September 2019
















This month I have been reviewing pages125 -129 in the J.B. Arban Method. I like to play them slowly and try to move my embouchure as little as possible. Especially as the intervals become wider. Try to keep the air flowing smoothly and focus on the placement of your tongue more than the position of your lips. Try to be able to get a big low note sound, like a pedal note and also one that matches the quality of your upper note. Flexibility in your sound will help provide more choices for the musically lines you will play in the future. Use your metronome to make sure the muscles change when you want, not when the muscles want. A mezzo piano to mezzo forte dynamic is great. Do not forget to do the different articulations suggested by Mr. Arban. Work with diligence to get the low wide intervals correct. Many great and fun solos will require such skills. It only takes consistent practice to learn to do them, be in that club!!


Very soon Matthias Höfs will release a new CD of Bach transcriptions for trumpet and orchestra. The Italian Concerto, originally for harpsichord, will be one of the pieces. It will inspire you to practice and most likely to get the CD too!

When a transcription is to be played, it is good to listen to some performances on the instrument originally intended to be used. Included for your comparison and enjoyment is trumpet, oboe, harpsichord and piano. It is a great piece and it is performed often. Your audience will have heard the piece many times.

Questions? How do the different instruments change/adapt the phrasing, articulation and tempo? Are note releases different when compared between the instruments? Do wind instruments have a slight advantage?

To read and learn more about this piece you can visit Mr. Walter Bitner’s blog.


J.S. Bach: Italienisches Konzert (Matthias Höfs, trumpet)


Albrecht Mayer oboe

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Wanda Landowska Harpsichord


Glenn Gould piano


Lang Lang piano



Of Interest

Bach Partita Pairing

Caleb Hudson trumpet

Hilary Hann violin


Phil Smith trumpet Dramatic Essay – Clifton Williams


Mingo Ballesteros

Composer: James L. Hosay Arranger: José Luis López – Mingo Trumpet player: Phil Smith


Rex Richardson trumpet – video on Flexibility



This month I was reading a book by a sport performance coach. He remarked how athletes tend to always do the same warmup, often without consideration of their desired results. He reviews the goals and changes the warmup for better performance.

Yes, it got me thinking. Brass players may be doing the same thing. I have a short warmup that mostly focus on air flow and my sound being relaxed. I then go on to my routine which varies only slightly depending on upcoming work. My routine was somewhat short coming out of college and has grown considerably over the years. I will be trying to evaluate the different parts of my routine and see if I actually am getting an appropriate result for my efforts or that I am even getting the results I am looking for.

I do feel that many times my warmup before a concert is really about giving me confidence and putting me in the mood for performance. If I am doing the correct things in my practice workout then all really should be good.

How does your warmup and routine line up with your goals?