Pedagogy: Scale patterns, part two

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

Pedagogy: Scale patterns, part one

One of the biggest changes in my own practice on the trumpet has been quietly building over the past few years. It started with my Arban’s method, specifically #47 near the beginning of the book:

Arban 47

This is a classic Arban articulation study, and as you can see it is very repetitive! First, I “memorized” the study. I use quotation marks here because I didn’t really memorize each note – it’s just the same two bar pattern over and over again. Then I tried playing it from memory in different keys. I knew the pattern, I knew my scales (or so I thought), so how hard could it be? Continue reading

Pedagogy: trumpet repertoire list

In my efforts to update our trumpet jury requirements here at Western, I’ve created a repertoire list. These pieces come from a variety of sources, but most heavily I’ve consulted David Hickman’s excellent book Trumpet Pedagogy (hickeys link) as well as a repertoire list posted online by Luis Engelke here.

It’s not an exhaustive list by any stretch, and grading is subjective, but I’ve tried to include as many works as possible that are accessible to undergraduate students. It’s often very difficult to find repertoire that hits the “sweet spot” between music written for beginners and more virtuosic repertoire (eg: requiring piccolo trumpet).

Suggested trumpet repertoire list (2014-08-24)

Pedagogy: preparing repertoire

Call me crazy, but the start of the school year is one of my favourite times of the year. There is so much excitement in the air, so much promise, and your days are filled with old and new faces. Everyone is recharged and all the bitterness and frustration from previous years is momentarily set aside. Sure, it’s a little busy, but personally I’d rather have too much to do than too little.

One of the things I made this year for my students is a small handout guiding them through the process of preparing repertoire. Continue reading