Home Customer Endorsements Trumpet - Dean Psarakis - A.P.E. Inventor
Trumpet - Dean Psarakis - A.P.E. Inventor Print

The A.P.E. concept started when Dean sent us a sketch and description of what he wanted to accomplish with a new training tool to help trumpet players learn to minimize mouthpiece pressure against the lips when playing in the upper register. The potential value of this type of training tool was obvious - but could we actually make it work as intended?  After a few in-house experiments and design revisions, we figured out how to turn the idea into what is now another fantastic training aid for trumpet players. We then came up with a less costly Delrin plastic version that works just as well as the original silver plated brass model.

Terry Warburton and Dean Psarakis
Terry Warburton and Dean Psarakis

More information about the A.P.E.

Here's some of Dean's thoughts about the A.P.E. along with biographical information:

The A.P.E (Anti Pressure Exerciser) is an idea that had been evolving in my head for a few years. The all-too-frequent use of excessive mouthpiece pressure jokingly referred to as the “Armstrong Technique” is a bad playing habit that is shared by most if not all brass players. It decreases blood circulation to the lips resulting in poor endurance, and adversely impacts sound and intonation.

I was driving home from work one evening buzzing my mouthpiece and came to the realization that even without the horn, I was using excessive pressure. The loss of response and focus, poor endurance and ultimately lip pain and discomfort, as well as the burn in my right bicep, were big clues! As soon as I got home I began sketching crude drawings of an idea that was materializing in my head: A device that would prevent me from buzzing with too much pressure and ultimately, teach me to play with the right amount of pressure. I neatly crafted a “back of the napkin” drawing, emailed a pdf to Terry Warburton and the A.P.E. was born!

I have been using the A.P.E for the past several months and the results have exceeded my wildest expectations. First of all, Terry turned my drawings into a product that is well-designed and precisely manufactured as one would expect of a Warburton product. Secondly, the A.P.E really works! I’ve been using it daily with my mouthpiece and also with my Warburton A.T.V with great results!

When I first started buzzing on the A.P.E. I was surprised at how quickly the A.P. E. hole closed up as I ascended into the upper register, preventing me from further buzzing. After a few practice sessions I began to get the hang of it and gradually started to increase the upper limits of my buzzing range as well as the amount of air I could move through the mouthpiece without having it close from too much pressure.

Back on the horn I began to get a better sense of when I was using too much pressure which was exactly what I was hoping would happen. What I didn’t count on was how much more focused my sound was becoming due to the proper buzzing of the upper notes. My corners and other embouchure support muscles were becoming stronger and were learning to really buzz the upper notes now that the crutch of excessive pressure was being broken. In just a few of months I’ve improved many aspects of my playing related to sound, endurance, articulation and range.

Here is a summary of some of the benefits I’ve experienced using the A.P.E. that hopefully you will too:

  • Learn to play with the appropriate amount of pressure.
  • Develop a better awareness of when excessive pressure creeps into your playing.
  • Improve the clarity and focus of your sound throughout your range.
  • Develop better flexibility and execution of lip slurs due to the improved buzz.
  • Improve your range and purity of sound in the upper register.
  • Increase your endurance.
  • Improve response and articulation.
  • Improve accuracy and feel more secure in tricky passages and entrances.
  • No more lip pain!

The A.P.E. together with the P.E.T.E, and the A.T.V. are essential practice tools to help develop strength, endurance and the correct approach to playing brass instruments. I’d love to hear about your experiences with the A.P.E. Please feel free to email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or post your comments to Warburton Music on Twitter or Facebook.

Dean Psarakis - A.P.E. Inventor

I started playing trumpet at the age of 9. Early on I developed a love for classical music and was greatly influenced by Adolph (Bud) Herseth and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra sound.

My trumpet instructors include Tom Wohlwender, Charles Gottschalk, Anthony Plog, Gilbert Johnson and Vincent Cichowicz. Perhaps my biggest influence was from the amazing Robert Smith, high school and college friend and current principal trumpet with the Florida Orchestra.

After graduating from Northwestern University in 1982 I joined the Capetown Symphony Orchestra as their 2nd Trumpet. After a year I won the Principal Trumpet audition, taught trumpet at the University of Capetown and remained in the CTSO for another few years before returning to the US. to seek my fortune. I took some orchestra auditions and freelanced with several orchestras including the Houston Symphony, Florida Symphony Orchestra as well as several regional Florida orchestras.

A dental “accident” in 1989 put a damper on my career and so equipped with an MBA from Rollins College, I had a sudden unanticipated change in my career path. Now established in a non-musical career, I enjoy performing with local ensembles in the Central Florida area including the Brass Band of Central Florida, Southern Winds and the Orlando Concert Band. I practice daily and have overcome all of the difficulties I experienced with dental issues due to the miracle of the dental implant! I have struggled through and conquered almost every playing problem conceivable and have lived to tell the tale.

I’m currently playing better then I ever have and am “all dressed up with nowhere to go”. But that’s okay because I have a great career, a wonderful wife of 20 years and an amazing 7 year old son! I’m currently Business Director for the Consumer Marketing department of Bonnier Corporation, a large magazine publisher with a portfolio of approximately 50 popular enthusiast consumer magazine titles ranging from Popular Science to Caribbean Travel & Life.

Dean Psarakis
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