Stop reading! (And start knowing)

One of my pet peeves is shelling out $20-50 for a method book only to discover that over 90% of the book is completely wasted space, taken up by writing out the exact same exercise twenty times in all possible keys/registers. My filing cabinet is full of books that could be summarized in a page or two. Worse, many of these books are already in the public domain, meaning they are public property and could be available for free (depending on where you live).

If any of you pedagogically-minded trumpeters are bored this summer, I always thought it would be a fun project to make a trumpet “crib sheet” summarizing various books or sections of books (Clarke, Arban, Irons, Colin, Schlossberg, etc.) in as little space as possible.

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Sunday Scales 5: Choose your own adventure

In the spirit of variety and creativity, I wanted to show how you can start to invent your own exercises or modify existing ones to keep ideas fresh. So this week we’re going to take one of the previous exercises (#4, the “Chromatic Do-Re-Mi”) and generate new exercises based on it. As you can see, the possibilities are endless. Continue reading

Sunday Scales 4: Mr. Stamp

This week’s pattern is a current favourite of mine. The exercise comes from Warm-ups and Studies by James Stamp.

The hieroglyphics, fermatas and repeats in Stamp’s exercises can be intimidating. When I was seventeen and first saw the book it looked like a foreign language. But it made more and more sense as I matured, learned about trumpet pedagogy, and met trumpeters who had studied with Stamp. Let’s take a moment to break this one down.

5 - Stamp trill exercise Continue reading

Sunday Scales 2: The payoff

Last time, I described my approach to learning and practicing scale patterns. Summary: learn the pattern, memorize it, and transpose it from memory. As my colleague and former teacher Shawn Spicer once said to me, “You don’t memorize scales, you know scales.” I find it fascinating how this approach is standard practice for jazz musicians but completely outside the comfort zone of most classical musicians.

Before we get to this week’s scale patterns, I wanted to say a few more words about the trumpet-specific benefits I found in practicing these scales: Continue reading