September 2015

F. Besson/ London         Bb cornet
F. Besson/ London Bb cornet


F. Besson/ London  Bb cornet

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Summer is now over and it’s time to make up some goals to accomplish this fall. Enjoy practicing and have that practice make a difference. Set your goals and make a plan to realize them.

  • Practice

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  1. When I am working on trying to make a more beautiful sound, I try to make up a lyrical short melody. I want to infuse it with as much character as possible and play with lots of air and abandonment. For me, it is about the end goal, the sound in my mind. I don’t try to do anything physically, but let my body unconsciously make adjustments so as to move closer to the sound I desire. I want to be able to use that sound on more complicated technical passages too. So then I try to play a more technical fragment with the same sound. I alternate back and forth on the two melodies until they sound as similar as possible.

A recent melody:

smiling lass






The contrasting technical fragment (a Scottish fiddle tune): Miss Abercromby

Miss Abercromby II









Give it a try- it is really fun to do…


  1. I have been working on a developmental way of refining tonguing for my young students. (Note “Tiny Gains” below).

If you look carefully at the assorted fragments from the scale patterns you have already practiced you will see how they reappear in all the music you play. That’s why the practice of fundamentals is key to becoming a fine player.

You should have already practiced page 59-61 in your Arban book (Complete Conservatory Method for Trumpet– J.B. Arban).

So you should be able to play this fragment:


Arban C scale




b.) A variation on the “Double Tonguing” page 175- would be:

tonguing C





c.) combine them and you have a variation of measure 1, Schlossberg Study #97 page 34

#97 variation Schlossberg







If you did this single little fragment each day, with the appropriate scale when you went through all your scales, you would be accomplishing a lot! The visual of looking at the music would aid in sight-reading, finger dexterity and strength would be facilitated and your tonguing would get some additional focus. Little bit by little bit you would be improving.


  • Listening

One of the great modern pieces in the trumpet repertoire is the Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra by Henri Tomasi (Alphonse Leduc, Paris). This Concerto appears on the repertoire list for many International Trumpet Competition lists ( see ARD- Munich below). Even if you are not able to play such a piece yet, listening to how wonderful players interpret it will provide you with a concept of the many diverse technical abilities that are required in your future.


Maurice André, trumpet

David Bilger, trumpet

Philip Smith, trumpet

Movement I

Movement II

Movement III


Masterclass on the Tomasi Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra with David Bilger


ARD Music Competition

Learn of different competitions and know the literature- practice and you could be a prize winner!

FYI: 2018 will be the next time the Trumpet Competition will be held in Munich, Germany.


  • Of Interest

I am always looking for trumpet news or things to help my playing. Here are a few suggestions.

Dave Taylor

“Embracing the Joy of the Struggle”

We all struggle with different aspects of our life. Often a different perspective can redirect you and be so helpful.

James Clear

Often when we look at our goals they seem unmanageable, just too difficult; difficult to establish a plan. Reading this article, if you can use your imagination to transfer the concepts to your problem can really help organize and make things possible. Write down your list of items and thing how you can find the 1% so you can tackle your issues and build confidence in being a problem solver.

Richard Schwartz

The Tuning C.D. by Richard Schwartz ( a compact disc featuring drone tone tracks so you can play along with the tracks and aid in developing your aural skills. Also features in tune intervals tracks too. I really like playing along and making up melodies as an alternate warm-up.


  • Re-Visit

This year I changed what mouthpiece I use when playing my Eb trumpet. The main reason I change mouthpieces on a modern trumpet is to achieve a different sound. That made me remember a seminar that I took at the College of New Jersey in the mid- 1990s. The renowned tubist, Arnold Jacobs, of the Chicago Symphony was at CNJ for a week. I learned so much listening to him talk. Most often you hear people talk about Mr. Jacobs and air usage; but for me it was imagination and sound concept that was particularly striking. Sound concept was imagination, imitation, experimentation and development. As he talked it seemed to be less about your equipment choices (trumpet or mouthpiece) but about what you heard in your head. Think of a beautiful sound and keep on refining what you hear against the image in your mind. If you have not looked at Arnold Jacobs: Sound and Wind by Brian Frederiksen (Windsong Press Limited 1996), give it a good look. Use keywords like: sound, Herseth, voice and concept If you wish to know about an example of a detailed lesson and suggestions with Mr. Jacobs, check the Susan Slaughter section (page 78-82) in Arnold Jacobs: The Legacy of a Master edited and collected by M. Dee Stewart (The Instrumentalist Publishing Company 1987). I have found both of these books very helpful when I review how I wish I played the trumpet and they are always helpful in my setting of goals and laying out a strategic plan to make those goals a reality.