone in the band. It was a good hang.
I had many great teachers over the years. John Coffey (Principle Trombone Boston Symphony) told me "Just tongue and blow kid." John was a no nonsense guy. I was a student when I studied with him. Don Ellis also studied with him when he was a student in Boston. I use to say "how much do I owe you John" and he would say "Oh that's OK kid are you short this week? How are a couple of bucks? Great guy. Dr. Donald Reindhart - The Pivot System. Dr. Reindhart gave you tons of written material. He knew a lot and had a unique approach to teaching brass instruments. Leon Merian - Breathing and embouchure technique. I studied with Leon and played in his band for many years. Leon had a big persona and was very good at analyzing your playing. His book, "Trumpet Isometrics" is one of the best trumpet methods ever written in my opinion. I had a couple of lessons with Carmen Caruso when I was on the road. Although his method worked for many players it didn't for me. He was like a trumpet guru. After a week of doing his method I could barely play a "C" major scale. Interesting guy. I also met Jerry Callet when I was on the road. He had his own thing but it never really worked for me. I respect him for his faithful dedication to the trumpet for so many years.
Trumpet is a "wind instrument;" therefore, it's all about the "air." Correct breathing is a "feeling" more than anything. Most playing problems are a result of a closed and restricted throat. We have a mind set that playing is hard and therefore we make it look hard. This results in "muscling" the horn. This is a loosing battle. You can't play the trumpet unless you are relaxed. The trumpet will always win. Let the air do the work. Easier said than done. Find a good teacher who can point out what you're doing wrong. It's easy to waste a lot of time with incorrect practicing habits. I recommend watching "The Three Tenors" featuring Pavarotti, Carreras and Domingo. Watch them sing and breath' it is the perfect example of open throat sound production and body posturing. This is a great study in sound and sound production. I would like to share a breathing technique with you that I have been practicing that will help you increase your range, power, support, endurance and sound. The technique, which I refer to as Topping Off The Lungs, is synonymous with topping off the gas in your car's gas tank. I adapted and then modified the technique for brass and woodwind players from a technique used by deep-water divers holding their breath for long periods of time. Although I am a trumpet player and familiar with the Yoga breathing techniques as described in the book "The Science of Breath," I have not heard of anyone (not even Maynard) describe this particular technique until now. The technique is not about holding your breath but rather using additional air to create more diaphramic support while playing. Here is the technique:
A breathing technique for all brass and woodwind players.
Books Authored While At Berklee College of Music:
I would like to share a breathing technique with you that I have been practicing that will help you increase your range, power, support, endurance and sound. The technique, which I refer to as Topping Off The Lungs, is synonymous with topping off the gas in your car's gas tank. I adapted and then modified the technique for brass and woodwind players from a technique used by deep-water divers holding their breath for long periods of time. Although I am a trumpet player and familiar with the Yoga breathing techniques as described in the book "The Science of Breath," I have not heard of anyone (not even Maynard) describe this particular technique until now. The technique is not about holding your breath but rather using additional air to create more diaphramic support while playing. Here is the technique: