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:

XIII - a - 36aNote the use of ample practice variations. 36b is the same exercise and variations, proceeding up from low C.

XIII - b - 93#93 continues up (and up, and up).

XIII - c - 99#99 continues down. #100, as before, inverts the pattern:

XIII - d - 100For more on Schlossberg’s life and teaching, there are some great resources out there:

  • Thomas Stevens has a nice series of “Quotables” here, here and here.
  • The Journal of the International Trumpet Guild published an article in May 1997: “Max Schlossberg: Founder of the American School of Trumpet Playing in the Twentieth Century” by André M. Smith.
  • Ole’s trumpet page has a nice bio here.