October 2016





Mind-rainbow – digital photo image altering by  B. Barrie




As I reflect on my method of practice and the development of my playing the trumpet, I think about how important the process itself is. I wish to communicate that to those others that are looking for guidance or suggestions. My way is certainly not the only way to approach the issues, but it has helped me and I think it makes sense and has merit. I hope it may help some of you too!

I believe that your moving forward is based on your ability to listen and evaluate where you are at the present. Just playing an exercise or piece repeatedly may not correct the things needing attention. What you hear and what you think is an evaluation process. That evaluation should determine what you then practice. The basic concept of sing, buzz and play that I have mentioned before also assumes that you are thinking. Be clear in your thought of how you want the music to sound and each time you play the music you will come closer to that concept. Big issues first or small details adding up to the total musical phrase, how you construct your process depends on your vision and how you prefer to work. What you hear tells you what to work on. As you become a better listener, your creativity can also increase and you will hear what you wish to sound differently. Each time you adjust you are then moving forward. There are inevitably some steps backwards or some miss-steps too; but in general good thinking should keep you on your path. Listen carefully, evaluate well by asking good questions, then make your plan and begin your practice. You should have more fun and a become a better player. Think music and musicianship- that should help you in your development.


Tonguing– most notes start with the tongue setting in motion the air flow past vibrating lips. Clarity of attacks is important as is the ability to duplicate the degree of percussiveness. Yet as we progress, the speed of the tonguing definitely seems to become an issue. Keeping the tongue forward so that the distance for the stroke of the tongue is small will help the speed. Lightness, lack of rigidity also helps speed. In Chris Gekker.s book Articulation Studies (Chas. Colin) there is a helpful explanation based on Herbert L. Clarke. I like the book, you might like to read the opening comments and try the exercises too!. Also helpful would be to read Essentials of Brass Playing by Fred Fox. His drill for acquiring speed is a good starting point as well. Basically, set your metronome for quarter note equals 80. You will play down a scale, take a breath and play up the scale. 1st time- imagine a 2/4 measure of 4 eighth notes for each pitch as you play down and up the scale. The 2nd time you play a 2/4measure with two triplets per note. The 3rd time play a 2/4 measure with two groups of 4 sixteenth notes. I then start over and move the metronome to a slightly higher number. Some will think this tedious; but I am ok with that as I can tell I get better as I practice.



This month’s listening is a wonderful, usually magical piece in performance, the Queen of the Night aria by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Control, fluid high register and dynamic artistry- here are three different interpretations to listen to. Look for some singers to contrast these instrumental performances.

Mozart- Queen of the Night

Alison Balsom


Maurice Andre


 Crispian Steele-Perkins


Of Interest

Fazil Say- Concerto for Trumpet

Gabor Boldoczki, Trumpet

Mvt I


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Mr. Boldoczki, Trumpet – continued

 Haydn  Concerto or at 18’20” a Telemann Concerto; 22’ 09” Friedman “Fanfare” from Solus (mvt IV)  and at 27’12” Donizetti Concertino in G 36’41” Hummel Concerto in Eb  Mvt 3



Otto Sauter, trumpet

Telemann Concertos




Melissa Vanema, Trumpet

Il Silenzio


Nella fantasia



Maurice André – Carnival of Venice (Arban)




How often do you see an arpeggio in the material you are going to play? Do you play it correctly when you are reading it for the first time? Does the speed of the tempo come into play? The question to ask- when was the last time I practiced playing arpeggios and did I play them in all the keys?

This month I am doing some extra work on my major arpeggios again. J.B. Arban arpeggios page 143. The first day I tried to play each line perfectly- no mistakes and all good attacks. It took a while to do that. The next day it was to do the whole page with no mistakes- quarter note equals 88. I write the number in the right hand column. I did 96 and 100 next. Each day that I do it correctly I will advance the speed a little bit more. Since I am also working on increasing the speed of my single tonguing I left out all the slurs. At the end of the week I expect to have obtained an obvious increase in my performance clarity and speed. Being methodical should help me realize my goals. Have you practice page 143 lately?