Updated: May 5, 2022
Last week I was contacting some of my trumpet playing friends from Lawrence University to let them know about Jordan Hofffman's Power Player Trumpet Course.
While I was at it, I spent some time asking what people have been up to since college. Jeff Ostroski is an amazing lead player who graduated from Lawrence a couple years after me. He has since studied at the Eastman School of Music and went on national tours with the Jersey Boys and the Bronx Tale and is in a band called The Ninth (Pictured here - Jeff Ostroski is on the right.)
The Ninth just released a concept album about Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan called Olympic Dream/Nighmare, where Jeff
wrote the horn parts and played on the album. You can listen here.
Jeff's advice on chop responsiveness and playing efficiently
As I mentioned in the headline, Jeff got Covid, and it messed with his respiratory system, and he had to take a break from playing. Here is what he said about the experience gaining his strength back: He said, "If you know people who had covid as bad as I did, I am here to tell you that the lungs/air system will heal given time. Just play softly and comfortably until air comes back online and one can reap those dividends. I have it all back and more now that I've been through that lengthy ordeal that lasted 5 months.
It's perfectly natural to freak out a little if you have a physical setback. But have no fear! It happens to pro players all the time.
"Luckily for me it happened during a slow time but coming back has been challenging mentally," he said.
Here's what he means by the mental aspect: "When coming back from something physical, it is only natural for our bodies to stay in "guarding" mode for lack of a better term. This can be tough to overcome mentally knowing we no longer need to guard ourselves, but the body slowly learns that things are ok and will return to normal function. Also, it's important not to change your physical approach while going through something like that knowing it will heal in time and stick to YOUR playing and do not try to dramatically change your playing to compensate for temporary weakness elsewhere. Just play your way at your current comfort level and stop/limit playing when things don't feel right."
It's all about efficiency
"Thanks to forced soft playing, chops have never been more supple and responsive. Add air and there it is!" Jeff said, "Essentially, if it seems like too much effort, you are doing it wrong. Efficiency comes from ease and comfort of playing. I never expend more than 75% of my capable effort. That is more than enough to project a good sound, and the softer and more delicately we play, the more output is actually heard. And makes for cleaner playing 100% of the time."