Sunday Scales 18: Minor misunderstandings

This week we’re going to talk about minor – I’m sure you know it’s important, but do you actually practice it? In my case, I never practiced it much for two reasons: first, most exercises and etudes are in major keys; and second, the three minor modes make it confusing to translate exercises to minor. So this week, we’re going to look at a few scale patterns from previous article and show what they might look like in various minor modes. Continue reading “Sunday Scales 18: Minor misunderstandings”

Sunday Scales 15: Divide and conquer the chunks

Anthony Plog’s “fingering exercises and etudes” from his Method for Trumpet (see below) make for fun practicing. This week we’ll take a look at Vol. 2, Ex. 7:

15 - a - ex 7 full

At sixteen measures, this is on the longer side for a scale pattern. How are we going to memorize it? With two techniques. The first is already in this article’s title: “Divide and Conquer.”

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Sunday Scales 14: Mr. Gekker

Chris Gekker is one of my favourite trumpeters, for his many recordings as a soloist and with the American Brass Quintet (1 2 3), for his writings (see: one of my favourite articles about practicing trumpet) and for his book Articulation Studies.

Even though, as the title suggests, the book is intended to assist articulation, most of the exercises are built around scale patterns and many would work equally well slurred or tongued. Either way they are classics.

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Sunday Scales 13: Mr. Schlossberg

Max Schlossberg is primarily known to brass players today as the “author” of the book Daily Drills and Technical Exercises. This book contains exercises by Schlossberg, however it was only put together after his death by his son-in-law Harry Freistadt, and it can be a bit confusing to work through.

In his day, though, Schlossberg was a sought-after performer and teacher, being hired by the New York Philharmonic while Mahler was at the helm (!). As the stories go, he had a marvelous ability to diagnose students’ issues on the fly, and he would write out exercises during lessons tailored to their specific problems. This means that the performance instructions (range, dynamics, articulations, etc.) would often be completely different when two different students received the same exercise.

Regardless, many exercises in the book are classics for all brass players, and Schlossberg’s teachings echo through the works of the major brass pedagogues of the twentieth century. Here are a few notable examples:

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Sunday Scales 12: Fifths factory (part two)

Last week, I showed how we could start generating scale patterns built around the circle of fifths. As promised, we’re going to up the stakes this week.

As you might recall, we created two kinds of exercises: “templates” (large patterns for navigating the circle of fifths) and “cells” (little patterns to play on each note of a template). Today I’m going to introduce two new types of cells: up a fourth and down a fifth.

Continue reading “Sunday Scales 12: Fifths factory (part two)”