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Music Resources for Young Trumpeters

Let's start with some basic scales and arpeggios that we all should know by heart.

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Major Scales Minor Scales Major Arpeggios Minor Arpeggios Step Slur Exercise

Here are some more advanced technical exercises for major keys. By the time you can play these at around 1/4 note =120 (about the speed of a typical march) you'll be very secure with these keys!

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A Major Ab Major B Major Bb Major
C Major D Major Db Major E Major
Eb Major F Major G Major -----

And now, a few pages of melodies that focus on slurring and tonguing, but don't sound like typical slurring exercises! They're more like... ExerMels!

  1. Slurring Melodies
  2. Slurring Melodies 2
  3. Slurring vs. Staccato //LISTEN!
  4. Slurring vs. Staccato 2 //LISTEN!
  5. Legato vs. Staccato //LISTEN!
  6. Legato vs. Staccato 2 //LISTEN!

COUNTING!

Take a quick lesson on this very important part of trumpet playing. CLICK HERE!

Are you ready for a challenge? Take the two counting "quizzes" that are linked here. Don't worry... no grades will be taken! Plus, the answers are at the bottom of each page, but don't peek unless you're really stuck!

Here is another set of counting pages. These focus on counting compound meters.

GET a ROUTINE!

Have you noticed that on some days you play really well and some days it's really hard to sound good at all? We all have times like that. One thing you can do to help limit these "bad days" is to set up a "routine." That is, a daily set of warm-up exercises that will get you and your lips ready for band (or whatever group in which you play) rehearsal or your lesson. You may even want to try to do this at about the same time every day. This routine should include a combination of the following items: long tones, slurs, various styles of tonguing (smooth vs. staccato vs. heavy vs. light), and scales and arpeggios. It doesn't have be very long, perhaps 10-15 minutes total. You might find that this extra playing increases your range and endurance, too. Give it a try!

DEVELOP Your HIGH RANGE!

Having a strong high range (or upper register) is certainly a big part of playing trumpet. As you get older, the music you play will get higher and more physically demanding. Here are some exercises you can try to get yourself started, plus a fingering chart for those notes above the staff.

Playing melodies, not just hitting high notes, is also very important part of developing your upper register. You need to know when you are on the correct note, because above the staff it's very easy to play wrong notes with correct fingerings and to play right notes with "wrong" fingerings. Here are some simple melodies that gradually get higher and higher. Learn the lower keys very well (so your ear has it memorized) and then move on up! Lastly, go to THIS LINK to see the article I wrote for the International Trumpet Guild's "ITG Jr." journal. This article can be seen in the June 2003 edition.

DYNAMICS!

One of the best ways to practice and learn control of your instrument to play at dynamic levels that are on the edges of you "comfort level." I don't mean pain! Most of us have a volume, mezzo-your name, that is easy and comfortable at which to play. Try practicing some of your music at both very soft and loud volumes. Always try to create a good sound, as we want to be able to be musical at any dynamic level.

While playing, we also need to be able to produce contrasting levels of dynamics, sometimes gradually and sometimes suddenly. Here is a page of melodies where you can practice this skill.

INTONATION!

Also referred to as "playing in tune." This is one of the toughest challenges that young musicians (and old ones, too) face, particularly in large ensembles like band or orchestra. With so many different sounds, notes, and rhythms going on at once, it's very difficult to tell whether or not you are playing in tune. Sometimes, just sitting next to or in front someone with bad intonation (or who simply plays lots of wrong notes!!!) can make it almost impossible for you to do this.

Intonation Exercises

So, how can you play better in tune? One way does not involve your instrument at all: Listening. Find recordings, whether you buy them, download them, or get them at the library, of professional bands, jazz bands, orchestras, or chamber groups (small ensembles, usually with 4 - 6 players, or brass choirs). The more you listen, the more you will simply "know" when something sounds right and is well in tune, or when something is not quite there.

Do you have tuner? Spending a few minutes a day trying to hold your pitch steady and in tune will greatly improve your ability to control your pitch and sound when playing in a group. Do not try to play a melody in front of the tuner, it just won't work. This is an exercise for pitch control.

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