May 2016

Moments before concert in Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Moments before concert in Tegucigalpa, Honduras











May is a tricky kind of month with weather in many places. Days can be warm and nights cold. In Colorado, a few warm days can be followed by some snowy days. It is a good thing to sit in your practice space and work on making your trumpet playing as great as you can!


I often mention some page or exercise in the Complete Method for Trumpet by Jean Baptiste Arban and encourage you to begin practicing some small detail of technique. While technique is important, music is foremost about sound! I hear myself saying “Do you listen to what comes out if the bell?” when giving lessons and clinics. I went to a master class by James Galway, the flutist. The flute can play so many fast notes, it can be mind boggling. Yet the most memorable thing of his masterclass for me was when Mr. Galway played a major scale extremely slowly. The demonstration was about listening to his sound. That was almost fifteen years ago and I think of it almost every day as I warmup. I ask- is that your “Best Sound” all the time- to myself and my students. Pick a scale or even a single note and use all your concentration and imagination and try to play the most beautiful note ever! Do it over and over again and try to describe the sound, hear it in your imagination; use powerful adjectives to describe the sound. Then watch the sound develop and refine itself as you ask directive questions of yourself and evaluate the sounds progress towards your image. Yes, I know it sound simplistic- but I have seen it work many times. For me, this week the focus note was the “F” that begins the Hummel Concerto if you play that piece in Eb on a Bb trumpet. I must have played that “F” over a hundred times each day- I am pretty sure it is getting better. Go on, give it a try.


Vassily Brandt (1869-1923), First Concert Piece in F minor, Op.11 (c.1910)

An informative biography can be found at:  This is one of the lovely works for trumpet in the romantic style.

Timofei Dokshitser, trumpet

Max Sommerhalder, trumpet  Mario Venzago, piano

Get Music – available from


Continuing on with our exploration of lyrical playing- here is a beautiful cornet solo – My Love is Like a Red Rose. Give a listen to these players and consider how they spin the story and melody. Listen to the London Symphony masterclass with Maurice Murphy talking about his lyrical style and how he developed that aspect of his playing. Then hear My Love is Like a Red Rose.

LSO masterclass-


My Love is Like a Red Rose

Maurice Murphy, trumpet – Leyland DAF Band

James Shepard, cornet – Black Dyke Mills Band

Iain Culross, cornet with Leyland Band

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Jim Davies, cornet – Brighouse and Rastrick brass band

Extra: It is always fun to expand your knowledge of repertoire- there are just so many cornet solos- especially from the brass band tradition in Great Britain. I thought this has a wonderful title and sounds fantastic.

“The Flying Scot” by Gregor Grant

Willie Barr, cornet – Scottish CWS Band


Of Interest

Visit the horn website hosted by John Ericson and Bruce Hembd, there are many things there that will interest you. I especially liked two apps you may find helpful if you use an IPhone or iPad. There are available on Google play for android devices as well -QualityTones and PlayByEar. QualityTones is an app to help improve accuracy; and PlayBy Ear also functions for accuracy but could also be a general ear training aid too. Visit this site for information/reviews and links for these apps that focus on accuracy and ear training.


Continuing the saga of looking for solos for the echo cornet-

Max Sommerhalder – Theodore Hoch, Songbirds of the Thuringian Forest, Op.22


Some more of Maurice Murphy

Maurice Murphy playing Gilbert Vinters Mattheson’s Air

Maurice Murphy playing the Tomlinson Cornet Concerto


Philip Cobb (principal trumpet- London Symphony) plays Andante Cantabile by Tchaikovsky -Ensemble Hovaldt,

Philip Cobb– Share My Yoke



This month I started a new project and in doing so I have been re-visiting some solos that I perform using the piccolo trumpet. Maurice Andre’s recording of the Benedetto Marcello Concerto in c minor for oboe has been a favorite of mine.  The playing on that recording really made me want to practice the trumpet more. I always try to sound like Mr. Andre when I play the piccolo trumpet, he is very inspiring. Keywords for you to remember and associate with you listening and practice- role model, best sound and lyrical singing style- Thank you Mr. Andre!

A live performance by Maurice Andre for his 60th Birthday Gala


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