January 2018












Happy new Year- wishing you a wonderful 2018!


When we begin our musical studies a common refrain we hear is “Learn your scales!”

While this is true, we do not hear a direction toward a next step. To know your scales is like knowing the alphabet. Knowing your scales is more basic than vocabulary, grammar, structure or the many additional things that will make you fluent in your new language.

You might say “I know my scales.” That is great! I would suggest that the next step would be to spend time every day working towards facility with one scale. Go in rotation of one scale per week. For example, the E major scale appears in the Arban book for the first time on page 69 with number 45. An E arpeggio appeared briefly on page 56 with number 69. I am suggesting that for a week you become a specialist in one key. Concentrate a portion of your practice each day with everything you can find in that key. Look carefully through each section of the Arban – scales, intervals, melodies, Characteristic Studies, gruppettos- everywhere. When you practice like this you will feel more confident as new music appears before you. You will see patterns and understand the music more because it will not really be totally new. Empower yourself with thoughtful practice habits and you will be energized in all aspects of your playing.



A wonderful piece that you should know is Libby Larsen’s Ridge Runner. One version is with piano, another with percussion. Both are fun to hear and I ordered my copy to practice as soon as the last notes were played on the recording.

Karen Bliznik, trumpet



Karl Sievers, trumpet



Of Interest

New York Philharmonic Podcasts



Hilary Hahn, violin with practice ideas



Handel’s Water Music & Royal Fireworks Music- BBC Proms 2012


Crispian Steele-Perkins, trumpet

Handel Trumpet Concerto in D



Giuliano Sommerhalder, trumpet – his website lists many fine CDs, Here are a few that got my attention.

  • Romantic Virtuosity
  • Peskin
  • Ailcare Ponchellia

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Gabor Tarkövi, trumpet

  • Italian Concertos and Arias
  • Trumpet Concertos – Haydn, Hummel, Mozart and Neruda



Romain Leleu, trumpet –  several wonderful solo cds-

Famous Sonatas is definitely worth a listen.



Re visited

This month I returned to one of my favorite interval study exercises – it is found in the St. Jacome Grand Method for Trumpet or Cornet. I really love this book, so many thoughtful and well written things: duets, scale studies, Characteristic Studies, and so much more. I have found pages157-165 to always be challenging and a creative way to practice something that helps to improve accuracy and confidence. After I can play what is printed I alter them to make them more difficult. I can vary articulations, octaves, rhythm patterns and I transpose them to different keys, too. In addition, I practice them on my different trumpets: piccolo, Eb/D, flugelhorn, cornet and of course both Bb and C. The metronome is going to keep me honest and the tempo is changed often. The tuner is going as a drone tone and I am watching carefully the intonation of the intervals. I have spent many hours practicing these pages and they have evolved greatly from the original material. I see many future hours of focus to be enjoyed. My edition is Part II of the St. Jacome published by Carl Fischer. The Ernest Williams Complete Method and the St. Jacome were the basic studies for me as a young player. Only later would I spend my needed hours in the Arban Complete Method.


This month’s entry is somewhat shorter as I have three separate tours coming up- to Philadelphia with the Chestnut Brass Company (chestnutbrass.com); to Las Vegas with Trinkle Brass Works and then to Minnesota with the Chestnut Brass Company. Say “Hi” if you are at one of the concert, I am always happy to talk to people.

If you have questions about my posts, please email me at trumpetroutines@gmail.com