June 2015


Lowell Greer Baroque Horn

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1.) Practice – We all should be practicing to improve our playing, but sometimes it can seem daunting and even frustrating to get things accomplished. Let’s think of an approach on a small scale this month. How about each day, try to practice something small, some suggestions? Here are four simple isolated skills or musicianship awareness fundamentals that you could try:

Tristan Motif Drill” Controlling your air is always important. Practicing crescendos and diminuendos can help you develop your air control and your sound too!. Try to make the crescendos and diminuendos have a constant, but even and gradual change in volume, no bumps. Listen to the excerpt and imagine you are playing in that orchestra.

Zubin Mehta conducting Prelude to Tristan and Isolde with the Bayerische Staatsoper Bayerisches Staatsorchester (National Theatre Munich)


Wagner crescendo diminuendo











Release Drill” The trumpet is a wind instrument and you need to breathe, but the note before your breath needs to have a positive sounding release. Be sure not to clip the note abruptly! The fourth eighth note in each measure should sound like all the other eighth notes.

 Release Practice




Placement and subdivision” – This simple fanfare type passage requires a steady pulse of eighth notes during the rests so placement of the pickup note will be correct (beats 1&2 establish the tempo- x notes are counted in your head hold the time steady- pick up on 2nd 8th note of 4 just follows your stream of 8th notes).

You see this in the music:

pickup C



The drill:

Study in Subdivision










“Target Drill”- make low G a good note. Vary your dynamics (piano, mezzo- forte, etc.). Be sure to take the mouthpiece off your lips during the rest. You are learning to start on a low G. Pick a number to achieve in a row. Perhaps 10 or 25 low Gs would work for you. I did 100 low Gs a day and after a week of practice I knew that I could do that!

Target Drill



2.) Listening

Paul Hindemith Sonata for Trumpet and Piano (1939) is a standard repertoire piece. If you are new to the piece, perhaps concentrate on the first movement. Listen enough times to the piece so that you are able sing along with the recording. This will help you become familiar with the tonal language of the composition. Notice that both of these trumpeters have beautifully lyrical styles of playing. You really can sense that they are singing through the trumpet.


Gilbert D. Johnson, trumpet Glenn Gould, piano


Maurice Andre, trumpet   Jean Hubeau, piano



Music available from Amazon.com



Playing the Hindemith Sonata with David Bilger of the Philadelphia Orchestra



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Premieres- new works for trumpet (a collection of news articles)

Krzysztof Penderecki    Concerto for Trumpet

Gábor Boldoczki trumpet,

Saarländisches Staatsorchester, David Robert Coleman, conductor



Steve Heitzeg Concerto for Trumpet “American Nomad”

Charles Lazarus, trumpet

Minnesota Orchestra, Mischa Santora conductor



Mark-Anthony Turnage   Concerto for trumpet “From the Wreckage”

Håkan Hardenberger, trumpet

West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Baldur Brönnimann, conductor



Brett Dean Concerto for Trumpet “Dramatis Personae”

Håkan Hardenberger, trumpet

Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons, conductor



4.) Re-Visit

The Franz Joseph Haydn Trumpet Concerto in Eb written in 1796 is one of the best known works for trumpet. The Concerto was originally written for the then new instrument the keyed-trumpet. It is a work in three movements- Allegro, Andante and Allegro. Often this work is used as part of an audition process; you will need to know how to play it well. I come back to this concerto all the time to re-think how I want to play it and spend some more time trying to be elegant, musical and captivating in a performance. Below are some performances to listen to and develop a sense about this great piece. Two of the recordings are examples o fperformances on historical instruments (Immer and Bennett). The performances on modern trumpet show a variety of approaches and styles of playing the Haydn trumpet concerto.

Noted recordings


Friedmann Immer

Allegro (mvt 1)


Andante (mvt 2)


Allegro (mvt 3)



Mark Bennett



Modern trumpet

Maurice Andre, trumpet



Adolph Herseth, trumpet



Helmut Wobisch, trumpet

Allegro (mvt 1)


Andante (mvt 2)


Allegro (mvt 3)



Håkan Hardenberger, trumpet



Music available from IMSLP



Start with the second movement and use the sing, buzz, play concept. Think of a beautiful best sound and make up a story of what you are trying to have your listener hear. See if you can memorize the movement and play it for your family and friends. Have fun!