Video transcript
Covering all of your bases

>> Back to video

CRAIG MITTEN: Hi, everyone. My name's Craig. Thanks for checking out this video today. I hope you find some useful information to help you with your daily trumpet practise. Today I'll be showing you a very thorough way of practicing, which I believe originated with the great American trumpet pedagogue, Claude Gordon, or perhaps even from his teacher, Herbert L. Clarke, who is the author of the famous 'Clarke Technical Studies' book that we're all familiar with.

I'm also adding a step focusing on air, which comes from Vincent Cichowicz's approach called wind patterns. Mr. Cichowicz was a trumpet player in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for many years, and he's one of the world's most famous trumpet professors. Very successful university-level trumpet teacher.

So practicing in this manner, we'll cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. It also builds our confidence in getting around a horn by working on basic fundamentals and prepares us for any eventuality music-wise.

So let's grab our instruments, metronomes, and let's go. OK. So the exercise we will be using is from the 'Clarke Technical Studies' book, Study number 1 and number 13. So those that have the book, you'll know what that one is.

Those of you that don't, I'll quickly explain it to you. It's just a short chromatic exercise. It starts on first space F#. It goes up chromatically in quavers to C and back down to the F#. So I will demonstrate it to you. In the book, it's marked as a repeat, but we won't be doing the repeat today. We'll just play it through once. OK? So this is what the exercise sounds like.

[playing trumpet]

Now, when I play the exercise, I like to hold a pause to begin with to get it started, get my ear moving. So I'll hold the first note for three beats and then continue playing through the exercise. When I get to the last note, I usually hold that for three beats as well. We'll be using a metronome. And we'll be going back and forth. I'll apply it to demonstrate it, and then you will play it along with the metronome.

As far as volume goes, I suggest just a comfortable mezzo forte to get started. As we get into this kind of practise, we can try varying it, mixing it up. We could try to play it super softly, which is always good practise. And we can try and play it a bit louder when we're working on volume and things like that too.

So anyway, the first one is going to be just play it slurred like I just did. So I'll do it again with the pauses this time. And then it's your turn. So here we go.

[metronome clicking]

A 1, 2.

[playing trumpet]

Your turn. A 1, 2, 3, pause. And.

[metronome clicking]

Good. OK. So now we're going to work on some air usage. And what we're going to do is we're going to do the same thing, but instead of playing the trumpet, we're going to hold the trumpet in position, finger the valves, and blow a steady stream of air while we're doing that. Now, what we're after here is just, as I said, a steady stream of air.

We don't need to take in the biggest breath we can and blow lots and lots of air, because that's not what we want to do when we're playing the trumpet. What we need is a steady stream of continuous air that doesn't stop. The air just gets interrupted by the tongue, which we'll get to shortly. But in this case, we're not using the tongue. So we just blow a steady stream of air like so.

[metronome clicking]

So it'll be a 1, 2.

[inhales]

[steadily blows]

OK, your turn. A 1, 2, 3, pause. And.

OK. So now you've captured the feeling of what that feels like. And feel free to do each step a couple of times when you're practicing on your own as well. This is just an overview today. So now we'll go back to step one, where we will play the slur again. And really concentrate on moving our air just like we did when we just played the wind pattern. So here we go.

[metronome clicking]

And 1, 2.

[playing trumpet]

Your turn. A 1, 2, 3, pause, 2, and.

Very good. So now we're going to start adding some differing articulations. And the goal is to keep the air nice and solid, moving ahead. And the tongue just interrupts, or puts a dent in, actually, the air stream. The air does not stop. If the air stops, the sound will stop. All right, so this time it will be slurred in groups of two. So once more, I'll demonstrate.

[metronome clicking]

A 1.

[playing trumpet]

Your turn. 1, 2, 3, pause, and.

OK. So the third step is this time we slur two and tongue two. All right? This one we have to really concentrate on, because it kind of reverses itself. So slur two, tongue two. Here we go.

[metronome clicking]

A 1, 2.

[playing trumpet]

Your turn. 1, 2, 3, pause, and.

OK. Remember, always concentrating on a steady stream of air and we're just adding different articulations. So the next is slur three and tongue three. All the other rules are the same.

One thing I didn't mention before that I like to do is I like to tap my foot as I am doing this as well. All right. It just helps solidify the time. I've got my metronome going. My foot is tapping in time. And I think that's a good thing. So here we go. Slur three and tongue three. A 1, 2.

[playing trumpet]

Your turn. 1, 2, 3, pause. And.

OK. So now we move into just a straight single tongue. I like to use a dah tongue, a legatto tongue for this. No short notes. You could also add that as another step down the track as well. You could do legato, and you could do staccato. Today we'll just stick with one form of single tonguing. We're just going to do legato tongue, really concentrating on keeping our air moving. So here we go. Same thing.

[metronome clicking]

A 1, 2.

[playing trumpet]

Over to you. A 1, 2, 3, pause. And.

Right. So now we'll move to slightly more advanced. For those of you that are already working on double tonguing and multiple tonguing, we are now going to exercise that part of the tongue and use-- I like to use a gah.

I use da-ga. You can use ta-ka. If you use that, you can do a kah tongue. All right? So this is just that. So ga, ga, ga, ga, or ca, ca, ca, ca. For those of you that haven't got to that stage of your development yet, that's OK. You can skip the next couple of steps. But we'll do this one now. So here we go.

[metronome clicking]

1, 2.

[playing trumpet]

Your turn. And 1, 2, 3, pause. And.

Right. You've probably guessed what's coming next. And this time it is double tonguing, but done at the same slow speed. Metronome's on 80. Da, ga, da, ga, da, ga. Or ta, ka, ta, ka, ta, ka. All right? So let's do that one now.

[metronome clicking]

Here it goes. 1, 2.

[playing trumpet]

1, 2, 3, pause. And.

Right-oh. I'm sure you're all getting the hang of this now. So now for you jazzers out there working on your jazz playing, we're going back to slurring the exercise, and we're going to do it in a swing style. All right. So swing slurs. Here we go.

[metronome clicking]

And a 1, 2.

[playing trumpet]

And a 1, 2, 3, pause. And.

OK, and the last one. Once again, for the jazzers, this is doodle tonguing, so swing tonguing. Here we go. Doodle, doodle, doodle, doodle, doodle, doodle, doo, which we need to work on, because when we're playing our jazz solos, be them transcriptions or our own improvisations, we don't slur everything. OK?

We may start that way, but we obviously use articulation, and it gives our solos much more interest, and expression, and options of various articulations to use. So doodle tonguing. Here we go.

[metronome clicking]

And a 1, 2.

[playing trumpet]

1, 2, 3, pause. And.

Right-oh. And now for the final thing. I like to always finish with slurring again. It's just something I like to do. It gets everything back to square one, I guess. Makes sure that we're still keeping our air moving. So let's just finish with a slur, and that will be the whole exercise completed.

[metronome clicking]

And a 1, 2.

[playing trumpet]

And 1, 2, 3.

So that's the basic routine. I suggest you start it just like we did today, with one key and one exercise. Over time, we can challenge ourselves further by adding different keys, adding to the amount of repetitions we do of each exercise, increasing the metronome speed, and also the amount of exercises we do per practise session.

As you become more familiar with this way of practicing, you'll find it's a very useful tool and can be applied to anything you're working on-- studies from your album book, any jazz solos, and also any difficult passages in your band music that you're learning that you're having trouble with.

It will really help you negotiate it, get you inside of the music, and be able to play it a multitude of ways, which will make you much more confident when it comes to performing. So enjoy this way of practicing. I hope it's of help to you. And above all, have fun in your practise, and we'll see you next time. Bye-bye.


End of transcript