Starting Over…..again. Part 3

We succeeded with the practice mute in lowering the dbs. transferred to the outside of my house. Unfortunately, I hate playing with one stuck in my bell so we must move on to another alternative.

One highly recommended piece of equipment is the sE Electronics Reflexion Filter PRO Portable Vocal Booth which isolates your sound using a wrap-around partition with acoustical foam. After studying this product, I thought that I might be able to improve on the original design and out came some of the moving boxes currently lying around my garage floor.

After about an hour, I was able to construct what I thought might be a way to cut down on the volume produced during my practicing. Sound absorbent foam placed strategically within a box, surrounded by a yet large box seemed to me to be the solution, but after repeatedly sending my wife outside my window while playing, it was decided that my perfect solution fell miserably short of it intended goal.

My design was so bad, that my wife could not tell the difference between open horn and “boxed in” horn. DARN!

The next night was spent on line searching for alternative ways to reduce my noise level and in my next post; I will share with you still another brain storm of mine as we continue our search for the perfect sound deadening solution.

Starting Over….again.

Now that my wife and I have finally opened and disposed of 90% of the moving boxes we escorted from Branson, Missouri to Denton, Texas, I found it necessary to begin practicing again after a three week hiatus. My enthusiasm was peaking and my chops were failing me the first day but I persevered. The next day, while visiting with our very nice neighbors I realized that everyone in the neighborhood enjoyed my first practice session!

My music room in Branson was designed to fill all of my playing and recording needs which included sound dampening, acoustical modifications and neighbors who were only there about one week every two months.

My office and practice room now is about one-third the size and my wall facing the street has two large, sound transmitting windows!

So, as I sit here watching my neighbors pedaling their custom bicycles past my front yard, I am faced with the realization that in order to be identified as a “good neighbor”, I have to tone down my office or start learning to play a flute and due to the fact that I played flute and found it moderately interesting, I decided to do a series of posts which follow my adventure of volume and acoustical adjustments to our new home.

In the past, several of our readers have asked questions about how they can practice in limited areas such as apartments and similar close quarters and for that reason I thought it might be of some value to report on my progress in my new abode.

Check back in a couple days to see if I have made any improvement or will I be relegated to a neighboring cow pasture to practice my Clarke technical Studies.

It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This!

Randy Brecker, Chuck Findley, Arturo Sandoval and Byron Stripling CHEROKEE!



Posted by Trumpet Lovers on Friday, March 10, 2017

The Perfect Lesson Plan #1 “Absolute Beginner”

When first beginning to play trumpet, your expectations are usually high and the amount of energy spent also indicates your desire to succeed. Unfortunately ones desires and expectations sometimes are higher than ones ability. Too many times we are told, “You can do anything if you try hard enough”, which unfortunately many times is inaccurate. I could try the remainder of my life to be able to fly but “it ain’t going to happen”! Before we begin on your lesson plan, I wanted to say that if you are interested in playing trumpet, I encourage you to begin, and with practice, you will improve. But, if you expect to be an accomplished musician in a short period of time without practicing, you will find that it also “ain’t possible”.

If you are in a school program where you are expected to use a certain book or method, by all means get the material and stay with the assignments your director assigns. Your first responsibility is to your local instructor and any and everything assigned must be practiced and accomplished first before you do any of my assignments.

The best book for beginners I have found is called…….

The Essential Elements For Band, published by Hal Leonard.

The reason I favor this method is that it has an excellent use of assignments augmented with audio files which give the student a fine example to emulate. Following the material within its pages will help you to become an accomplished player. If this is not the same method that you are using in your school, I suggest that you buy a copy of the method listed above and begin working in that one as well as your schools required method book.

The reason I am suggesting that you work out of both methods is that you will always need to follow your band director’s instruction, but working in two methods will only improve your playing. Just remember that your director will be expecting you to learn that material he/she has assigned.


You will be expected to practice regularly and there has never been a pill which would eliminate this chore. Notice that I am neither excited nor overjoyed with practicing. I find it boring and uninteresting, but without this quality time dedicated to my instrument, my ability as a performer is lessened. In other words- “there is no other way to accomplish your goal without practicing”!

How much time should I practice each day?

I would suggest that a beginner practice no more or less than 30 minutes six days a week. Having one day off your instrument is needed in order to keep your interest going and missing one day will not effect your improvement. In fact setting your instrument aside one day a week will help improve your embouchure (lip muscles). Which day you rest is not as important as keeping the same schedule every week. It is much better to rest the same day each week for the consistency of your practice will be better if the resting day is the same each week.
Where should I practice?

Being able to practice in an area where you will not be interrupted or distracted is very important. If you practice in your bedroom, be sure to shut the door to help eliminate disturbances. Your family will appreciate the isolation also.

How should I practice?

Your sitting position is more important than most people think for good posture while you practice will improve many things in your playing. The best advice I can give you is to sit on a straight-backed chair and sit far forward on its seat. This position will automatically position you in a way that will improve your breathing as well as your tone quality.

Be sure to have your music well lit and by all means, use a music stand. Propping your music up on your trumpet case sitting on your bed is not the way to get things done. Use a music stand at all times.

Many students believe that you should practice until you get tired. This is incorrect for you should feel good at all times when you practice as well as when you perform. I have advocated the “Rest As Much As You Play” concept most of my life and still continue to practice it myself. By resting as much as you play, you will be able to cover more material and improve your playing much faster than If you play till it hurts.

If you follow the material in the book which I suggested, you should be able to accomplish a great deal of improvement by the time you complete the method and at that point you will be ready for our next post which covers players at the Junior High level.

I have many posts which will be helpful to you as a beginner on this site and I strongly encourage you to read the following-

The Different Parts of Your Trumpet

Practice- Why

Trumpet Hand Playing Position

Wet or Dry- That is a Question

Good News For Beginning Trumpet Players

Trumpet Fingering Chart

Basic Maintenance Information For Your Trumpet

Trumpet Mouthpiece Placement

Lesson Plans For Those Without An Instructor- Part 1

Finding the Correct Mouthpiece Placement

How A Trumpet Is Made

Start at the top of the list and read one post a day. and Claude Gordon- All you need to become a professional trumpet player! Part 1

Slider-Woman-Hat-Final51SnzIF9+PL._SX375_BO1,204,203,200_So many try to complicate life with new ideas and “all you need to know” sites. And some may have value while most turn out to be less than helpful.

So why do I think the combination of my is any better than the others you might ask?

Well I will tell you…..

After playing and teaching trumpet for over seven decades, you’ve got to learn something!

I have tried many concepts, methods, tricks, routines, patterns and methods which have been interesting and sometimes helpful to my trumpet career. But after a considerable amount of contemplation, I was able to limit the material down to two very important and helpful products, i.e. and Claude Gordon’s method, “Systematic Approach to Daily Practice”.

One (Systematic Approach to Daily Practice) gives you everything you need to know to become a proficient player of the trumpet and the other ( gives you the insight into the requirements of a trumpet position in the world of music.

Knowing how to play your instrument is vitally important for you will be expected to perform in a consistently accurate and musical fashion.

In addition to knowing how to play the correct notes, you will also need to know how to get along as a professional musician and Mr. Gordon did not include that important information in his book.

Through the many video lessons at you will be introduced to real life expectations and problem solving information.

To give you a small sample of the practical material in these video lessons, read the following subjects.

Warm Up & Cool Down

Alterations to your Equipment

Visual Tuning


“And these four examples are even the free lessons available on the site”.

Additional topics illustrated in this series of video lessons are the following-

Cleaning Your Trumpet
Balancing Practice with a Heavy Performance Schedule
Controlling Nerves
Ensemble Playing
Finger and Lip Trills
Finger Control
Holding Your Instrument
Lip Flexibility
Marking Your Music
Mouthpiece Placement
Mouthpiece Pressure
Pedal Tones
Picking a School
Playing a Show or Big Band
Playing in a Chamber Ensemble
Playing in an Orchestra
Practicing Music
Practicing Technique
Preparing a Solo
Preparing for an Audition
Proper Horn Angle
Sight Reading
Study Material
Teach or Perform
Tone Quality

You have to learn something after playing a trumpet for seven decades!

In my next post I will elaborate on these two very important products and substantiate my claim “ and Claude Gordon- All you need to become a professional trumpet player!

Kanstul Instruments

Kanstul Musical Instruments, Inc., located one mile east of Disneyland in Anaheim, California manufactures a complete line of brass musical instruments renowned worldwide for their quality and sound. Founded by legendary music executive and artisan Zig Kanstul and managed by his sons Jack and Mark, this family business is an inspirational “Made in America” success story, living up to their company slogan, “Nothing Resonates Like a Kanstul.” For information and factory tours visit

The Kanstul Flugel Horn owned and played by one of the members of my Branson Trumpet Ensemble is the best Flugel I have ever played!

Check out this recent video promo and visit their web site when you have time.


Another Great Loss To The Trumpet World

We have lost a friend some younger trumpet players may not know or even recognize his name, Robert E. Nagel.

To the older players, his work with the New York Brass quintet was the start of brass chamber music as we know it today. The trumpet work of Robert Nagel and Allan J. Dean was an inspiration to all of us at that time and we will forever be indebted to their perseverance and musicianship.

I’m sure many of us have our favorite story about this gentile, soft spoken man but mine will forever be etched in my memory. Many years ago two of my students and I were invited to perform on the Missouri Trumpet Festival for my good friend Betty Scott. The featured performer for that event was Mr Robert Nagel. The opening trumpet quartet on the final concert was one of Mr. Nagel’s transcriptions and I was lucky enough to draw the short straw and play the fourth trumpet part. Usually this is the part most musicians would die for but as I checked out the first four measures, I was not a happy camper. I only had sustained quarter notes but due to the fact that they were all low “G” with the dynamic indication of ppp, and…..I was the only player for the first four measures, coupled with the fact that the tempo was about 60 beats per quartet note, I was more than concerned.

During the rehearsal all went well and moments before we entered the stage to perform for at least 200 trumpet players from Missouri and surrounding states; including David Hickman seated in the front row, Mr. Nagel turned to me and in a very soft voice whispered “Boy, I’m glad I don’t have your part”!

We have lost yet another monster player and the trumpet world has lost one of our most inspirational leaders.

Robert E. Nagel Jr., trumpeter, composer, arranger, founder of the New York Brass Quintet, and founding member of the International Trumpet Guild passed away June 5th at the age of 91. He had an illustrious career as a trumpet player, teacher, composer, conductor, arranger, and was a pioneer of brass chamber music.

Nagel was born in Freeland, Pennsylvania, on September 29, 1924. He began studying the trumpet at the age of 8. As a child prodigy, he was featured on national radio playing a cornet solo with the Armco band conducted by Frank Simon at the age of 13. While in high school he also studied piano and composition. He attended the Juilliard School of Music for one year before entering the army, where he played in the West Point band for 3 years. After returning to Juilliard, he studied composition with Peter Mennin and Vincent Persichetti. For several summers he was a student at Tanglewood where he studied trumpet with George Mager of the Boston Symphony and composition with Aaron Copland.

Upon completing his studies at Juilliard he was appointed first trumpet of the Little Orchestra Society in NYC. This appointment launched a freelance career that lasted over twenty years. During this time he played with conductors Leopold Stokowski, Leonard Bernstein, Pablo Casals, and Igor Stravinsky. He recorded extensively with CBS, RCA Victor, NBC, and MGM. Among these are many iconic recordings, including the 1961 recording of L’Histoire Du Soldat, conducted by Igor Stravinsky, and the Brandenburg no. 2, by J. S. Bach, conducted by Pablo Casals. He performed with the Bach aria group, the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, Yale at Norfolk, and the Aspen Music Festival.

Perhaps his most enduring contribution to music was in the area of brass chamber music. He was the founder and director of the New York Brass Quintet. For over thirty years, the NYBQ performed across the US and Europe. He commissioned numerous works for the brass quintet and was a founder of the International Trumpet Guild and recipient of the prestigious ITG Honorary Award. As a composer he has written for orchestra, chamber music, trumpet method books, and arranged solo and ensemble music. To promote brass chamber music he launched his own publishing company, Mentor Music, in 1959.

He served as a faculty member of the Yale School of Music, the New England Conservatory, Juilliard, the Manhattan School of Music, the Hartt School of Music, North Carolina School of the Arts, and Rutgers University. Survivors include his brother Donald Nagel, children Deborah Bolser, Roberta Nagel, Edward Nagel, Heather Nagel, and eight grandchildren.

Funeral services will take place in Forest Hills, Maryland. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Gideons.

Source: Debby Bolser