February 2015

Mahillon medallion

                        What trumpet has this medallion on it’s bell?

                  visit Chestnut Brass – go to News & Tips (answer)








It is now February, it is cold and I am beginning to work on my resolution!- I have a list of new projects  to consider. Are you organizing your plan(s) for the new year??

Here are some thoughts for your consideration. 1.) Practice 2.) Piece for Listening   3.) Of Interest 4.) Revisited and a “groundhog day” experience

1.)  Practice

In January, the Chestnut Brass Company played Eric Ewazen’s Burek Dance from his Balkanika – Four Scenes from the Balkans for brass quintet. It reminded me that as much as trumpet players think about range, sound or endurance we cannot forget that fingers are important as well. There are standard things we need to practice so as to be sure the fingers will perform smoothly. So what to practice? Scales and arpeggios do a lot, but awkward cross fingerings are a special thing. For most of us that means spending time with Technical Studies written by Herbert Clarke (especially the Second Study and Third Study).

Example Second Study

Clarke Second Study select


Example Third Study


 Clarke third study edit



You should become familiar with these gems…

In addition, there are many other options

  • Anthony Plog- Method for Trumpet- Book 2, Fingering Exercises Balquhidder Music

  • Allan Vizzutti- The Allen Vizzutti Trumpet Method Book 1 Technical Studies, Finger Flexibilities pages 66-77 and Technical Studies pages 32-65.

  • Robert Nagel- Speed Studies for Trumpet, pub. Mentor Music (good for pattern recognition too!)

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A fun different book is:

Klose 209 Tone and Finger Exercises (for trumpet, clarinet or guitar) pub. David Gornston Music

Finally, here is a finger drill that was passed around when I was a student. Unfortunately I do not know who wrote the drill, but it does work the fingers. This exercise isolates each finger combination on the trumpet, so each combination gets a thorough workout.

Untitled1Finger Studies select






Any of these books should have a place in your music library! There are many more studies, books and etudes from other schools of trumpet playing besides these American choices and all have something to offer.

Here are the fragments from the Burek Dance that told me to practice my finger drills more often!

frag 1 burek


Frag 2 Burek


Frag 3 Burek


Frag 4 Burek


Frag 5 Burek


Frag 6 Burek


Frag 8 Burek


Frag 7 Burek



2.)  Listening Project

Here are some wonderful performances to listen to and study how the players interpret the style of the piece.Last month it was an unaccompanied trumpet piece.This time it is a duo- trumpet and piano, piano as a soloist too; not in the role of accompanying instrument.Both are equal partners in the musical adventure.

Paul Hindemith Sonata for Trumpet and Piano, Mvt I: Mit Kraft


Tine Thing Helseth, trumpet – Havard Gimse, piano



Maurice André, trumpet – Jean Hubeau, piano



Wynton Marsalis, trumpet – Judith Lynn Stillman, piano



Vadim Novikov, trumpet – Michail Mishin, piano



see “Revisited” below for one more with Ray Mase

3.)  Of Interest:

I am a big fan of the work of Dr. Don Smithers- he is a noted scholar that has enriched our knowledge of the history of the trumpet and his solo playing is very special. The Music and History of the Baroque Trumpet before 1721 (2nd edition- pub. Southern Illinois Press) by Don Smithers is a great book, you should read it if you want to know about the instrument that you are playing. Dr. Smithers has made many recordings, but most have not been reissued on CD or in MP3 versions. One is available as a download: Baroque Masterpieces for Trumpet. Here is the Amazon link to purchase it if you are interested.


On YouTube.com (a sample):

Franz Querfurth- Concerto in Eb Major, Mvt I: Don Smithers, trumpet; Concerto Amsterdam, Jaap Schroder, cond.


Etude Book of note:

“Morning Pages” 21 Etudes For Trumpet by David Sampson 2007) Editions BIM


Something different to practice…it is from 2007- but I just noticed it now L – always keep looking for fun and challenging things to practice!

4.)  Revisited

Looking back this month-

This month I am preparing for a solo performance- this means some extra listening preparation of the solo piece, but also I revisit some of my CD’s that seem special. I feel very fortunate to have heard a live recital by Timofei Dokshitser, his playing was captivating- beautiful sound, wonderful musicality and technique and his stage presence showed how unique and special he was as a performer. He made many recordings, but a favorite of mine is Image of Laura.

Recording: Image of Laura (Oh! quand je dors) Timofei Dokshitser, trumpet; Sergei Solodovnik, piano. Meylodia SUCD 10-00035

This is a collection of transcriptions for trumpet and piano with works by Frédéric Chopin, Richard Strauss, Franz Schubert, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Alexander Scriabin, Peter Tchaikovsky, Sergei Racmaninov, Claude Debussy and Franz. Liszt.

From the record Russian Concert– Timofei Dokshitser, trumpet and Sergei Solodovnik, piano- Concerto for Trumpet by Oskar Böhme, Mvt I


Another trumpeter with a wonderful style of playing, beautiful sound and great lyrical playing is Ray Mase (see “Suggested Listening” for information about his CD).

Also from Summit Records:

Paul Hindemith- Sonata for Trumpet and Piano, Mvt I: Mit Kraft

Ray Mase, trumpet and Theodore Lichtmann, piano


And just for fun:

Wait for Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction- more winter or not…


Good luck in your practice- have a goal, have a plan!