Let’s talk slurs: part 4, start low

Most lip books start patterns with open-finger combination notes and then go to the lower fingerings (some exceptions are the , 27 Groups of Exercises, and some of Scott ’s exercises). Open fingering usually feels easier to students because of the relatively short length of tubing. But in my experience, most students have great difficulties with the lowest valve combinations (1-2-3 and 1-3).

By starting lip flexibility exercises with the lowest combination, and working up from that, students start out trying to conquer the relatively-stuffy 1-2-3 combination, and they stick with this difficulty until they can do it better. Then they get to move on to higher (and easier) tubing lengths. It’s like eating your greens first, and then getting your dessert. I don’t recommend doing this all the time, but I do recommend trying this low-to-high sequence often.

In addition, try pulling out on the third-valve slide for the slur exercises on 1-2-3 and 1-3. This will be more in tune and give you a better expectation of the way these alternate fingerings should be played if you have to use them in the upper register.

Let’s talk slurs: part 2, types of slur studies

There are many types of slur studies. Here is the way I divide them up with some examples taken from standard trumpet study books:

  1. Interval studies (e.g., ’s slur studies #1-15; Colin, much of vol. 2)
  2. Arpeggios (e.g., ’s Technical Studies, “Third Study,” “Seventh Study,”)
  3. Consecutive notes in harmonic series (e.g., , #7-15; , #1, 2, 4-14; 17-19; 21-24; most of Colin, vol. 1; most of the Bai Lin book)
  4. Skip (Schlossberg, 31-34; Bai Lin 3, 4, 8, 13-15, 19-21, 23-30; 34-38)
  5. Octaves, which is a type of skip slur (Schlossberg, #49-58)
  6. Glissandos (Smith, “The Glissando” section; Clarke, “Tenth Study”)
  7. Lip Slurs (Colin, much of vol. 2 and vol. 3)
  8. Lip slurs with valves (works by )

Arban, J.B., Complete Conservatory Method
Belck, Scott, Modern for Brass
____, Progressive Lip Flexibilities for Brass
Colin, Charles, Advanced Lip Flexibilities
Clarke, Herbert L., Technical Studies for the Cornet
Irons, Earl D., Twenty-Seven Groups of Exercises for Cornet and Trumpet
Lin, Bai, Lip Flexibilities for All Brass Instruments
Schlossberg, Max, Daily Drills and Technical Studies for Trumpet
Smith, Walter M., Forty-One Studies for Developing Lip on the Cornet