July 2018


















I believe that the better you know your fundamentals the more fun you will have playing the trumpet. How you practice, if done creatively, can be fun, too! When you see an exercise, think of it as only a starting point. Be flexible and let the original morph into any challenge you are facing in your playing. A published example of this idea of applied creativity is found in the Saint-Jacome’s (1830-1898) Grand Method for Trumpet or Cornet (publ. 1870). On page 157, the “22 Exercises on the Scale and Intervals,”, the 1st exercise shows an interval study followed by 6 “Models” approach to intervals.






Some of the Models are:

model 1                                                                    model 2                                      model 3

Then the Exercise is shown as 1st Variante with 12 Models.





Some of the Models are:

model 1                                    model 2                                             model 3





This continues until page 171. There are so many terrific studies in this book, if you have not worked through this book, it would be a great addition to your library. There are some wonderful duets, too!

So, perhaps you are going to play Legend by Georges Enesco, and perhaps you find these excerpts challenging:








Construct an interval study that will improve your accuracy. Use the rhythm from the piece for one of your “Models”. After all, it is the quickness of the rhythm that adds to the interval accuracy challenge. The note between the octave “Cs” should ascend chromatically (Db, D, Eb, E, F etc.).



My Variations

model 1                                                                model 2





model 3





model 4




Perhaps a variation on the rhythm



How, and what, you practice can help solve challenging fragments in etudes and solos. Be creative and make your practicing fun and interesting. How many ways can you create for your exercises to make all of the technical problems go away?


Similar to the Saint-Jacome approach found in an example by Jean Baptiste Arban (Edwin Franko Goldman and Walter M. Smith edition, Carl Fischer publisher) pages 48-51 and 125-130.

One should set specific goals to develop skills and artistry. You can accomplish more through thoughtful practice.

Your practice process should resemble this:

Play…Listen…Evaluate…Adjust…Play Again!  Repeat sequence…..

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Anthony Plog has written a wonderful unaccompanied piece for trumpet –Postcards! A very popular recital piece worthy of your attention. I think this work can be open to a variety of interpretations. Enjoy these stellar players!

One source for the music if you wish to add it to your repertoire:



Rubén Simeó, trumpet



Joaquín Molina, trumpet



Allen Vizzutti, trumpet



UNKNOWN, trumpet



Of Interest

Stephen Burn, trumpet- Thomas Oboe Lee Trumpet Concerto



Ryan Anthony, trumpet – CONCERTO FOR HOPE – trumpet concerto #3 by James Stephenson



Jeffrey Work, trumpet-  Hummel Concerto in E Major



Rubén Simeó, trompeta. Sonatine G Herbillón



Alison Balsom, natural trumpet  Handel- Eternal Source of Light Divine



Re Visit

June was a busy time for tests, lessons and then returning to Colorado, USA for the summer from my position as Professor of Trumpet at Seoul National University in South Korea. This month became about exploring Herbert L. Clarke’s Series 1 from his Technical Studies. I was going from sea-level playing to 5,000 feet above sea level. This is a breathing challenge that seems to require more adjustment as I get older. Air reserve for longer phrases or louder playing means some specific practice is needed.

You know Clarke Series 1 as this:





I do this frequently and try to get to the 16 times in one breath. I also have a variation that I do on my big horns, and on piccolo trumpet, that helps with endurance and range.







I do use pressure but try to minimize that amount as much as possible. I also do this as a flow study/ long tone exercise. Once I start the exercise I try to go up by half steps until a tri-tone is reached. I rest briefly and go to the next tri-tone. I go as high as possible with a good sound. If I use my air correctly, there will only be a small mark on my lips. I find that my “corners” get stronger and the upper range is much more reliable and comfortable.

I balance this with lip flexibilities to not get too stiff. Here are a few of my favorites from the many in my Daily Routines for the Student Trumpet Player (MountainPeak Music) 


Low Range page 3 of DRSTP








continue through valve combinations  0, 2, 1, 12, 23, 13, 123. If possible 123 and third valve slide extended (F/C)


Middle Range page 12 of DRSTP





continue up through valve combinations: 13, 23, 12, 1, 2, 0.


High page 50 of DRSTP










continue through valve combinations  0, 2, 1, 12, 23, 13, 123. If possible 123 and third valve slide extended (F/C)


In addition, I do scales and arpeggios; starting at the top note and the bottom note. I am trying to not have my embouchure have the settings of a high or low position. I am always working to minimize any shift in the lip setting. When there is more time, I do some of the interval studies from Saint-Jacome mentioned above. I transpose them and play them on different pitched trumpets too. I love spending the day practicing, for me it is so much fun, really!

Be creative and enjoy your practice time…