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Saturday, September 30, 2006

R.I.P Maynard

On a more solemn note, I regret that I was unable to post a report on the day when trumpet legend Maynard Ferguson died. I'm sure everyone must know by now but the legendary trumpeter died on the evening of the 23rd of August 2006 at the Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, California. He was 78 years old, and doctors say his death was the result of kidney and liver failure brought on by an infection.

Maynard will be remember best for his incredible range and endurance which allowed him to stamp his mark on the world of trumpet playing for over half a century. Personally, I especially like his version of Maria from Bernstein West Side Story, because it demonstrates not only the power that that made Maynard famous thoughout the world, but also a degree of subtle musicality, that is not always so obvious in some of his other, more brash work.

Maynard will be thoroughly missed by all. For anyone wishing to know more about evens and memorials...etc, please go to - http://www.maynardferguson.com/

Wayne Bergeron awesome lead trumpet!

I've recently come across Wayne Bergeron. He's an amazing lead trumpet player for the Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band from the USA. If any of you have heard the cool soundtrack for the animated Disney film "The Incredibles" then you will have heard Wayne's playing and it is awesome.

I think he's quite similar to the late Maynard Ferguson in his power, range and generally sound. Check him out on his own website - http://www.waynebergeron.com/wbfs.html

Monday, September 25, 2006

Return to posting!

Hi. I've finally got a new computer. After months trying to get the other one fixed i ended up ditching it!

So i'll try to keep posting regularly from now on.

many thanks for your patience.

- Dave (the editor)

Friday, August 11, 2006


Hi all! Really sorry for lack of posts. I still can't afford a new computer! I'm currently searching ebay. When i get a new one the posts will start again.

Many thanks for your continued patience.

DAVE - editor

Monday, June 05, 2006


Sorry for lack of posts. My home cpu is down. Can only get online with friends cpu and he's often out so....

Will attempt to update when cpu is fixed. Please keep checking back!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Tips & Advice - #1. Warming Up (introduction)

This is the first of my new series of posts called "Tips and Advice" (see previous posts). This week I'm going to be talking about warming up. I anticipate this topic will be covered in several postings. This is the first - "Introduction" - to be followed by a number of other headed posts. Anyway, lets get going....

The topic of warming up has aroused some debate among trumpet pedagogues. Many argue that warming up is a waste of time, citing players who can play straight "from cold" with little or no problem as evidence. However I would like to suggest that WARMING UP IS NOT A WASTE OF TIME!

Why? Why is this you ask? Well I'll use the example of the 100 meter athlete. In their chosen profession the runner is required to put their leg and arm muscles under considerable strain, working them hard to reach the line first. Most, if not all of these athletes would agree that warming up by doing stretches light jogging, is of utmost importance in order to avoid injury. This seems obvious to us. If the athlete stretches he loosens his muscles allowing him not only to move more easily, but also to avoid injury. Many brass players however, ignore the fact that they are athletes too. It's true! Think about it. A brass player puts enormous strain on the lips when playing, stretching them and pushing them to the limit in order to finish the piece with style and panacea. If we accept this then, it is sensible for the trumpeter to warm up his lips before he commences heavy playing. Indeed, a good warm up stimulates blood flow, and loosens muscles allowing them to be used without ease without risk of damage.

But how should you warm up? This is a typical question which is all to often answered incorrectly by tutors who attempt to impose their own methods (or that of a well known player) onto the student. In fact, it is important to recognise that every player will necessarily have a different style of warm up, and it is their [the pupil's] job to work out what suits them best. Of course, this can only be achieved by experimentation and guidance from other more experienced players (whether that be through reading or tuition). Indeed, despite my earlier comments it is crucial for teachers to guide their pupils in sensible warm up technique in order that they may understand the best way to employ the exercises they have at hand. Many players have very poor warm up routines which do more harm than good, and this is often because of a lack of guidance.

General advice. Warm-ups should strike a balance between ensuring that all muscles to be used in playing are suitably loosened, whilst not over straining the lips before they have even started. Herbert L. Clarke outlined that one of the best ways to do this is to play quietly. Not many people do this, but all the best players will tell you that they always practice quietly because it affords them control, accuracy and allows them to play for longer. Seriously, play over your old exercises quietly (no more than pp) and you will start playing better. I've also found that reducing pressure has improved my playing (especially in stamina and range). A good way to reduce pressure on the lips is to remove your little finger (right hand) from the hook when playing. This will seem hard at first, but once your muscles adapt you will find playing becomes much easier because your muscles are stronger (they no longer reply on pressure to hold the shape).

Final Points. Lastly, i should like to point out that there is one other great benefit of a sensible warm upBy following a regular warm up routine everyday, you will find that you become more consistent in your playing. You will have less days when you come to the horn and say "oh, I can't play today because it feels stiff". The same exercises everyday will train your lips to respond in the same way everyday - this will help your playing (and practice patience!) no end.

In the next installment i'll be dealing with the free buzz and mouthpiece buzzing so keep checking back. Remember, any questions, post a comment!

Tine Thing Helset - an upcoming young trumpeter

Hi all. Sorry for the lack of posts over the last few days. I've been away. However, now i'm back i thought i'd introduce you to a up-and-coming Norwegian trumpeter called Tine Thing Helset. I saw her on the Eurovision Young Musician of the Year competition the other night. She was playing the Hayden Concerto and it sounded brilliant. Unfortunately, i haven't been able to find out that much about her because all her biographic details are in Norwegian. I have managed to uncover that she is [appears to be] 17 years old, but if anyone has any more information please let me know. Remember, when she's a famous soloist you heard it here first!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

More on trumpet players and strokes!

Hearing about this link between trumpet playing and strokes I decided to do a little bit of detective work. Here's what I found out:

A little bit about strokes

It seems that there are 2 main types of stroke:-
  1. The first occurs when a blood clot moves into the brain - this accounts for 85% of cases.
  2. The second is when a blood vessel in the brain bursts - this is responsible for 15% of cases.

Apparently, young people are more prone to the second type because their blood vessels may not have developed fully yet. However, fully grown adults suffer both kinds.

Strokes and trumpet playing

All this stuff about trumpet players having strokes has all come about thanks to some research done at the University of Munster, in Germany. They identified five cases where people had suffered damage to blood vessels to the brain by playing the trumpet. This damage then led to the people having a stroke.

Dr. Evers - one of the researchers - highlighted a case of a 17-year-old who had suffered a number of "mini-strokes" whilst playing the trumpet. However, he then went on to say that in most of the cases studied the patients had had a predisposition to having a stroke.

I hope that's cleared up some of this stroke talk. See this article for the full report.

Roddy Trumpet - an amazing resource!

This is the best site i've found in ages. It's called 'Roddy Trumpet' and it's got sooooooooooo much trumpet related stuff I don't know where to start. It's got the usual sound and video clips, and method advice areas. But it's also got great, original sections like the "Trumpet Celebrity Interviews" page, where the author has compiled a large archive of interviews with some of the best pros in the business.

The best bit of the site for me however, is the complete 'Cat Anderson Scream Trumpet Method' online. For anyone who doesn't know, Cat Anderson was lead trumpet with Duke Ellington for a long time and is well known for his amazing high notes (just go listen to Rockin' in Rhythm). I don't know where he found this, but it is literally a copy of Anderson's book which you can read for free.

This is a really good site. Click here to visit.

Trumpet Think - audio and video tutor

Here's a useful site called 'Trumpet Think'. I'm actually surprised I haven't come across it before. Basically, it's a collection of articles about different aspects of trumpet playing, including:
  • Warming up
  • Air
  • Corners
  • Lips
  • Resistance and strength
  • Tuning
  • Tonguing

The best bit is however, that each of these articles has a related video or audio clip, played by (I assume) the author. It's definitely worth a look. Click here to visit 'Trumpet Think'.

Free Trumpet Audio - Purtle.com

I've just found quite a good site called 'Purtle.com' where you can download free trumpet sound files, including:
  • lectures by Claude Gordon (advice on diaphragm, tonguing and much more)
  • mp3's of some brilliant old trumpet solo recordings (they sound good don't worry)

You have to have Quicktime installed to listen to some of the lectures, but all the rest are in a ready-to-use mp3 format. I advise listening to Del Staigers "Carnival of Venice" - it's mad! Click here for the link.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

New Schedule - trumpet 'Tips and Advice'

As I have almost finished my exams (my final exam ever in my life is this Monday! YES!) I am thinking about the coming months postings. I've decided on a new theme - 'Tips and Advice'.

Basically i've seen these sites with "advice" sections on theme, but they take forever to read and some are difficult to understand. Well over the next few months I intend to produce a series of postings relating to different aspects of trumpet playing, including:-
  • warming up
  • tonguing
  • high-notes
  • screaming! (yes the above is a different thing)

...and many more.

I don't pretend to be a professional but i've spent the past 3 years ironing out some pretty major faults in my playing which I never thought would be possible. I always think, I bet I could have got better faster if someone had explained things more clearly to me in the first place. This is what I intend to do. I'm going to stick to the K.I.S.S method - "Keep It Simple Stupid".

So keep coming back to see my postings. It's all coming up soon on 'Trumpeter's World'.

Well done Huw!

As the final performer in this year's BBC Young Musician I think Huw Morgan was excellent. I absolutely love the Tomasi (despite what the commentators said) and I think Huw's performance had control, style and was just right for me. I don't care if he bottled the last note because I would have too. In fact I think he's more the professional for knowing not to just "hit and hope" because that would have wrecked what was a brilliant performance. I'm sure Huw has a great chance tonight, and even if he doesn't win I think we'll see him doing something trumpet related in the future. So well done Huw, you did us trumpeters proud!

Please let me (and others) know what you though of Huw or any of the performers tonight by leaving a comment for this post.

BBC Young Musician Tonight!

Just a little reminder to the BBC Young Musician of the Year award tonight. It's actually on right now on BBC2. We all want the trumpeter to win right?

See below for links and other Young Musician info.