Category Archives: Trumpet for Beginners

Famous Solos for Young and Comeback Players

One of the most difficult trumpet solos in print is J.S.Bach’s Second Brandenburg Concerto. Most of us own a copy but few have the courage or ability to actually perform it. Now you can be the first kid on your block to say that you have actually play through all of this imposing number. You just don’t have to mention that this version is written down a perfect fourth. It will be our little secret. Without this transposition, this wonderful solo would not be available to the less blessed players. When you couple the oboe part with the trumpet, you now have some of the best duet writing available. If you are a purest and feel that this is cheating, don’t download it and enjoy the pain and headaches playing it in the original key.

Download  score here- Brandenburg #2 1st.mvt.

Play MP3 file here- Brandenburg #2

Famous Solos for Young and Comeback Players

Many times we would like to practice famous solos which we knew at one time or would like to learn but because of our limited strength and upper range, they are beyond our current ability. If you have the desire to play some of these beautiful solos, you are in luck. I will be adding to this series as time passes and I’m sure you will find some materials which will suit your current ability. Most of these solos will be lowered a third and in some cases a fourth to place the range within everyone’s ability. If you have a favorite you would like to have included, just drop me a line and I will try to make it available to you. The first in our series will be the Hallelujah Chorus and The Trumpet Shall Sound from Handel’s Messiah. The original is in the key of D concert as was the custom. I have lowered it to the key of C for the Bb trumpet.

The Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah

Dounload here- Hallelujah Chorus

The Trumpet Shall Sound from Handel’s Messiah

Download here- The Trumpet Shall Sound

Chet Baker at His Best

Chet Baker

Chesney Henry “Chet” Baker, Jr. (December 23, 1929 – May 13, 1988) was an American jazz trumpeter, flugelhornist and vocalist.

Baker earned much attention and critical praise through the 1950s, particularly for albums featuring his vocals (Chet Baker Sings, It Could Happen to You). Jazz historian David Gelly described the promise of Baker’s early career as “James Dean, Sinatra, and Bix, rolled into one. His well-publicized drug habit also drove his notoriety and fame; Baker was in and out of jail frequently before enjoying a career resurgence in the late 1970s and ’80s.

At about 3:00 am on May 13, 1988, Baker was found dead on the Prins Hendrikkade, near the Zeedijk, the street below his second-story room (Room 210) of Hotel Prins Hendrik in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, with serious wounds to his head. Drugs were found in his hotel room, and an autopsy also found these drugs in his body. There was no evidence of a struggle, and the death was an accident. A plaque outside the hotel memorializes him and the room he was staying in is named “The Chet Baker Room”.

Baker is buried at the Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, California.

I want to send out a special thank you to my new friend
Higor De Paula Costa
from São Paulo, Brazil
who shared this video with us.

Protecting the Finish of Your Instrument

In an earlier post I covered the essentials for keeping your brass instrument in good working order. This post will cover the importance of keeping the outer service of your instrument in good shape. Whether you have a silver or gold plated instrument or a lacquered or even bare brass surface, it is important to protect the outside from damage and wear.

Bare brass instruments

Instruments without plating or lacquer will eventually turn ugly. The reason that bare brass changes with time is the fact that the brass, when exposed to the air over a given period will tarnish and this tarnishing will distract from the original high luster it had after its first polishing. Brass is a wonderful material for making instruments for it is a relatively cheap material and is very easy to manipulate into curves and flares. It is also easy to solder parts together. After a simple polishing, the brass is beautifully restored to its original high luster. Brass is a wonderful material but, as I said, if left to the elements, it will return again to the dull, tarnished condition it originally began.

The outward appearance might not be a concern to you and many players are seen performing on these instruments. There is one concern which you may not be aware of and that is without a protective layer between you and your bare brass instrument, you run the risk of brass poisoning. The skin will react to the brass in the same way your tongue will react to licking exposed brass. It is not a good idea to play on an exposed brass instrument for that reason. Many performers prefer the sound and response of these horns and I am not going to debate the value of bare brass tone qualities in this article. Many performers will take a lacquered instrument and have the lacquer stripped in order to get the quality of sound that they want. I remember visiting with Mr. Schilke one day when I asked him why he did not offer lacquered trumpets. His answer was short and to the point, as they always were: “You can’t control the thickness of the lacquer as well as you can with silver and/or gold plating. Without this control, you can’t be sure how the instrument will perform”. Again, I have no problem with this choice but do know that the player runs the risk of brass poisoning and areas of contact that will turn green with extended contact just as a cheap brass ring will eventually turn your finger green.

If you prefer an exposed brass instrument, think about the risk and consider coating your instrument often with a good furniture polish to separate your hands and fingers from the bare brass or consider adding a leather cover where your hand makes contact with the instrument.

Lacquer covered instruments

If your instrument is lacquered, it is protected from the air and until the lacquer wears off, it should stay in the same condition for a long time. If the surface begins to wear through or sustains scratches, the underlying brass will eventually tarnish. Fortunately, a stripping and buffing session at the repair shop will bring it back to is original high luster. Brass is so forgiving. To prolong the original surface, be sure to apply a good coating of high quality furniture polish once a year. This will sustain the condition of the lacquer for a longer time.

If you are the type of person that wants your instrument to shine forever and you intend to have it buffed often, forget it. You must remember that each time the repair shop buffs your brass; they are taking a small amount of brass off each time. Eventually you will begin to find weak spots where they leaned a little too hard on the buffing wheel. I have a beautifully playing early Bach cornet which I enjoy playing. It is old, as I am but I will put up with the tarnished areas in order to sustain the original thickness of the tubing.

Silver and Gold instruments

When I bought my first Schilke trumpet, I wanted it to last forever. I asked Mr. Schilke what I should do to keep it in good shape. He told me to only use Tarni-shield on the outside. That is what I started using and I still use it on all of my silver plated horns. It works great and each application has lasted for a long time. The accompanying photo is the original bottle I purchased with my first Schilke horn and there is still enough in there to last longer than I will last. Great stuff, use it.

I will caution you about using this product on your mouthpiece for it will leave a slight greasy feeling on the silver and if you use it on your mouthpiece rim; you might be sliding around on your lip for a while.

Additional protection for the outside of your instrument

Check  the inside of your case for any loose objects which might roll around and scratch your horn. And while you’re at it, check the felt on your trumpet stand for any sharp materials. You don’t want to set your beautiful bell down on a piece of metal for the scratches will be hard to hide from your audience.

Good News For Beginning Trumpet Players

Essential Elements for Band 001
The market is full of band methods and to choose one as the most effective would be a daunting chore and for that reason I will only say that Essential Elements For Band, published by Hal Leonard would be at the top of my list.

What measurements are required to single out just one method as the most effective?

Let me list a few which I have found helpful.

1. Is the book attractive?

When dealing with beginning students, the book’s appearance is very important. Methods which have been around for more than five years tend to be out of date when everything today is geared to the young players.

2. Will it withstand being rolled up and placed in a trumpet case?

The amount of abuse a method book has to withstand is another factor when investing in a book.

3. What essential information is included in the book to make the students’ progress easier?

Many times additional information above and beyond the fingerings and counting exercises are helpful.

4. Are the basic instructions complete and easy to find?

Due to the fact that a beginning player knows very little if anything about the instrument, it is vitally important to have instructions easy to find and easy to read and understand.

5. Does the method book include a diagram of the parts of the trumpet?

The common terms used to identify each and every section of the trumpet is absolutely necessary in order to be sure there are no misunderstandings. Sense this is a method book written for beginners, nothing can be overlooked, even when using terms such as staff, names of notes and counting. Many students may have had knowledge of these elements in school but to overlook any important term could cause problems later. Instructions on how to assemble the instrument as well as getting the first sound on the mouthpiece is important.

6. Are the musical notes easy to see and read?

The most up-to-date literature presented to us today has a tendency to have more empty space around the information than material printed many years ago.

7. Are the pages broken up with different colors?

Younger students today are used to flashes of color and bold text emphasis. Bright colors will draw the eye to the most important information and also makes memorizing terms much easier.

8. Is the material presented in a logical order?

When students are learning this material for the first time, it is important to offer new information in a simple and logical order for them to build their knowledge slowly and steadily.

9. Are the titles for each exercise appealing to the reader?

Catchy and up-to-date titles will keep a student’s interest whereas the old school approach of just numbering exercises is less effective.

10. As a complete series for use in a full band setting, does it encourage interaction with the other members of the ensemble?

A good method book will help directors when trying to keep all of the cows in the pen.

11. Does the difficulty of the material challenge the player without discouraging the student?

Slow and gradual challenges will keep all of the student’s interest where as a more accelerated amount of material will help only the more gifted students.

12. Are solos included for the student to possible perform?

The better methods include piano accompaniments for live performances.

13. Does the method include additional exercises to improve the student’s development?

Learning how to count notes and push down the correct fingering is only part of a student’s development.

14. Does the method book include a complete fingering chart?

An easy to read and understand fingering chart is vitally important in a beginner’s book.

15. Does the method book have available additional information for the student?

With the amount of technology available to students on the internet and instructional DVDs, additional information is expected to be available from the publisher.
When rating this method “Essential Elements For Band” I would rate it very high in all of the categories I have listed above. One feature worth mentioning would be the additional recorded material available to the student at no additional charge. Included in the purchase price is an extremely valuable recording of the material as practice tracks. The student can acquire these helpful tracks either as music files downloaded or streamed from the Internet by simply visiting their site at and enter the Student Activation Code found in the inside of the front cover of their book. If the student prefers his/her own CD Rom for practice purposes, simply fill out the card within the book and send it in. Your CD Rom may also be requested on line.

The practice tracks available for this method book are exceptionally well done and will be very helpful in the student’s development.

With all things considered, I would whole heartedly recommend this method for band use or for any individual looking for a simple yet effective beginner’s manual.