April 2016

Light Dancers
Light Dancers


Every day each of us have opportunities to explore and reach out, you can find some time to let your imagination have a chance to expand in a  new and marvelous way. “Light Dancers” was a fun exploration of the manipulation of neon lights with a camera. No photo shop- just taking in the moment… and having some fun. Do something creative, have a special moment!





April is now here, flowers are blooming, you wake-up each day and expect a warm sunny day. Spring is a wonderful time of year. As the outside calls to you, remember to stay focused with your practice. Some practice every day will keep you on track with attaining your goals.


There are just so many trumpet books…what exactly should you be practicing? If you do not have a teacher helping to direct your practice, I suggest that developing a beautiful sound and learning to control your air are two very basic areas deserving of your attention. A small portion of your practice time thinking about sound and air can make a big difference. In Herbert Clarke’s Setting-up Drills, he suggests that playing up an “F” major scale softly while trying to play each note for a minute on a single breath is a simple way to develop air control. If you listen carefully to the sound and each time try to make your “Best Sound”, you will have 15 minutes of focused practice each day. Gradually you will have better control of your air and your sound will steadily improve too. This exercise does not have to be complicated. Listen for a relaxed sound and do not use more pressure on the lips than needed to produce your sound- effortless with lots of air support.


Continuing on with our exploration of lyrical playing, I hope this month will help you understand how much we can learn from non- trumpet sources. Trumpet players are always borrowing repertoire from other instruments. This time let us consider a vocal work – Reinhold Glière Concerto for Coloratura Soprano and Orchestra in f minor Op.82 (1943). A romantic work that can captivate an audience surely should also work for trumpet.

Joan Sutherland soprano, Richard Bonynge, conductor London Symphony Orchestra


Erna Berger 1 Celibidache, conductor


Erna Berger 2 Celibidache, conductor


Timofei Dokshitser , trumpet  (movement II- only)


Music – available from



Of Interest

Memorization- developing skills


Anne Akiko Meyers violin; Astor Piazzolla’s ‘Oblivion’


Lawrence Brownlee tenor  & Jason Moran piano;

An NPR broadcast- an intense and beautiful performance


Itzak Perlmann on the importance of singing- The Strad


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Endurance- James Morrison trumpet


Range– James Morrison trumpet,




This month I spent some time re-visiting the unaccompanied solo trumpet work Reveille and Retraite by Poul Ruders (2003). I love that each movement has a thoughtful quote from literature to be thought provoking. The contrast in the quotes range from the Memoirs of Berlioz (1865) to a poem by Edgar Allen Poe, Alone (1830) is depicted in the music. I love the soft controlled playing called for in a performance of Retraite; it takes time to acquire both the control for the soft playing and the endurance needed for the approximate 8 minutes of playing the movement. The audience seems to appreciate the composition and I have enjoyed presenting this piece in recitals. I believe that performing unaccompanied pieces is important in ones growth as a performer; give this one a try.

music source