Five-things Friday: Easy Warmup

  1. Breathing: fill up lungs 8 counts, hold 8 counts, exhale 8 counts. Repeat 2 times
  2. Lip buzzing: flap (imitating a horse), pedal concert B-flat, low concert B-flat (low C on B-flat trumpet, then play, as if on B-flat trumpet, first five notes of C Major, up and down.
  3. Mouthpiece buzzing: again, first five notes of C Major, entire C Major scale, arpeggiate C Major (all of these, as if on B-flat trumpet)
  4. Long tones: (on trumpet) Schlossberg #5

#5 from Schlossberg’s “Daily Drills”

  1. Lip flexibility: (on trumpet) Schlossberg #15

#15 from “Daily Drills”



No tags for this post.

Music review: J.F. Madeuf, Musica Fiorita playing Molter

Karlsruhe Palace, where Molter worked at the end of his life

Yesterday, I wrote about the power of music review. Today, I am writing a review about some powerful music: Jean François Madeuf’s new album featuring music by Johann Melchior Molter. James Miller has already written an excellent review for the Historic Brass Society Journal.

This new recording is a wonderful addition to the growing audio library we have of natural baroque trumpet playing. Jean François is joined on trumpet by Henry Moderlak and Tomohiro Sugimara on Molter’s Concerto No. 3 in D Major for three trumpets (MWV 4:11).

But the best part of this concerto is the third movement with its sweeping lines so wonderfully done by natural trumpets:

Jean François shows his artistic and trumpetistic abilities in the very demanding Concerto No. 1 for Trumpet in D Major (MWV 4:12):

But I really loved the whole album. Jean François and Olivier Picon play horn on the Divertimento in F Major (with tasty bassoon and  chalumeau also playing):

And I’ll leave you with this trumpet-less beauty:




No tags for this post.

The power of small reviews

As artists, we trumpeters want to play the best we can on a particular program at a particular time. As we get better and better on that music, we may notice that it seems very hard to make any more noticeable improvements.

When we feel overwhelmed by this feeling of diminishing returns for the investment of practice that we give to our music that we intend to perform, it may pay to diversify.

I’m not talking about money management: by “diversify” I mean that you should practice something different. A great choice for this would be music that you have already played and learned well. A little review every week or so can go a long way to getting nearly all of the benefits from this piece of music that you got when it was your primary focus.

For example, when I am working on a piece with a challenging double tongue passage, I may feel stuck when I try to improve on this piece: maybe I’m only getting a fraction of a percent better everyday! But, if I get out the double tongue studies and etudes that I worked on when I was younger, it only takes a single reading to jolt my mind and body into good double tongue technique. Within a few minutes, my general ability to do double tonguing will improve perhaps 15% or maybe even 30%! But this works with other technical walls that you run into. Try the power of small reviews next time you feel stuck!

No tags for this post.

Trumpet Happiness, month two: January

Last month, my resolutions were:

  1. Get fitter. Last month, I exercised every day and got to a better weight. I can truthfully say I feel better, more energetic. The time I spend working out is definitely repaid, because I feel like I have much more energy and a better attitude to get “non-preferred” things done (like cleaning dishes).
  2. Organizing, logging and recording my practice. I didn’t quite log my month of practice. I started valiantly, but stopped half-way through. I think this was because I simply forgot. I did get some recordings in. Here’s a video example of how frustrating the recording process can be (but I should say how helpful it is for me, too!). This is me working on the Michael Gisondi Etude No. 12 (based on Bach’s unaccompanied violin “Sontata No. 2” in a-minor)


  1. Blog everyday. I think I just missed one day last month. I actually feel a bit better as a writer. Maybe 5% better.
  2. Finish my to-do lists as soon as possible. I think I checked off my to-do list pretty well. But I need to get better at tasks that require lots of little things to happen before bigger things get accomplished.
  3. Act the way I want to sound: big-hearted, confident, engaging. Maybe 10% more. But, I think my trumpet playing–more confident–is helping me feel more confident in general!

The only things I felt like I could really MAKE SURE that I accomplished were the workouts and the blogging. The other resolutions were not as “measurable.” In any case, the idea is to carry over these resolutions to the next month, as much as possible, and to make some new resolutions for January, 2018.

Here are my NEW resolutions:

  1. Meditate 5 minutes everyday. I know really nothing about meditation other than what I read in Dan Harris’s book, 10% Happier. I loved his story of discovering meditation from a skeptic’s viewpoint. In addition, I have talked to a few trumpeters that I admire, who also claim to get benefits from meditation in their trumpet playing. So, I’m definitely excited about this resolution.
  2. Although I’ve been doing it anyway, I’m adding language study to my January goals. For the past four years, I’ve been digging into seven languages on Duolingo and Pimsleur: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese and Swedish. But for this year of happiness, I’m going to focus on fewer things and try to do them better. So, my goal is to intensify my work in French, trying to finish all five levels of the Pimsleur audio series. I want to be perfectly comfortable in conversations and normal reading. The other languages will have to wait their turn.
  3. Journal every day. With a daily requirement to write down three things that I’m grateful for, at least one of which is not obvious. For instance, “I’m grateful for finding the $10 dollars I had forgotten about in my pocket. I’m grateful for my two sons. I’m grateful to the troll on YouTube who made me re-think my quality control.”
  4. I will hug three times a day. At least 6 seconds each hug. The minimum requirement. Don’t run away from me if you see me coming.
  5. I will upgrade my website. Look for a few interesting changes soon.
  6. I will play a transposition etude every day. I’ll start by working on the Sachse 100 Studies for Trumpet.
  7. I will play the top five orchestral excerpts every day. By “top five,” I mean the ones asked most frequently in orchestral auditions. The opening to Mahler Symphony No. 5, opening to Mussorgsky’s/Ravel’s Pictures, ballerina’s dance in Stravinsky’s Petrouchka, Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G, and Respighi’s Pines of Rome offstage solo.
  8. I will edit a 19th-century manuscript of cornet duets that I have been meaning to do. You can read a little about where it comes from here.


No tags for this post.

The Trumpet Journey List 2018–what’s in and out



Sizzlin’ Double-High C

Gorgeous High C

Begin playing trumpet in 5th grade band (age 10)

Begin Suzuki trumpet at age 4

Over-priced Mt. Vernon

Great sounding trumpet found in yard sale

Digital Bugles

Bugles Across America

Practicing hours and hours

Practicing smart

Doc Severinsen

James Morrison

Woodwindy-sounding baroque trumpets

Authentic-sounding natural trumpets



Modern trumpeters playing equal temperament

Just intonation

Cornetto players playing just intonation

Mean-tone temperament

YouTube vids of arpeggios and high notes

Vids of unaccompanied Bach transcriptions

Snarky trolls on trumpet chat rooms

Helpful suggestions on chat rooms

Tricks of the (trumpet) trade

The trade

Sleigh Ride Whinnies

Carols on antique cornets

Focal dystonia

Re-learning how to play from scratch




No tags for this post.