Private Trumpet Lessons & Trumpet Performance
Free Trumpet Resources & Stuff:
Here are a few resources you may find useful or interesting!
General Trumpet Stuff:
A useful little sheet I found somewhere in my travels that you may find enlightening.
A very useful official link to information about Bach brass mouthpieces.
A well written article by trumpeter Ben Peterson check out his site there are lots of other info, articles, and a very in depth book on the science of trumpet playing! If you are cleaning your trumpet for the first time, read through this article 2 or 3 times before you begin so you have a good idea what you are doing. Remember, trumpets are more fragile than you think! If you go easy and never force anything, you should be OK. If you are not confident about doing this you can stop by Tapestry Music. For a small fee their shop will be happy to do this for you.
If you want some insight into Herbert L. Clarke’s method books then this is a great read and only 78 pages. If you are a trumpet student, especially if use any of Clarke’s books, then this is absolutely required reading!
Clifford Brown was by all accounts a prodigious practicer and he would often record his practice sessions for his own critical analysis. Here are two recordings that have survived! If you are a fan of Clifford Brown you will find this a fascinating insight into the creative process of one of jazz trumpets greatest artists! Please note: no copyright infringement is intended! If these recordings are an infringement of any copyright holders, I will delete them.
The basic of basic warmups. I use this for my beginner students.
A more advanced warmup that I often use at the beginning of a day of practice and not as long as my full blown more advanced warmup. My students can login here to see the complete series of warmups.
This is a playalong audio file that you can use to practice your long tones with. It is a rhythm section groove that is 32 bars long played 4 times in the key of C (concert Bb). The chord progression has been created so that every note sounds OK while playing a C (concert Bb). Using this track makes it much more enjoyable to play long tones rather than playing them unaccompanied. The other nice benefit is that you can stay in tune more easily using the track. My students can login here and then go to the long tones page to see a complete 14 month program of long tones mp3 playalong tracks and sheets using 3 additional styles & chord progressions, and in all 12 keys.
Here’s a sheet showing all the major scales and also a high quality playalong MP3. The playalong has a nice relaxed bossa nova rhythm section, plays 8 measures for each key, and uses the cycle of fifths. Simply click to play online or right click and “Save Link As…” to save on your hard drive. Working and learning your major scales can be a bit tedious but using a playalong track makes it a bit more bearable! Also, playing along with a rhythm section will help you to hear the overall tonality better! My students can login here and go to the major scales page. There you can download 3 additional styles to use with your major scales.
As taught to me by the great lead trumpeter Wes Hensel.
Before I relate the story of this exercise let me say to all of you beginner and intermediate students: talk with me or bring this to your own teacher for advice before you try this exercise. You can hurt yourself if you go overboard on this routine! Use common sense. OK, keep reading!
This was a very simple but effective exercise taught to me by Wes Hensel during my first semester at Berklee College of Music. When I arrived at Berklee my trumpet playing was not in very good shape. I had gradually developed an embouchure fault called “playing on the red”. When you play in the red your mouthpiece placement on the upper lip is too low… not all of the top lip is inside the inner rim of the mouthpiece (as it should be). This results in a thin tone, low endurance, and poor accuracy. I’m pretty sure this fault crept into my playing as a result of trying to play too many high notes. I was determined to become the next Maynard Ferguson! I had been warned this could be a problem by my former trumpet teacher and probably a few others who were knowledgeable. Let’s just say I had my own ideas (totally incorrect ideas!) about how to approach the upper register!
During my first lesson with him Wes spotted the fault immediately. He insisted that a change was necessary. I was apprehensive about losing what little chops I had left while just starting out at a major music school. Wes told me he had just the thing: the Isometric Strength Exercise. I played this exercise several times each day resting often to recover. I played this almost to the exclusion of all other exercises for about 4 weeks. This simple exercise was what I needed to begin to rebuild my embouchure enough to move up to more advanced exercises. By the end of the semester I had a stable embouchure with a much better sound. I had less range, but the range I had was consistent. It changed the way I played. Now I’m sure that any of the other trumpet faculty at Berklee could have helped me fix this fault in my playing, but I’m glad I drew Wes as my teacher that first semester. He had a no nonsense attitude; he could be very irritated for something like being late for a lesson, (believe me I only needed to be late once!) but mostly he was considerate, kind, and really wanted me to play well. His demeanour was exactly what I needed. I doubt that Wes invented this exercise but that doesn’t matter. The value for me was how Wes taught it to me. His advice was re-
Music Theory, etc:
Some handy blank staff papers in PDF file you can print. I put this in here because I often need a sheet of staff paper! Maybe you will find it handy too.
A nice little chart showing the cycle of fifths in major and minor keys. Great for learning all your keys.
OK, so let’s say you have a trumpet part in orchestra and at the top it says 1re Trompette en UT. You might be asking yourself “what the heck does that mean?” This very nice table answers that question and shows all the possible transpositions that an orchestral trumpet player may encounter.
All of my students as well as any young trumpeter should download and print this essential reference.
Links to Free Useful Music Software:
The free & basic version of Finale music notation. Great to learn with while you save up for the full version!
Another free music notation software application. More full featured than Finale Notepad, but not as well known. I don’t use it myself (I have been using the full version of Finale for years,) but I have checked out all the tutorials on their site and for free it looks really good. Thanks to my student Jonathan for making me hip to this product.
A fantastic, powerful, & free to use trial (but FULLY functioning) audio recording package for your PC. This is what I use for recording audio at home.
Some Useful Trumpet Articles:
I have indexed a few useful articles below that are worth your time. I will add to this list whenever I find something I feel is worth sharing.
Video, being more direct and engaging, is a powerful way to get across an idea or concept. There are lots of trumpet “how-
Total trumpet geek stuff, but interesting, especially the paragraph “Sticking Valves”.
Must reading for any of my students working on the Technical Studies By Herbert L. Clarke!