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.
Building on what we saw in Part 5, today we’re going to cook up some more scale patterns. There are plenty of scales out there in trumpet-land, but few follow the circle of fifths (you can see one of my own in Part 8).
Today I’m going to lay out some puzzle pieces, and you can put them together however you want to make an unlimited variety of exercises.
If you’re a trumpeter and you’ve heard me warming up… or I’ve heard you warming up… or if you’ve talked to me about practice routines for more than two minutes… you might know about my obsession with tone bending. This belief isn’t original, but it is important. My routine changes constantly, but (after breathing) it always begins with tone bending. Continue reading “The power of tone bending”
This week’s featured book is a lesson in humility. Robert Nagel was a founding member of the New York Brass Quintet and has held teaching affiliations with Yale, Juilliard, the Manhattan School of Music, and more… His book Speed Studies is a collection of scale exercises designed to go beyond the traditional major/minor scales most of us encounter as beginners. His own preface says it best:
On first acquaintance with these drills and studies it may seem to the student that there are no determinable groupings or sequences to certain successions of notes. However, such is not the case. Although much of contemporary music appears to avoid obvious groupings of notes, it is the purpose of this book to bridge the gap between the more obvious scale patterns of 19th century music and the more complex and irregular groupings found in much of our present day music by presenting instrumental study materials of an intermediate complexity. The patterns employed here usually consist of from three or four to eight notes. These melodic formations are frequently contrary to the established rhythmic pattern. For example, a three-note melodic grouping may occur and be repeated in a four sixteenth-notes per beat rhythm. It is the writer’s belief that specific comprehension and recognition of these various melodic formations will aid the student to read and execute this study material with greater speed and accuracy.
There are countless approaches to teaching, but in this post I want to share one simple idea that has intrigued me for years. This question has helped me evaluate my own teaching and understand (without judging) the teaching of others.