Articles

Claude Gordon's Approach by Jeff Purtle

Why did so many people come from so far away to study with Claude Gordon? What made him unique? Why do so many people owe their careers to this man’s teaching?

Claude was unique in the content of his teaching and his approach to applying it. His central principle was that every great player plays exactly the same way. He understood that correct playing transcends any style and didn’t take the route of so many who teach solos at the expense of developing long-lasting fundamental skills through exercises. Presupposing Claude’s way as the correct way, we must ask why he had more success than others that understand the fundamentals the same way. The answer is that he applied this knowledge much differently than most teachers. His teaching was always very specific, with a written practice routine, and very systematic, with planned development in a step-by-step manner. We never turned to the end of a book or flipped from thing to thing in a chaotic manner. He had a plan for every student and knew how he was going to take the student through learning and developing correct playing. One of Claude’s remarks about Herbert L. Clarke, cornet legend, was that he taught him how to think. That too can be said by anyone that seriously studied with Claude. Because of his structured approach students knew how to extract knowledge from any of the great books and incorporate it into a smart practice routine.

The core of Claude’s teaching philosophy was the fundamentals, known as “The Seven Basic Items.” The assertion that there is only one correct way to play was in regards to these seven items. Underlying his thinking was an understanding of natural laws that are unchangeable. Natural laws govern trumpet like anything else. He frequently made illustrations using his airplane flying and how we can understand those laws and eliminate worry in the same way as in brass playing. This could offend those that disagreed with him because it was obvious that any other way was wrong.

The following is an overview of “The Seven Basic Items” with a few brief comments on their implications. Each item is intended to work together in harmony with all the other items. If one item isn’t working correctly there will come a day when the player will struggle. These exact items are also found in Herbert L. Clarke’s Setting Up Drills, which shows how Claude approached things exactly like Clarke did. He studied with Clarke for ten years. Gordon’s Brass Playing Is No Harder Than Deep Breathing has been misunderstood by some as focusing only on breathing. The point is that once everything is working correctly, playing is as simple as taking a big breath, which anyone can do. By correctly structuring practice, these can be trained to work by habit to achieve all the feats that the great players have accomplished.

The Seven Basic Items Explained:

1. Wind Power

Wind power refers to the strength behind the blowing. Strength must be developed before control. Therefore, at first you must not play too softly. Extremely soft playing takes just as much power, but more control. This comes later. If not, you will have neither power nor control. Correct breathing involves correct posture and taking a big breath every time you start to play. Claude summarized this by saying “Big Breath, Chest Up.” If your chest drops you loose all your power. It is now known that diaphragmatic breathing is a misnomer and the cause of much confusion in brass playing.

Wind power is developed through breathing exercises, holding long notes resulting in an isometric squeeze of the muscles used in blowing, and practice of a range study.

2. The Tongue

The tongue is perhaps the most misunderstood item. It does much more than just articulation. It must first be understood that the tongue controls the velocity of the air coming out of the mouth. As the player goes higher the tongue must rise into an arched position in the mouth and move forward, as in pronouncing an “Eee” vowel sound. When descending, the tongue must flatten into an “Aww” vowel. Tongue level refers to even more than this in that for every single pitch the tongue has a specific level or shape in the mouth. Understanding this helps to answer how high notes are really played. High velocity air is what gets the lips vibrating at a high pitch.

Correct single tonguing makes sense in light of tongue level. The very tip of the tongue must always lightly remain in contact with the top of the bottom teeth. The middle portion of the tongue, however close to the tip, must be what is used in producing the “T” attack. Claude referred to this as “K Tongue Modified” or “KTM” because it is similar to K tonguing, but more forward on the tongue. Tonguing any other way (i.e. tip going up to top teeth) will result in a disruption of the arch of the tongue in the front of the mouth and more movement of the tongue. Understanding this will help to answer how you can play perfectly accurate in the extreme high register, without cracked notes, and how to single tongue faster. Everyone uses tongue level in their playing, even if they don’t know it. But, KTM is not taught or understood by many people. KTM must be developed by practice of things such as K tonguing.

3. Wind Control

Wind Control is controlling the strength of the developed wind power. The player first uses this by learning to play stronger when ascending and lighter when descending. Resistance increases the air pressure as the tongue arches. If the player plays too softly the notes won’t respond. “Never play softer than you can get a sure sound” was a key phrase of Gordon’s. Wind power and tongue level must work in a coordinated fashion. “The air does the work, the tongue channels the pitch” was a frequent saying by Gordon. As the player develops, other aspects of control can be focused on. Playing many times in one breath, playing in a whisper and playing softer when ascending are some of the skills that require more development and come after strength is sufficiently built.

4. The Fingers Of The Right Hand

The fingers of the right hand refer to correct hand position. The valves must be struck on the ball of the fingers, and not pressed on the tip. The fingers must lift high off of the valves in order to train a definite quick response. This is not slower as some might think. It actually develops greater speed. The right thumb should be straight and slightly on the side of the first valve casing closest to the mouthpiece. This places the fingers into a relaxed but strong position to work the valves. The little finger should be out of the hook for easier mobility of the third finger. The fingers of the right hand are frequently worked-on in conjunction with wind control, in being able to play cleanly enough and fast enough to do exercises many times in one breath.

5. The Left Hand

The left hand must carry the entire weight of the instrument in order to allow the fingers of the right hand to function properly. The grip should be firm, yet the wrist should be supple in order to move as the face and jaw move slightly. The valve casing should rest in the palm of the hand. An attitude of taking total control of the instrument is also reinforced by a solid grip. “You are the boss!”—CG. The valve casing should not be tilted to one side or another because it will interfere with the relaxed nature of the fingers of the right hand.

6. The Muscles Of The Face

The muscles of the face have the function of adjusting to keep the lips vibrating. They have a feeling of contracting very slightly when ascending and relaxing when descending. This should not be dwelt on too much. Any student of Claude will remember hearing “Forget about your lip!” anytime it was worried about or brought-up for discussion. The contracting motion is significant in light of not falling prey to bad habits such as smiling, pinching, puckering and other unnatural things players do. Correct practice of tongue level exercises along with accenting higher notes (i.e. wind power and wind control) ties everything together and makes the muscles of the face work properly without thinking about it.

7. The Lips

The lips’ only function is to vibrate. The lips are a vibrating medium similar to the cone in a loudspeaker or a double reed on an oboe. Something else must act to make the lips vibrate and produce any given pitch. Wind power and tongue level are the cause, and the vibration of the lips is the effect. There is, however, an ideal place to position the mouthpiece with 2/3 on the top lip in order to achieve a freer vibration. The ability to play high notes has nothing to do with the strength of the lips. The lips must be flexible and able to respond easily. Care must be taken to not abuse the lips, and hindering their free vibration. Avoid buzzing of any kind, tight mouthpieces and long tones for the purpose of building strength. Rest with the mouthpiece off the lips to avoid fatigue, tightness and developing bad habits. Practice pedal tones and tongue level exercises to develop a free vibration, moving away from being lip conscious and dispelling the error of too much emphasis on the lips.

Stop thinking that what is required is talent or luck. There is no such thing as luck! You must avoid gimmicks and "not follow tradition and use your brains" as Herbert L. Clarke said a century ago.

Claude Gordon Students on Trumpet and Brass Instruments

Name • Instrument • Notes
Gordon Ait • Trumpet
Frank Abrahamson •
Bryan Adams •
Jerry Adams •
Jim Adams •
Roberts Alberts •
Burt Alexander •
Tim Allen •
Brad Allison •
Herb Alpert • Trumpet • Unknown number of lessons
Anne Marie Anderson •
Bob Anderson • Trumpet
Dennis Anderson • Trumpet
Manny Angel • 
Jeff Apmadoc •
Charles Armiger •
Brad Astalos •
Carl Azavedo •
Dave Bacon • Trumpet • possible and was on waiting list
Dave Banks • Trumpet
Abel Barajas • Trumpet
Tom Bates •
David Barrett •
Tom Barrett •
Kevin Bartlett • 
Jim Barton •
Tom Bates •
Steve Baumgartner •
Bob Beals •
Mark Bedell •
Steve Beeson •
Dave Bendigkeit • Trumpet
Kevin Berman •
Oswald Bernard •
Bob Berrinson •
Bob Berrenson • Trumpet
Tom Bertetta • Trumpet
Vestley Bethel •
Walter Beveridge • Trumpet
Andy Billman •
Danny Bisiar •
Gary Bivona •
Bill Bing • Trumpet
Marc Blatt •
John Bliss • 
Mark Bruner • 
John Boblett • 
Tony Bohn •
Eric Bolvin • Trumpet
Rick Bonitree •
Jerry Bowers • Trumpet
Vance Bowman • Trumpet
Dean Boysen • Trumpet
Pete Bresciani • Trumpet
Steve Brewer •
Riz Brittan •
Dave Britton •
John Brown •
Tom Brozene • Trumpet
Arlan Brunson • Trumpet • Brunson Brothers took one lesson playing for Claude with all 4 and their amp in his studio.
Deron Brunson • Trumpet •
Gaynor Brunson • Trumpet •
Raland Brunson • Trumpet • 
Dolph Brust •
Bill Bryant • Trumpet
Edward Buckley • Trumpet
Jeff Bunnell • Trumpet
Dan Burns •
John Burns • 
Terry Burns •
Cliff Buxbaum •
Mike Byres •
Robert Byrnes •
Paul Cacia • Trumpet
Steve Cady •
David Campbell •
Steve Campos • Trumpet
Tony Candella •
Phillip Cansler • • possible student
Mark Capalbo •
Dale Carley • 
Ed Carroll • Trumpet
Randy Carroll • Trumpet
Mike Casey •
Victor Casillas •
Mike Caster •
Billy Catalono • Trumpet • taught Jon Faddis
Brad Catania • 
Jack Caudill • Trumpet
Bob Ceccarini •
John Cejanovich •
Greg Chapman •
Jean Chard • 
Bob Chase •
John Christianson • 
Cody Christopher • Trumpet
Ward Clark •
Steve Clause •
Steve Clickard • 
Jerry Clifton •
Emery Clay •
Dave Cockrell • Trumpet
Glenn Colangelo • Trumpet
Ted Colburn •
Mike Collins •
Bill Conrad •
Jeff Conrad •
Christopher Cook • Trumpet
Don Copit •
Rick Cordell •
D. Corito • 
Henry Corral •
Lonnie Cory • Trumpet
Bob Coyner • Trumpet
Salvator W. Cracchiolo "Sal" • Trumpet
Sam Cracchiolo •
Richard Cruz • 
Les Culver •
Justo Damion •
Kathy Daniels •
Jay Daversa • Trumpet
Don Davis •
Sal Del Gato • 
Allen Dellinger •
Mike Delwarte • Trumpet
Karen Demmitt •
Joe Desimone • Trumpet
Don Dial • Trumpet
Tom DiLibero • Trumpet
Eric DiLoreto •
Perry DiVincentes •
Christine Dolce •
Del Downs • 
Ronald Drumm •
Larry Duke • Trumpet
Ed Dunlavey • 
Jim Dunne •
Jim Dye • Trumpet
Walter Eason •
Darryl Eaton •
Fred Eckard • Trumpet
Jerry Eckard • Trumpet
Mike Eckard • Trumpet
Dean Edwards •
Don Eisaman • Trumpet • aka Don Edwards
Clarke Elliott •
Dave Elliott •
Don Ellis • Trumpet • Don is the "well-known player" not named on p. 33 of Claude's Brass Playing book.
Marv Ellis • 
Jim Emmett • 
Lionel Emde •
Paul Engeln • Trumpet
John England •
Mario Englesias •
Don Erjavec •
Paul Erzen •
Zack Espinosa • 
John Esposito •
Dave Evans • Trumpet
John Evans •
Wayne Failoni • 
Ward Fansler • 
Dennis Farias • Trumpet
John Farrington •
Robert Faunt •
Mike Fay •
Bob Ferris •
Robert Fienga • Trombone
Eric Filbeck • 
David Fillipo •
Gary Flores •
Pete Fournier • 
Jon Forrest • Trumpet
Richard Franklin •
Don Fransioni • 
Kerry Freidel •
Guy Fricano •
Pete Froeberg • 
Robert Gale • Trumpet
Darrel W. Gardner • Trumpet • Possible student?
Lance Garner •
Greg Garrett •
Tom Garvin •
Jim Gass •
Vince Gassi • Trumpet
Gary Gee •
Bob Geiler • Trumpet 
Matt Gertmenian • 
Rick Gillinger •
Jean Gobinet • Trumpet
Mark Godfrey • Trumpet
Lance Goerner •
Chandler Goetting • Trumpet • Principal Trumpet in Munich Symphony
Brian Goldman • 
John Goldman •
Marc Goldman •
Lou Gonzales • Trumpet
Irv Goodman • Trumpet • Benny Goodman's brother
Bill Gorman •
Al Gotleib •
Jim Grafmeyer • Trumpet
Tom Graper • Trumpet
Matt Graves • Trumpet
Don Gray • 
Gary Greenfelder • 
Brooks Greer •
Tracy Groninger •
Bob Grove •
Marc Gumberg • Trumpet
Chuck Gustafson • 
Bruce Haag • Trumpet
Dave Haberman • 
Phil Haddick •
Jack Hale, Jr. • 
Bill Hall • Trumpet
Dent Hand • 
Glenn Harmon •
Bret Harrington •
David Harrison • Trumpet
Marlon Harrison •
Scott Hartman • 
Mark Hatch • Trumpet 
Kiyoshi Hawakawa • 
Jack Heath • 
Paul Hecht • Trumpet • from St. Louis
Chris Hedlund •
Mark Henderson •
Richard Henderson •
Robbie Hendrickson •
Isac John Henry • French Horn • Salvation Army in area code 818
Rhys Henson • Trumpet
Mike Hesse • • Oslo, Norway
Dave Hesseman •
Stan Hernacki • Trumpet
Bill Hicks • Trumpet
Dennis Hill •
Trent Hinkforth •
Rich Hofmann • Trumpet
John Holbleib • Trumpet
Dave Holden •
Tom Holden • Trumpet
Dave Hollingsworth • 
Bob Horej •
Ronin Horne •
Tony Horowitz • Trumpet
Jim Howsman • Trumpet
Jon Hove •
TJ Hudson •
Dave Huesmann • Trumpet 
Diane Hughes •
Kerry Hughes • Trumpet • Witchita Falls, Texas
Pat Hughes •
Bill Hunsicker • Trumpet
Marshall J. Hunt • Trumpet
Dard Hunter •
Kurt Hutchinson • 
Howard Hyde • Trumpet
Tim Hyland • 
Mario Iglesias •
Greg Ives •
Cephus Jackson • • Compton, CA
Ed Jackson •
Don Jamarillo •
Ken Jenkins • Trumpet
Bob Johnson •
Doug Johnson • Trumpet
Geo R. Johnston •
Bob Jones •
Tracy Jones • 
Roy Jutzy • 
John Jystad •
Jack Kanstul • Trumpet
Zig Kanstul • Trumpet
Hisashi Kanazawa • Trumpet • Japan
Lindy Kao •
Mark Kasparian •
Dave Kent •
Todd Kent •
Les Kepics •
Russ Kidd • Trumpet
Harry Kim • Trumpet
Ralph Kimball •
Ron King • Trumpet
Brad Kintscher • French Horn
Kacey Rogers Kintscher • French Horn
Thad Klimas •
Carole Klein • Trumpet
William B. Knevitt • Trumpet
John Kramer •
Bob Krause • Trumpet
Ernie Krause • Trumpet
Steve Kraus •
Tony Kzar •
Howard Lackey •
Ernie Langone • Trumpet
Paul Larson •
Rieu Laurent • Trumpet
Dan Lavoy • 
Scott Layden •
Kathy Layton • Trumpet
Carl Leach, Jr. • Trumpet
Carol Leach •
Dr. James A. Lee • Trumpet • San Mateo, CA
Gary Lee • Trumpet
Jim Lee •
Mary Kathryn Lee • • Studied in Saratoga, CA in 1992
Roger Lee •
Carl Lenthe • Trombone
Greg Lewis • 
Jeff Lewis • Trumpet
Mark Lewis •
Ed Liddie •
Ron Limberg • Trumpet • 
Larry Lippold •
Harold Littin • 
Larry Lockwood •
Don Loflin •
Chris Lopez • Trumpet
Kathy Lopez • French Horn
Mike Loveless •
Steve Loza •
Steve Lubick •
Rod Lucich • 
Bonnie Luedeka Hunsicker • Trumpet 
David MacCracken •
Tony Mack •
Bruce MacKay •
Cliff Maddox •
Johnny Madrid • Trumpet • At least one year, confirmed by John Noxon
Terry Magrum • 
David Maldanado • 
Mark Manda • Trumpet
Harold Mann •
Greg Marciel • Trumpet
Stan Mark • Trumpet
Matthew Martin • • Bakersfield, CA
Bruce A. Martineau • Trumpet
Matt Mascovich • Trumpet
Real Mathieu • Trumpet
Rich Matta • Trumpet
Daniel Joseph Matus • Trumpet
Chris Maybean • 
Terry Mayborn •
Dr. Glenn Mayer •
Skip McAuliffe •
Bob McCoy •
Sean McCoy •
McCurdy •
Marvin McFadden • Trumpet
Paul McGhee •
Dan McGurn • Trumpet
John McIntyre • Trumpet
Mike McKay • Trumpet 
John McLandres •
Michael McPheeters • Trumpet
Pat Meagher •
Darrel Meisenheimer •
William Melendros •
Tom Mendenhall •
Willy Mendoza •
Larry Merengillano •
Randy Merritt •
Terry Meyborn • 
Ron Meza • Trumpet
Ron Michaels • Trumpet
Richard Micheletti •
Pierre Michelou • Trumpet
Leslie Midling •
Kent Mikasa • Trumpet
Byron Miller •
Dr. Larry Miller, M.D. • Trumpet
Steve Miller •
Bruce Mills •
Darren Miner • Trumpet
Greg Minix •
Bob Mitchell •
David Mitchell • 
Ron Modell • Trumpet
John Mohan • Trumpet
Vicky S. Molik •
Tony Monte Calvo •
Bob Montgomery •
Robert Monticelli •
Brad Moore •
Mike Moore •
Mario Morales •
Don Morosie •
King Morris •
Bill Morrison •
David Morrison •
Stacey Morrison •
Brad Motter •
John Mottet • 
John Munson •
Ted Murdock •
Pat Mulligan •
Bob Mustol •
Catherine Murtaugh • Trumpet
Kathy Murtaugh •
Sabrina Muyskins • Trumpet
Byron Myhre • Trumpet
Warren Naccochéz • 
John Neblett •
Marv Nelson • 
Jim New •
Archie Newall •
Wesley Nicholas •
Steve Nicklas •
Barry Nitikman •
Jim Norman • Trumpet
Dona Norris •
Boris Noss •
John Noxon • Trombone
Scott Nygard • Trumpet
Bob O'Donnell • Trumpet
Mike O'Hern •
Peter Olson •
David O'Neill • Trumpet • unknown number of lessons
Andy Omdahl • Trumpet
Gary Pack •
Brian Padilla • Trumpet
Ezra Palmer • Trumpet • 
Dave Palombo •
George Pandis • Trumpet
Jon Papenbrook • Trumpet
Bernie Parsons • Trumpet
Jim Pastore •
Jim Paulson • Trumpet
Mike Paulson • Trumpet
Lorenzo Perez • 
Bob Perino •
Mike Phillippe •
David Phillips •
Herb Phillips •
Jim Phillips •
Brent Pierce •
Steve Pierce •
Winston Pierce •
Steve Pikal •
Lorenzo Perez •
Kathy ?  •
Mike Phillippe • Trumpet
Steve Pittman • 
? Poland • 
Howard Polley • 
Ray Poncin • 
Patti Porter • 
Mark Postor •
Dave Powell • Trumpet
Terry Powell •
Dave Primac •
Garner Pruitt •
Jon Pugh •
Paul Pugh •
Jeff Purtle • Trumpet
Larry Pyatt • 
Dan Quick •
Mark Rabuchin •
Jean-Pierre Ramirez • Trumpet
Keith Raskin •
Mark Rassmasson • 
Kevin Rauscher •
Dan Reed •
Howard Reginald • Trumpet 
Bill Resch •
Kevin Rescher • 
Jeff Reynolds • Trumpet
John Rialson • 
Gerry Rice • 
Mike Rice • Trumpet
Ronald Ricketts • Trombone
Bob Rinck, Jr. • 
Bob Rithaler • Trumpet 
Earl A. Rogers • Trumpet
Jim Rogers • 
David R. Roberts • Trombone
Ignacio Rodriguez •
Ray Roninette •
Virgil Rodgers •
Earl Rogers •
Jim Rogers •
Kacey Rogers • French Horn
John Rosenberg • Trumpet
Andy Ross • 
Mike Rotman • Trumpet
Joe Rotunda •
Carl Rowe •
Dennis Royse •
Tim Rubottom •
Dave Ruddock •
Bob Runnels • Trumpet Trumpet
Solomon Russo • 
Eddie Rutherford •
Bob Sakoi • Trumpet
Mike Salem •
Chase Sandborn • Trumpet • possible and was on waiting list
Jim Saollosi • Trumpet 
Fred Sautter • Trumpet
Dan Savant • Trumpet
Bernie Schneider •
Kurt Schmidt •
Mark Schmidt •
Dave Schneider •
Jean Schon • 
Andy Scott • Trumpet
Ken Scoville •
John Seal •
Jeff Seidel • Trumpet 
Marcus Selby •
Anatoly Selianin • Trumpet • Saratov University and friend of Timofei Dokshitzer
Vincent E. Shank • Trumpet
Don Sharp • Trumpet
Ed Sheftel • Trumpet
Mike Sheldon •
Shigeyoshi ? • • Studied at the same time with Masashi Sugiyama
Lance Shinkle •
Guy Shobe • Trumpet
Jerry Simon •
James Simpson • 
Jim Sims • 
John Skinner •
Larry Skinner • Trumpet
Susan Slaughter • Trumpet
Curt Sletten • Trumpet
Ron Smedley •
Jeff Smiley • Trumpet • aka Mr. "Balanced Embouchure"
Burch Smith •
Richard Smith •
Scott Smith •
George Souza • Trumpet and Guitar
Larry Souza • Trumpet
Robert Souza •
Lee Sparks • 
Steve Sprouls •
Will Spencer •
Doug Stanley • Trumpet
Larry Stelly •
Paul Stenstrom •
Lowell Stevenson • Trumpet
Daniel St. Pierre •
Vern Stracener •
Vern Strasner • Trumpet
Bob Staup •
Ed Steele •
Lester Stehmier •
Richard Stehmeir •
Melissa Steinbock •
Larry Stelly •
Paul Stenstrom •
Mike Stergis •
Lowell Stevenson • Trumpet
Don Stillo •
Larry Stone •
Curt Stout •
Howard Struble • Trumpet
Walt Stuart •
Masashi Sugiyama • Trumpet
Tim Sullivan • Trumpet
Chazz Sutton • Trumpet
Greg Szabo • Trumpet 
Ernie Tack • Trombone • Played in The Tonight Show Band
Jeff Taylor •
Roger Ternes • Trumpet 
Jim Thacker • Trumpet
Scott Theriac •
Phil Thompson •
Tye Trimpey •
Joe Triscari • Trumpet
John Trombetta • Trumpet
Barry Trop • Trumpet
Steven Trop • Trombone
Damon Trujillo •
Nancy Tucker • Trumpet
Henry R. "Hank" Uhland •
David Umstead • 
Gerald Upcraft •
Gary Urwin •
Mark Van Cleave • Trumpet
Bob Valle • Trumpet
Duane Vallejos • Trumpet
Jim Valves • Trumpet • aka Jim Weight
John Van Slyke •
Daniel Ventura • 
Ron Vermillion • Trumpet
Mike Villegas •
Marie Virgillio •
Paul Wadenius •
Roger Wagner • Trumpet
John Wagness •
Robert Waldron • Trumpet
Gene Waller •
John Wallwork •
John Walters •
Steve Watkins • Trumpet
Jerry Wechter •
Jim Weight •
Joe Wein •
Andy Weiner • Trumpet
Cathy Weir •
Kathy Weir •
Pixie Weir •
Tim Wendt • • March 1992
Grey Wes •
Dave Westerskov • 
Roy Wiegand • Trombone
Hal Willenborg • Trumpet
Bryan Williams •
Don Williams • Trumpet
Ron Williams • Trombone
Scott Williams • 
Gene Wing • Trumpet
Bryan Williams •
Scott Williams •
Tracy Williams • Trumpet • from Salt Lake City, UT ?
Jerri Wolfe •
Mike Wyly •
Richard York •
Paul Witt • Trumpet
Cindy Wood • Trumpet
Roger L. Wood • Trumpet
Craig Woods • Trumpet
Scott Wright • Trumpet
Mike Wyly • 
Steve Ybarra • 
Al Zansler • 
Bob Zattola • Trumpet • New York
Tom Zdimal • 

Please leave a comment with any additions or corrections.

Jeff's Trumpets and Brass Instruments
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Trumpets, Cornet, French Horn, Tuba, and Alphorn

Bb Trumpets

Claude Gordon Selmer Bb, Serial #495, with Bob Reeves Valve Alignment
This was selected by Claude Gordon in December of 1984 while I was only 16 and still in High School. The bore is .470" with modified resistance to feel more like a medium-large bore horn. The bell has a wider taper giving a fuller sound and it is very lightweight to produce a full spectrum of color in the sound. The upper register (i.e. High E and above) feels more responsive and free blowing than any horn I have ever played. The CG Selmer allows the player more freedom and control over their sound in order to play in every setting without the need for more than one Bb trumpet.

Claude Gordon Selmer Bb, Serial #2060, with Bob Reeves Valve Alignment
Purchased in April of 1997 from Patty Gordon. This is my main horn I practice on at least 3 hours a day. It is awesome!

Claude Gordon Benge Bb, Serial #20000
Purchased July 2005 from Gary Gordon's widow. Gary Gordon was Claude Gordon's son and this was given as a gift. Gary passed away in 1988.

C Trumpet

Claude Gordon Selmer C, Serial #2164 with Bob Reeves Valve Alignment

Purchased in April of 1999. This is one of a very small number produced. It could potentially be the best C trumpet I have ever played. It replaced a Large Bore Bach with a 229 Bell and a Malone MC2 leadpipe and a Bob Reeves Alignment.

Mouthpiece

CG Personal

Rim shape same as CG Benge mouthpieces (i.e. narrow, rounded, and tapered on outside). This all results in a free blowing mouthpiece that helps to produce a full sound in all registers. I have played only this mouthpiece since August of 1984 along with the CG Selmer Bb trumpet, since December of 1984. I firmly believe that the search for the ideal mouthpiece is one of the worst traps to fall into. Correct practice on a consistent basis without changing equipment will produce consistent results and rapid progress without wasting money and time.

Bb/A Cornet

Boston 3 Star "NE PLUS ULTRA", Serial #18044, made in 1907.
This is a real cornet from the period of virtuoso cornet soloists, with .472" bore and two mouthpieces. My favorite one for the sound is twice as deep as a modern trumpet mouthpiece and has a #18 drill size. The smaller one has a #19 drill size and is a little shallower. Everything is original including the case. It was my surprise gift from my wife for Christmas of 2000. 

Piccolo Trumpet

Schilke P5-4, Serial # 34612 with Bob Reeves Valve Alignment 
Purchased March 2000. This replaced a Burbank Piccolo that was the only other model of Piccolo I was satisfied with. A third valve ring was added by Ron Pinc to make it similar to the Butler Guyer model. 

D/Eb Trumpet

Schilke E3L, Serial # 7456 with Bob Reeves Valve Alignment
Bought from Geoff Hufford in July of 1997, previously owned by his dad, Ken Hufford.

Flügel Horn

Yamaha YFH-635T, Serial #1316, lacquer with Bob Reeves Valve Alignment
Bought in late 1986 with the help from Brad and Kacey Kintscher.
This model is no longer made and is identical to current Bobby Shew YFH6310Z model. 

Herald Trumpet

Getzen Super Deluxe, Serial #86337, lacquer

Alp Horn

Stocker F#/F, Serial #9114 with a Stocker 20.5mm i.d. Mouthpiece

Tuba

Miraphone BBb TE-186 (Tuba Exchange Model), Serial #15101
Conn Helleberg Mouthpiece
Previously owned by Jeffrey Allen, who was a student of a local tuba player named John Sizemore.
The funny thing is that my name is "Jeffery Allan" Purtle.

Trombone

Bach 42TG with Thayer Valve and Gold Brass Bell
Bach 5G mouthpiece
Slide aligned and set-up by the Slide Dr.

French Horn

Conn 8D French horn 
Giardinelli C1 mouthpiece

Other Equipment

Walt Johnson Gig Case for Trumpet
MusiChem Pro Oil Hybrid 141 A7 valve oil
MusiChem Rotory Oil with Corrosion Passivator CBPRO 
Slide-O-Mix trombone slide lubricant
Boss DB88 Talking Metronome
Denis Wick Trumpet Straight Mute (first choice) 
Tom Crown Trumpet Straight Mute (second choice)
Tom Crown Non Paríel Soft Straight Mute (for soft passages) 
Denis Wick Trumpet Adjustable Cup Mute (first choice) 
Humes and Berg Stonlined Trumpet Cup Mute (second choice) 
Jo Ral Aluminum Bubble Trumpet Mute
Humes and Berg Stonelined Bucket Mute (first choice) 
Jo Ral Aluminum Trumpet Bucket Mute (second choice) 
Humes and Berg Stonelined Plunger Mute
Humes and Berg Stonelined Solo Tone Mute
Denis Wick Piccolo Trumpet Straight Mute
Tom Crown Piccolo Trumpet Straight Mute
Tom Crown Piccolo Trumpet Cup Mute
Tom Crown Piccolo Trumpet Copper wah-wah 
Denis Wick Tuba Straight Mute 
Konig and Meyer Trumpet Stands (5 leg) 
Konig and Meyer Flügelhorn Stand (5 leg) 
Konig and Meyer French Horn Stand 
Konig and Meyer Trombone Stand 
Konig and Meyer Tuba Stand

Recording Studio

Apple, Inc. computers, hardware and software
Logic X (Digital Audio Workstation)
MOTU interfaces
Final Cut X, Motion X, and Compressor X (Video Editing Suite)
Finale (Music Notation Software)
ForScore
Monster Cables

Arturo Sandoval Trumpet Clinic

Arturo Sandoval Clinic

Friday, March 20th, 2015 at Anderson University
Anderson, South Carolina

Greenville County Youth Orchestra in Greenville, South Carolina - A Vision Accomplished

Greenville County Youth Orchestra (GCYO) is now the name that encompasses two youth orchestras named the Young Artist Orchestra (previously GCYO) and The Philharmonic (The Phil) that take place at the Fine Arts Center, which is part of the Greenville County School District.

When Jeff Purtle and Mary AllyeB Purtle began working with GCYO in 1998 there was one orchestra. In 1998 Mary AllyeB wrote a proposal for her vision to develop a training orchestra that could play stand alone concerts. Through her persistence this eventually came to pass and became what is today called The Philharmonic, previously called GCYO Junior and later The J.

Greenville County Youth Orchestra and their Young Artist Orchestra is a full sized orchestra based in the Greenville, South Carolina area and is currently a 2 unit Honors Level class (previously only a half-unit credit) at the Fine Arts Center of the Greenville County School District. YAO is the top string performance group in a series of various levels of string groups in the Greenville County School District. YAO maintains very high standards and limits the quantity of wind players in order to maintain the experience of playing in a realistic orchestral setting. This means each wind player is responsible for their own part and there is seldom part doubling. Similarly, The Philharmonic has high standards and orchestral instrumentation. The Philharmonic is currently a 1 unit Honors Level Class as part of the Greenville County School District.

Mary AllyeB Purtle and Jeff Purtle began working with GCYO starting in August 1998 and were instrumental in recruiting and auditioning players to fit an overall goal of making GCYO a true Honors Level orchestra with an experience like that of a professional orchestra. By raising the standards required and eliminating part doubling the orchestra evolved to play primarily major orchestral repertoire that is un-arranged and un-transposed. Brass players were required to transpose and trombones to read alto and tenor clef. Our goal was a realistic orchestral experience that would benefit the students as possible future musicians and professionals. It was Jeff's vision in 2000 that GCYO be recorded and featured on the Carolina Concerts radio broadcasts, at the time hosted by longtime friend Charles Khoelsch. Jeff set-up the first website, gcyo.com, and later coordinated a redesign by former GCYO french horn player, Colin Gray, who later became a graphic designer and university professor. The domain name later changed to gcyo.net. Jeff also recommended gcyo.net move to a CMS (Content Management System) after seeing the benefits of Drupal to the purtle.com website.

In 2008 Mary AllyeB quit working with the Young Artist Orchestra to only work with The Philharmonic (aka The Phil), which was her concept of a training orchestra with woodwinds and brass that she initiated in 1998. In 2009 Jeff quit working with The Young Artist Orchestra (aka The YAO) after 11 years to pursue other rewarding musical and teaching goals, namely the Purtle Brass Conference. In 2011 Mary AllyeB quit working with The Phil. We brought about the transformation of GCYO by eliminating seating based on seniority, restructuring the auditions to better evaluate the fundamental skills of students, eliminating the use of saxophones (except if required for a specific piece), and making the orchestra more friendly to families not wanting activities on Sundays that conflict with worship practices.

Greenville County Youth Orchestra is not the only youth orchestra in upstate South Carolina area that we have private students in. Carolina Youth Symphony is also another excellent youth orchestra, which meets at Furman University on Sunday afternoons and fills a niche for students with free time on Sundays and provides an opportunity for saxophones doubling french horn parts. Our students have held principal chairs and been winners of the annual Carolina Youth Symphony soloist competition. In the Spartanburg area there is also the Palmetto Youth Orchestra and the Spartanburg Youth Orchestra.

National Trumpet Competition 2014 - Harry Kim

Harry Kim will be a featured artist at the National Trumpet Competition. Harry will be doing a unique multimedia presentation on Life Lessons As a Musician that will be practical for anyone aspiring to a rewarding career. Also, Harry and Rick Baptist will be playing a concert with the United States Navy Band Commodores. Then, Harry Kim and Rick Baptist will do a panel discussion about the music business. The entire event is free to come in person or watch online live. Don't miss the chance to meet and learn.

Jeff Purtle will be present behind the scenes as Harry's manager. Be sure to say "hi".

Claude Gordon - Master Teacher (The Brass Herald, October 2008 issue) by Jeff Purtle

I first met Claude in the summer of 1984 at his CG Brass Camp. I was immediately struck by his encouraging and positive attitude. He believed anyone could become a great player and accomplish what others said were only for a gifted few. He showed how all the great players played the same way in regards to fundamentals (i.e. defined as The Seven Basic Items) and that it could done by anyone.

I began private lessons with him on July 24, 1984 at age 16. I studied consistently over the next ten years and eventually became one of the staff at the CG Brass Camp.

At my first brass camp I learned about the Seven Basic Items. I then had an intellectual understanding of how things worked, but not a experiential understanding. The clarity of Claude’s words were only surpassed by his ability to apply it to each student. Often his words were limited and the routines walked me down the path of development. He was in touch with his students and their playing. He had experienced the same struggles and development and knew how to take students where he had been.

Claude believed in laws of nature that didn’t change. He often compared playing to flying. If we can have knowledge and confidence in a plane being able to fly, then we can have similar confidence in playing. This was why Claude knew that anyone could play this “piece of pipe” as he called the brass instruments.

Claude was a hard working man, teaching in San Francisco and Los Angeles, flying his plane between the two locations with periodic rests at his house in Big Bear Lake, California. At one point he used to teach non-stop from 8am until midnight eating in lessons as students brought him food. Claude sat at a desk when teaching.  He was writing the assignments, watching the student play and taking some form of notes in his own book. In my ten years of study he never played one single note in a lesson, which may seem odd.  But, he had lots of wisdom in knowing how to say a few clear important words that would set the student in the right direction. His comment about not playing was, “You are not paying me to play for you. You are paying me to teach you.”  However, there were a few stories of students getting a demonstration from Claude when he saw fit that they needed proof that something was possible and easy if done properly.

Claude was very organized. Every practice assignment  or “routine” was written down and put into a binder to be brought to every lesson. Things were spelled-out in great detail as to what to practice and in what order. I still refer to this binder of ten years of lessons and learn from it. Claude would often listen to the upcoming material and not hear all the previous material. He also had the wisdom and patience to know just how long to keep a student on a particular exercise until it accomplished what he was waiting for. I, like others, remember doing some of the same exercises for 8 months until finally the job was accomplished. He was clever to do subtle variations to keep things interesting for the student while reinforcing the desired effect.

Claude was a very determined and driven man that would never let any obstacle stop him or slow him down.  He overcame quadruple bypass surgery and did a teaching video for the Selmer Company weeks after the surgery.  He underwent radiation treatment for cancer and doubled the treatments to make it in time for his annual brass camp. He was eager to tell students that everything in Herbert L. Clarke’s Technical Studies could be played by anyone. If Clarke said to do an entire page in one breath (i.e. the Etude from the fifth study), then he would do it twice in one breath. He practiced his range studies from quadruple pedal C to triple high C and higher. He like Clarke urged students saying,  “Do not stop where I’ve gone, but go farther.”

Every page ever assigned had reminders stamped onto them. The three rubber stamps he used said “Big Breath, Chest Up”, “Watch The Tongue” and “Lift Fingers High, Strike Valves Hard”. He was always optimistic, realistic and totally honest, not making unrealistic promises. He loved his students and it made him angry to see how brass players are taken advantage of and lied to. I always left lessons believing I could be a great trumpet player. His ability to motivate came from his belief in those Seven Basic Items and how they worked the same way for anyone.

In 1988 tragedy stuck Claude’s family. His wife, whom he’d been married to since 19 years of age died. Shortly after his two sons died and he developed cancer.

After overcoming this loss he started teaching again and I was able to take a brass pedagogy class with four other longtime CG students. The class lasted a year and we received unique instruction into why Claude taught the way he did. It was at that point I gained even more respect learning that there were so many things he noticed and knew that he wouldn’t let on to students. But, he knew how to correct things with the routines without letting the student worry, yet kept them focused on the fundamentals.

Creativity was one quality that Claude expressed in his various books. The routines would frequently have a series of handwritten exercises written by Claude. They would be tested on himself, then various students and then worked into the routines of other students when appropriate. Some of these turned into Claude’s well known published books. All of Claude’s material showed his step by step systematic approach.One of the secrets to Claude’s success was his wife. He married Genivieve (Ginny) days after meeting her. They were 19 years old and shortly after moved from Helena, Montana to Los Angeles in the midst of the depression era so that Claude could study with Clarke. Ginny was called “mom” by everyone as she added her personal touch. I still have her handwritten letters from my first brass camps. She took the time to get to know every student. She freed Claude from having to think about anything except playing and teaching. Ginny’s death was more challenging than his cancer battle and heart surgery ever was. After Ginny’s passing Claude married Patty, who took care of him in his last days and even learned some piano and music from him. Claude passed away on May 16th, 1996 at his Big Bear Lake, California home.

Upcoming articles will cover the teachings of Claude Gordon and Herbert L. Clarke including the Seven Basic Items and how to apply the teachings.

Jeff Purtle studied ten years with Claude Gordon, taught at the CG Brass Camps, and was certified directly by Dr. Gordon to teach according to his principles. Jeff has taught since 1984 and in 2004 added live video chat students to his Greenville, South Carolina studio.

Claude Gordon Practice Routines (The Brass Herald, February 2009 issue) by Jeff Purtle

A practice routine is a tool to become an excellent and consistent player. It also gives a scientific way to understand how to improve specific skills. These qualities are essential for a long successful career. Claude Gordon believed anyone could be a “virtuoso” if he knew how to practice.

Gordon took Herbert L. Clarke’s principles and applied them with more structure. My previous article defined the content and this article is about the practical application. The assignments serve to set goals and understand what causes the progress. Refer to the pictured assignment from Gordon and the explanation below. Even Gordon improved his teaching over the years by using this method.

Breathing Exercises

Breathing Exercises are always the first item. The focus is on taking a “Big Breath” and maintaining the chest in an “up” position during both inhale and exhale. Forget about the stomach or diaphragm. If the chest stays up you cannot breath incorrectly. The first exercise is 5 sets of 10 breaths standing in place. The second exercise is called “5 Walking,” which is 5 equal sniffs-inhaling while walking, 5 holding-full, 5 puffs-exhaling, and 5 holding-empty, then repeating this cycle walking a square city block. Each month it progresses one more step, then after 10 walking it moves to 5 jogging until finally reaching 10 jogging. Another form of breathing exercise is the “long hold” in the “Range Study” section.

Order

Sections A through D of the CG assignment were usually flexibility studies, intervals, tonguing and scales. Tongue Level studies should usually be the first thing to play. Gordon said, “The air does the work; the tongue channels the pitch.” They develop flexibility and ease in navigating the instrument. It is similar to stretching before a physical sport to be flexible. Gordon’s Daily Trumpet Routines book is excellent to use with all the models. Other flexibility books like ColinIronsWalter Smith and Staigers may be used in this area too. The point is to “watch the tongue” and learn how to coordinate the wind power and tongue level to discover how to “let the air do the work”, as Gordon said, and not be focused on the lip. Collect all possible material in this category even from other instruments as Gordon did.

Section I of the CG assignment is where the fingers and breath control are developed while working on Clarke’s Technical Studies. The first priority is to “strike the valves hard and lift the fingers high”, which is mandatory. Do each study with seven days of each of the following: single tongued, K tongued, double (or triple) tongued, and finally slurring as written. Practice accurately to play accurately. Things should then be prioritized as follows: accuracy, evenness, speed, whisper soft playing and finally repetitions in one breath. Never play softer than you can get a secure sound. Other scales and arpeggio studies fit in this area too, but Clarke’s book should be reviewed at least annually. Refer to Gordon’s Systematic Approach book for the some of the fingerings from Clarke that were passed down to Gordon. These are mandatory to train the fingers to function independently of each other with speed and control.

How You Practice

“How You Practice” was Gordon’s label for a way of practicing technical etudes and problem passages. It involves starting on the last beat of the music and progressively working backward one beat at a time with four perfect performances in a row before moving to the next step. (Use diagram with steps.)

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Range Study

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Section II of the CG assignment is the Range Study area. This takes the player first into the pedal tones (i.e. “Down Routine”), followed by a 5-10 minute rest, then to the high register (i.e. “Up Routine”), followed by a brief warm down (i.e. “Relax Lip”) and an hour long rest.  All the other routine elements work along with the Range Study to increase the player’s range. The goal is a more playable range, usable in all situations. 

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The “long hold” in the Down Routine is held until the sound stops and all the air is expelled. This is an isometric type of exercise that strengthens the muscles used for blowing. You never do a hold like that on high notes. The Down Routine played before the Up Routine helps the player discover how to play high with ease as opposed to tightness. Playing from pedals to the high register can be effortless if worked on systematically. The rests are not literally four beats, but you must rest as much as you play with the mouthpiece off the lips to avoid fatigue and bad habits that come from playing when tired. Gordon said, “If you rest properly you can play all day.” This also develops endurance by learning the knack of playing with ease instead of by brute force. “Watch the tongue” meant to visualize the tongue and feel it’s unique vowel position for every note. This is how you learn to play accurately. The “Eee” syllable must be in the very front of the tongue for faster air speed. Gordon said, “Let the air do the work and let the air save the lip.” This means to blow stronger when ascending to get the right feel. Pedal F through C# should be played in tune. Pedal C through Pedal F# are initially very flat for most people, but the pitch will come up in time. It is possible to play to the third pedal C or lower. The pedals help improve a free vibration of the lips and indirectly help many aspects of playing. Care must be taken to not play them too loud.

Start the Up Routine in the pedals. On the first arpeggio leave pedal C below pitch, but play pedal E in tune by sounding the note 8va to get a reference pitch before playing the arpeggio. This fermata should only be a brief hold with a crescendo. Rest between each key. Continue up as far as possible. Remember this is a calisthenic exercise more than a musical exercise. Work up as high as possible, making only make three attempts at the highest note and then stopping to avoid developing bad habits.

Relax Lip

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“Relax Lip” was a brief warm down to be played 3x after the Range Study. It can also be played other times. After the Range Study and “Relax Lip” the player shouldn’t play a note for an hour in order to completely recover. It is also wise to not do the Range Study before a demanding performance.

Technique Applied

Section III of the CG assignment is where solos, etudes, orchestral excerpts and other music is placed. The Range Study can also be placed at the very end of the routine with the etudes before it.

There are other variations that can be made to the routine, but this is the normal way. See the article What To Practice on www.purtle.com for a list of books to use in the routines. The practice routines are how the player can learn that brass playing is no harder than deep breathing. It’s not luck or natural talent. After playing the routine you should feel better than when you started. The goal of the routine is to learn to play with ease.

There is a balance between staying too long on an exercise and loosing focus vs. not staying long enough for the exercise to accomplish the desired result. Sometimes the same items can be worked on with variations. A teacher can spot things we ourselves don’t notice.

Personal Use

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In order to teach correctly you have to play correctly and understand it. Gordon said the following on my pedagogy certificate from 1989, “...with personal use of these principles is hereby qualified to teach correctly.” Gordon knew that the teacher must be in tune with his own playing and practice in order to take students along the road to improvement.

What's Next?

The next article will cover Herbert L. Clarke’s admonition to Claude Gordon to “not stop where I’ve gone!” We must build on the foundations of these great teachers and not just repeat history.

_______

Jeff Purtle studied for ten years with Claude Gordon, taught at the CG Brass Camps and was certified directly by Dr. Gordon to teach according to his principles. Jeff has taught since 1984 and in 2004 added live video chat students to his Greenville, South Carolina studio.

Hit it Hard & Wish it Well ebook with video trumpet lessons

http://www.hitithardwishitwell.com takes you to the Apple Books Store for preview and buy this MultiTouch ebook with video trumpet lessons for all brass players.

Oboe Reeds

Oboe Reeds

Good oboe reeds are one of three elements (i.e. a good instrument, a good teacher, and good reeds) that are essential for oboe students to progress properly. Bad oboe reeds allow the student to play in a way that more easily develops bad habits that will last for years into the future. Good reeds result in less frustration for the student that practices correctly.

Machine Made vs. Handmade Reeds

Tools to make reeds and their cost

Skill to make reeds and their cost

The reason to make your own reeds
Reed making class is not to save money

Reeds I sell to my students only
Comparable reeds to purchase
Adjustments still must be made inspite of their quality

Woodwind Doubling by Mary AllyeB Purtle

Woodwind Doubling

Good Reasons to play multiple woodwind instruments

• enjoyment of the different instruments
• to make yourself more marketable
     - jazz
     - musicals/broadway shows
     - orchestras (mainly primary/secondary instrument doubling)
     - weddings
     - parties
     - teaching

Bad reasons to play multiple instruments

• to march for one season in band
• to be cool 
• to obtain higher chair in band
• you think that another instrument will be easier or you won’t have to practice as much.

Two Types of Doubling

1. Primary to Secondary instrument doubling (i.e: flute - piccolo, oboe - English horn, clarinet - alto or bass clarinet, bassoon - contrabassoon, alto saxophone - baritone saxophone etc.)
• Almost every woodwind player will be called upon to double in this way at some point. Be prepared to play the secondary instrument well.
• Do not start the secondary instrument too early. Master the primary instrument first. Starting the piccolo too early does tend to cause the student to play flute with a tight, small sound.
• Always keep the focus of your practice on the Primary instrument.
• As a player becomes more advanced she/he may decide to focus on just the secondary instrument. This can be a very wise decision that should only be made after much research and discussion with the private teacher. Remember; piccolo players, English horn players etc. rarely become principal (first chair) players.
2. Primary to Primary instrument doubling (multiple instruments) i.e: clarinet - alto saxophone, flute and oboe. The combinations are endless.

Woodwind Doubling II
(multiple instruments)

Misconceptions

1. Playing another instrument will mess-up my embouchure on my first instrument.
Truth 
• The lack of practice on an instrument after another is started will cause a decline in your level of playing.
2. Playing more than one instrument makes me a better musician.
Truth
• Consistent, good practice on any instrument will make you a better musician.

Practical ideas to help you become a successful woodwind doubler

1. Pick one primary instrument that always gets first priority in practice and performance.
DO NOT BE A JACK OF ALL TRADES AND MASTER OF NONE.
2. Add only one instrument at a time
3. Get private lessons on each instrument. The little that you know about one does not qualify you to teach yourself another. Remember that playing music on an instrument is a language, art form and physical skill, you need guidance in order to learn correctly.
4. Practice on each instrument that you play.
• There are basic musicianship skills that are common to all instruments.
• There are some skills that are unique for each instrument. (This will be discussed later on the page)
• Practice the majority of the basic skills on one instrument (usually your chosen primary instrument) Then practice the skills needed on each of the other instruments.
5. Learn about the reeds. Do not just buy from the store and play on anything and everything that you get.
• Consider learning how to make oboe and bassoon reeds. If oboe or bassoon is your primary instrument it is an absolute necessity to learn to make those reeds!
• Learn how to adjust saxophone and clarinet reeds. If you have chosen not to make oboe and bassoon reeds buy handmade reeds and learn to adjust them because they will change with age, temperature and humidity. 
• Not all professional clarinetists and saxophonists make reeds but, it is a definite consideration.

Comparison of the Different Instruments

(This is a very general outline.)

Articulation

Flute: tip of the tongue touches behind top teeth, double-tonguing is a must for advanced playing (tuh kuh - low, tee kee - high)
Oboe: tip of the tongue touches the top of the tip of the reed, double-tonguing usually not necessary but possible
Clarinet: tip of the tongue touches the top of the tip of the reed, double-tonguing usually not necessary but possible
Saxophone: very tip of the reed is contacted by the tongue ( slightly backfrom tip of tongue)
Bassoon: tip of the tongue touches the top of the tip of the reed

Embouchure

Flute: absolutely different from every other woodwind, direction of air across lip plate determines high or low pitches
Oboe: double lip embouchure, corner of lips are directed in (think of an anteater) and teeth are kept apart
Clarinet: single lip embouchure, top teeth are on mouthpiece, mouth- piece enters mouth at a forty five degree angle, bottom lip acts as a cushion for the reed, chin is kept flat and pulled down, bottom teeth should not bite into lip
Saxophone: single lip embouchure, top teeth press on mouthpiece, mouthpiece enters mouth at a ninety degree angle, bottom lip acts as a cushion for the reed, chin is kept flat and pulled down, bottom teeth should not bite into lip
Bassoon: double lip embouchure, jaw is dropped, very loose

Vibrato

Flute: produced “diaphragmatically,” air comes out in a vibrant pulsating stream
Oboe: produced “diaphragmatically,” air comes out in a vibrant pulsating stream, avoid jaw vibrato!!!, be careful not to shake your body with the vibrations
Clarinet: not commonly used in classical music (you will hear some though) used more commonly in jazz and pop music, produced with jaw or ‘diaphragmatically”
Saxophone: most commonly produced with jaw, “diaphragmatic’ vibrato will make you sound like a 1920’s dance band musician
Bassoon: “diaphragmatic vibrato, sometimes jaw vibrato (beware of funky tone)

Breath Control

Flute: takes the most air, keep air in fast and focused stream, practice breath control exercise especially for the flute
Oboe: takes a very little amount of air, taking in too much air will cause a build up of carbon dioxide in the lungs which can be very painful, sometimes the expulsion of air is necessary to avoid this
Clarinet: less air than flute, high tongue for high notes, lower tongue for low notes
Saxophone: less air than flute, high tongue for high notes, lower tongue for low notes) 
Bassoon: less air than flute, always allow the reed to vibrate freely

Technique

Flute: similar to saxophone and oboe in lower and middle registers no octave key, direction of air changes octaves, this is helped by altering fingerings in upper registers
Oboe: similar to flute, more awkward fingerings, alternate fingerings two octave keys
Clarinet: similar to flute in clarion (middle) register, register key causes a note to move up a twelfth instead of an octave, alternate fingerings for chromatics and pinkies, possible “A” parts
Saxophone: similar to flute and oboe, one octave key, not as awkward as oboe and clarinet, altissimo fingerings
Bassoon: extreme use of thumbs, tends to be very awkward especially in higher octaves, whisper key instead of octave key is pressed for low notes not high notes, bass and tenor clef reading

Good Technique-Building Methods

This list is not comprehensive. They are books that I believe help build up advanced technique in an organized manner. Etude and solo books are not listed.

Flute

Indispensable Scales, Exercises and Etudes for the Developing Flutist
     Dona Gilliam & Mizzy McCaskill (Mel Bay Publications)
Complete Daily Exercises for the Flute
     Trevor Wye (Novello Publishing Limited)

Oboe

Studi Per Oboe Volume II
     Clementi Salviani (Ricordi & Co.)
Foundation Studies for Oboe (same as saxophone version)
     David Hite (Southern Music Company)

Clarinet

Velocity Studies for Clarinet (Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced)
     Kalmen Opperman (Carl Fischer)
Foundation Studies for Clarinet
     David Hite (Southern Music Company)

Saxophone

Foundation Studies for Saxophone (same as oboe version)
     David Hite (Southern Music Company)
Les Gammes Conjointes Et En Intervalles
     Jean-Marie Londeix (Editions Henry Lemoine)

Bassoon

Introducing the Tenor Clef for Trombone (bassoon)
     Reginald H. Fink (Accura Music)
Practical Method for the Bassoon
     J. Weissenborn (Carl Fischer)
Melodious and Progressive Studies for Bassoon
     Alan Hawkins (Southern Music Company)

©2003 Mary AllyeB Purtle

Rob Perry plays to Triple High C and Beyond

Rob Perry has studied with Jeff Purtle since May 2012 and KO Skisness shot this video of Rob at the Stomvi booth at the 2013 International Trumpet Guild Conference. Rob is a comeback trumpet player and at the time of this video he had been playing less than two years. Also, he had never played a Triple High C before studying with me. Concepts like Tongue Level and K Tongue Modified unlocked many things in his playing, including the upper register. You can read his testimonial about this.

Purtle Brass Conference - James Thatcher - French Horn

James Thatcher is "arguably the most often heard horn player in the world" due to his performances on some 70 to 80 films per year for the last 20 years. He is principally a studio player, a recipient of the Most Valuable Player Award from the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences. He is currently principal horn of the Pasadena Symphony, the New West Symphony and the Los Angeles Music Center Opera.

Jim has the enviable position of being the favored first horn of multiple Oscar winning composer John Williams performing in such films as Always, Jurassic Park,The Lost World, Sleepers (in which he received an on-screen credit), Nixon, Schindler's List, JFK, Sabrina, Home Alone, Rosewood, Seven Years in Tibet and The Patriot as well as the fanfare for the 1992 Olympics. He also works regularly with other Hollywood greats Jerry Goldsmith, James Newton Howard, Randy Newman,John Barry, James Horner and Alan Silvestri to name a few and can be heard as well in the tracks to Glory, The Rocketeer, Field of Dreams, Monster House, X-Men: The Last Stand, Robots, Spider-Man 3, Ice Age, Polar Express, Beowulf, Dances with Wolves, Toy Story, Cars, Maverick, Apollo 13,Forrest Gump, Titanic, Pearl Harbor, Constantine, National Treasure, Transformers, The Simpsons Movie, Night at the Museum, Dinosaur, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, King Kong, Signs, Lady in the Water, Peter Pan, First Knight, Hook as well as Independence Day, and the Star Trek films. Most recently, Mr. Thatcher was deemed principal horn in James Newton Howard's soundtrack of The Last Airbender directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

Carl Lenthe's USA premiere of Jiggs Whigham's Suite For Trombone

Accompanied by Kuo-Pei Cheng-Lin on piano

Purtle Brass Conference - Jon Lewis - Trumpet

Jon Lewis is one of the top studio trumpet players in Los Angeles and also in demand as a soloist and orchestral player.

Purtle Brass Conference - Rick Baptist - Trumpet

Rick Baptist is one of the most recorded trumpet players in Hollywood, heard on over 1100 movies, 1600 cartoon, shows like Dancing With The Stars, and the Oscars for over 25 years. Rick knows what it takes to have a long successful career.

Purtle Brass Conference - Dan Fornero - Trumpet

Dan Fornero is well known for splitting the Lead Trumpet book for Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band with Wayne Bergeron. Dan is also one of the original members of Harry Kim's Vine Street Horns, which can be heard on many of the Phil Collins albums, videos and live concerts. Dan is also one of the top call studio trumpet players in Los Angeles.

Trumpet Student, Walter Civettini, from Italy

Well..I'm Walter from Italy....I'm a professional Jazz trumpet player and teacher in Italy near Garda Lake (north Italy close to Austria ) ....after 20 years of playing around Italy and Europe I wasn't happy at all because I wasn't really able to keep my standard always on the top....I used to practice 3-4 hours a day, doing warm ups (like buzz mouthpiece for 20 minutes, flow studies, etc. ,doing breathing exercises but any time I was on the stage my feeling was different.......I discovered this web site and I called Mr. Purtle.....

Well I don't have word to say thank you Jeff... You know what to do when one trumpet player has problem's...After only two lesson's I played my first double Eb with "Systematic Approach"(Claude Gordon) ...I feel more relax and happy....

Grazie Maestro!

Walter Civettini (ITALIA)

Trumpet Lesson Breath Control Demonstration - Ali Daneshkhah

Ali Daneshkhah takes online trumpet lessons from Jeff Purtle and is from Tehran, Iran.

This one page etude was played in one breath by Ali after about one year of private lessons, having never had formal lessons prior to that. He also had never been exposed to many of the method books common to brass players in the United States of America.

It is also interesting to note that this etude from Clarke's Technical Studies is very similar to the Velocity section of the Saint-Jacome Method, found on page 177 in that book. Those etudes are slightly longer and have seventeen models listed on page 178 to be played with each etude in all twelve keys.

Clarke's Technical Studies Etude Five in one breath by Shawn Hines

Shawn Hines has studied privately with Jeff Purtle a number of years, taking trumpet lessons online since 2004. Shawn is a professional trumpet player based in the Boston, Massachusetts area and performs all over the United States of America. In addition to playing lead trumpet Shawn also leads his own jazz combos and big band. He is currently working on an album of original compositions.

Purtle Brass Conference - Alex Iles - Trombone

Alex Iles is one of the busiest trombone players in Los Angeles, recently heard soloing on the iTunes live broadcast of Paul McCartney. Alex played lead trombone for the high note trumpet legend Maynard Ferguson for several years and has recorded numerous albums, movies, television and live productions. Alex is a living legend that plays great and has fun, as you can see.

Trumpet Student, Jóhannes Þorleiksson, from Iceland

When I started chemotherapy eight months ago I thought my trumpet days were over for a while. But I was wrong. Not only was I able to perform in various situations but my playing and sound progressed. Of course there were many bad days because of the medicine but I learned how and what to practice. When I look back over the eight months I see that I have never performed so often and in so various fields including, symphonic orchestra, woodwind and brasswind bands, jazz quintett , funk groups, rock groups, weddings, brass quintets and the list goes on for a while. I owe very much to my teachers but the most I owe Mr. Purtle. Without being under his teaching and modified routines I would never have been able to do this.

Jóhannes Þorleiksson
Reykjavík, Iceland

Hummel Trumpet Concerto - Allegro con Spirito - Ali Daneshkhah

Hummel Trumpet Concerto - Allegro con Spirito - Ali Daneshkhah from Tehran, Iran
Ali has been studying privately with Jeff Purtle for slightly longer than one year. Prior to this he had not taken private lessons and had little exposure to method books and various styles of music. Ali works for the IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting). He looks forward to where trumpet and music might take him in the future.

Claude Gordon and Herbert L. Clarke (The Brass Herald, December 2008 issue) by Jeff Purtle

Claude Gordon and Herbert L. Clarke are two of the most significant names in brass playing history. They both enjoyed exceptional playing careers, authored books, designed instruments and had an enormous impact on professional brass players in their private teaching and through their books. Claude studied with Clarke ten years after moving the Los Angeles from Montana in the middle of the 1930s Great Depression. The content of their teaching was identical.

Claude Gordon and Herbert L. Clarke

The identical content is clearly seen when looking at the seven basic items as listed by Herbert L. Clarke in Setting Up Drills and the same items listed in Claude Gordon’s Systematic Approach. These items focus on the mechanics of playing a brass instrument and not a style of music. In my ten years as a student with Claude I never heard him say he would make a student into a particular kind of musician, just simply that he would show them how to play correctly.

As stated in the previous article, Claude reasoned that because the laws of nature don’t change we can understand and eliminate worry from our playing. Claude also believed that every student was capable of becoming a great player if they practice correctly and persevere. These fundamentals, as simple as they are, can be the source of eliminating worry while developing greater skill.

Each of the seven items interact with each other. These are the primary things that make brass playing work. Some err in making secondary items into primary items. Others misunderstand one or more of these items. If they all function correctly the player will be able to obtain the maximum skill.

1. Wind Power

Wind power refers to the strength behind the blowing. Strength must be developed before control. Therefore, at first you must not play too soft. Extremely soft playing takes just as much power, but more control. This comes later. If not, you will have neither power nor control. Compare a train to a car traveling at the same slow speed. The train has much more power behind it despite the slow speed. Wind power is like that.

Correct breathing involves correct posture and taking a full breath every time you begin. Claude said, “Big Breath, Chest Up.” If your chest drops you lose power. It is now known that diaphragmatic breathing is a misnomer and the cause of much confusion in brass playing (See Brass Playing Is No Harder Than Deep Breathing by Claude Gordon, p. 16-17).

 

2. The Tongue

The tongue does much more than just articulation. It must first be understood that the tongue controls the velocity of the air coming out of the mouth. When going higher the tongue rises and moves forward into an arched position, as in pronouncing an “Eee” vowel sound. When descending, the tongue flattens into an “Aww” vowel. Claude’s term “Tongue Level” means that for every single pitch the tongue has a specific level or shape in the mouth. High velocity air causes the lips to vibrate faster and produce high notes.

Tongue Level "Aww"
Tongue Level "Eee"
Tongue Level "Eee"

 

 

X-ray of tongue doing “Aww” and “Eee”

Correct single tonguing makes sense in light of “Tongue Level.” Clarke said, “My tongue is never rigid when playing, and rests at the bottom of my mouth, the end pressed slightly against the lower teeth. I then produce the staccato, by the centre of the tongue striking against the roof of the mouth.” - Characteristic Studies, p. 5. Claude referred to this as “K Tongue Modified” or “KTM” because it is similar to K tonguing, but more forward on the tongue. Tonguing any other way (i.e. tip going up to top teeth) will result in a disruption of the arch of the tongue in the front of the mouth and more movement of the tongue. Understanding this will help to answer how you can play perfectly accurate in the extreme high register, without cracked notes, and how to single tongue faster. Everyone uses “Tongue Level” in their playing, even if they don’t know it. But, KTM is not taught or understood by many people. 

Claude Gordon "Watch The Tongue" stamp

Claude’s point was to learn by observing the tongue movement saying, “The tongue will teach you more than I can explain.”

3. Wind Control

Wind Control is controlling the strength of the wind power. The player must first learn to play stronger when ascending and lighter when descending because the resistance increases as the tongue arches. If the player plays too soft the notes won’t respond. “Never play softer than you can get a sure sound” was a mantra of Claude Gordon. Wind power and tongue level must work in a coordinated manner. “The air does the work, the tongue channels the pitch” said Claude. As the player develops, other aspects of control can be focused on. Playing many times in one breath, playing in a whisper and playing softer when ascending are some of the skills that require more development and come after strength is built. Clarke said, “Perhaps now you will realize that much more benefit is derived from playing these exercises in one breath than by holding long tones.” - Technical Studies, 6th Study, p. 29.

4. The Fingers Of The Right Hand

The valves must be struck on the ball of the fingers, and not pressed on the tip. The fingers must lift high off the valves in order to train a definite quick response. This is not slower as some think, but actually develops greater speed. The right thumb should be straight and slightly on the side of the first valve casing closest to the mouthpiece. This places the fingers into a relaxed yet strong position to work the valves. The little finger should be out of the hook for easier mobility of the third finger. The fingers of the right hand are frequently worked-on in conjunction with wind control, in being able to play clean enough and fast enough to do exercises many times in one breath.

Claude Gordon "Lift Fingers High Strike Valves Hard" stamp

5. The Left Hand

The left hand must carry the weight of the instrument to allow the fingers of the right hand to function properly. The grip should be firm, yet the wrist should be flexible to move with the face and jaw. The valve casing should rest in the palm of the hand. An attitude of taking total control of the instrument is also reinforced by a solid grip. “You are the boss!” said Claude. The valve casing should not be tilted to one side or another because it will interfere with the curve of the fingers of the right hand.

6. The Muscles Of The Face

The muscles of the face adjust to keep the lips vibrating. They contract slightly when ascending and relax when descending. This should not be dwelt on too much. Claude said, “Forget about your lip!” The contracting motion is significant to not fall prey to bad habits such as smiling, pinching, puckering and other unnatural responses. Practice of tongue level exercises along with accenting higher notes ties everything together and makes the muscles of the face work properly.

7. The Lips

The lips’ only function is to vibrate. The lips are a vibrating medium similar to the cone in a loudspeaker or a double reed on an oboe. Something else must act to make the lips vibrate and produce any given pitch. Wind power and tongue level are the primary cause, and the vibration of the lips is the secondary effect. There is, however, an ideal place to position the mouthpiece with 2/3 on the top lip in order to achieve a freer vibration. The ability to play high notes has nothing to do with the strength of the lips. The lips must be flexible and able to respond easily. Care must be taken to not abuse the lips, or do things that hinder their free vibration.  Arban said, “Under no circumstances should...the lips make noise in the mouthpiece even though many performers appear to think otherwise. The sound forms itself...”-p. 10. Claude also said to not buzz. Rest with the mouthpiece off the lips to avoid fatigue, tightness and developing bad habits. Practice pedal tones and tongue level exercises to develop a free vibration, moving away from being lip conscious.

Stop thinking that what is required is talent or luck. There is no such thing as luck! Avoid gimmicks. Clarke said, “Try to derive a common sense idea of everything and use your brains in thinking over all suggestions. Try to get away from tradition and superstition, which has ruined so many players.” (Setting Up Drills, p.4)

The next article will deal with how to apply these principles to a structured practice routine involving various books.

_______

Jeff Purtle studied ten years with Claude Gordon, taught at the CG Brass Camps, and was certified directly by Dr. Gordon to teach according to his principles. Jeff has taught since 1984 and in 2004 added live video chat students to his Greenville, South Carolina studio.

Claude Gordon and Jeff Purtle (The Brass Herald, May 2009 issue)

“Don’t stop where I have gone!” said Claude Gordon to his students. That was the same admonition given to Gordon from Herbert L. Clarke. My previous three articles dealt with Claude Gordon himself, the content of his teaching, and how to apply it in a daily practice routine. This article is about moving forward in brass playing and teaching.

We must never be content with mediocrity, but strive for excellence. Clarke said, “Ninety-nine percent right is one percent wrong and it must be one hundred percent right before it is consistent.” Having the attitude of an olympic athlete is important to accomplish what others so quickly give-up on. This attitude not only drove Gordon to excellence as a player, but as a teacher.

Claude Gordon made significant improvements on Herbert L. Clarke’s work. Gordon added more structure, wrote more books, designed two popular trumpets, made a clinic video, conducted sixteen annual brass camps and reached more people worldwide than Clarke. The work of both men is still impacting the brass playing world long after their death. My goal is to give something to the brass playing world that will further our craft.

The published works of Clarke and Gordon were the results of their experiences. Their books were published only after they were personally used and tested on students. Claude’s focus on the fundamentals is what gave players the skill to pursue any kind of music and in excel where their heart leads them in music.

Experience with Amateur Radio and computers plus my teaching and playing are what enabled me to expand upon Gordon’s work. I remember hearing several students at Claude’s funeral say that it would be good to do a website about Claude, but it never came to fruition. This inspired me to later create my own website because I noticed all the inaccurate information on the internet about Claude’s teachings. My hope was to present the ideas completely, clearly, and put everything in proper context. I posted many hours of audio lectures and wrote some articles to summarize my ten years as a CG student.

I have received many emails from individuals thanking me for improvements in their playing. These were players I had never met, yet were visiting my site for months and benefiting from what my site explained. Some have traveled from various parts of the USA for crash course lessons similar to what Claude used to do. I remember a person asking me to do lessons by video tape, which I wouldn’t do. But, soon after that the internet and computers improved enough that live video chat was more accessible for the average person. I had used video chat to communicate with my now wife as early as 1996, when I was in Los Angeles preparing to move to South Carolina to marry her. I knew video chat could work well.

After 20 years of private teaching I added online students to my studio in 2004. At first there were those who were skeptical that it could work. They soon became fans seeing the quality and results in their playing. Teaching this way has allowed me to see students regularly from many places in the world without travel related expenses and hassles dealing with visas. This works particularly well for the step-by-step instruction needed to apply Gordon’s principles. I can teach better because bad habits get corrected sooner and the assignments are made more relevant to each student I see weekly. Gordon was always opposed to gimmicks that promised a quick fix. This isn’t a gimmick and is merely another form of communication.

As I began to teach students in different time zones I was reminded how similar it felt to talking with DX (i.e. distant) contacts in my Amateur Radio hobby. I was a Ham Operator since I was in eighth grade. At the same time my math teacher introduced me to computers and enabled me to play with a DEC Mainframe computer at a local college. Shortly after my interest in trumpet grew and I met Claude Gordon and began to study with him. It later made sense to combine my interests in this new way.

In some ways video chat is better than being in person. I can zoom in on a student’s face in a way that would be awkward in person. Through my own servers I can now host live events and broadcast clinics worldwide, giving the master class experience without the travel expenses involved to get me to the location. With my iPhone I can be reached by email, cell phone and instant messenger in a way not possible in Claude Gordon’s day. This personal attention is what makes things work so well.

As mentioned in the previous article, Claude wrote all his assignments on paper in a very specific manner. I too did that from day one of my teaching. But, several years ago I went paperless, by storing all my student’s assignments in a computer database. This allows me to study each student between lessons, know their history and plan for future lessons and to also improve my teaching.

The Claude Gordon Brass Camp was a source of inspiration to players that came every year. One of the highlights of each camp was the final lecture where Claude displayed and demonstrated his antique cornet and trumpet collection. This went along with recordings of famous soloists like Jules Levy, Bohumir Kryl, Alessandro Liberatti, Herbert L. Clarke and others. A couple years ago I created an online radio station and a podcast to share even more of these great historical recordings with the brass playing world. Everyone needs to know and appreciate this part of the history of brass playing.

In the summer of 2003 I visited Brazil and while in the São Paulo airport met up with a trumpet player with whom I had previous correspondence. He explained how hard it was to find trumpet methods books even in São Paulo, one of the largest cities in the world. I was able to bring him a supply of great trumpet method books. This made me realize that non-English speakers don’t have as many resources. In 2008 I revamped www.purtle.com and started the process of publishing the site in 27 languages. Most of Claude’s work was only published in English. So, I hope to spread his method of playing through this new website.

In the future www.purtle.com will add more Claude Gordon lectures, more languages and more multimedia. I hope that this information will inspire and encourage players to work harder and work smarter as they strive for excellence.

_______

Jeff Purtle studied for ten years with Claude Gordon, taught at the CG Brass Camps and was certified directly by Dr. Gordon to teach according to his principles. Jeff has taught since 1984 and in 2004 added live video chat students to his Greenville, South Carolina studio.

How To Practice by Jeff Purtle

How To Practice

How often have you heard that someone is a great instrumentalist because they are a “natural” and that “naturals” are rare? That is not true! Playing a brass instrument is easy if done correctly. Watch the best players and notice how easy they make it seem. By contrast, watch the many high school and college students turning red trying to play high notes. They try every gimmick known hoping they will discover “the secret.” They waste money and time on mouthpieces, instruments and other equipment. Then they become frustrated when these don’t uncover “the secret.” “The secret” is knowing how to practice. There is no need for experimentation or for guessing if the student is taught how to practice in a manner to address the true basics of brass playing.

Some well intentioned teachers try to solve their students’ problems by assigning solos and music for which the student is not ready, hoping that this music will cause the talented few to rise to the occasion or that “musical” playing will correct bad technique. The average player becomes frustrated because he can’t make his instrument do what he has heard others do. Some teachers then give up on these “untalented” students.

It is true that our musical thoughts and goals are developed by listening to great musicians and masters of our instrument and then by imitating them until our concept of playing can be communicated. However, without technical proficiency on our instrument those goals will never be achieved. The virtuosos of all instruments make music sound beautiful and effortless because their skill so far surpasses the music that technique is no longer an issue. We should all strive for that and not be satisfied with mediocrity.

Any brass instrument operates under certain laws of nature that remain constant. Because of this we can trust that by a correct understanding and application of the basics we can play to the highest degree of skill on a consistent basis and continue to progress for years to come. Some people think that everyone has a plateau they never can surpass. I disagree. By comparison we know that the laws of nature(i.e. gravity, aerodynamics) don’t change and we therefore can fly in an airplane and know that it won’t fall out of the sky.

These are not my original ideas but a summary of my ten years of study with Claude Gordon and his ten years of study with Herbert L. Clarke. These concepts have been around for years and explain why all the greatest players play the exact same way. For verification see the following books: Herbert L. Clarke’s Setting Up Drills copyright 1929 (p. 3), Claude Gordon’s Systematic Approach to Daily Practice copyright 1965 (pp. 5-10) and Brass Playing is No Harder Than Deep Breathing copyright 1987 (pp. 1-35). It was not a coincidence that both Clarke and Gordon produced more great players and teachers than others - it is because of their understanding of the basics and constant focus on them.

The following are the seven basic physical items that make the trumpet (or any brass instrument) work. These address all the essential physical components of correct playing. All physical and technical problems can be fixed by correctly addressing the seven items individually and as they function together. This will serve as a grid to understand all elements of practice. Each item must first be understood, then learned and experienced by the repetitious practice of certain exercises focused on each specific item. This focused practice builds good habits and then eventually all of these items work harmoniously by habit without thinking about it. As we move toward that point playing becomes more of a joy and making music more a matter of being able to do what you are thinking.


The seven items are as follows and are listed in priority order:

1. Wind Power
2. The Tongue
3. Wind Control
4. The Fingers Of The Right Hand
5. The Grip Of The Left Hand
6. The Muscles Of The Face and Lips
7. The Lips

Explanation:

1. Wind Power

(This is the strength to blow strong, but not always necessarily loud.)
“Big Breath, Chest Up”(ALWAYS) - Claude Gordon
“The air does the work.” - Claude Gordon
Crescendo when ascending.
Air can only go to one place, the lungs.
Forget about the diaphragm and stomach.
If the chest stays up during breathing everything works correctly.
Keep shoulders relaxed and not raised.
Don’t confuse leaning back with Chest Up.
Play with confidence.
“You must drive all fear out of your system.” - Claude Gordon
“Hit it hard and wish it well.” (i.e. Don’t be afraid of missing notes.) - Gordon
Develop this by practice Breathing Exercises and 
Isometric Squeeze (“Long Hold”) on final notes.

2. The Tongue

Tongue Level (This is the use of specific vowel shapes to arch the tongue and change the air speed.)
“Aww” for lower notes, “Eee” in front area of tongue and 
blow stronger for higher notes.
Every note has a specific level for the tongue.
“The tongue channels the pitch.” - Claude Gordon
“The tongue rising in the mouth to make the inside of the mouth shallow, is the ‘Knack’ of producing high tones.” - Herbert L. Clarke (Brass Playing Is No Harder Than Deep Breathing by Gordon, p. 26)
Forget about the tongue causing a “closed throat.”
Think “Eee” in the front of the tongue and not “Ich” in the back.
“Tee” or “Taw” not “Tu” (i.e. a bad french transliteration, “Tew” is better)
Single Tongue (This was called “K Tongue Modified” by Claude Gordon.)
“The tip of the tongue rests slightly against the lower teeth, while the center (front center) of the tongue strikes against the roof of the mouth.” - Herbert L. Clarke (Characteristic Studies, p. 5)
“The very tip of the tongue will naturally take a position back of the lower teeth. Never allow it to strike back of the upper teeth.” - Alessandro Liberati (19th century cornet virtuoso, Brass Playing Is No Harder Than Deep Breathing by Gordon, p. 26)
Incorrect tonguing results in more movement of the tongue and a disruption of the arched tongue’s air flow, thereby causing slow tonguing speed, inaccuracy and lack of ease in the high register.
Practice Models (i.e. various articulations): T, K, TK, KT, TTK, TKT, Slur, Etc.
Practice of “K” tonguing develops correct “T” tonguing by 
training the middle of the tongue.
“Watch The Tongue” (i.e. visualize the placement and movement) - Gordon
Some mistakenly call this “anchor tonguing.” The tongue must not be rigid. Everyone uses “Tongue Level” in their playing even if they don’t feel it;
correct single tonguing though is not widely taught or used.

3. Wind Control

This is the control to play very softly and very long in one breath with surety.
“Willpower is necessary to accomplish what is considered an impossibility by many players.” (Clarke’s Technical Studies, p. 22 original text)
Wind Power must be developed before Wind Control can be experienced.
“Never play softer than you can get a sure sound.” - Claude Gordon
Accuracy must come before speed.
Development of The Fingers Of The Right Hand works with Wind Control.
“The air does the work.” - Claude Gordon
“Kick the air on upper notes.” - Claude Gordon
Blow stronger(crescendo) when ascending, lighter when descending. 
(e.g. Arban’s, Clarke’s)
Only after proper development of strength should decrescendos on ascending notes be worked on. (i.e. Schlossberg’s Daily Drills) The coordination of Wind Power and Tongue Level working together results in notes effortlessly clicking into so called “slots.

4. The Fingers Of The Right Hand

“Strike The Valves Hard, Lift The Fingers High” - Claude Gordon
“Press the fingers down firmly.” - Herbert L. Clarke; Smith’s Top Tones p. 22
Strike on the ball of the fingers, not the tip.
Right thumb straight, slightly on side of first valve closer to the mouthpiece.
When the thumb is between the 2nd and 1st valve the knuckle usually bends, positioning the fingers in a cramped position.
Leave small finger out of finger hook to free the movement of the 3rd valve finger.
Alternate fingerings must be practiced to develop all fingers equally.
Gordon’s “Systematic Approach...” contains some of Clarke’s fingerings never included in his “Technical Studies.”
Correct finger position will give the maximum speed and clarity potential.
Rotary valve instruments must lift high and strike on the ball of the fingers too.
The trombonists wrist must be supple to allow for quick relaxed movement.
Ignore those who say this is slower and watch those who really play.
“Bang The Valves Down” - Vizzutti, Severinsen, & Sandoval

5. The Grip Of The Left Hand

Hold the trumpet firmly, wrist supple. You are in command!
This frees the Right Hand to work with less effort.
A stable grip will keep the horn from being jarred around as you strike the valves.
A supple wrist allows the horn to move in response to jaw movement.
The valves should be straight up in order to avoid bad finger position.
Don’t hold to look like someone to look cool (i.e. Maynard).
The right hand of the French Horn supports the weight 
and controls pitch and sound.

6. The Muscles Of The Face And Lips

Their function is to keep The Lips vibrating.
When going higher the lips contract toward the mouthpiece slightly, 
achieving a “grip” feel over time.
This is not for the purpose of changing  the aperture or size of the opening in the lips. Forget about that.
The illustration in “Systematic Approach..” (p. 5) by Gordon refers to this contracting motion and in no way a change in the opening of the lips.
Don’t smile, pull back, pucker or roll in the lips.
“Stay away from mirrors!” - CG Never mind what you look like.
“Never hold the lips rigid, but keep them soft and pliable, using only enough pressure to keep the mouthpiece firmly against the lips without the least air escaping outside the mouthpiece.” - Clarke’s Elem. Studies, p. 4.
This item develops from correct practice of Tongue Level Studies.

7. The Lips

Their only function is to vibrate in response to the air.
Mouthpiece 2/3 on Top Lip (See original St. Jacome’s and World’s method)
This will improve power, endurance, accuracy and range over time.
Correct practice of Pedal Tones will help this develop.
Rest the mouthpiece rim on the red of the bottom lip.
Low placement tends to shut off vibration. But, moving it up always helps.
“Let the air save the lip.” (i.e. blow stronger going up) - Claude Gordon
Rest often to avoid getting tired. Rest as much as you play.
This builds endurance indirectly by teaching the feel of playing easier and more efficient and avoids abuse of the Lip that hinders a free vibration.
Keep the lip moist for flexibility and correct development.
“Forget about the lip!” - Claude Gordon
“Don’t be lip conscious!” - Claude Gordon
“The lips do not play the cornet.” Clarke in Gordon’s Brass Playing... p. 29
Don’t practice buzzing - “You play the trumpet not the mouthpiece.” - CG
“Under no circumstances...should the lips make noise in the mouthpiece even though many performers appear to think otherwise.”(Arban’s Method, p. 10)


Understanding of the above seven items will help eliminate worry and myths about HOW and WHAT to practice. “Try to derive a common sense idea of everything and use your brains in thinking over all suggestions. Try to get away from tradition and superstition, which has ruined so many players”(H. L. Clarke from Setting Up Drills, p. 4). “Stop imagining that what is required is hard work, but, that the practicing the student is required to do is merely taking part in the building of a substantial structure for the future”(H. L. Clarke from Setting Up Drills, p. 2). For a more detailed explanation read Brass Playing is No Harder Than Deep Breathing by Claude Gordon and the first ten pages in Systematic Approach to Daily Practice by Claude Gordon. As a Calvinist I don’t believe anything involves luck. You can become a great player by diligent, intelligent, correct practice!

© 2002, Jeff Purtle

Read "What To Practice"

What To Practice by Jeff Purtle

The following is intended to show how to apply all the information covered in the first article entitled How To Practice. Since playing a brass instrument is a physical experience it is impossible for anyone to completely learn and understand the first article on the seven items until they have experienced them through daily structured practice. There will be those who “try” some things and then say that it does not work for them. The truth of the matter is that they never understood what they were “trying” to do. As we practice we are in the process of building a foundation that will enable progress and ease of playing for years to come. 

Those that become impatient with physical development and want to advance to difficult solos will in actuality be regressing. It is similar to a builder attempting to erect a large building and becoming impatient with all the “boring” steps that will never be seen and skipping steps or doing a sloppy job. When the building is done and painted it may look great. But those unseen things that provide a solid structure will become evident and the building will either be condemned or require more time to correct those problems.

Do not be impatient! Everyone develops at a different rate on different items. The best players have all had to work through difficulties in their practice and life’s circumstances. Don’t make excuses for yourself. Time is your most valuable possession and how you use it will show where your heart really is. Keep your focus on being the most excellent player possible and enjoy the process of getting there. Avoid discouraging people that tell you that road is too hard. Nothing worthwhile and satisfying comes easy. Read the stories of successful people from all professions and how they overcame obstacles.

Practice Routine Outline:

When multiple books are listed they are in order from the easiest to the most demanding. Remember that your daily practice routine should be manageable to get trough everyday and make you feel good at the end. A metronome should be used frequently. Your practice should be progressive, gradually increasing in difficulty, but with enough time spent on each exercise to allow for natural comfortable development. Most exercises will need to be played a minimum of one week and some for months and a few for years. Be patient!

The order of each type of item is very important.
You must have a written practice routine and stick to it every day.
There is no such thing as a summer break for a player.

Breathing Exercises

(The is to develop the habit of “Big Breath, Chest Up”.)
See Physical Approach To Elementary Brass Playing (p. 12, 23) and Brass Playing Is No Harder Than Deep Breathing (p. 18-19).
5 Sets of 10 breaths (Do with palms out and shoulders slightly back.)
5 Walking (To be done at least one square city block)
5 Steps Inhale Through Nose in equal spurts
5 Steps Hold Full
5 Steps Exhale Through Mouth in equal spurts
5 Steps Hold Empty
Each Month increase one step until reaching 10 Walking, then do Jog 5-10.

Start with flexibility (i.e. tongue level) also do them single tongued “K Tongue Modified”

Daily Trumpet Routines (up to page 31) Use all models (i.e. Articulations)
Arban’s Complete Conservatory Method (p. 125-130) (With at least all four models.)
Saint-Jacome's Complete Method For Trumpet or Cornet
p. 15, 19, 24, 49, and 68(With all 7 fingerings, slurred and tongued)
p. 157-165 (You must use at least all the models plus K tongued)
Walter Smith’s Lip Flexibility On The Trumpet (first ten studies, slurred and tongued)
Earl Irons' 27 Groups of Exercises
Del Staiger’s Lip Flexibilities
Charles Colin’s Advanced Lip Flexibilities, Volume 1, 2, and 3 (Add Pedal Tones to etudes.)
Bai Lin’s Lip Flexibilities (This is similar to Charles Colin’s Advanced Lip Flexibilities)
Max Schlossberg's Daily Drills and Technical Studies (This demands more control.)
Claude Gordon’s Tongue Level Studies
Ralph and Michael Colicchio's Nu-Art Technical Exercises (Arpeggio Tongue Level Studies)

Tonguing

Treat as a separate item or incorporate with Tongue Level or Technical Studies.

For learning “K Tongue Modified” use Tongue Level Exercises by Claude Gordon p.
Arban’s Complete Conservatory Method p. 13-16, #11-27 (As Written and Subdivided into sixteenth notes)
Herbert L. Clarke's Setting Up Drills #38 after two times through Clarke's Technical Studies
Saint-Jacome's Complete Method For Trumpet or Cornet
Ernest Williams' Complete Method For Trumpet

Technical Studies for fingers ("Lift Fingers High, Strike Valves Hard!") and Wind Control

Chromatics and major scales every day
Arban’s Complete Conservatory Method (p. 76-86, majors on p.59-75, and minors on p. 75.)
Herbert L. Clarke's Technical Studies (Cover the complete book annually.)
Write in all the alternate fingerings found in Claude Gordon's Systematic Approach To Daily Practice
found on p. 20, 22, 24, 26, and 30.
Each Lesson for four weeks:
Week 1: Single Tongued (“K Tongue Modified”)
Week 2: K Tongued
Week 3: Double Tongued (TK) or Triple Tongued (TTK)
Week 4: Slur as written
Etudes in Studies 2-8 must be practiced “How You Practice!”
The first time through should be a mf volume!
Remember to “Kick the air on the upper notes.” - Claude Gordon
Repeat book again and work for a little more speed and more times in one breath never softer than you can get a sure sound.
Exercises can be extended higher if comfortable.
Here are some ways to do Clarke’s Technical Studies:
Each note Triple Tongued 3 times
Each note Double Tongued 2 times
The entire book every day
A different model every day
Play a series of studies every other day
Play the entire book every other day
Play a study in place of a range study

Clarke’s Setting Up Drills should be done after a few times through his Technical Studies.
Also cover other scales: Minors (Natural, Harmonic, Melodic), Blues, Whole Tone, Diminished, Modes of Majors and MInors
Wonderful scale studies are found in the other method books below.

Etudes

This should take up no more than one third of your total practice.
Sigmund Hering Etudes (Arranged in a progressive manner)
Clarke's Characteristic Studies
Wait until after the first time through Clarke's Technical Studies.)
You must do “How You Practice!” on each etude, 
then gradually build the speed with a metronome.
Gatti Grand Method (Scale Studies and Etudes in all Major and Minor Keys)
Aaron Harris' Advanced Studies for Trumpet and Cornet (Studies and Etudes in all Major and Minor Keys)
Walter Smith's Top Tones For The Trumpeter (Etudes in all 30 Major and Minor Keys)
Gatti’s Studies in Perfection
Arban’s Complete Conservatory Method (Pub. by Carl Fischer)
Ernest Williams' Complete Method For Trumpet
World’s Method
Saint-Jacome's Complete Method For Trumpet or Cornet
Theo Charlier's Trente-Six Études Transcendantes Pour Trompette (Lyrical and technical etudes written in an appealing manner)
Bordogni 24 Vocalises (Lyrical etudes incorporated with transposition)
Marcel Bitsch's Vingt Études pour Trompette
Petit
Clodomir
Maxime-Alphonse

Solos (optional depending on time)

Solos should not take away from the amount of time spent on a complete routine.
Solos should take no more than one third of your total practice routine.
The solo should also be technically easy enough to play under any circumstance.
You may use “How You Practice!” if necesary.
Solos should not be used in place of systematic work through exercises.

School Music (optional depending on time)

Work on problem passages only.
As your skill increases you will need less time to prepare all kinds of music.
You may use “How You Practice!” if necessary.

Orchestral Excerpts (optional depending on time)

Beware of switching between keyed instruments too much.
I recommend keeping the same mouthpiece for higher pitched trumpets.
Listen to the entire composition several times before playing.
Technical passages can be worked out with “How You Practice” (see explanation)
Learn what is standard for the excerpt. (i.e. articulation pattern, what horn to play)

Jazz Improvisation

Range Study (Down Routine and Up Routine)

This must be played once every day to push your limit.
Make no more than 3 attempts for the highest note. “Three Strikes And Out!”-CG
This can either start or end the practice routine, but you must rest 60 minutes after.
Short rests (10-15 seconds) between each exercise must also be observed.
The “Long Hold” must be played correctly.
Pedal Tones must be played correctly.
Physical Approach To Elementary Brass Playing by Claude Gordon
Claude Gordon's Systematic Approach To Daily Practice and study the practice routines.
Claude Gordon's Thirty Velocity Studies (much later) Use all the models.
“Relax Lip”
This is a 2 octave (or more) Major arpeggio from C in the middle of the staff down to Pedal C (or lower) for trumpet. 
This is a warm down to be done after completion of the range study.
This relieves any tension in the lips and helps the player to be less tight, fixing problems caused by buzzing.
It should be adjusted for the other brass instruments:
Horn (5th Lower), Trombone (Octave Lower), Tuba (2 Octaves Lower)

Play the entire routine only once per day.
Beware of over practice and not enough rest between exercises.
“Build up. Don’t tear down.” - Claude Gordon

The routine can be applied to all the brass instruments as follows:
Euphonium
Play everything sounding an octave lower than the Bb trumpet.
Transpose down a whole step adding two flats to key for Bass Clef.
The fourth valve should be used (i.e. 4=13 and 42=123).
Some of the books are available in Bass Clef
Trombone
Play everything sounding an octave lower than the Bb trumpet.
Play Pedal Eb to B without F attachment.
Some of the books are available in Bass Clef
Treble Clef studies may be played like Tenor Clef and add two flats to key
Other etudes may also be substituted
Right Hand needs to have quick accurate movement with a supple wrist.
Tuba
Similar to Euphonium except down two octaves
The fourth valve should be used (i.e. 4=13 and 42=123).
French Horn
Trumpet Tongue Level studies
Played down a fifth on the Bb side of double horn, same fingerings (Open instead of Thumb&1&3, and 2 instead of Thumb&1&2&3), and sounding an octave lower than Bb trumpet pitches.
Etudes
Left Hand Fingers are the same in using the ball of the fingers.
Right Hand Position in bell is very important.

Additional Information:

Alternate fingerings serve a primary purpose of improving each finger’s action independant of the other fingers. Some fingerings will be more difficult and not the typical choice in a playing situation, but essential in the practice room. The results will be obvious if practiced properly, striking the valves hard and lifting the fingers high.

Testing Pedal F through C#

“How You Practice!” was a phrase Claude Gordon would use to refer to a specific way of practicing certain etudes in reverse order. The purpose was to practice consistently accurate so many times in a row that the chance of any kind of mistake was virtually impossible. Begin by playing the last beat four times in a row perfectly, removing the instrument from you mouth between each attempt. Next back up one beat from the end and play up to the first note of the last beat four times in a row perfectly. Next play the last two beats four times in a row perfectly. Continue in this manner until you have done one or two lines for the day. The second day play the new material up to the first note of the material from the previous day. When the second days material is done then link it to the end four times in a row perfectly. This is very tedious, but if you are very critical of all mistakes (i.e. cracked notes, bad attack, unclear tone, clumsy fingers, etc.) then you should never make a mistake again. This must be practiced with correct hand position and remembering to “Lift Fingers High, Strike Valves Hard!” Failure to do this will reinforce bad habits.

Pedal tones are to be played with a full free sound. Their purpose is to correct and improve your embouchure resulting in a freer vibration. Don’t play them too loudly. Playing pedal tones correctly will result in being able to turn more air into sound which will make everything better (i.e. sound, endurance, power, range, control, accuracy and comfort). This will also result in playing more relaxed and less tight. Mouthpiece buzzing and “long tones” tend to do just the opposite. If you learn how to play easier, then endurance will no longer be a worry. Those who play correctly can play for hours without the slightest fatigue because of this. At first notes from Pedal C to Pedal F# tend to be very flat for most everyone (on trumpet only). Do not worry about playing them in tune! If you play them in tune with a buzzed kind of sound you are doing them wrong. Do not use different fingerings (i.e. 123 for Pedal C)! Notes from Pedal F down to C sharp may tested an octave higher to hear the pitch because those notes never lock into a “slot.” Pedal tones are to be played as part of the range study only once per day. In time pedal tones will become just another part of your playing range and should not be thought of as “false tones.”

Mouthpiece Buzzing is something I oppose just as Claude did because it does not feel like playing the instrument and it tends to make people tighter. This practice also results in a preoccupation with the lip as producing the higher notes with more tension instead of coordination of the Tongue Level and Wind Power. There are some fine players and teachers that promote buzzing. But their amount of buzzing in comparison to their total playing on their instrument everyday usually is insignificant. Playing the instrument feels different than buzzing because of a variety of factors. The one positive thing from buzzing is ear training, which can be better developed by singing and some knowledge of piano and harmony.

Long Tones as practiced by most people tend to be stagnating and stiffening. Some believe Long Tones help your sound, but a player’s sound is improved as the they play easier and more flexible. The “Long Hold” markings serve a different purpose as a means to develop Wind Power, when they are done correctly as an isometric type of exercise to squeeze out all possible even after the sound stops to the point your muscles shake from the forceful squeeze. You will also notice that all the “Long Hold” markings in the Gordon books (i.e. Physical Approach To Elementary Brass PlayingDaily Trumpet Routines, and Claude Gordon's Systematic Approach To Daily Practice) and Clarke’s Setting Up Drills (p. 6-7) are after some movement around the instrument and are always in the middle to lower register. You are to never play high notes with less than half full of air.


Control over your sound is a by product of correct easy playing. A mouthpiece or some other piece of equipment will not do as much as your concept in your head and how well you can make the instrument work. The tongue’s shape in the mouth plays a big role in being able to change things for the desired sound. If you want a bright sound to play lead trumpet, you will not get it by a smaller mouthpiece. Small equipment just inhibits the free flow of air and the free vibration of the lips, resulting in a thin small sound. You must listen to the best players to know for what you are striving. 

Claude Gordon was a great at knowing just what to say and what not to say. The following were some of the most repeated phrases that stated things concisely.

Claude Gordon’s frequent phrases explained:
“It’s how you practice that counts.”
“Without technical proficiency there can be no music.”
“Think when you practice.”
“Always practice in a happy frame of mind.”
“Brass Playing Is No Harder Than Deep Breathing.”
The title of Claude Gordon’s book and taken from Clarke’s Elem. Studies, p. 3.
“99% correct is still 1% incorrect!” (From Clarke’s “How I became a cornetist” book)
“Let The Air Do The Work.” (See Wind Power and Wind Control in first article)
“Let The Air Save Your Lip.”
“Fill up all the way.”
“Step On The Gas When Going Up.”
“The Air Does The Work, The Tongue Channels The Pitch.” (Wind Power & Tongue Level)
“Hit It Hard And Wish It Well!” (Don’t be afraid of missing and don’t make excuses!)
“You Must Drive All Fear Out Of Your System.”
“Don’t Worry!”
“Forget About Your Lip!!!” (Claude’s students were never allowed to talk about their lip.)
“You could have a lip strong enough to lift a piano and still not be able to play.”
“Breath with your lungs, not your stomach!”
Would you say eat with your lungs? Why say breath with your stomach?!”
(This was to illustrate the thoughtless falacy of diaphragmatic breathing.)
“Big Breath, Chest Up” (This was rubber stamped onto every sheet of music.)
“Watch The Tongue” (Stamped onto every Tonguing, Tongue Level, and Range Study)
“Three Strikes And Out!” (Make only 3 attempts at highest note in daily Range Study.)
“Lift Fingers High, Strike Valves Hard” (Stamped onto every scale and arpeggio study)
“KTM” or “K Tongue Modified” was his term to describe how to single tongue as if doing K tonguing (in middle of the tongue) modified to the front middle of the tongue, with the very tip lightly touching the top of the bottom teeth always, when tonguing or slurring.
“You must use models.” (See St. Jacome’s page 157.) This trains your tongue.
“Rest as much as you play.” (Forget the no pain no gain way of thinking!)
“If you feel tired you failed to rest enough along the way and are tearing down.”
“You play by feel not by theory.”
“Too much analysis causes paralysis.”
“A baby crawls before it walks” (Keep this in mind always, especially with range.)
“More teachers have ruined students than helped them.”
“Nobody can make you a great player. I can only show you how to practice.”
“It is not crowded at the top. It isn’t hard to make a living when you are at the top.
It’s crowded in the middle level of mediocrity.”
“Don’t stop where I have, but go further.”
“Get the sense of things.” (Study every book to get the author’s intended meaning.)

Don’t skimp on buying books. If you are serious as a player you must develop a complete library of books and recordings. They are your most valuable assets if used properly. Don’t repeat others mistakes and struggles, learn from the great methods. Use your brains in understanding the purpose, approach, and application of each book into your practice routine. Some books require more than just a sequential order through the book. Find a good teacher, listen, think and practice. Be humble, yet discerning!

Where to buy music:
Your local music store should be supported first and foremost so that they stay in business and supply quality products and services to promote all music development in your area. In 2009 I added an online store to this site to primarily sell the Claude Gordon related books. I keep them in stock and can ship them directly from my studio to anyplace in the world. If you would like something added to the store just ask. I am an authorized dealer for various publishers now such as Carl Fischer, Theodore Presser, Charles Colin, Southern Music, and more.

© 2002, Jeff Purtle

Clarke's Technical Studies, Then and Now by Jeff Purtle

In 1912 Herbert L. Clarke wrote one of the mostly widely used trumpet method books. It is still in use today by every serious professional and aspiring professional trumpet and brass player. The size of the book, 53 pages, is far outweighed by the volume of wisdom contained in just a few brief comments on how to use the book. This book however, like many books, has been subjected to reinterpretation. In the early 1980s the book was reprinted with translations into three languages (English, German, and French). At that time the English text was changed, possibly for easier translation. What was lost were some of the original comments that agreed with Clarke’s philosophy of brass playing. This article is first intended to be a source of the original text and secondarily explain how it fits with his other writings and why the revisions are not in agreement with his original intended meaning.

The editors and revisers of many other method books have changed the text to a different meaning and neglected correcting obvious errors with notes and misprints, as Claude Gordon so appropriately noted in his recent editing of the Saint-Jacome's Complete Method For Trumpet or Cornet. The different layout of the current revision of Clarke’s Technical Studies (as opposed to the original) shows that the look of the slur lines is different and sometimes unclear whether a slur ends at a given measure at the end of a line or continues to the following line.

The complete version of this article, with all Clarke's fingerings, is accessible with an account in the private Clinic and Private Student pages. These were from Claude Gordon who received them directly from Clarke. Some of these are listed in Claude Gordon’s Systematic Approach To Daily Practice, but not the complete list. They are not to be seen as an option in practice, but are to be played every time. Some fingerings will prove to be more awkward and some less awkward than the normal fingerings. The end result is better control of each finger and a working knowledge of the fingering to use in any given situation.

All of the metronome markings are possible as well as the breath control instructions. Clarke and others have gone beyond the goals set in the book.

Introduction

Original

This work has been especially written to enable the cornet student how, through proper practice and application, any obstacles which may occur in musical passages written for his instrument, may be overcome.
By playing the exercises contained in this book in one breath, according to instructions, the student will acquire endurance without strain or injury. The muscles which control the lips must be trained until they are elastic and strong, and always remembering that only a slight pressure and not brute force is necessary to produce a tone.
It will be found possible to play the highest, as well as the lowest note in these exercises with equal tone quality, if they are practised according to the instructions that precede each study. All the exercises in this book are playable, and not very difficult, if practised slowly at first and not for too long a time. I have used them in my daily practice for years and they have been the means of my reaching the highest notes after playing a two hour concert and also of preserving my lips so that they never tire. What has been a help to me should surely be of benefit to other cornet players.
One cannot expect to attain the highest point of excellence without hard work and perseverance. Never be perfectly satisfied with yourself. Try to improve to some extent each day and to experience that satisfying pleasure in having conquered what at first seemed an impossibility.
Correct the least mistake you make immediately. Bad habits are easily formed and difficult to remedy.
To become an expert on the cornet, one should familiarize himself with as much material for this instrument as possible. In this way a substantial musical background is assimilated and much information and knowledge is gained.
There are few celebrated cornet soloists, although thousands play the instrument. Most players practice incorrectly and by neglecting the elementary work, lose many of the benefits to be gained.
The third book of this series is devoted to characteristic studies of every description. While slightly more difficult, the melodious element has not been overlooked and the entire material has been graded with the same care as the contents of this Second Series.

Revision

This work has been especially written to enable the cornet student to conquer any technical difficulties he might encounter in the literature for the instrument.

By carefully following the instructions in this book, the student will build up strength and endurance without strain or injury to his embouchure. If the lips remain flexible and the tone is note forced, it will be possible to play easily any note, regardless of the register. The exerices (misprint) in this book are not very difficult if practiced slowly at first. I have used them for years in my daily practice to maintain my endurance and to prevent fatigue. Hard work and dedication will be required to achieve a high degree of excellence; but by correcting your slightest mistake and by striving for improvement each day, your efforts will be rewarded by conquering what seemed, at first, impossible.
The student should familiarize himself with as much of the cornet repertoire as possible in order to gain a substantial and diverse musical background.
The third book of this series contains slightly more difficult studies of every description which have been graded with the same care as the contents of this Second Series.

Comments

An important point about breath control and playing “in one breath” is left out of the revision. This is especially important because the point lost is that playing that way will cause certain things to happen. The phrase “the muscles that control the lips” is changed to “the lips”, which doesn’t agree with Clarke’s statements in other writings that “The lips do not play the instrument.” The original emphasis about there being a wrong way to practice is left out, leaving the impression that mere “hard work and dedication” by repetitious practice of correct notes will solve everything. The encouragement to familiarize oneself with more repertoire in the revision “in order to gain a substantial and diverse musical background”, while good, misses the original point of not just solos but “elementary work” (found in method books). By removing the original sentence following the comment the context and emphasis is not what Clarke was trying to say.

First Study

Original

All these exercises must be played very softly. By practicing in this way your lips will always be fresh and under control. If they are played loud, the opposite effect may result, and the lips may be permanently injured. The principle is the same as that of a physician prescribing three drops of medicine which will cure, whereas a spoonful will kill.
Practise each exercise eight to sixteen times in one breath. Press the fingers down firmly and keep the lips moving. Contract the lips slightly in ascending, relax in descending.

Revision

Do not exceed the dynamic markings indicated in these exercises to avoid fatigue and strain to the lip muscles. Permanent injury to the emrouchure (misprint) may occur if the tone is forced.

Practice each exercise eight to sixteen times in one breath. Tighten the lips slightly in the ascending line, loosen them in descending lines.

Comments

The words “tighten,” “loosen” and “strain” were never in the original. “Tighten” is not the same as “contract.” The dynamics of pp were an eventual goal and not to be played until sufficient power and control was developed. The exercises eventually can be played 55 times in one breath and the etude 4 times. "Press the fingers down firmly" was left out of the revision and this was such a key point that Claude Gordon would stamp "LIFT FINGERS HIGH, STRIKE VALVES HARD" in red ink on every exercise like Clarke's Technical studies. For further clarification on these items read Clarke’s other three books, especially Setting Up Drills, and books by Claude Gordon, who studied with Clarke ten years.

Second Study

Original

Accent the first of each group of four notes to insure perfect rhythm.
When practising this Study, first play each exercise slurred, as marked, then practise it single tonguing very lightly. To become still more expert try double tonguing.
Should certain exercises prove more difficult than others, work on these until they are thoroughly mastered. Do not waste time on those that are easy. Remember that to improve one must master difficulties each day.

Revision

Play these exercises legato at first, then very lightly single tongue them. Finally, to further develop your articulation, try double tonguing. Accent where indicated to maintain a steady rhythm.

Concentrate your practice on those exercises that are more difficult for you -- don’t waste time on those that are easy.

Comments

Legato in the revision does not mean the same as slur in the original.

The exercises should be continued up and octave, repeating back to #33.
The exercises eventually can be played 12 times in one breath and the etude 4 times.

Fingerings

See my complete article and Claude Gordon’s Systematic Approach To Daily Practice (p. 20).

Third Study

Original

Practise without repeating at first, until the fingers are under perfect control.
These exercises are excellent for training the lips to be flexible in slurring, single and double tonguing, especially toward the end of the Study.
Etude III can be played entirely in one breath with practice.

Revision

Practice without observing the repeat signs until you have thoroughly mastered the fingering. Remember to keep the lips soft and relaxed throughout.
When you have mastered your legato technique, try single, and double tonguing.
Practice Etude III until you can play it in a single breath.

Comments

In Ex #46, both measures 7 and 8, beat 3 is to be a pedal E# and played first valve. Clarke considered this part of the cornet range as seen in his Elementary Studies book.

The breath control instructions from the original show Clarke’s overall approach of letting breath control develop at the players pace, never being stressed at the expense of clarity and accuracy. The upper notes should be accented to get the correct feel as explained by Claude Gordon in Brass Playing Is No Harder Than Deep Breathing (p. 28). The original does not say to keep your lips soft and relaxed, but that the exercises with train and develop it. The etude can be played in one breath, but this might take time and several times through the book.

Fingerings

See my complete article and Claude Gordon’s Systematic Approach To Daily Practice (p. 22).

Fourth Study

Original

On account of the difficultly of producing a whole tone trill on the cornet it is often played in an irregular and clumsy manner. It was in order to overcome this difficulty that these exercises were written.
Mechanical imperfections are frequently found in the construction of cornets, but by slow and careful practice these defects can be remedied and the intervals made to sound clearly in the different registers. These irregularities are often found in the interval from B(natural) to C#, in Ex. 71; also C to D in Ex. 72.
The fingers as well as the lips must be elastic.
Single and double tongue the exercises after you have made sufficient progress in slurring them perfectly.
Try to play Etude IV in one breath. It is possible

Revision

These exercises were written to overcome the difficulty of producing the whole tone trill on the cornet.

With slow and careful practice, the mechanical imperfections found in some instruments can be surmounted. The most troublesome intervals are B(natural)-C# (Ex. 71) and C-D (Ex. 72).
The fingers and lips should remain flexible throughout this study. When you have mastered these exercises as written, single and then double tongue them.
Practice Etude IV until you can play it in one breath.

Comments

The overall concept of developing breath control is missed slightly in the revision. Clarke’s line of priorities is as follows: correct practice, accuracy, speed, breath control with numerous repetitions. Clarke’s definition of the seven items of correct playing in his Setting Up Drills should be compared to Claude Gordon’s seven items in his Systematic Approach To Daily Practice.

Fingerings

See my complete article and Claude Gordon’s Systematic Approach To Daily Practice (p. 24).

Fifth Study

Original

Endurance is 90 per cent of cornet playing, and will-power is necessary to accomplish what is considered an impossibility by many players.
Diligent practice of the preceding material must have improved the breath control of the player who should now be ready for this Study containing more ambitious exercises. Here is a test of endurance and breath control as these exercises comprise a range of two octaves.
Do not attempt Ex. 94 until you have played the preceding ones over many times with perfect ease. Then try the next a step higher and so on until you have mastered all. Remember that a twenty story building requires a much firmer foundation than a structure of only two stories.
Do not strain or force the tone. Single and double tonguing this study will add to your advancement.
Etude V must be played in one breath.
_______________________
These minor and major scales are written to promote agility of the fingers, which is so important in solo playing. They should be played very slowly at first, then as rapidly as possible in one breath.
________________________
Play the entire page in one breath.

Revision

Mastery of the preceding material will have improved your breath control and endurance, and you should now be prepared for these more advanced studies.

Do not advance to a new exercise until you have thoroughly mastered the previous one.
Observe the dynamics carefully to avoid lip strain. When you have conquered the study as written, single and double tongue it.
___________________________
These scales will help to improve your finger technique. Begin slowly and practice until you can play them many times in one breath.
_________________________
Play the entire page in one breath.

Comments

The subject of will-power in developing breath control is left out of the revision. Notice that Clarke now says with italics “Etude V must be played in one breath.” To be an accomplished brass player you must have the attitude of an athlete that sees his goal and won’t let anything stop him.

The original third paragraph is changed so much as to remove the specifics about how to advance the range in this particular type of study. The point is systematic development at the pace each individual player can handle. With this in mind the exercises can be extended far beyond even what is in the book. “Lip strain” is a phrase Clarke never would have used. (I have heard the etude played two times in one breath.)

Fingerings

See complete article.

Sixth Study

Original

Another form of major and minor scale practice in different registers; a great help towards endurance, technic and elasticity of the lips.
Both tonguings should be practised as usual.
Perhaps now you will realize that much more benefit is derived from playing these exercises in one breath than by holding long tones. At the same time endurance, technic, elasticity of lips and the knack of reading music rapidly, is gained.

Revision

These scales, which encompass nearly the entire range of the instrument, will improve your endurance and lip technique. Practice as written as well as single and double tongued.
You will begin to realize that your technique, endurance, and music reading facility will improve far more by playing these exercises than by simply playing long tones.

Comments

The point of playing these “in one breath” is left out. This is a significant error because the main point is a long tone on one note verses a particular exercise that moves around the instrument with coordination of the fingers, wind control, flexibility and range. Long tones are stagnating by comparison.

This is not over the entire range as the revision states. Clarke in his Elementary Studies book shows that the cornet can play from double pedal C to double high C and he was known to play to triple high C. Cornet soloists of that time played higher and lower on inferior instruments by today's standards. “Lip technique” was never a phrase or concept of Clarke.

Fingerings

See complete article.

Seventh Study

Original

The practice of chromatic triplets is beneficial to all cornet players. In this Study there are a series of triplets in all registers, augmented by arpeggios which are most helpful. Master each exercise by playing it as clearly and fluently as a good violin or clarinet player would do. Frequently I have had a clarinetist play over certain exercises with me, so that I might imitate him in reproducing difficult studies on my cornet as fluently as he did on the clarinet. It is a good idea to try this.
Notice the change of time from sixteenth triplets in Ex. 154, common time, to sixteenth notes in six-eighth time in Ex. 155. Quite a distinct change in rhythm.
--
Practice these arpeggios triple tongue also, but do not strain to reach the high notes. Use double tongue for Ex. No. 155, 156, 157.
--
Arpeggios using the chord of the diminished seventh.
Play each exercise from four to eight times in one breath.

Revision

This study contains chromatic triplets as well as arpeggios in all registers. Strive for the same clear, fluid tone that would be achieved by a good clarinetist. In fact, it would be very beneficial to play this study with a clarinetist in order to better imitate his or her smooth tone.

Note the change in rhythm that occurs from Ex. 154 to 155.
--
After practicing these arpeggios as written, triple tongue exercises 151-154 and double tongue now. 155-157. Do not play too loudly to avoid strain on the high notes.
--
The following diminished seventh arpeggios should be played from four to eight times in one breath.

Comments

Wrong note in line 8, measure 2, beat one, E instead of D.

Several times the revision warns of not playing too loud on high notes, which is never emphasized the same way by Clarke. Notice the crescendos on all ascending lines. This can also be seen in other method books. This is very important and for the purpose of coordinating wind power with all the other items.

Fingerings

See my complete article and Claude Gordon’s Systematic Approach To Daily Practice (p. 30).

Eighth Study

Original

Here are more chromatics in an extended form to test technic, flexibility of lips and also for acquiring fluency of tone. When practised softly the lips will never feel fatigued no matter how many times the exercises may be repeated. These exercises will strengthen the whole system, but must not be attempted until sufficient progress has been attained.
Practise them both with single and triple tonguing.

Revision

These extended exercises in chromatics will aid in the improvement of lip and finger technique as well as tone production. Careful observance of the dynamics will prevent fatigue regardless of the number of times each exercise is played.

Do not attempt this study until the preceding material has been mastered. Practice single and double tonguing when you have your legato technique under control.

Comments

The term “lip technique” is used again by the revision.

Fingerings

See complete article.

Ninth Study

Original

Each of the following chromatic scales advances one step higher and each one is to be played four or more times in one breath. No strain is necessary if played properly.
--
My daily practice, four times in one breath, to test my endurance under all conditions.
--
To play these last two exercises correctly, and at the marked tempo in a single breath, requires a cornet with perfect valve action. Otherwise the valves may stick or not respond immediately. Under these conditions the player is badly handicapped and often becomes discouraged. A good instrument is half the battle.

Revision

Each of the follwng (misprint) exercises should be played four or more times in one breath. You will not need to strain on the high notes if you keep your lips flexible and avoid playing too loudly.
--
The following is my daily endurance test. It should be practiced four times in one breath.
--
The last two exercises will require rapid finger technique in order to play in one breath. An instrument with good valve action is an absolute necessity so that the valves will not stick or respond slowly.

Comments

This is a perfect example of the revision interpreting what Clarke meant by “played properly” to mean “keep the lips flexible and avoid playing too loudly.”

Tenth Study

Original

The cornet has unlimited possibilities. This is demonstrated nearly every day in some part of the world by ingenious players who have a knack of working out, with comparative ease, original freak or stunt playing which surprises the entire cornet fraternity.
This study illustrates how, by using arpeggios, a melody may be played to sound complete, without an accompaniment.
Play the small notes sotto voce, or like a whisper, accenting the large notes full and strong. Of course, the lips must be soft and pliable to obtain good musical results.

Revision

This study demonstrates some of the virtually unlimited potential of the cornet. In these four tunes, the grace notes form the harmonic accompaniment and the accented notes form the melody.
The melody should be brought out strongly while the accompanying grace notes should be played softly. Make sure that your lips remain soft and flexible throughout.

Comments

The first paragraph has been changed, which encouraged creativity in being one of those to work out things to demonstrate and surprise other players. If it were not for the great players of the past setting high standards we would not have the expected level of playing we do today. We must all press on to be the best and never be satisfied with anything less.

Other articles to read: Correct Trumpet Hand PositionBrass Playing Frequently Asked Questions

©2003 Jeff Purtle

Saint Jacome Method - Original Text From 1894 edition

Instructions.

The Cornet is without contradiction one of the easiest instruments to play as regards the fingering, and one of the most difficult in regard to the Embouchure.

It bears some analogy to the human voice in its compass, and in the manner in which respiration is conducted. That is why it has on many occasions been styled the Tenor of the Orchestra.

The manner of learning to play it differs essentially from that in which any other sort of instrument is learnt.

It is necessary 1st to learn to produce sounds, 2nd to give them purity and equality, and 3rd by means of the lips and with the aid of the wind (it is needless to say that you cannot play without teeth) to render these sounds soft and clear, or strong and loud, according as the melody is calm or impassioned, all this to be done with ease greace and lightness.

To obtain these qualities you must not seek to play airs or difficulties which the lips could not sustain, for in so doing you would risk spoiling them entirely or at the very least, would contract bad habits in the rhythm, emission of sound, style, etc. all matters of great difficulty to remedy when once the instrument has been badly commenced.

By a conscientious study of the 12 lessons which commence this work and which contain the manner of emitting sounds, different fingerings with sharps and flats, Diatonic and Chromatic intervals and synonymous fingerings of the said notes varied by short and very easy duets on the different notes, beats and keys most used in Music, I hope that the lips will have acquired sufficient strength to allow the pupil to continue without interruption the practise of the slurred sounds, scales, solfeges, exercises, grand studies and duets which follow.

The Cornet has 3 Valves, the first of which is nearest the mouth, and on which the 1st finger of the right hand is placed, the second is for the second finger, and the last nearest the bell for the 3rd finger. Care should always be taken to push the valves quite down to the bottom otherwise the sound would be disagreably altered.

The left hand grasps the instrument, the thumb being placed on the 1st valve so that it can touch the tuning slide; the other fingers are placed as favourably as possible, for as all instruments are not made alike it is difficult to impose any particular manner. The elbow should remain completely independant of the left, the thumb being slightly bent under the tube which holds the shank and mouthpiece, and serving thus sustaining the pressure on the pistons by the rest of the fingers.

The mouthpiece is place on the lips as nearly as possible in the middle of the mouth, some place it on the right or left side and are not less good cornet players on that account; the fact no doubt arises from a certain weakness of the middle of the lips and sometimes also by the position of the teeth which do no allow of the mouthpiece being placed on them without suffering some injury. Let us however try to do better by avoiding such an inelegant style.

The lips are divided in the mouthpiece into two unequal parts: two thirds for the upper and the rest for the under according to all professors and one third for the upper and two for the under according to one sole individual, whom I shall not name. Now for my advice on the subject; I think it depends on which of the lips is thick; a person with a thick under lip will probably find it more convenient to use two thirds of the under and one third of the upper lip whilst the contrary happens when it is the upper lips that is the thicker.

What is essential is to have a fine tone, very pure and clear, with facility in execution, with that no one has anything to say, no matter where the lips may be placed on the mouthpiece.

Everybody may express his opinion on the point: it is a subject continually under discussion and the problem is not yet solved and in all probability never will be for it depends on nature. Once a position has been adapted it is bad to change it. Study and practise will remedy defects whereas in a change of position all must be recommenced.

The Cornet being fitted with a shank (Bb is preferable with the option of changing it for that of A when tired, although it would be better to rest a minute and to retain Bb) I repeat then, fitted with a shank and being held with the left hand as shown above, you will proceed to place the mouthpiece on your lips with the precautions already laid down and then articulate the letter T in the following manner. This mute articulation is one of the generators of sound and will constitute what has come 9rightly or wrongly) to be calledtongueing (Coup de langue).

In placing the mouthpiece 1st the lips rest on the teeth and should be extented equally as in a smile, 2nd the tongue, made as thin as possible, is introduced between the teeth which are opened by the action of smiling until it encounters the lips between which it is placed conveniently, 3rd it is pressed strongly or lightly, (according if a loud or a soft sound is desired) against the upper lip, which with the aid of the upper teeth supports the mouthpiece, 4th it is then drawn quickly backwards when the air which you had taken the precaution to respire beforehand, escaping by the opening left by drawing back the tongue rushes out and strikes against that contained in the instrument. It is this collision or concussion of the air which produces the sound and which is called: tongueing. The tongue thus acts like a valve serving to regulate the wind.

Respiration or Breathing

Plain Sounds and Sons Filés

>>>>                    <<<<<<<>>>>>>>>

In order to respire it is not necessary to remove the mouthpiece from the lips, on the contrary it must be kept there and aspiration effected by opening the two corners of the mouth, which operation without deranging the middle of the lips allow passage to the volume of air that is needed, (take great care not to draw the air through the mouthpiece.) It sometimes happens you have not use for all the air you have aspired; you must not allow it to escape into the instrument, but let pass off freely by the nose and renew aspiration as I have shown. Pure air is that which give the clearest sounds: observe that those who make their instrument very hot, have generally an exceedingly bad tone. To avoid heating the instrument do not blow all your wind into it, but by holding it back a little you will preserve the freshness of the air you blow and your tone will profit thereby.

In the long notes or plain sounds the tongue must not come to stop the sound at the end of the note as many suppose. The wind, which at the attack was strong and held the lips half open, diminishes in intensity, and insensibly the opening in the lips through which the wind was passing closes and as a natural result the sound ceases with the wind. The tongue then returns and is again pressed against the lips so that in drawing it back a fresh sound is produced and so on until a certain rapidity of articulation has been attained. These are what are called plain sounds. (>>>) As long as the sound is sustained the tongue remains as though suspended between the two jaws and should make no movement whatever.

For sons filés (<<<<>>>>) the attack is the same: perhaps slightly softer, an articulation something between T and D. Only the wind directed and managed with skill escapes softly increasing (<<<<<<<) and then diminishing (>>>>>>) until the lips close as the blowing ceases as in the plain sounds.

“My observations:” Almost all professors agree in saying that you must pronounce a syllable such as Tu, Ta or Ti at the same time as the letter T: up to the present I have only found one or two who have explained that what is called a tongueing or stroke of a tongue is not one: in fact the particular manner I have shown of articulating the letter T has more ressemblance to Th than to the actual letter T; to pronounce T the tongue is pressed against the roof of the mouth, and for the use we wish to make of it, it must touch the borders of the lips outside the teeth. For those who wish to practise tongueing without the mouthpiece on the their lips I now point out the only sound which in my opinion can be made applicable to this method of studying. it is the French e mute sounding like the English in “sun.” Suppress the  and the n keeping only the u sound. This I think is the best of all.

When practising with the mouthpiece, on the lips (as often happens) and without the instrument I recommend it to be done with the left hand and not with the right, for in so doing you would risk deranging your mouthpiece and would get into a habit of pressing on the lips with the right hand which should be avoided. I shall then only use the letter T to indicate single tongueing T. K. for double tongueing, and T.T.K.T. or T.K.T.T. for triple tongueing. There is also another tongueing which may be called tongueing in the sound, that is to say that without ceasing to blow (supposing you are playing piano and slowly) you bring the tongue near the lips and articulate something like the letter D. Moreover in playing movements where there are many notes to be made, you come only to make and articulation like D. A little observation will make you agree that I am right. Try to articulate T quickly and for a long time you will so burden yourself that it will affect the movement and you will very quickly come to agree with me that generally you attack by T but continue by D.

Trumpet and Brass Playing Frequently Asked Questions by Jeff Purtle

Trumpet and Brass Playing Frequently Asked Questions

This is not meant to be a stand alone article, but to address questions from the first two articles, How To Practice and What To Practice, which should be read first.

Categories of Questions:

  1. Physical Problems
  2. Attitude
  3. Taking Lessons
  4. Equipment
  5. Music
  6. Business/Career
  7. Lessons with Claude Gordon

1. Physical Problems

Do some people just play different than others?

There is only one way to play correctly and various ways to play incorrectly.

How many people play this way?

All the great players play this way. However, not all of them understand that they do. You must use your discernment to ask the right questions and listen. Some players play very good and have weaknesses because of one or more of the items being incorrect. Some players play correct, but are not developed.

How much do you practice each day and what? How many days a week?

I practice my entire practice routine every day of the week.
That is between 90 minutes to 5 hours, usually about 3 hours.
Recently, I refrain from practice on Sunday due to the 4th Commandment.

I understand all of this, but how come I can’t play as high as I want?

It is either a matter of incorrect playing, lack of development over time, or both.

How long should I try playing this way for?

If you understand this is the only way things work, you must do this until it shows results in your playing, which it does for everyone without exception.

How do I stay regular with practice?

Practice everyday even when you don’t feel like it. You must be disciplined.
Have a contest with yourself to see how many days you can go without missing.
After the first three months it becomes a habit and hard to get away from.
Claude Gordon went 15 years without missing a days practice.

What do you think about breathing exercises?

Breathing exercises should be a part of the daily practice routine.
Some people make things far too complicated with breathing devices that are gimmicks and fads that are for a season that players never used in the past.
Notice the most important item is Wind Power not capacity.
Anyone can develop these items no matter your size and natural gifts.

What about breathing from the diaphragm or stomach?

If the chest is up everything will work correctly without thinking about the anything else.
The role of the diaphragm in breathing is greatly misunderstood.
The diaphragm is an involuntary sheet of muscle tissue.
If you could control it you could stop hiccups voluntarily.
it is as thick as a sheet of paper and can not be credited with generating power.
It’s main function is to separate the lungs from the stomach and intestines.
it moves only in reaction to pressure differences in the body.
It has only two positions, flat and raised.
It moves to the raised position instantly when the pressure on either side of it are unequal from be low on air or blowing hard enough.
Breathing involves many muscles of the upper body.

What do you think about long tones? Will long tones build strength?

Long Tones as practiced by most people are very stagnating and make players stiff and work against flexibility. A “Long Hold” as used by Claude Gordon and Herbert L. Clarke in their books are always at the end of some movement around the instrument and are used as an isometric exercise to develop Wind Power. They are always done in the middle to lower register because you never should do any normal playing and especially high register playing when you are below half full. See Clarke’s comment:
“Perhaps now you will realize that much more benefit is derived from playing these exercises in one breath than by holding long tones. At the same time endurance, technique, elasticity of lips and the knack of reading music rapidly, is gained.” H. L. Clarke, Technical Studies, Sixth Study, p. 29 in original text.

How do I build endurance?

Endurance is a by product of correct easy playing. You don’t build it by brute strength. Rest as much as you play between exercises to avoid any fatigue, which begins to tear down and teach you bad habits.

How do I improve my sound?

A good sound is result of a free vibration. Correct playing results in a good sound. A good sound is important, but if your focus becomes primarily a good sound at the expense of working on all the basic then your sound will suffer too. If you lack flexibility, range, endurance, finger technique, etc., then it will be evident that your sound is bad when you are challenged in those areas. You want to master all aspects of playing and be able to control your sound too for a variety of sounds on demand.

How do I build more power?

Power is a by product of correct playing. It is not the same as brute force. But, brass playing does demand Wind Power. Wind Power is built by Breathing Exercises, “Long Holds” on certain exercises, and Range Study work. Breath Control to play soft and flexibility work together to improve power also.

How do I fix that spread (lip) feeling?

This feeling is an indicator that Tongue Level is too low and you are playing too loud. Playing too loud can confuse accurate Tongue Level, resulting in this feeling and a spread out unfocused sound because the air is not being used efficiently.

My band director keeps telling me to play louder and I can’t. Why?

Playing powerful is more a matter of correct technique than physical strength. Watch master martial artists and notice that size doesn’t matter as much as speed and correct technique. Brass playing too is not based on physical strength alone. Some of the most powerful players have been small in stature.

How loud is too loud?

If your playing is out of control and your sound is unfocused and spread you are too loud. If your pitch is not on because of playing too loud you are working against yourself. Playing in tune with a good sound has more to do with projection than brute force. Look at the Chicago Symphony brass section and notice how they can produce more sound with better quality than an entire marching band. It is skill and precise pitch.

How soft is too soft?

“Never play softer than you can get a sure sound.” - Claude Gordon
As you gain Wind Power you will have more to work with and in time it becomes possible to play in a whisper. This happens by playing soft with power and not playing soft with weakness of blowing. This soft playing later helps improve your ease in playing loud.

Why can’t I play high notes soft? Why not practice high notes soft?

It is really bad to attempt high notes without enough Wind Power because it makes you compensate with more mouthpiece pressure and/or a tighter embouchure, which works against a good sound, endurance and many other things. “The air does the work, the tongue channels the pitch!”-Claude Gordon Later Wind Control be developed to play the high notes with strength yet soft after the knack correct use of air is developed.

Why do notes cut out and not respond?

This is from one or more of the following:
Not enough Wind Power
Incorrect use of Tongue Level
Embouchure too low to let The Lip vibrate easily
Equipment too tight to allow air to make The Lip vibrate
Too much loud playing, which can throw off correct Tongue Level

Why is it important to single tongue K Tongue Modified?

This is not an optional item. Without tonguing this way you will never experience accuracy, tonguing speed and ease of playing especially in the upper register. Incorrect tonguing disrupts the tongue’s arch in the front of the mouth working against Tongue Level. Everyone uses Tongue Level when they play. Most people are never taught about correct single tonguing. The very tip of the tongue always remains in contact with the top of the bottom teeth and you produce the “T” just slightly back from the tip of the tongue. This is in the front middle of the tongue, hence Claude Gordon coined the term “K Tongue Modified” because like K tonguing it is in the middle of the tongue, but modified to be more forward toward the tip. Here are some people I have spoken with that I know tongue this way: Arturo Sandoval, Doc Severinsen, Frank Kaderabek, Wayne Bergeron, Bob O’Donnel, and Claude Gordon and his students. Claude Gordon learned this from Herbert L. Clarke, who taught it to all his students. Also, Armando Ghitalla tongued this way and taught his students this.

How do I eliminate cracked and missed notes?

You must tongue “K Tongue Modified”

How come I can’t double tongue slow?

You must work on KTM single tonguing, K tonguing, and multiple tonguing at all speeds with a metronome.

What about closing the throat?

It is impossible to close or open your throat. Your tongue is what moves in your mouth. It is possible to do the “Eee” in the back of the tongue like “Ich,” resulting in a bad sound and no arch of the tongue in the front of the mouth.

Why practice so many models (i.e. articulation patterns)?

Your Tongue Level must be trained to respond accurately from every possible approach to any given note.

Is it different to slur or tongue?

The same Tongue Level is used for any given note no matter if is slurred into from another note or tongued T or K tongued.

How do you play with a different sound for Big Band vs. Orchestral music?

Listen. Imitate. Adjust. The sound can be changed by different tongue shapes, angle of the horn, intensity of air, and movements of your mouth.

Won’t striking and lifting the fingers slow you down?

Look at players that have unusually fast and clean fingers. 
Arturo Sandoval, Allen Vizzutti and Doc Severinsen all agree on this item.

How much should you play Clarke’s Tech. Studies to know it?

This is a book you will never outgrow.
There are various stages to “knowing” this book. Don’t ever think you are done.
The order of priority should be: clean fingers, various articulations, clean speed, 
and finally Wind Control tying it all together.
Absolutely all the metronome markings and Wind Control markings are possible for anyone.
I have heard Clarke’s Ex. #1 played 55 times in one breath, Etude #5 played two times in one breath, and the three octave chromatic from low G to high G ten times in one breath. Anything is possible with correct practice and patience and strong will power.

What causes raspy tone?

Bad vibration from the lips is usually from one or more of the following: mouthpiece too low, not taking enough rest with horn off mouth between exercises, or too tight of equipment.

Should I play downstream or upstream? What about horn pivot?

Don’t worry about it. The jaw moves with Tongue Level to different degrees with different players. What you look like doesn’t matter as much as how it sounds and feels. This can even change during a players life.

How important is the lip?

It’s only function is to vibrate. To prove the point you can even produce a sound with your tongue stuck out in place of using the lower lip because it too will vibrate. You could potentially develop an embouchure any place on your lip like Gordon, Mendez and Herseth. Claude used to demonstrate a three octave chromatic from low G to G above high C while at the same time sliding the trumpet from one corner of his mouth to the other corner. The top lip does vibrate better and will get the best results.

Should I use a high note embouchure? (i.e. lower lip tucked in)

NO! This is a very bad thing to get into. That will hinder your flexibility and sound over the entire range of the horn. There is no short cut to correct practice and development over time. Have patience!

What about too much facial movement?

Don’t worry about this. Focus on the basics. People look different.

Why did Arban say to not change an embouchure?

In Arban’s text he was not dogmatic about his position, but dogmatic about changing an embouchure being bad. Consider the fact that he was speaking as an authority at the time and those changing would be changing from a higher position to his 1/3 top lip position. He knew from experience that people had problems with the change. The problem was not the change but what the change was to. St. Jacome, an author at the same time, cites in his original original text that 2/3 on the top lip is the best way. In 2002 Carl Fischer reissued the St. Jacome’s Method with the original text that Claude Gordon was instrumental in restoring.

When should I change my embouchure?

As soon as possible. But, hopefully at a time when you can be free from the pressure of playing exposed or high parts. Summer is a perfect time for students.

How do I change my embouchure? How long will it take?

If possible don’t play a single note for 4-6 weeks to forget the old placement.
Set the mouthpiece on the red of the lower lip, with at least 2/3 on the top lip.
Practice low Tongue Level slurs (i.e. lip slurs) also with pedal tones.
Practice tonguing to get an accurate centered sound.
Begin weekly lessons in Physical Approach To Elementary Brass Playing (Gordon).
Don’t play higher than C in the staff for 2 weeks.
Some can be back to playing a high C in three months.
By one year anyone should be completely confident in the good results.
Time completely off the horn to forget the old embouchure speeds things up.

Is it possible to damage yourself from too much practice?

No. If you are playing correctly you should be able to play all day and not get tired.
Incorrect practice even for a short period of time can create bad habits.
Bad habits and supposed permanent damage can always be fixed with patience.

What about playing off center?

I personally play off center because of irregular teeth and comfort.
I used to play with a low mouthpiece placement and the change to more top lip matters the most. There are some excellent players that play off center.

What about air leaking out the sides of mouth?

If this happens it is nothing to worry about. I know a teacher that taught his students to intentionally leak air and that is stupid. You want the air to go into the instrument to produce sound. Claude once had a student that could play powerful double high Cs and his corners would open up and you could see his teeth and a little air would leak. He sounded great. It looked strange. But, everything was working correctly.

What do you think about buzzing the mouthpiece? or the lips alone?

I believe at best neither is beneficial and usually it is detrimental to most players.
The lips do not play the instrument. The Wind Power and Tongue Level do more.
Forget about the lip and practice the instrument.
Buzzing usually makes players tighter and gives the wrong feel of tighter for higher.
correct playing of Pedal Tones helps to show how to play high notes with the Lips more relaxed and able to vibrate freer.

Are my teeth ok to play high notes?

Some people worry about this too much. There once was a guy who said he knew Maynard Ferguson’s secret to his high notes was the gap in his front teeth. He had a gap opened up and then went to show Maynard at a concert. When he showed Maynard, Maynard smiled and showed the man how he had his gap fixed and filled in. That kind of stuff is stupid to worry about.

What about the Suzuki method for trumpet?

Reading music should come before playing by ear.

What about Alexander Technique?

Alexander Technique is primarily focused on body posture.
If the player looses sight of the 7 Items and replaces them with their own interpretation or ignores the 7 Items, then bad habits can creep in and technique will regress.

What do you think of Arnold Jacobs’ approach?

Jacobs was a fantastic tuba player.
His most erroneous idea was that focus on musicality will fix incorrect technique.
He didn’t believe in a definition of “correct” technique, just a pragmatic approach.
His focus on the quantity of air and the “Aww” vowel sound neglected Tongue Level.
There seems to be a big lack of technical exercises and a practice routine in his followers.
But, he and his best students show evidence of practice of technical exercises.
He and his better students also tongued “K Tongue Modified.”

What do you think of Bill Adams’ approach?

Adams has turned out some of the best players in the world.
He like Gordon was known for helping players at all levels to become great.
He was a student of Clarke like Gordon and was taught the same fundamentals.
He may not explain all the fundamentals, but they are covered in his routines.
His focus on psychology and playing seems too esoteric and mystical.

Can a mentally disabled person learn to play?

Yes. I have had some that are better students than people with average mental ability. Brass playing is not that hard!

Can someone play with a tongue piercing?

Yes. I had a student who played fine with it. He played in a Ska/Punk Rock Band. Of course it is best to remove it when playing. It works, but doesn’t look pretty.

Do braces limit high notes?

No. I have had a 4th grader, playing only 3 weeks, hit an F above high C on trumpet with no strain. I had a student who made principal trumpet in SC All State Band and Orchestra with braces. Don’t worry about it!

What are some goals to have?

Tonguing Speed (Clarke could single tongue 16ths for a solid minute at 180 bpm.)
Clarke’s Technical Studies marking regarding speed and breath control
Accuracy (Don’t tolerated cracked notes, bad rhythm and time, intonation, etc..)
How many days can you go without missing a days practice?
Can you play any scale or chord in all keys in any register?

How do I fix my problems?

Focus on the solution as it relates to the 7 Basic Items and avoid thinking about what not to do, otherwise you will do what you desire not to do even more.

What should I play for a warm-up? Do I warm-up before playing my routine?

If you practice a correctly structured and balanced routine you will be ready anytime.
There are times as a professional when you don’t have time to do a “warm-up.”
Tongue Level and scales usually are good to play to “warm-up if you need it.

2. Attitude

Be confident, not arrogant.

“You must drive all fear out of your system!”-Claude Gordon

How do I stay humble when I play better than everyone?

Being humble and teachable are keys to improvement.
You will never be able to do everything better than everyone.
You must be aware of the great players and what you have to strive for.
Your standard must be complete perfection. That will keep you humble.
The greatest players are usually humble because their standards are very high.

How do I match up to others? Be humble! There is always someone better than you.

Admire other virtuosos:

Flexibility and Facility: Allen Vizzutti, Del Staigers, George Swift, Walter Rogers
Perfect Accuracy: Claude Gordon, Malcolm McNab, Jerry Hey
Power and a Big Sound: Arturo Sandoval, Conrad Gozzo, Johnny Audino, 
Bud Herseth
Creativity: Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, Clarke Terry
Beauty and Ease: Maurice André
High Notes: Arturo Sandoval, Bud Brisbois, Johnny Madrid, Maurice André, Maynard Ferguson(old recordings), Andrea Toffanelli, Roger Ingram
Clean Playing: Claude Gordon, Malcolm McNab, Wayne Bergeron

How do I deal with someone I disagree with? Teacher, Student, Professor, Friend?

There will always be people that disagree with you.
Even if you make the most convincing arguments they won’t change their mind.
Practice correctly and understand why and wait for people to ask you for advice.
People generally don’t like to be told they are wrong or ignorant.
When studying with a professor for a grade you must make the best of it.

What do you do if you have a bad day?

Shut-up and don’t make excuses!
“Hit it hard and wish it well!”-Claude Gordon
Don’t forget “Big Breath, Chest Up”. That is the number one thing to remember.
Never let people know you are tired! Sound your best anyway.
Don’t blame your mouthpiece or instrument for your lack of preparation.

I am the best player and want to play first chair. What do I do?

Practice even harder. Be patient and wait for an opportunity.
Be the best section player possible.
Don’t ever play other people’s solos unless asked by the conductor!

3. Taking Lessons

How can a trumpet player teach another brass instrument?

The basic 7 Items are the same for every brass instrument.
The challenge is to know how to use and adapt material.
The teacher must understand typical expectations of each instrument.
The teacher must know things such as Transposition, Bass, Alto, and Tenor Clef.
Claude Gordon had many professional students on Horn, Trombone, and Tuba.

How can someone take from two teachers at one time?

This is a bad idea. But, possible.
The student has to have a firm understanding of the 7 Items or they will be confused.
A good teacher will hopefully guide the student through every aspect of practice.
Trying to do that with two teachers at the same time won’t do justice to either teacher.

Should I study with as many people as possible for a different perspective?

It is arrogant to think you can learn everything from a teacher in a few lessons.
It is ignorant to think someone will have a secret that will fix everything in one lesson.
Study from one person consistently with the focus of developing the basics correctly.
This can’t be done when taking from several teachers.
The contacts you make from taking from several teachers will be worthless if they think you are a bad student and don’t practice the way they tell you.

Do I really need all those books?

Yes. You must build a complete library of method books that will serve as tools to improve your playing. Knowing how to extract the author’s knowledge and experience from their book will show you how to be the best possible player.

Do you know of a cheap teacher close by? “My child is just a beginner and not serious.”

There is no such thing as a beginner teacher or an advanced teacher. There are good and bad teachers. One of the marks of a good teacher is not neglecting daily work on basics. The key to advanced playing is a solid foundation of basic skills. I believe far too many teachers and players don’t understand this and think advanced solos will do only what scales, exercises and systematic practice can do.

If everything is spelled out so clear in these articles and books, why take lessons from anyone?

Playing an instrument is an art form, like martial arts, that cannot be learned by a book, but only through physical experiences guided by someone else that understands how to take the student through systematic development and knows what is appropriate at the right time.

Why do lessons cost so much?

What you learn in lessons has great value.
I used to pay $60 an hour for lessons with Claude and ten years of lessons and workshops cost about $13,000. I made that back in six months when I first started playing professionally at 18 years old. I now make my living at teaching and playing. My private study with Claude Gordon was more relevant to what I am doing now than my college music degree was.

How long should I take lessons to get caught up in band class?

Private lessons are not “tutoring for band.”
Private lessons are to improve all your skills and give you total control of your horn.
It would be ideal if everyone that played in band took private lessons.
Schools that do this have the best sounding groups.

What about a teacher that says, “Let’s try this.”?

The expression might be well intentioned. But, a teacher must understand how things work and exactly how they are going to take you where you need to be. I don’t believe anything ever happens in life by luck or chance.

How do I know I have “outgrown” a teacher?

Be humble and learn!
Students that think they “outgrow” a teacher must ask themselves how and why.
Who helped them get to where they are in their playing? The one they outgrew?
Some students and parents think they know more than they really know.
The problem is really not with the teacher but with the student and the parents.
Humility is essential to learning from anyone.
Remember pride comes before a fall.

Do teachers with the best students teach the best?

Not necessarily. Some teachers recruit students that play great and take credit for someone else’s work. The better teachers are able to improve any students playing.

What makes one teacher better than another?

A good teacher has a firm grasp on the basics and how to communicate them.
They also should be striving to improve their application of these basics.
They should be serious about being the best at what they do. (i.e. inspiring)
They should be encouraging because they know they can teach someone how.
Being encouraging is natural for someone that knows these things work for anyone.

How can I be a good student?

Listen and think before talking or asking a question. Don’t waste time!
Follow all the teachers instructions, not your interpretation of them.
Know that sometimes you won’t understand until you actually experience things.
Be patient.
Be respectful.
Be on time, which means early enough to make the teacher comfortable.
Bring all materials.
Don’t make excuses. It is annoying to anyone!
Be humble. You never know as much as you think you do.

Do all great players make great teachers?

No. But, a teacher can’t teach a student to play better than they know how.
Brass playing is a physical experience that you really don’t know until experienced.
It is possible for a teacher to teach other brass instruments at as high a level as their primary one because they understand the experience and can transfer it.

Why do teachers need to practice?

Since playing is an experience, you can’t teach something you haven’t experienced.
If someone comes wanting to know how to play a double high C and the teacher can’t do it, then how will the teacher know what to do to accomplish that goal?
Claude Gordon personally practiced everything he gave his students.

How much should a teacher explain?

It is best when the teacher explains and applies at the same time.
There are times when too much information can cause confusion.
Certain exercises cause development that can be explained after the fact.
It is always wise to use the fewest words in the clearest manner.

Will going to college make me a better performer to get a gig?

No. But, you should learn about all elements of music to be more informed.
The private instructor and your practice are the most important factors.

Why go to college? What is the value of a music degree?

College gives you a broad base of general knowledge about many things.
College can be a way to be exposed to a large variety of music styles.
Contacts made in school sometimes lead to future business.
Some of the best players though don’t have college degrees.
The modern fallacy is that you will be a superior musician if you go to the right school.

What will look good on my resume? College? Orchestras?

The bottom line is that you either can or can’t play.
People have won auditions and been fired when they can’t play the gig.
A resume must show relevant things to the job being pursued.
It would be foolish to list drum and bugle corps soloist on an orchestra resume.
Know what your musical goals are and build your experience.

How do I find a great teacher?

These articles are good criteria for evaluation.
Find out who has the best students and who has the most improved students.

What about saving money and taking from a good high school or college student?

There are significant differences in skill and experience of a professional.
The teacher must have an overall strategy of what to be taught in what order.
An experienced teacher will know what to listen for, and what to address first.
The expense of incorrect development will far outweigh the savings of money.

What do you play when auditioning for a teacher?

The idea of auditioning for a teacher seems strange to me.
The most important thing for me as a teacher is someone who is eager to learn.
If you must prepare something know ALL your scales and play something tonal with contrasting lyrical and technical playing.
A teacher can evaluate your playing usually after only a few notes.

What if this doesn’t work for me?

It will. You must have patience. It is the only way that it works.

Should I try different ways of playing to see what works?

There is only one correct way to play and many incorrect ways to try to play.
In a world of subjective truth people recoil that anything can be objectively true.

Can a teacher make me a great player?

No. But, they can show you how to practice to get there.

Why use so many books?

To keep things interesting while focusing on the same basics.

Should I stop taking lessons from a teacher I don’t like?

No, unless they can’t teach well.

Who is the boss?

Some parents and students “think” the teacher is their employee, which is repulsive.
The teacher must be respected as the authority.
A student must be teachable.
They have dedicated their life to teaching and should know more than other people.
Consult the teacher about anything related to your instrument.

When should private lessons start?

They should start at the very beginning, provided there is a skilled private teacher.
I get the best results with students that never hear incorrect information or a bad sound from sitting next to other band members. Also, the progress can be completely guided and controlled so as to avoid learning to play by brute force caused from trying to play too high too soon.

Why do teachers get good results that hold a different view on the basics?

It is possible for the basic items to be practiced without being fully understood. Some people fall into the knack of correct playing and don’t know why or how.

What should I do in my off season? Practice less?

No! Practice more!
Don’t be a sluggard! It is in no way virtuous to brag about not practicing.

What are parents responsibilities? (i.e. Dos and Don’ts)

Do:

Compliment and encourage and let the qualified teacher give criticism.
The student should know that their parents are always 100% behind them.
Stay out of trying to teach the student or give advice.
Refrain from giving advice on teaching to the teacher.
Don’t take from more than one teacher, going behind the back of one.
The parent and the student need to be patient.
Trust the private teacher for their teaching of their high priority things first.
Focus on secondary things will slow overall progress toward long term goals.
Encourage the student to trust the teacher.
Be on time and consistent to lessons and all appointments.
Pay on time to teach responsibility and respect for the teacher’s work.
Teach consistency and discipline in practice, lesson attendance and other activities.
Keep all commitments (i.e. recitals, auditions, lessons, etc.)
Teach the value of hard work.
Never make excuses, blaming someone or something for personal mistakes.
Teach self-discipline with a scheduled consistent daily practice time.
Encourage responsibility (i.e. be on time, take accurate phone messages, return all phone calls promptly, be prepared)
Buy everything the teacher requests asap.
Ask the teacher for advice about all purchases (i.e. instruments, music camps, etc.)

Don’t:

Tell them they sound bad and point out mostly mistakes.
Put the student down and make them worried and fearful.
Allow them to make excuses for shortfalls (i.e. lessons, practice, performances)
Threaten to take lessons away as punishment.
Use practice as punishment.
Don’t allow practice of their instrument before homework is complete.
Practice must be considered an important daily discipline.
A days missed practice can’t even be recovered from like homework.
Don’t supply the child with an adequate instrument or ask the private teacher.
Allow the child to be undisciplined and lazy. Children learn from their parents.
Punish the child for a bad performance, making them hate and fear playing.
Push them to goals/ends without the means to get there (i.e. lessons, practice, etc.).
Set unrealistic goals.
Force them to decide on their career before developing skill.
Tell the student they know more than the teacher and discourage trust.
Switch teachers often.
Try to instruct the private teacher and child to the point of frustration.

4. Equipment

What makes a mouthpiece a good or bad one?

The mouthpiece either inhibits or allows the player to play correctly.
A tight mouthpiece inhibits air flow necessary for correct playing and creates false security from more resistance. When someone is playing correctly the resistance comes from the arched tongue inside the mouth, giving security and control over everything. A more open mouthpiece will allow for a better vibration of the lips and a fuller sound and actually better wind control, endurance and control over tone. Most people fall into the trap of tight equipment because of incorrect notions about the lip playing the instrument.

What mouthpiece do your students play on?

My trumpet and cornet students all play on a “C. G. Personal” mouthpiece made by Zig Kanstul in Anaheim, CA. It is modeled after Del Staiger’s personal mouthpiece and is similar to the CG Benge mouthpieces. It has only one rim size. The cup has a slight V shape. The rim is narrow and rounded and tapered on the outside (as opposed to the Bach block design). The backbore is open with a concave taper similar to a Full Schmidt (i.e. “Symphonic”) backbore. The throat that comes with it is a drill #22. The CG Personal can be purchased from Patty Gordon at 909-866-2107 in Big Bear, CA. My french horn students play a Giardinelli C1, standard with a #1 drill throat.
My trombone and euphonium students play a Bach 5G.
My tuba students play a Conn Helleberg.

Do you have all your students play the same mouthpiece?

Because the selected mouthpiece allows everything to work correctly.
The whole idea of a mouthpiece being an individual thing for each person is a product of commercial hype since the 1930s to promote the sale of more mouthpieces. Before that time mouthpieces were not sized.
Correct practice is the big issue. All my younger students start on the CG Personal

Why don’t I sound like Maynard when I play his mouthpiece?

The late Don Ellis while in a lesson with Claude asked this common question. Even professionals fall prey to the notion that a mouthpiece might make someone sound a certain way. The best demonstration I have heard was Arturo Sandoval doing impersonations of peoples sounds(i.e. Freddy Hubbard, Maurice André, Timofei Dokshitzer, Harry James, Chet Baker, Clifford Brown, lead trumpet, the Haydn concerto with a “Classical” sound) all with his regular mouthpiece and trumpet. Most players are very eager to take credit for sounding good and then shift the blame to a “bad” mouthpiece when they sound bad. If you sound bad it is your fault for either incorrect practice, not enough correct practice or lack of mental focus.

What makes a quality instrument?

You must consider the quality, feel, long term value, and manufacturers reputation.
The most expensive brass instruments are cheap compared to pianos and strings.
Buy the very best instrument possible and you will enjoy playing it more.
Also, a quality instrument will be easier to sell later if you need to.
Be cautious of mass produced Assembly Line instruments.

How can someone double on say trumpet and tuba? Should anyone try?

Having personally done this I can speak from experience. Playing more than one brass instrument is possible and will not damage your embouchure. But, in order to do it well you must practice fundamentals on both, especially flexibility. My general advice is to first do one instrument at a very high standard and never compromise that one instrument. Don’t be a jack of all trades and a master of none!

Doesn’t a large bore horn and mouthpiece make you more tired?

Actually, just the opposite if you are playing correctly.
Players that are used to tighter equipment and not blowing will experience a different feel of using more air and fatigue when they first play more open equipment. When all things are working correctly and the player has had enough time to get used to the change then they will understand the advantages. Most people “try” something for a few minutes or days and don’t get used to anything consistent. Each time equipment is changed the feel (i.e. Tongue Level) is changed and it takes time.

How come my new mouthpiece feels worse than the first day I played it?

This happens more on tight equipment.
More open equipment will feel better and better over time. Be patient.

What about practice with a mute?

Mutes all restrict some air flow and have the same result as tighter equipment,
placing resistance on the wrong side of the lips.
The tongue inside the mouth creates a controllable resistance.

What about devices? (i.e. wind bag, spirometer, volumeter, BERP)

There is absolutely nothing that takes the place of systematic practice over time.
You must avoid all supposed shortcuts and gimmicks.
Tongue Level and resistance that the player feels and controls are dependent on the length of tubing and the corresponding resonant frequency. Buzzing a mouthpiece, the BERP of any other device can never feel like the instrument. The focus of all these devices comes back to the old fallacy of the lips playing the instrument instead of Wind Power and Tongue Level making the lips vibrate.

How should I tune my instrument? I play sharp or flat.

You are the one that plays the instrument in tune or not. You must listen.
Strive for a resonant sound before moving the tuning slide.
Incorrect embouchure, tonguing, and tongue level will hinder consistent intonation.
(i.e. A mouthpiece too low can cause sharp pitch in the high register from pinching.)
If the tuning slide is abnormally in or out too far something is wrong.
A small mouthpiece will require the tuning slide to be out 1-4 mm (tpt.) more to be in tune. Usually the tuning slide is out 1 cm at room temperature with my mouthpiece.
If the student tunes with a tuner without first listening for a resonant sound, they will usually play sharp, resulting in the director telling them to pull out, resulting in fixing the pitch on the one note, but making it necessary for them to pinch all the notes to be in tune and not flat. This hinders sound, endurance, power and range. If you are tuned up correctly the horn will work for you in resonating the best and efficiently transmit the sound to your listeners.

What is resonance? Playing in the center of the horn?

These are just terms to describe that the instrument has a specific frequency that it wants to produce sound at that will thereby result in the fullest most open tone, less resistance, and more power with less effort. If the players tuning slide is in or out to one extreme that is usually and indication they are playing too far under or above the resonant frequency.

When should the student get a new instrument?

Parents often ask this in regards to a graduation present.
The primary concern should be the highest quality you can afford.
An inferior instrument will discourage the student and make practicing frustrating.
The superior instrument won’t replace correct consistent practice.
I believe it is good to have a professional level instrument in high school or sooner.
Some children are destructive and can’t handle the responsibility of care.
I believe children should contribute something to the purchase to appreciate it.

5. Music

How do you play with a different sound for Big Band vs. Orchestral music?

The first thing to do is have the right sound concept in your brain.
If you are playing correctly with open equipment you will have the most control.
Adjustments can be made to Wind Power, The Tongue, and The Lips to get results.

How do I improve sight reading?

Practice reading scales and arpeggios (i.e. Clarke’s Technical Studies) everyday.
Practice with a metronome everyday. Count everything you play.
Break things down in regards to rhythm (i.e. clap and count).
Practice etudes and music in all styles in all keys.
Practice sight reading with a metronome going. Do the same with a friend.
Don’t tolerate any kind of misreading of music (i.e. articulations).
Keep a record of your accuracy when sight reading and have goals.
Claude Gordon went over 7 years with 3 mistakes on live nationwide TV and Radio.

What if I just want to play Classical or Jazz?

Learn how to play all styles. Don’t be ignorant!
It is very annoying to play in an orchestra with people that think they know how to swing, but they never have listened to or played anything that swings.
It is also difficult to play in an orchestra with someone who never listens to or plays orchestral music.
You must listen to every style of music and understand what is normal.
You must feel the Clave rhythm to play Salsa and some Latin music.
You must feel beats two and four and do correct articulations to play Swing right.
You must articulate differently for orchestral music vs. popular music.
Be able to play on top of, ahead of, and behind the beat with steady time.

Who should I listen to?

You must listen to the best musicians.
Don’t buy recordings of no name groups just because they are cheap.
You are learning what to sound like when you listen. Imitate the best.
Live performances are even better than a recording.
There are some things recordings never can capture in regards to the three dimensional quality of sound and the impact of live music.
I remember hearing how a certain player’s sound would fill a room and the first time hearing Arturo Sandoval try out trumpets in a big concert hall. Arturo’s sound was all around me at the same time and I was no longer aware he was just a few feet in front of me. You will never understand that from a CD and the best stereo.

Do players play better now than the famous cornet soloists? Why?

In every generation there are usually no more than a handful of virtuosos.
Our generation is no different. We actually have it easier in regards to better horns.
Players now think that no one ever played as high before. But, cornet soloists from the late 1800s to the early 1900s played double and triple high Cs.
I believe one of the hindrances in our time is too much entertainment.
For those early players there wasn’t electricity, radio, TV, movies, recordings, computers, and the internet. Playing their instrument was their entertainment also.

Where do I find recordings?

The Public Library is great to preview and sample new music you might buy.
I always try to listen to something new every time I go.
Listen to the radio to preview what you might buy.
I browse record stores, buy at www.tapmusic.com and other online stores.

How do I learn how to improvise?

In the future I will be writing an entire article devoted to this and post it here.
Your daily jazz routine must consist of the following:
Theory (Practice of Scales and Chords)
Memorization of a tune with all the chords changes
Memorization of a transcribed solo (Transcription is later done by student.)
Transpose selected licks from the solo into all keys, not thinking by interval, 
but by thinking of each note as a chord tone in the current chord.
Imitate inflections, tone, etc. of a noted musician playing the learned tune.
Playing through the melody and learned solo from memory, then improvising.
This builds your vocabulary of ideas and a constant awareness of harmony.
These are the common things that every good jazz player has done.

How do I learn to play musically?

Listen to recordings and teacher to develop taste.
Imitation is important in all styles of music.

What is a good sound? The best sound?

Worrying about tone at the expense of technique hurts both.
A good sound is the result of a free vibration and a result of correct technique.
The player should gain control over sound just as any other technique.
It is good to be able to play with a variety of sounds for different music.
The use of vibrato also must be in control.
I hate to hear players run down a great player because of their sound.
There are great players with drastically different sounds and that is good.
It would be boring if everyone sounded exactly the same.

How do I learn to play in tune?

Practice scales, intervals, and arpeggios individually.
Practice tuning intervals and chords with other players.
An electronic tuner is not the end all solution to intonation.
Most electronic tuners only can tune to equal temperament, which is a compromise.
Your most valuable tool is your ear and ability to match pitch to what you hear.

Should I practice with a tuner?

An electronic tuner is useful to play in tune with an Equal Tempered Scale.
It helps to discover tendencies of the player and the instrument.
But, if the player doesn’t listen all their work on the tuner will be useless.

What makes music good or bad?

This is a very philosophical, moral, and even religious question.
There are those that will say music is evil because of certain “unnatural” things.
That is foolish because music is the composers ideas of organized sound.
In order to be a knowledgeable musician you must understand styles.
I listen to all styles of music even though I don’t care for some.
Those that dissect elements of music to classify music as morally evil miss the point that beauty can’t be dissected.
Music is a tool that can be used for good or evil in the same manner any other material thing can be used or abused.
Those that believe a certain music style can be evil or good share the same philosophical ideas with gnostics who held matter as evil and spirit as good. This idea is also prevalent in our time with gun control advocates and those who think alcohol consumption in any form is a sin. The irony is that people from such opposite political views could share such a philosophy that was by the way condemned as heretical in the first century.

6. Business and Career

How does someone know they are “called” to be a musician?

I believe everyone has a “calling” to a vocation.
A vocation is not merely something to make money.
Every vocation has dignity if it is lawful and not immoral.
You must first have a significant amount of knowledge and skill in a field in order to make a reasoned judgment about what your calling is.
A beginner can’t make this judgment and shouldn’t be forced to by a parent’s desire for the child.
Someone that is “called” to be a musician will love the process of learning.
A person that wants to be a player without practice is either lazy and/or not called to be a player.
Making money is the end result of knowledge, skill, diligence and ingenuity.
Just because you are not making money at it now doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
If you are “called” don’t listen to anyone that is discouraging you to quit.
Find encouraging knowledgeable people in your desired field.
You must evaluate criticism so you can excel above the competition.
Your standard must be perfection and not just to be better than a specific person.
Just because someone is not called to be a professional player doesn’t mean they can’t learn to love playing an instrument excellently.
Anything we do must be done excellently.
Adam was put on earth originally by God to work even before the fall.
Work is an honorable thing in any profession.
When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments then 4th Commandment stressed no work on the Sabbath and six days of work the other days.

What is essential to making a living at music?

Primarily, know how to play at the highest level of proficiency.
Secondarily, build a reputation of being dependable and consistent.
Don’t be a sluggard and a fool.

Can I really make a living at music?

Students and parents need to know that being a musician is an honorable calling.
Lazy people won’t make a living at music.
But, the best players who are dependable and industrious will always work.
Those of us in the USA should realize our freedoms of capitalism.
We can create our own jobs and employment more than any other society.

How much should I charge for a gig?

I once heard Arturo Sandoval say, “Don’t be a cheapy cheapy musician!”
It is your daily job to practice to be the very best and know your value.
Inexperienced players may charge less for a gig for a good reason.
If your playing is of a higher quality you must charge more.
NEVER undercut someone else’s price just to get the one gig, you hurt yourself and others for the future.
Know your price and be willing to turn down someone who won’t pay.
Those looking to pay less will demand the most from you and be unsatisfied.

How early should I be?

Be as early as you need to eliminate worry from those hiring you.
When playing with new people leave enough time to change a tire and get lost.
Make sure you are warmed-up and ready to play before leaving home.

What are some dos and don’ts?

Gary Grant is an experienced Los Angeles studio trumpet player with great advice.
See his web page at: http://www.garygrantmusic.com/manual_main.html

How do I win an audition and keep the job?

Players can win an audition and loose the job (i.e. get fired) for many reasons.
If all you can do is play the excerpts (i.e. audition material) you have a problem.
Endurance and consistency is something the audition process usually misses.
Work horse trumpet players like Adolph Herseth standout above others in their ability to play the most demanding music for hours without fatigue.

7. Lessons with Claude Gordon

Who was Claude Gordon?

Claude Gordon was one of the most influential and successful brass teachers of the late 20th century. His skill was the ability show students how to practice in order to correct and develop their playing to become a virtuoso. He believed that anyone could become a virtuoso if they played correctly and worked diligent. He was a very encouraging teacher because of this. He learned all of what he taught primarily from Herbert L. Clarke, one of the most famous cornet soloists of all time.
See www.claudegordonmusic.com

What made Claude Gordon a great teacher, and better than Clarke?

Gordon surpassed Clarke in systematizing his teaching more in order to show students how to synthesize the great method books by various authors into a structured practice routine.

Who was Herbert L. Clarke and his students?

Herbert L. Clarke was the most well known cornet soloist of all time and was a featured soloist with the Sousa band. He wrote four books and made recordings at the advent of Thomas Edison’s invention of the phonograph. Many of the great teachers and players two generations ago were his students (i.e. Claude Gordon, Bill Adams, Ernest Williams,...).

How long, when and where did I study with Claude?

My first lesson was July 24th, 1984 and I studied until a year or so before his death in May 1996. I did this while living in Bakersfield, CA (in High School) and Los Angeles, CA. During this time he taught me at his studio in Reseda, CA and his home in Big Bear, CA.

What kind of people took lessons from Claude? How good did you have to be?

Claude would teach anyone that wanted to learn and practice the way he prescribed.
He wholeheartedly believed he could teach anyone to be a great player.
During the years I studied with him I witnessed many awful students become great.
It was very encouraging to see so many people improve so much.
There were even well known players that studied and improved.

Did Claude Gordon only use his books?

No. This is a misconception that people have that never studied with Claude.
Claude’s books filled in the gaps not addressed in other books.
All of his books started out as handwritten supplements for his students.
There were many series of handwritten exercises never published.
We did cover all Claude’s eight books, but the other books amount to a stack of over ten feet tall. He taught students to love learning to apply various books.

How did Claude Gordon teach?

Claude was very systematic, structured and never guessed at what to assign.
He would practice new series of routines himself before assigning them to students.
His focus was always on the basics and he never got sidetracked as many do.
His main objective was that you could play and command your instrument.

Were Claude assignments difficult?

No. Because everything was so progressive and systematic nothing felt really difficult if you practiced regularly as prescribed and progressed. His routines always made you feel great and gave you comfort and confidence to do what professional playing demands.

Did Claude ever get mad at students? For what?

I only saw this happen a few times when a student wouldn’t follow directions.
Most of the time he was very happy.
The things that made him the most upset were teachers who ruined students with all the many wrong ideas and gimmicks about playing or equipment.

Don’t all Claude Gordon students just play high, loud and fast with a jazz sound?

This was a common misconception spread by non-students or short-term students.
If the student understood the big picture of all the Seven Items this didn’t happen.
Claude’s emphasis to go beyond others caused students to stretch their limits.
No style of playing was ever emphasized over another.
The practice routines in total were very balanced, but to a listener hearing only one part it might seem to be only focused on that one item.
Control is developed over time after strength and the students that didn’t study long or didn’t pay attention would sometimes not understand that.
Not everyone that takes lessons is really a student of their teacher.

More articles to read: How To PracticeWhat To PracticeClarke's Technical Studies

©2003 Jeff Purtle

Lee Loughnane Interview About Claude Gordon And The CG Selmer Trumpet by John La Barbera

Thirty years is a long time to play in a band let alone with the same horn section. Nevertheless, Lee Loughnane (pronounced Lock-nain) has done just that with the world-famous band Chicago. To my knowledge, no other horn section of any band has been together that long. Those of you who have been out there know that friendships have a hard time standing up to the rigors of road life. The staying power of this section attests to the uniqueness of their music and spirit.

I have vivid memories of a night in Chicago 30 years ago. (I must have been nine at the time. – joke) A number of us from the Buddy Rich Band went to hear a band called CTA following our gig. We had heard about this dynamite band and wanted to check them out. They were playing in a nightclub just starting to take on psychedelic trappings, and the crowd was a mix of “straight lifers” and “hippies.” Remembers those terms? The band was a killer, and it was the first time I heard horns being used as front line features. They totally knocked us out. Coming from Buddy Rich’s band members, that’s saying a lot.

Twelve top-ten albums and 120 million records later I caught up with Lee before a concert in Louisville. He and his daughter, River, had some time to hang out, so we talked about his career and his passion, playing the trumpet.

JLB: What equipment are you using these days?

LL: The mouthpiece is a Claude Gordon Personal and the horn is a Claude Gordon.

JLB: What is the mouthpiece equivalent to?

LL: Huge. About a 20 drill. I first played it about seven years ago and I thought I was playing into the Holland Tunnel.

JLB: Considering the charts you have to play, that is amazing. How did you happen to decide on this mouthpiece and horn combination?

LL: Well, I had been practicing a lot before we did the tour that followed our 21st album. That’s the one with Chasin’ the Wind and Explain It to My Heart. There was a lot of blowing on that album, and I knew it was going to be hard to keep that up on the road. As it happens, the producer of the videos we did to promote the album, had just worked with the guy who’s now my teacher, Paul Witt. Paul was a student of Claude Gordon and was a fan of our band. He came to the video shoot to meet me. I was telling him about the practice I was doing and asked him how I might improve what I was doing. At that point, I didn’t want to go through the rest of my career wondering if I was going to be able to make the high parts. He suggested Arnold Jacobs in Chicago or Claude Gordon on the West coast. Claude wasn’t available at the time so I dug up one of my old Claude Gordon books and started to work with it. I called Paul and told him I had been wailing with this book and he said he’d come over and give me some tips on how best to use the exercises. The first thing he asked me was where do I put the tip of my tongue when I tongue the first note. I said, “On the roof of my mouth like everyone else.” I use the syllable “Tah” and the tone starts. He had me say “Ah” and notice where the tongue was. It was flat on the bottom of the mouth with the tip behind the bottom teeth. He then had me do “Ah ee” to illustrate that the tip of the tongue stayed behind the bottom teeth and the fat of the tongue becomes raised. This was a real revelation for me, and I started to work with this technique. I decided to change the way I played right after that, and Paul started to work with me. He had me do breathing exercises, chest up, like a gas tank, in the same position all the time. It was either full or empty. My chest was always up, never collapsed, whether full or empty. I’ve been working with this over the last seven years and it’s improved my playing 200%. Claude has a book called Brass Playing Is No Harder Than Deep Breathing.

Lee Loughnane, trumpet with the band Chicago

JLB: Did you have a block of time off to make this change or was it during a tour period?

LL: I had about four to five months off and I went to see Paul every week. The band had a few engagements now and then during this period. When I got on stage, I went back to the old way of playing just to get the job done. But eventually the more I practiced the Gordon method, the more the new way of playing became automatic. I’ve been playing the horn for 38 years and the last seven have made my career. I mean when I walk out on stage, It doesn’t matter how high or fast the part is, I know I’m going to play it.

JLB: I remember when I studied with Carmen Caruso he’d have me do the exercises for practice and told me not to take them to the gig, it would eventually creep into my playing. That’s what happened. Do you have a regular routine?

LL: Yes. I start out with some flexibility exercises. This takes me up to g'' above the staff at first and then up to high g'''. I’m also practicing the “K” tongue so it’s as proficient as the single tongue. I’m the only one who knows whether I am single tonguing or double tonging. I knew I was there when even Paul couldn’t tell. This year has been the easiest year on the road. I’m as fresh at the end of the show as I am at the beginning, with the exception of the air. If the air is tired then the chops will be tired. I do a half hour of breathing exercises every day. I walk five steps, with the chest up, and take five breaths in – then another five paces letting the air out in five. I do that for 20 minutes. Then I move to six, seven, eight, then nine, and finally to ten. Once I get ten, I switch to jogging five in and five out.

JLB: Sounds like you take good care of yourself.

LL: I had a heart attack about a year ago. A minor one and I had angioplasti (daughter River interjects that “we have a fish named Angio”). Since then I’ve backed off a little on the intensity of the practice. It was really a wake up call.

JLB: Were you smoking at the time?

LL: No. I quit smoking at the time I met Paul.

JLB: So the equipment change and method change happened at the same time?

LL: Simultaneously.

JLB: What did you play before that?

LL: I played a Getzen. We had a deal to built a prototype horn. I probably couldn’t blow through it now.

JLB: In what way?

LL: I doubt if it’s big enough. This Claude Gordon horn doesn’t stop until it hits a wall. It’s huge, about a 0.470". The only time it slows down and gets a little smaller is just as it comes out of the valves and out of the bell.

Lee Loughnane with his Claude Gordon Selmer trumpet

JLB: Tell us about your earlier training.

LL: I studied with a guy named John Nuzzo in Chicago and worked with the St. Jacome and Schlossberg methods, but not the Arban. His mother would cook all of these Italian dishes for me every Saturday. We’d eat and then we’d have the lesson. It was a great experience. I was playing a Holton, I believe a C47. The mouthpiece was a 10C. Eventually I went to a 7c and ended up on a 3C. After that a mouthpiece by Bob Reeves. It was a 7C but shallow and bored out. It was a small air stream compared to what I have now, but that’s the kind of air I had back then. I was smoking back then. The body adapts to whatever you do. You can smoke and still be a trumpet player but you make it harder on yourself. That’s exactly what I did. I kept looking for easier ways to play because I was competing with the guitars and bass. All they had to do was turn around and crank it up. We’ve got to wind up and blow. They think that we’re loud!

JLB: I should point out to those not familiar with the band’s live performances that you play exactly what’s on the recordings.

LL: That’s right. If we did a lot of over dubbing on the records, we wouldn’t be able to get that sound across live.

JLB: How did it happen that CTA decided to have that horn front line? Was that a first?

LL: I believe it was the first time a band had the horns as the lead voice instead of just playing percussive backgrounds. The R&B bands always had horns but not as principal melody instruments. We liked that too; we used to play R&B in the clubs.

JLB: How did the band get together?

LL: We were in college. Walt Parazaider, Terry Kath, and Danny Seraphine were in a group called the Missing Links. Terry played bass, Walt played sax, and Danny played drums. I used to go sit in with them, so that’s how that relationship started. Walt and I were at DePaul University. I studied with George Quinlan there. Jimmy Pankow was at Quincy College in Quincy, Illinois. In his second year he transferred to DePaul. We used to hear this trombone player in the practice rooms. Walt asked him if he wanted to play in a band. Since the Missing Links had broken up, Walt and Danny wanted to start a new band. The idea was to play in Vegas with suits and slicked back hair and do the dance steps and all of that. Little did we know that we would be headlining in Vegas 30 years later. We started out wearing T-shirts and jeans. 

JLB: I remember when I saw you in Barnaby’s you were pretty casual. 

LL: That’s the first club to let us play original music. That’s also where we hired Cetera, in that club. He was in a band called The Exceptions. It was the biggest band in Chicago at the time. All of a sudden we were blowing them off the stage. Their crowd started coming over to watch us. We did a battle of the bands, and we opened up for them. Our band had been together six or seven months at the time. Peter was watching us from across the stage in that balcony. We opened with Magical Mystery Tour. It blew him away, and he was in the band two weeks later. 

JLB: Did you do any damage with all the hard blowing you had to do on the band? 

LL: Yes. I remember we did a show at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City. First it was the monkey act, then the diving horse, then us. I hurt myself on that gig. We did a weekend of three shows a night. I just didn’t have it, and by the end of the gig I had cut the inside of my lip. That was the first and only time that happened, but it was always a struggle keeping up. I always felt like I was tearing it down and then the next day trying to build it back up from leather. That’s why I’m loving playing the trumpet now even more than I did then and I’ve always loved playing the trumpet. It’s the only thing I ever wanted to do in my life. The only other thing I know how to do well is drive a car. So it was cab driver or trumpet player.

JLB: Do you do a special warm-up?

LL: Not really. Nothing special. I just try to get the air going. I do flexibility studies, the chromatic study in the Clarke book, things like that. That takes about a half hour. By that time I’ve been up to around high g'''. I take about a five-minute break and then do a pedal study. That takes me down to double pedal C. The most important part of this exercise is the isometric I do at the end. When the note stops and the air is gone, I act as though I’m making a crescendo and it builds these chest muscles around the rib cage.

JLB: Do you do any other playing besides Chicago?

LL: Not really. Every once and awhile, maybe, but when I get off the road, I like to spend time with the family.

JLB: Who were your early influences on trumpet?

LL: Maynard, Clifford Brown, Doc Severinsen, Marvin Stamm, Snooky Young, Johnny Audino, Conrad Gozzo, there’s so many of them. The Candoli brothers (Conte and Pete) were also right up there. I used to play along with my dad’s band records of Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, and Tommy Dorsey because when I first started, the only instrument in rock ’n roll was the tenor sax. I struggled to play the parts.

JLB: Was your father a musician?

LL: Yes. He was a trumpet player. He played in the Chicago area and conducted a band in the Army. All the great players came through his band. He would cover for them when they went AWOL on weekends to play gigs. My father was encouraging when it came to playing music but not as a career. He knew how hard it was. I’m really doing something that’s impossible to do. Not only am I playing trumpet for a living but playing with the same band for 30 years. Four of the original six are still with the band.

Lee Loughnane with his Claude Gordon Selmer trumpet

JLB: How about early school years?

LL: I was in the All Star, Catholic High School, Grade School Band. That’s where I met one of my best friends, Rich Rajewski, also a trumpet player. He was from the South Side and I was from the North. We had the first and second chairs. When I got to college, I got first chair in the concert band the first day. It started to take away from my enthusiasm for practicing. I thought, “I got it!” You know what? I ain’t got it. I still ain’t got it now. Playing the horn is a life-long goal. I generally practice about two to three hours a day.

JLB: Do you consider yourself a jazz player?

LL: No. I can play a little but nowhere near Wynton and players like that. He’s a monster.

JLB: I remember there used to be quite a bit of improvisation in the early days of the band and less now.

LL: Yes, a lot less now. I’d like to do more of it now but the audiences don’t want to hear it. They don’t want to learn. They want to be entertained. I still love playing the trumpet. We get to create with the writing, and in the studio.

JLB: For those not familiar with Chicago’s music, what kind of range are we talking on any give performance?

LL: F-sharp''' and g'''. Not constantly. But the blowing is intense. I use a clip-on mic, but I don’t rely on the amplification. I wear ear plugs so I don’t really hear the quality of sound I want to get.

JLB: Do you warm down?

LL: Yes. I start on third space c'' and arpeggio down to double pedal C. I do that until it feels good. Put the horn away and wait until the next day.

JLB: Do you use just the B-flat horn on the gig.

LL: No, I also play a C trumpet. I use it on the Ballad for a Girl in Buchannon – the entire classical middle section a la Frank Zappa. Jimmy wrote that back in ’69. I also use flugel on the ballads. I wish I could solo more using the flugel horn, but it just hasn’t worked out that way. The solos are all on the B-flat.

JLB: Do you do any writing?

LL: I am doing some now but Jimmy is, and has been, the main arranger in the band. He’s taught me a lot. I enjoy hearing something I’ve written. It’s really a kick.

JLB: What trumpet players do you currently listen to?

LL: Wynton. I still listen to the old records too, like the band Sea Wind. Jerry Hey came out of that band. I also love driving around and listening to the classical stations. I know I sound like a broken record about this Gordon method, but the initial attack with the fat of the tongue against the roof of the mouth is how many classical trumpet players get that big sound. You can tailor that to whatever style of music you’re playing.

JLB: I know you have another commitment so I’ll let you go.

LL: I really enjoyed talking with you John.

JLB: Same here Lee, and I’m looking forward to hearing you tonight!

_______

Permission to post this article is granted by the International Trumpet Guild. To learn more about ITG please visit their web site (www.trumpetguild.org).
Written by John La Barbera (www.johnlabarbera.com) and published in the February 1998 International Trumpet Guild Journal.

Brass and Trumpet Repairs and Maintenance

Trumpet And Brass Instrument Repairs

A professional level hand made instrument that is the quality above the usual mass produced assembly line instruments demands a quality repairman. The following repairmen are ones I have personally dealt with and watched as they produce precision, quality and beauty. They all go beyond the usual music store repairmen in that they have actual knowledge of manufacturing from the ground up and can build replacement parts if needed.

Rich Ita's Brass Instrument Workshop

Phone (770) 420-8700  0r 1(888) 527-3601 toll free
Fax (770) 565-5089
biw@brassinstrumentworkshop.com
3164 Holly Mill Run, Marietta, GA  30062
Hours: 10 AM - 6 PM   Tues - Sat
Rich used to work for Schilke and is excellent at antique brass restoration.
He has done excellent dent removal for me.

Larry Souza

(650) 593-3050 work business shared with antique brass collector
(415) 637-1244 home
Larry is one of the best trumpet players in San Francisco.
He was a student of Claude Gordon and helped with the CG Selmer.
Larry has repaired two CG Selmers for me with excellent results.

Robb Stewart Brass Instruments

Phone and Fax: (626) 447-1904
oldbrass@altrionet.com
140 E. Santa Clara St., #18
Arcadia, CA 91006
Robb is excellent at antique restoration and historic reproduction instruments.
He worked on my Boston 3 Star Cornet putting it in new condition.
He also did the prep work to silver plate my CG Selmer (#495) in 1986.

Ron Pinc Brass Repair

(630) 889-2189
270 Eisenhower Lane North, #8
Lombard, IL 60148
Ron used to work for Schilke.
Ron installed a third valve ring, and stop screw on my Schilke P5-4 Piccolo Trumpet.
The parts matched the Schilke as good as new.

Ken Larson's BrassWerks

231-947-2925
ken@BrassWerks.com 
P.O. Box 51
Interlochen, MI 49643
Ken used to work for Bob Malone in Los Angeles.
I have used him for dent repair and custom work.
Ken is a great player and knows when the horn plays right.

Bob Reeves Brass Mouthpieces

US: (800) 837-0980
FAX: (661) 775-8821
INTERNATIONAL:  (661) 775-8820
info@bobreeves.com
25574 W. Rye Canyon Road
Suite D 
Valencia, CA 91355
KO Skisness, a long time friend, does all the valve alignments with precision.
I have had all my piston valve horns aligned by him.

John Upchurch (aka, The Slide Doctor)

(706) 867-8030
john@slidedr.com
John D. Upchurch
71 Granite Bluff
Dahlonega, GA 30533.
John is the best at slide alignment and repair.
John is precise and has been hired to teach factory workers.

Buying an Instrument by Jeff Purtle

Buying A Trumpet Or Brass Instrument

Please email me if you are interested in buying or selling a Claude Gordon Selmer, Claude Gordon Benge trumpet. I occasionally have requests to help people locate these and will pass along names for free.

The topic of buying an instrument often arises as a beginner starts or as a player progresses and desires a better instrument. The first point to consider is that an instrument is an investment that will have returns in the player's improvement and satisfaction and will even have future monetary gains. A high quality instrument will increase in value with age while a lower quality instrument will lose its value and not be desirable to future potential buyers. For example: A student model trumpet in the 1980s that sold for $350 would not return more than $250 now and a professional trumpet that sold for $500 easily could be resold now for $1000. A properly cared for quality instrument will increase in value.

Instrument salesmen usually try to convince the buyer to purchase based on the "appropriate level" for the student. They also discuss the "quality" of the instruments. The categories of Student, Intermediate and Professional levels are mostly a sales strategy to obligate the buyer to return to buy more instruments. The Intermediate instrument is basically a decent Student model instrument. The subject of a one piece bell verses a two piece bell is a significant one, but not as much as the factor of design and construction. The priority order should be as follows: Design, Construction, and Materials. They are all important. But, the most costly materials won't make a better instrument.

There are those that think that each instrument is an individual creation and different. If two instruments of the same make and model play different it is because they are not assembled with the same accuracy and consistency. Consistency and quality are dependent on the workers building the instrument. There are basically two ways instruments are manufactured, Handmade or Assembly Line Made. The focus of the Assembly Line is quantity in the number of parts and components each worker turns out. The individual worker in the Assembly Line usually does not fully understand the big picture because he does not participate in the final assembly. In the smaller Hand Made factory, where there are fewer employees, the workers have a better understanding of the big picture. In a factory like Selmer they turn out 16,000 trumpets per year in contrast to the Schilke factory which produces 1250 per year. The noted makers of the past started out in small shops building hand crafted instruments for their professional playing friends. They became popular, got bought by a big conglomerate, and then production numbers took priority over quality. This can be seen in Bach, Benge, King, Conn and others.

When trying out a new instrument the player must have a strategy to evaluate the instrument. To begin, the player should have maintained a level of practice for at least two weeks to ensure that he is in the best shape to judge how the instruments feel. When playing the instrument he should start with slurring of harmonics with the same fingerings in order to feel how the instrument centers on each note. Does it feel stuffy on a certain fingering or a certain range of the instrument? Do the notes feel like they don't lock in? Next, he should play scales and intervals in all keys in order to evaluate intonation by ear or with the help of a tuner. If the player is playing correctly the tuner can reveal tendencies in how the horn will play by observation of where the pitch centers in with a good resonant sound. The player should play at a wide range of dynamics to see how the tone changes and the instrument feels at all volume levels. Next, he should inspect the horn for clean straight assembly and make sure all the solder joints (even inside the valve piston) are sealed to avoid leaks. By looking into each valve slide, one can tell roughly if the valves are in alignment. Next, look the instrument over for straight assembly of parts and braces and if all slides line up. (I have seen crooked and uneven assembly in expensive instruments.) Some things can't be seen, such as if the instrument was put together with tension and then soldered, or if there are loose pieces of solder around the inside of the joints of the instrument. (That can sometimes be detected in the response of the instrument if is uneven and the tone lacks a full range of color.) Finally, look over all solder joints and plating or lacquer. After all of this, the decision to buy can easily be made. How the instrument plays is the most important factor.

Remember, playing an instrument for 15 minutes is not the best way to decide. As the player gets used to an instrument things such as Tongue Level adapt slightly and the instrument may feel slightly different. After two weeks of playing a regular routine on the same instrument with the same mouthpiece the player should be at home. Unfortunately, one is not often able to try an instrument for that length of time.

Seek advice from a competent teacher over the advice of salesmen or advertising gimmicks. Be cautious about some new design and remember Solomon's wisdom that "there is nothing new under the sun." Use your brain. After you settle on the instrument forget about it and practice and never blame your equipment for your playing challenges. Remember, great players from the past did it on instruments far worse than yours!

©2003 Jeff Purtle

Charles Noel Brady

Charles Brady passed away at age 72 on Tuesday, February 16, 2010 in Bakersfield, California. Mr. Brady was unusually humble for his accomplishments. He previously was principal trumpet with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC. He also made one of the best recordings of L'Histoire du Soldat with Igor Stravinsky conducting his own work. This recording was recently rereleased by Sony Records and can be found on iTunes with this link.  L'Histoire Du Soldat Suite, Pulcinella Suite In the time I studied with Mr. Brady from 1978-1984 I witnessed the best example of a Christian man I have seen.

Obituary published in the Bakersfield Californian on February 20-21, 2010.

Thomas Stevens website article about Chuck Brady's recording being the definitive Stravinsky interpretation of L'Histoire du Soldat

Some movies Chuck Brady played on in his early career:

Pork Chop Hill Pork Chop Hill (Movie)

Lady In a Cage Lady In A Cage (Movie)

Charles Noel Brady (1937 - 2010) | Visit Guest Book Charles Noel Brady 1937 - 2010 Charles Brady was born on July 16, 1937, in Delano, California to Ernest and Audria (Parker) Brady. He passed away suddenly on February 16, 2010 at his home in Bakersfield. His family knows that he is with his Lord, but they will truly miss his beautiful smile, wise counsel, and his sense of humor. His childhood was filled with freedom as he and his two sisters and neighborhood friends played from dawn to dusk. In the fourth grade he brought home a school trumpet and the rest is history. Charles played throughout his school years in band and ensemble groups, winning numerous awards. He graduated from Delano High School in 1955 and attended the University of Southern California on a full music scholarship. He graduated from USC in 1959, and after a two year tour of duty in the 52nd Army Band, Ft. Ord, CA, he went to New York to study at Juilliard University. He received his Master's Degree at Catholic University in Washington D.C. Charles was principal trumpeter of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington D.C. for six years. He also toured with the Boston Pops Orchestra conducted by Arthur Feidler. During his professional career he played with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, San Francisco Opera, and the New York Philharmonic. Charles recorded "L'Histoire du Soldat" (A Soldier's Tale) written and conducted by Igor Stravinsky for Capital Records. While in Los Angeles he also recorded several music soundtracks including the movies, Lady in the Cage and Pork Chop Hill. Charles met the love of his life in 1960, Eva Eiren, and they were married on January 7, 1961. After their sons were born, they returned to Bakersfield with their family where they have lived for forty years. Charles played with the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra conducted by John Farrer as principal trumpeter for 30 years. He also played with The "Bakersfield Civic Light Opera" Orchestra, and so many other groups too numerous to mention. Charles truly loved to play and rarely turned down an opportunity to perform. Charles taught for the Bakersfield School District, Cal State Bakersfield, and at Fairfax School District for 32 years and retired in 2007. He taught privately for 40 years, and inspired students to have passion for the trumpet. Because he loved his students, he wanted to give them an appreciation and love of music to enrich their lives. Many of his students traveled from all over California to study with him. Charles was a member of Valley Baptist Church and the American Legion. He was on the board of the Bakersfield Youth Symphony and an adjunct professor at Cal State Bakersfield. Charles accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior at an early age and was faithful to his beliefs his entire life. Charles was a caring and loving Husband, Father, and Grandfather. He loved the Lord and his family; his family was everything to him and filled his life with joy. He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Eva Brady; sons, Charles Brady Jr., James Brady, John Brady and his wife Tawny; grandchildren, Kayla Shoultz, Christian Brady, Caylee Brady, Kaya Brady, Emily Brady, Andrew Brady, and Dylan Black. Charles is survived by his aunts, Franzelle Nyhus, and Billie Jean Parker. He is also survived by his two sisters, Barbara Paves and her husband Dan, and Gwen Goodwin and her husband Arnold. He was "Uncle Charles" to eight nieces, nephews and their spouses who loved him. Charles was preceded in death by his loving mother and father and four siblings. Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at Valley Baptist Church, 4800 Fruitvale Avenue, Bakersfield, CA 93312. Burial will take place at Greenlawn Southwest Cemetery. Visitation will be held on February 23rd, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Doughty-Calhoun-O'Meara. Donations may be made in Charles' name to the Karen Watson Missionary Fund at Valley Baptist Church in lieu of flowers. The entire Brady Clan wishes to thank all of the wonderful friends and Church family that have poured out their love to us during this difficult time. We were awed by the Feb. 18th article published by The Bakersfield Californian. You really captured our beloved Charles in a beautifully written article. May God bless and comfort you all. Doughty-Calhoun-O'Meara - Published in Bakersfield Californian from February 20 to February 21, 2010

Shipping an Instrument by Jeff Purtle

When shipping a brass instrument we must consider the fact that most cases don’t offer much protection with the exception of Walt Johnson Cases. Walt’s cases are superior in that they provide more protection between the instrument and the outer shell of the case. The interior of his cases are all foam and molded to the shape of each instrument as opposed to typical cases with a hard interior of wood and plastic. If the instrument is dropped or jolted very hard the instrument will be damaged from hitting against the inside of the case. His cases also have stronger latches and a long piano style hinge. The shell of his cases are made from Kevlar, which is very light and very strong.

By far the safest way for the smaller brass instruments is to ship them without a case. The following steps must be taken. All slides must be secured in order to not come off in transit. If the mouthpiece is shipped it should be wrapped in two layers of bubble wrap. Wrap the entire instrument with two layers of the thick bubble wrap and secure with tape to provide at least 2” of protection. Place in a large box with a boundary of at least 4” to be filled with foam peanuts. The instrument should fit snugly in the box without any play. The best way to ship is US Postal Service Registered Mail. Registered Mail requires signatures when the box switches hands, won’t sit outside in a truck over night, and is inexpensive to insure. I have personally seen UPS leave a $5000 instrument on a doorstep without a signature several times.

When shipping a trombone slide it is best to ship in a wood box lined with foam to prevent the slide from hitting the inside of the box. John Upchurch sells an inexpensive box that works great to protect the slide from damage after he aligns the slide.

©2003 Jeff Purtle

Scale Sheets for Brass and Woodwind Instruments

The following scale sheets and musical vocabulary terms are for the South Carolina requirements used for All-State Band and Region Band.

Check www.bandlink.org for more info.

Flute (JuniorClinicSenior)
Oboe (JuniorClinicSenior)
Bassoon (JuniorClinicSenior)
Bb Soprano Clarinet (JuniorClinicSenior)
Eb Contra Clarinet (JuniorClinicSenior)
Bb Bass/Contra Clarinet (JuniorClinicSenior)
Alto and Baritone Saxophone (JuniorClinicSenior)
Tenor Saxophone (JuniorClinicSenior)
Trumpet and Cornet (JuniorClinicSenior)
French Horn (JuniorClinicSenior)
Trombone (JuniorClinicSenior)
Bass Clef Baritone and Euphonium (JuniorClinicSenior)
Tuba (JuniorClinicSenior)

Music Terms (JuniorClinicSenior)

For more work on scales I suggest the following books from the online store here:
Arban's Complete Method
Clarke's Technical Studies
30 Velocity Studies

This is a breath control demonstation from Clarke's Technical Studies Etude Five, which is a scale study in C Major.

Claude Gordon Trumpets - A Full Voiced Trumpet That Is Not Tiring To Hold Or Play

Claude Gordon trumpets are very special to me. I have exclusively played a CG Selmer trumpet since December of 1984, when Claude picked one for me, and I still love it. My goal with this page is to help players find these exceptional trumpets. They were modeled after the best Meha Besson Trumpets of the past, as played by Claude Gordon, Conrad Gozzo, and great players of that era. The leadpipe design on the CG Trumpets was designed by Claude in his work with Dominic Collichio, the famous custom trumpet builder of Hollywood, California.

Prior to the CG Selmer, Claude also designed a Claude Gordon Benge trumpet. The CG Benge was one of the best selling trumpets made by Benge at the time. They are easier to locate.

In 2007, both of the above Claude Gordon trumpets were re-released by Joe Marcinkiewicz. The craftsmanship on these two trumpets is excellent. The names are "CG 468" and "CG 470" after the Benge and Selmer respectively. If you have one of these to sell you may contact me about that too.

One of the important things to look for on the CG Trumpets is that they haven't been modified with a different leadpipe or bell. Those parts are crucial to the design and playing of the CG trumpets. Also, be careful of repairs done to the leadpipe and the start of the bell, where it joins the first valve.

The unique characteristics  of the Claude Gordon trumpets are that is is an extra large bore trumpet that is free blowing and at the same time easy to control due to unique aspects of the design. This trumpet is capable of being used for any kind of playing situation. This goes along with Claude's philosophy about correct practice being more important than a never ending hunt for a mouthpiece  or trumpet  to solve problems. 

You can look in the "Equipment" section of my store for trumpets being sold on consignment. Please contact me if you have a Claude Gordon Trumpet to sell. I have exclusively played a CG Selmer trumpet and CG Personal mouthpiece since 1984 and can honestly evaluate the Claude Gordon Trumpets for buyers and sellers. For a nominal fee I evaluate the trumpet and handle the shipping and transaction.

Claude Gordon Testimonials and Endorsements

Read what these great artists say about Claude Gordon, his books, and his teaching. It really works for anyone that wants to learn to play correctly and it is the fastest way to develop as a brass player with strong fundamentals essential for a career playing any style of music.
________________________________________

I have known Claude for a number of years. I knew him as a great trumpet player and also a great teacher.

I think his new book should help everyone who is interested in being a good, strong trumpet player.

Conrad Gozzo
1st Trumpet NBC Studios
Television & Recording
Hollywood, California
___

Your Physical Approach To Elementary Brass Playing is just what the doctor ordered. It gives you the wind power that is essential in fundamental blowing. I use it for all of my students and my two sons.

Joe Alessi
Professor of Brass
San Francisco State University
San Francisco, California
Designer of JO-RAL mutes
___

For the past six years I have been working with Claude Gordon's Systematic Approach To Daily Practice and Daily Trumpet Routines books.

For many years I had been considered a third chair player and now these routines have made me a lead player. The Physical Approach To Elementary Brass Playing has to be the book that will revolutionize the next generation of brass players.

As a professional player and teacher, I highly recommend Mr. Gordon's work of art.

Réal Mathieu
Studio musician for the past 15 years
Trumpet teacher at Concordia University
Montréal, Quebec
___

Having just studied the draft of Claude Gordon's studies and knowing that Claude has been working on this book for almost twenty years, I would certainly recommend these studies for every young student plus some of us old timers.

Sincerely,

Mannie Klein
One of the all time
great trumpet stars.
Motion Picture-Television-
Recording
___

As a musician and with much respect for Claude in our many years of professional work together, I highly acclaim anything he has to say about the trumpet. What is even more wonderful is that in my estimation, it's the first book on trumpet written that teaches you how to practice.

Sincerely,

Pete Candoli
Well known television
& recording artist.
Star of the great bands
____

I believe the Claude Gordon method of brass instruction to be the finest and a must for the serious student!

David B. Roberts
Hollywood Recording
Trombone Artists
___

During the years that Claude occupied the first trumpet chair in the Columbia Broadcasting System Staff Orchestra in Hollywood, he distinguished himself for his superior musicianship. With his brilliant tone, his great facility, and his extraordinary accuracy, Claude always turned in outstanding performances that contributed greatly to the success of our orchestra.

Wilbur Hatch
Musical Conductor
CBS Television
Hollywodd, California
___

I use this book for my daily practice and study.

In my opinion, Claude Gordon is the finest brass teacher in the business; and I believe that this book, studied and practiced in the prescribed manner, will make an artist of anyone who has a reasonable amount of talent.

Sincere best wishes
with fond affection,

Wyle Harrell
Trombone Artist
Hollywood and Las Vegas Shows
___

This book presents an important step forward from previous methods of teaching trumpet. Claude Gordon has always been a perspective and imaginative musician, and the student of his method will benefit from his thoughtful analysis of present day trumpet technique.

Leith Stevens
Motion Picture & Television
Composer-Conductor
___

This is the first brass method book I've seen that is really a method and not just a collection of hackneyed exercises. The material here is so comprehensive, well organized, and logically presented that no serious student or profesisonal can fail to benefit from it. I believe this book will prove invaluable to brass teachers as well. Every study necessary to the mastery of the instrument is here at fingertip, eliminating the need for the dozens of so-called "method books" previously required. I'm sure that this has been a labor of love for Claude.

John Wanner
Les Brown Orchestra
Buddy Morrow Orchestra
Steve Allen TV Show
Bob Hope TV Show
First Trombone, Carlton Hayes Orchestra
___

I studied with Claude for years, and I've found his daily routines to give me consistency and stibility for all kinds of playing.

Jay Daversa
Solo Trumpet 6th Army Band
Presidio of San Francisco
___

I have just read Claude Gordon's new book "Systematic Approach to Daily Practice", and in my opinion, it is one of the finest methods I have ever read. If a student completes this book, I am sure that he will be a professional trumpet player in nothing flat.

Don Fagerquist
Spectacular Trumpet Stylist
Hollywood, California
Television & Recording
___

I have been associated with Claude Gordon for many years. I have played alongside of Claude when he played first trumpet for the Columbia Broadcasting System.

I have examined Claude's "Systematic Approach" and find it very valuable for complete development to meet modern demands.

Ziggy Elman
Great Trumpet Star
Television & Recording
(featured with the great
bands such as Benny
Goodman, Tommy Dorsey
and Paul Weston. Also
records with his own band.)
___

Every student of trumpet should have and use this method written by Claude Gordon.

This si the one method that truly prepares the studetn as well as the aspiring profesional for the demans in the high register, endurance and facility that confront the modern business trumpet players.

John Clyman
Formerly 1st Trumpet
Los Angeles Philharmonic
and Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
Presently 1st Trumpet
20th Century-Fox Studios
___

Claude Gordon's "Systematic Approach to Daily Practice" has one of the most sound approaches to developing a tremendous range. His explanation of the pedal register is excellent. In no other book has the practice of "k's" been given its proper importance.

Robert DiVall
Principal Trumpet
Los Angeles Phliharmonic Orchestra
Hollywood Bowl Pops Orchestra
___

I have been associated with Claude Gordon for many years. His students are among the finest players. I have used his students on first chair positions in my orchestra, and I sincerely recommend his Systematic Approach to Daily Practice.

Si Zentner
___

Of the various trumpet studies I have used, I credit Mr. Gordon's exercises and his method of presenting them with the most help in acquiring a strong and flexible embouchure.

I heartily recommend this book to al sincere trumpet students.

Vincent E. Shank
1st Trumpet for the past 15 years
in Las Vegas show bands
(formerly with Russ Morgan - Ted Fio Rito)
___

Clauude Gordon's method for the trumpet represents many years of work and is one of the finest examples of combining the talents of a great trumpeter, and his wonderful ability to pass on this knowledge to others.

I most sincerely recommend this fine work.

Larry Sullivan
1st Trumpet
Warner Brothers Pictures
___

To Whom It May Concern:

I've known Claude Gordon and have admired his playing for many years. I think he's among the best and feel he has a lot to offer in his new book. He has students all over the country, and I assure you no time is wasted in seeking to improve along the lines he recommends.

Sincerely,

Hanry Russell
Formerly Musicial Director
for NBC, Western Division
___

Let me say there is no short cut to successful trumpet playing, but I have found the method that assures success with conscientious practice - the Claude Gordon method.

After years of "hit and miss" studies which led to fears and self doubt, I began studying with Mr. Gordon; and within the year my confidence was restored. Daily practice once again became a pleasure, professional playing a thrill.

Speaking as both a student and professional, I would like to thank Mr. Gordon for his years of research in the field of trumpet study and teaching.

Chazz Sutton
Hollywood, California
___

I have known and worked with Claude since 1939. As one of the top rated trumpet players in Hollywood, his success as a trumpet player is only surpassed as a trumpet teacher.

The ability of his fantastic students speaks louder than any words I could add.

Uan Rasey
Radio, Television, Records, Movies, etc.
1st Trumpet - MGM for 22 years:
West Side Story
Ben Hur
My Fair Lady
American In Paris
Mary Poppins
___

It has been my pleasure to have been associated with many of Claude Gordon's students, especially Stan Mark, my present lead trumpet. This speaks for itself!

Maynard Ferguson
___

In my opinion, Claude Gordon's Book is the perfect method for the working musician as well as the serious student. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It was the major contributor in helping me attain my present position.

Stan Mark
Lead Trumpet - Maynard Ferguson Orchestra
___

I started studying with Paul Witt (14 year Claude Gordon student) in 1991. Claude's method has made a 200% improvement in my playing. I found that the saying Brass Playing Is No Harder Than Deep Breathing is fact, not theory. If you put the time and effort into practicing Claude's routines correctly and consistently, it's impossible for your playing not to improve. I guarantee it!

Lee Loughnane
Trumpeter & founding member of Chicago
___

Time has proven Claude Gordon to be one of the finest brass teachers in America. I have had the privilege of playing in sections which have included Claude's students and have marveled at their strength, power and security.

I am especially pleased that Mr. Gordon has written a method book for beginners and very young players. What can be more important than starting with a firm foundation based on solid fundamentals? Few can be more qualified in this regard than Claude Gordon.

Dennis L. Schneider
Professor of Trumpet
University of Nebraska
Lincoln, NE
___

Claude Gordon has done it again! Not content with having produced THE GREATEST treatises on range and flexibility for advanced players, Claude has now presented us with a book of the same quality which is designed for elementary performers. Physical Approach To Elementary Brass Playing should be required reading for all young performers and their teachers.

Dr. Ted J. Crager, Associate Dean
School of Music
University of Miami
Coral Gables, FL
___

Thank you for letting me review your new book, Physical Approach To Elementary Brass Playing. It is truly an outstanding contribution to brass pedagogy and you may be sure that I will not only use it in my teaching but also in my recommended course of study.

John J. Haynie
Professor of Music
Coordinator of Brass
North Texas State University
Denton, TX
___

As a Jazz Educator, I am constantly asked if there are any shortcuts to learning how to improvise. There are none. The first priority is to have the basical classical skills together. That means hours of diligent study under the guidance of good teachers using the proper method books. Claude Gordon is one of those teachers, and he has just written a great new study called Physical Approach To Elementary Brass Playing. It is published by Carl Fischer and is available in treble and bass clef. If you are a teacher, add it to your library of teaching materials. If you are a student, use it! It is just great!

Rich Matteson
North Texas State University
Denton, TX
___

For years I've observerd brass players struggling to handle the progressively difficult music that has been appearing in the intermediate schools on up. This trend is forcing a majority of brass players to suffer needlessly. Their personal development has not followed a logical progression and they find it hard to reach the level of performance required today.

The need to start beginners with a secure foundation on which to build is the most important factor in the background of anyone who wants to excel to the highest level of proficiency. The Physical Approach To Elementary Brass Playing has the exact data to establish this important foundation. As with his previous books, Claude has written a "method" to take the beginner on a logical gradient of routines.

I have tested an advanced manuscript of this book on several of my private students and the results were fantastic. Any teacher (or student) can adjust the lesson plans according to his own ability by using one or several lessons each week. I also found this book effective for embouchure changes. As the instructions are clear and the method of progressing already mapped out, one needs only the ability to read. Good luck.

Carl Leach Jr.
Stan Kenton Orchestra
Soloist 6th Army Band
TV shows and recordings
Currently freelance
San Francisco Bay area
___

Having studied with Claude only six months, I have already noticed a tremendous difference in my playing.

His books, and exercises have made me aware of the most important factor in playing a brass instrument, which is wind power.

I would recommend this book for any trombone player, as well as any trumpet player.

Craig Woods
Lead trombone Ray Charles Orchestra
Freddy Martin Orchestra
___

Gordon's approach is one of the very few that shows the student how to develop an embouchure of great range and flexibility. This book should replace all the trial-and-error teaching that produces such appalling results concerning embouchure and breath control.

Ronald Ricketts
Trombonist, Minneapolis Symphony
Faculty - University of Minnessota,
Macalaster College, Hamline University, and
St. Thamas College
___

I have studied with Claude for years. From this I have learned that his teachign methods apply to successful Trombone playing. His students, clinics, and books attest to this. With all concern towards playing trombone successfully, Claude Gordon's Systematic Approach To Daily Practice In Bass Clef is the most complete method on How to Practice! All brass players with a desire to be great players, and the endurance and control demanded of today's instrumentalists are excellent reasons to use Claude's approach.

Ron Williams
Trombone recording artist
Hollywood, CA
___

I have known Claude for four years now. He is a well organized, clear-thinking man, and his Systematic Approach To Daily Practice, reflects these qualities. With all the methods to choose from today, I'm glad I found a method that gave me the range, endurance, and facility I need for all types of playing. Systematic Approach To Daily Practice is necessary for all serious students.

Steven Tropp
Dick Jurgens Orchestra
Disneyland Show Band
Love Machine Show
The Brass Rail
___

This is a method, finally, that gives the beginner a chance to really become a trumpet player. Calude Gordon is a master teacher and player; therefore, all the studetn has to do is learn.

Larry Skinner
Soloist: United States Navy Band
___

I have studied with Claude for many years and feel that he is the foremost authority in the art of trumpet teaching. I am sure this book, used correctly, can start anyone on the right road to becoming a great trumpet player.

Bill Hicks
Harry James Orchestra
Freelance Trumpet Player
Hollywood, CA
___

After many years of research and teaching, music teachers finally have a definitve and logical approach to beginning brass playing. Physical Approach To Elementary Brass Playing should be a must for any teacher workign with beginning brass students.

Phillip H. Olsson
Professor of Trumpet
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL
___

Daily Trumpet Routines is a most welcome addition to my repertoire.

The flexibility studies are brilliantly conceived and extend into registers where modern performers must have control of their tone production techniques.

Your arpeggio studies are the most comprehensive and thorough studies of this type ever written. Bravo!

The advice you give on how to practice and derive the most benefit from exercises you have written is excellent.

Every serious brass player should own Daily Trumpet Routines.

Byron Autrey
Professor of Trumpet
Chairman of Brass
Michigan State University
___

Through my travels and experience in many different situations, I have foudn that range, endurance and above all, accuracy is a must for today's demands. Claude Gordon has not only been of great assistance in helping me as a teacher, but has provided the greatest "true method" his Daily Trumpet Routines, that has helped me immensely in achieving the three necessary areas to become a great trumpet player. I highly recommend this method to any serious trumpet student.

Bob O'Donnell
1st Trumpet for Shipstad's and Johnson' Ice Follies
Louie Bellson Orchestra
Si Zentner Orchestra
1st Trumpet for Johnny Mathis
1st Trumpet for Disneyland Show Orchestra
Television and Recording in Hollywood
Hanna-Barbera Cartoons
___

I have studied with Claude Gordon for a number of years, so I feel that I known what rewards this method and analysis can bring any trumpet player. Believe me, this is a must for any serious student of the trumpet.

Marshall J. Hunt
Formerly 1st Trumpet:
Ray Charles Orchestra
Count Basie Orchestra
Gerald Wilson Orchestra
Louie Jordan Orchestra
Stevie Wonder
Issac Hayes Movement
Gladys Knight and the Pips
Temptations
Supremes Show
Smokey Robinson
___

having known Claude as a friend for many years and also having been one of his "guinea pigs" in the formation of Daily Trumpet Routines, I can strongly recommend this book as an asset to any serious trumpet student. I practiced these routines when studying with Claude and continue to use and enjoy the benefits of this fine book, both in my own practice and also with my students. It's a pleasure to see these routines published in book form.

Tom Holden
Harry James Orchestra
Osmond Bros.
Follies Bergere-Hotel
Tropicana, Las Vegas
TV and recording work
___

After having played trumpet for 25 years and receiving degrees from two of our large universities, I can honestly say that I ahve made more progress under Claude Gordon in two years than in all my previous years of playing.

While the Claude Gordon practice system can be adapted to students of all ages, it can trully be called a post-graduate course in professional trumpet playing and teaching.

William B. Knevitt
Bachelor of Music Education
Master of Music Education
Public school music teacher for 9 years
President of Contemporary Trumpet Studios
Author of "How To Play High C On Trumpet"
Trumpet Soloist and Clinician
___

I find Daily Trumpet Routines to be both logical and comprehensive.

The various daily routines are well conceived and represent a series of studies that are vital to the development of flexibilty, endurance, range and control of all brass instruments.

All students, performer and teacher alike, of the brass family will find this a most valuable treatise in both the development and preservation of their embouchure, technique, endurance, flexibilty, and control.

Cordially yours,

William D. Revelli
Revelli Band Hall
___

A must for every serious trumpet player. Both students and professionals have much to gain through its proper use.

Tony Horowitz
1st Trumpet with Ray Charles Orchestra
___

Claude's Daily Trumpet Routine offers superb help in setting the foundation for a trumpeter's daily practice and performing schedule.

Along with Claude's first book Systematic Approach, it can help develop a trumpeter's total concept of playign with a particular emphasis on strong upper register development.

Ed Sheftel
Universal
ABC
Paramount
Columbia
RCA
New Haven Symphony Orchestra
BA Music Education - Northwestern
Master Degree Music - Yale
___

Having studied with Claude for many years, using the studies within this text, I can easily recommend its use for obtaining the most practical and desirable skills.

Sincerely,

Bob Berrenson
Harry James Orchestra
Dick Jurgens Orchestra
Hollywood Recordings
Las Vegas Shows
___

Daily Trumpet Routines ... is an invaluable teaching aid that really gets to the heart of good, strong, solid trumpet playing. For the serious student and all professional trumpet players, I enthusiastically recommend the use of this book.

Roy Cummings
Instructor of Trumpet,
University of Washington
1st Trumpet and Music Coordinator
for Northwest Releasing Corportation
___

Claude Gordon's Systematic Approach To Daily Practice and Daily Trumpet Routines should be in the library of serious trumpet player. It is one method that shows you how to practice, and that turns that practice into progress. There are no gimmicks - just sound approaches to fundamentals which will develop the complete trumpet player. having studied with Claude for several years, I have found his method the most successful for me.

Howard Struble
Hollywood Recording
Las Vegas Shows
___

As far as learning trumpet is concerned, I have always believed in a common philosophy: "Different strokes for different folks." But, at the same time, I have also maintained that there are certain basic principles that apply to everyone. Claude's book is one such principle. It gives good foundation for all around palying with great consistency - "So's you can stroke anyway you want to!"

Ron King
Stan Kenton
Larry Elgart
Nancy Wilson
Bill Medly
___

Claude Gordon's Daily Trumpet Routines, in my opinion, is one of the finest methods for brass instruments.

I ahve used it daily since its conception and can honestly say that, used properly, it can develop tremendous strength in every aspect of playing - namely range, flexbility, embouchure, etc.

Speaking as a former student, I would like to say that I'm proud of this book for al the help it has given me.

I recommend Daily Trumpet Routines to any brass player who wants to further his ability.

Sincerely,

John Rosenberg
Freelance Trumpet Player
presently with Osmond Bros.
recording and TV
___

With today's demanding brass parts, the problem is not to find literature but to acquire the ability to play it! Mr. Gordon's Daily Trumpet Routines and Systematic Approach will prepare you physically, technically and mentally to perform any type of brass literature. Both of Mr. Gordon's books are at the core of all my brass students' studies.

David B. Evans
Principal Trumpet - Chapman Symphony
Trumpet Soloist
Director of Chamber Music - La Verne College
___

I played professionally for 10 years before studying with Claude. Those years were frequented by all those frustrations trumept players are familiar with. Now I use his method for my daily practice. Frustrations are few and far between and becoming fewer.

I see the same improvements in my students. It is now possible for a young player to achieve a feeling for consistent playing.

Fred Sautter
Principal Trumpet Oregon Symphony
Soloist - Clinician
Getzen Co., Inc.

How I Became a Student of Claude Gordon by John Mohan

My name is John Mohan and I was a student of Claude Gordon from 1979 until 1995, although I only studied part-time between 1987 and 1990 due to my being on the road as Musical Director and Trumpet Soloist for two different international Circuses during that time. I consider myself extremely fortunate in having had the opportunity to study with Claude, as I feel that his tutorship is largely responsible for my success as a professional trumpet player.

John Mohan Cats bows

John Mohan Cats Brass Section

John Mohan Cats Closeup

I found out about Mr. Gordon when I was a sophomore or junior in High School growing up in a suburb of Chicago. I was a pretty good trumpet player, always hovering around 1st or 2nd chair in my Jr. High and High School bands, but none the less, I definitely was a "struggler". Whatever abilities I had, I worked very hard for, and I had a lot of trouble with inconsistency in my playing. And I was constantly besieged by teachers who had all kinds of various theories about "breathing from the diaphragm", "smiling when playing", "using no pressure" and always, "you need to completely change your embouchure or you will never progress". I found myself in a tailspin and was quite upset at the fact that I was a better player at the age of 12 than I was now at the age of 14 or 15! One day I noticed an advertisement on the back of my Arban’s book for Claude Gordon’s "Systematic Approach to Daily Practice for Trumpet" book. The ad said that the book "is designed to develop a register from the second C below low C to C above high C, along with the power, endurance, sound and control necessary to meet the demands required of the professional trumpet player." This sounded good to me! Furthermore, among the professionals who endorsed the book was Maynard Ferguson, one of my idols, who wrote that his present lead trumpet player Stan Mark (another idol) was a student of Claude’s.

Upon purchasing the book, I proceeded to carefully study the written material that composes the first ten pages of the book. Everything written in it seemed to be the exact opposite of what the many different "theorist" teachers had been pounding into me, yet everything written seemed to make much more sense to me. Excited, I took the book to show to one of my music teachers in High School (a brass player himself). He took a look at the book and said to me, "John, if you use this book, within six months you won’t be able to play a single note!" Well, he had been one of the ones telling me to "smile when you play, stick out your diaphragm and don’t use any pressure." These brilliant ideas hadn’t got me anywhere except halfway to the insane asylum, so I ignored him and proceeded to begin the book. I practiced the exercises and supplementary material exactly as the book directed. Within a week, I had added several steps to my range and a feeling of consistency that I had never felt before began to develop. I continued to use the book and continued to improve far faster than I ever had even while studying privately with anyone. It now became my ambition to somehow study with Claude Gordon himself.

The following summer, I was at a Music Camp at a University in Minnesota and I ran into an older trumpet player who had attended one of Claude’s Clinics. He actually had Claude’s business card! I copied down the number and as soon as I got home I started trying to reach Mr. Gordon. It took several months, because every time I called he was out of town performing or doing Clinics. Finally, one time when I called a man with a kind of gruff but friendly voice answered the phone. I asked if I could speak to Claude Gordon. He replied, "Speaking." I just about lost my voice I was so nervous and excited! Regaining my composure, I told him about myself and we talked about my playing for a bit. He gave me some pointers and told me I was welcome to call him any time I ran into problems with my playing. And this I did, from time to time. Eventually, he invited me to fly to Los Angeles and take one of his "Crash Courses" – an intensive week of lessons with about a year’s worth of lesson assignments to do back home. I took my first "Crash Course" in January of 1979. I took a second one about a year later. Finally, in 1982, my wife and I saved up enough money (with help from my family) and moved to Los Angeles where I began studying full time with Claude and began my career as a freelance trumpet player in the Los Angeles area.

What Studying With Claude Was Like

Lessons with Claude Gordon were a wonderful positive experience. The man absolutely radiated positiveness and warmth. I always did my best playing in front of him. Claude was an extremely in-demand teacher, and it was not at all unusual for him to schedule non-stop lessons from 8:00am until 10:00pm. He divided his time between Los Angeles and San Francisco, teaching alternate weeks in each of the locations and spending week-ends with his wife at their mountain home in Big Bear. He would even eat his meals during lessons rather than turn students away. And Claude wasn’t one of those teachers who hand picked only the best players to be his students (as many of my former "theorist-teachers" had tried to tell me). He took anyone who had a true desire to practice hard and work at the horn. Natural talent was not a prerequisite - I’m living proof of this!

When I had my first lesson with Claude, I was surprised that he set up a fairly undemanding lesson. He assigned me material I had already gone through by using his Systematic Book and its lesson assignments. Furthermore, he even made the material itself easier, for instance, having me play Clarke Technical Study #1 with only one repeat instead of "eight to sixteen times each" as the book instructs one to do, and he had me play the Clarke's at "a full comfortable volume", instead of "at a whisper" as the book instructs one to do. I was a little disappointed but I did what I was told to do. The routine in the beginning only took about 30 or 40 minutes a day to do. But gradually, it built up. Did it ever! After several years studying full time with Mr. Gordon, it reached the point where I was practicing four to five hours a day! But he built up the routine very slowly and in this way, made me strong enough to handle that amount of playing. And we would go over material many times, each time making it a little more difficult. I went through the Clarke Technical Studies book a total of three times, spending about 8 – 10 weeks on each study, playing them single tongued for two weeks (or rather "K-Tongue Modified" as he called the special way of tonguing he taught me), then "K-Tongued" for two weeks, then "Double Tongued" for two weeks, etc. until finally, slurred for the final two weeks. It wasn’t until the third time through the book that we did them as Clarke wrote in the book, with many repeats and at a very quiet volume. In addition to the many exercises and books that he wrote personally, Claude took me though just about every major trumpet method book written, including many that have been out of print for years.

Claude’s way was to build an extremely strong technical foundation in his students before working on Solos and Etude type material. It wasn’t until the 5th or 6th year of lessons that we began spending time on this type of material. At that point, when we began working on the Virtuoso-Style Solos, it was a pleasure to play this type of music without having to struggle with technical deficiencies while doing it. And Claude was very diligent about playing musically. He would stop me often and have me play sections of songs again and again, imploring me to "Treat the music like you are a great opera singer." I have read other accounts from people who have studied with Claude for briefer periods of time and said that Claude didn’t give them musical material to play (Solos and Etudes). What they don’t realize is that Claude’s way was to build a strong foundation first, and then create the walls and the roof. I’m afraid they just didn’t stay with their studies long enough to realize the full benefit of studying with Claude Gordon. It was much the same way for people who thought Claude didn’t concentrate on having players learn to play soft. It was just that he first covered material such as the Clarke's and various other flexibility and technical exercise books at a "full comfortable volume" to prevent the developing player from trying to pinch off the sound and strain improperly to play soft. Then, gradually over time, he would reassign material. The second time through he would implore the student to "play it easy – nice and relaxed". Then, on the third time through a book such as Clarke’s Technical Studies, he would have the well-developed student play truly soft (as well as loud when called for).

Some of My Favorite Gordon Quotes

Claude had many little sayings that he would say to the student or even stamp in his books. The following are some of my favorites and have helped me many times through the years.

"Hit it hard and wish it well!" Any time I get nervous, for instance when I have to play one of the many loud, upper register exposed passages in the musical "Cats" for which I play 1st Trumpet, I think of this one.

"Lift Fingers High, Strike Valves Hard" Although there are times when one shouldn’t apply this principal (for instance the 2nd Movement of the Haydn Trumpet Concerto), the rest of the time, this idea can make a huge difference when tackling technically difficult music with fast and awkward fingering patterns. Soon they become fast and graceful finger patterns.

"Watch the Tongue" Claude would stamp this into all of one’s flexibility and range-building material. This meant to get a feel for how the tongue arches into the "eee" (as in "sea") position to play in the upper register, and drops down into the "aaw" (as in "saw") position to play lower notes.

"Big Breath Chest Up" Another of Claude’s stamps, this implored the player to breath correctly and always fill up.

"There is no such thing as playing with ‘no pressure’ (lip pressure). Forget about ‘pressure’ and let proper practice and development take care of the amount of pressure." This is one of Claude’s philosophies that still to this day causes controversy, and I simply do not understand why. It made sense to me as a child of 14, and it certainly makes sense to me today as a full time professional trumpet player. Does anyone out there doubt for a minute that Maynard Ferguson, Wayne Bergeron, Maurice Andre, Bud Herseth, or any other successful player uses a certain amount of pressure when playing, especially when ascending into the upper register? Of course they do! It seems to me that the only ones that advocate "playing with little or even no pressure" tend to be professional teachers who don’t play for a living at all, never have and never will. Their teaching philosophies are based on all kinds of unproven theories and ideas that often result in confusion and despair for their students rather than successful trumpet playing.

"Let the Air Do the Work – Let the Air Save the Lips" Trumpet playing is a balance of several different forces. One of these forces is the tension of the lip and facial muscles and another is the air power created by the breathing muscles and channeled (controlled) by the tongue. The breathing muscles are a whole lot stronger than the lips and facial muscles, and therefore the idea behind this quote is to shift the balance of power to the bigger and stronger breathing muscles and rely less on the muscles of the lips and face. This is one of those things one "gets a feel for" over a period of time and is a little hard to explain in words.

"Don’t worry about High Notes. High Notes are inevitable if you are practicing correctly." I was always worried that I wouldn’t develop the extreme upper register that I wanted. And Claude said the above quote over and over. He was right.

"Don’t worry about getting your chance, worry about being ready when your chance comes." Claude was SO right about this one. I was always worried about getting my chance. In retrospect, I wasn’t ready when my "chance" came. Fortunately, I got even more "chances" down the line! Which leads me to the next quote I will write:

"There’s always room at the top. There’s always room at the bottom. It’s the middle that’s overcrowded." Show me a player of Arturo Sandoval, Wynton Marsalis, or Maurice Andre’s caliber who isn’t working. I don’t think you’ll be able to. There is nothing special about them. They are human beings of flesh and blood just like the rest of us. Well, there is something special. They are among the most intensely dedicated human beings on this planet. I firmly believe that for any and all of us, our potential as trumpet players is only limited by how much we choose to put into our practicing and playing. And that’s exactly the way it should be.

And my final Claude Gordon quote, as heard on the end of his Selmer-Produced Video, "The Seven Natural Elements to Brass Playing":

"Practice, Practice, Practice, Practice, Practice, Practice, Practice, Practice, Practice…."

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to study with Claude Gordon. Something he often said to me was to pass on what he taught me. His words were, "As Herbert Clarke said to me, don’t stop where I left off, but strive to go even further." Up until now, I have been pretty much wrapped up in playing and haven’t gotten around to teaching what Claude taught me. Eventually, that will change.

John Mohan

Purtle Brass Conference - 2010

Purtle Brass Conference 2010

 

Highlights

Jeff Purtle - Claude Gordon's Teachings and How To Use Them
Dr. Keith Amstutz - Video Fluoroscopy and The Tongue in Brass Playing
Susan Slaughter - Lessons from An Orchestral Musician
Joe Marcinkiewicz - Video Presentation of How Brass Instruments Are Made
Participant Brass Choir Rehearsal - Directed by The Monarch Brass Quintet
Harry Kim Concert
Rich Ita - Antique Brass Instruments
Harry Kim - Life Lessons From The Music Business
Participant Brass Choir Performance
Susan Slaughter with The Monarch Brass Quintet Concert
Social Time with Guest Artists and Presenters

Reviews:

The Brass Herald's review of PbC 2010
International Trumpet Guild's review of PbC 2010
OnlineVideo.net about PbC 2010
Telestream's Customer Success Story about PbC 2010

Guest Artists and Presenters:

Susan Slaughter


Susan Slaughter joined the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra in 1969 and four years later became the first woman ever to be named Principal Trumpet of a major symphony orchestra. A graduate of Indiana University, where she received the coveted performer’s certificate in recognition of outstanding musical performance, Ms. Slaughter has studied with Herbert Mueller, Bernard Adelstein, Arnold Jacobs, Robert Nagel, Claude Gordon, and Laurie Frink.

Prior to accepting a position in St. Louis, Ms. Slaughter spent two years as Principal Trumpet of the Toledo Symphony. She appears regularly in area recitals and religious programs, and has been a frequent soloist with the SLSO as well as with several other ensembles throughout the country. Her work is represented on a number of SLSO releases including the highly acclaimed recordings of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5, Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, and Barber’s Capricorn Concerto.
          
In recent years, Ms. Slaughter has performed as soloist with the Bay Area Women’s Philharmonic in San Francisco, with the Marrowstone Music Festival Orchestra in Seattle, and the Women’s Art Museum in Washington, D.C.
          
Ms. Slaughter has been on the faculty of the Grand Teton Orchestra Seminar and the National Orchestra Institute. In addition, she has served as lecture/recitalist at the National Trumpet Symposium and has served as lecture/recitalist at the International Trumpet Guild and also served on its board of directors.
          
Some of the awards and recognition Ms. Slaughter has received over the years include nomination by Ladies Home Journal for its annual Woman of the Year award, a special Leadership Award in the Arts from the Young Women’s Christian Association, and, at the invitation of then baseball commissioner Fay Vincent, she performed the National Anthem for game three of the 1991 World Series.
          
In 1992 Ms. Slaughter founded the International Women’s Brass Conference, an organization dedicated to provide opportunities and recognition for women brass musicians. As a fund-raising effort to support the International Women’s Brass Conference, Ms. Slaughter organized and produced the very popular Holiday Brass Concerts, which are now in their second decade, and are performed each December in the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis. Other cities in the United States are starting their own Holiday Brass Concerts to help support the ever-growing International Women’s Brass Conference.
          
In 1996, Susan Slaughter founded Monarch Brass, an all-women’s brass ensemble, which has toured in the U.S. and Europe to critical acclaim.

Harry Kim


Harry Kim was born and raised in New York City where he attended High School For The Performing Arts and prepared for a career as a classical trumpeter. After high school however, he relocated to Los Angeles and soon discovered the world of funk and jazz. After several years touring throughout the U.S. with various show groups, R&B revues and big bands, including the Harry James Big Band, he returned to Los Angeles to further his career.

Latin music took a front seat during the disco era, a time when live music was rarely featured in discotheques but was in strong demand by salsa audiences. It was at this time that he began working with artists such as Tito Puente and Celia Cruz, and also began honing his arranging skills by writing and performing on many disco productions.

Soon he joined Stevie Wonder’s Wonder Love which opened the doors of opportunity to perform and record with such artists as Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, The Four Tops, The Temptations, and Smokey Robinson. He was on stage for the Emmy Award winning 25th Anniversary of Motown performing with many of Motown’s greatest stars. It was an evening highlighted by Michael Jackson’s introduction of his now legendary moonwalk.

In 1985 he joined the Phenix Horns, the celebrated horn section of Earth Wind and Fire. Together they performed with various artists throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Included were two tours in 1987 and 1988 with French icon Michel Berger and vocalist France Gall.

In 1989 he participated in the making of Phil Collins’ multi award winning CD ...But SeriouslyA world tour followed in 1990 marking the beginning of a long association with Collins. The multi platinum live concert CD Serious Hits Live was released soon after. 

Realizing the many advantages of being part of a high performance horn section, Kim founded The Vine Street Horns. He called together musicians with whom he had worked for many years. Numerous productions with various artists were to follow.

In 1994 Phil Collins called on The Vine Street Horns to join him on his Both Sides Tour, an extensive 18 month world tour.

In 1996 he was asked by Collins to organize a big band featuring adaptations of his music and the music of Genesis in a jazz setting. The Phil Collins Big Band was born. As musical director and arranger, Kim and The Vine Street Horns took center stage performing at all the major European jazz festivals, with Tony Bennett as vocalist and Quincy Jones as guest conductor.

This was also the year they recorded Phil Collins’ Into The Light CD, which toured the world in 1997.

The year 1998 saw another Phil Collins Big Band tour resulting in a live CD entitled A Hot Night In Paris.

Later that year an introduction to France’s legendary singer Johnny Hallyday led to 3 sold out performances at the Stade de France, five successful tours from 1998 to 2009 and numerous top selling concert CDs and DVDs.

In the new millennium Harry Kim continues to enjoy a well balanced schedule of studio recordings and live performances. Although he continues to tour throughout the world, with Johnny Hallyday and Phil Collins, he also manages to add to his long list of credits while at home. Recently he has acted as horn section leader and arranger for the 2005-2010 seasons of American Idol as well as for America’s Got Talent and Celebrity Duets.

Recent highlights:

Films: Evolution, El Dorado, Chicken Run, The Stick Up, The Italian Job, X-Men 3, Robots, Ice Age 2, Ice Age 3, The Poseidon Adventure, Out of Time, Love In The Time of Cholera, Happy Feet, Horton Hears a Who?, Jumpers, Hancock, Bolt, Kung Fu Panda

Television Specials and Award Shows:
Muhammad Ali 60th Birthday Celebration - Performing with Paul Simon and Natalie Cole
Jennifer Lopez - NBC Concert Special from San Juan, Puerto Rico
Grammy Award Winning MTV Unplugged with Spanish pop artist Alejandro Sanz
The Kennedy Center Honors Performing with Herbie Hancock
The 45th Anniversary Special of Motown
The 75th Anniversary Special of the Apollo Theater
Ray Charles... A Night of Genius.
The Black Film Awards
UNCF... An Evening of Stars (Annual)
The NAACP Image Awards (Annual)
The TVland Awards (Annual)
The BET Awards - Performing with Prince and Chaka Khan
BET Celebration of Gospel Music.
The World Music Awards - Performing with Stevie Wonder
The Billboard Awards - Performing with Diana Ross
The Grammy Awards - Performing with the Backstreet Boys
The Grammy Awards - Performing with Usher and James Brown
The Grammy Awards - Performing with Christina Aguilera
The Grammy Awards -  Performing with Alicia Keys
The Grammy Awards - Performing with Beyonce and Tina Turner
The 2011 Grammy Awards - Opening Feature Tribute to Aretha Franklin with Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Yolanda Adams, Martina McBride, and Florence Welch
Super Bowl XXXVIII - Performing the National Anthem with Beyonce
Super Bowl XXXIX - Performing with Alicia Keys
Super Bowl XXXXII - Performing the National Anthem with Jennifer Hudson
American Idol 2005-2010 seasons
Presidential Innauguration Ceremony For Barack Obama - Performing My Country Tis Of Thee with Aretha Franklin

Recently recorded with: Chaka Khan, Alicia Keys, Lyle Lovett, Chris Botti, Marc Anthony, Joe Zawinul (Faces and Places), Shakira.

Joe Marcinkiewicz

Playing trumpet professionally since the 10th grade, skill and reputation have enabled Mr. Marcinkiewicz to compile credits with bands and orchestras throughout the world including Stan Kenton, Arthur Fiedler, Don Ellis, Ray Charles, Portland Festival Symphony, Roger Williams, and The Portland Pops, to mention a few, giving him a vast understanding of the performing arts. He continues as an active player, and leads his own big band, The TV Jazz Orchestra.

Mr. Marcinkiewicz has acquired diverse instruction. His Music studies include work at The University of Washington, San Francisco State University, San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the US Naval School of Music, Norfolk, Virginia. In addition, he has studied with such notables as Johnny Coppola, Dr. Don Reinberg, Dr. Renold Schilke, Uan Rasey, Roy Stevens, Bob Findley and Carmine Caruso.

In the field of brass technology, Marcinkiewicz Co. Inc. Is recognized as a manufacturer of the world's highest quality brasswind mouthpieces and hand crafted high brasswind instruments. Beginning brass Instrument repair in 1965, today Mr. Marcinkiewicz is regarded as a master designer of mouthpieces and upper brass instruments. His mouthpiece design studies began in 1973 under the tutelage of legendary master designer and craftsman Burt Herrick. Manufacturing of the Marcinkiewicz Brasswind Mouthpiece began In 1983. The company produces models for many of the top players In the world today.

The Marcinkiewicz Co. Inc. is housed in their new state-of-the-art facility in Canby, Oregon. The operation is equipped with the latest computer aided design software and single point cutting technology, with CNC (Computer Numeric Control) lathes. The results are a wide range of brasswind mouthpieces that are unrivaled in quality, precision, efficiency and choice.

The company produces a full line of hand crafted high brasswind instruments. All fabrication, assembly and plating are done on site. The finished product, whether a mouthpiece or horn, reflects the perfect blend of "old world" craftsmanship and modern technology.

Knowledge, Choice, Quality and Precision are the reputation of Joeseph W. Marcinkiewicz and the Marcinkiewicz Co. Inc.

Dr. Keith Amstutz

Dr. A. Keith Amstutz, Professor Emeritus at the University of South Carolina, received his Bachelors and Masters degrees from Michigan State University and his doctorate from the University of Oklahoma. He studied trumpet with Byron L. Autrey, Col. Earl D. Irons and John J. Haynie. Prior to joining the USC faculty, Dr. Amstutz taught at the University of Texas, Arlington, the University of North Texas, and the University of Kansas. A nationally-known recitalist/clinician, Dr. Amstutz has appeared at universities and music conferences in 29 states. For fourteen years he performed as Principal Trumpet of the South Carolina  Philharmonic and Chamber Orchestras, the Columbia Lyric Theatre Orchestra and as a member of the Jimmy Farr Big Band.

“A Videofluorographic Study of the Teeth Aperture, Instrument Pivot and Tongue Arch and Their Influence on Trumpet Performance”, Dr. Amstutz’s videofluorographic research, remains the most in-depth study of the functions of the oral cavity organs during trumpet performance. Dr. Amstutz holds the patent on BRACEGUARD, the orthodontic shield for instrumentalists with braces. BRACEGUARD was introduced in 1983 is distributed world-wide. His publications also include two commercial albums of trumpet solo literature.

Rich Ita

Rich Ita is a trumpet and cornet player and avid collector. He began his apprenticeship as a brass instrument repair technician in 1971 at ATEC Music Service in the suburbs of Washington, DC, collaborating with military band repairmen Conrad Brown, Ed Simmons and Art Accardo. The shop was involved in an effort by the Smithsonian Institute to put together a Civil War period band for recording purposes. It was then that a fascination with 19th century brass making took root. After a four year stint in the Army as a trumpet player, he accepted a job at the Schilke factory in Chicago, where he worked for several years until Mr. Schilke's death. He then freelanced as a repairman in the Chicago area doing work for Nappe Music House and Evanston Band & Orchestra. Rich gained experience in the recreation of older instruments in the shop of Ron Collier, making reproductions of natural trumpets and Sacbutts and doing other historical restoration work. A move in 1990 to the warmer climate of Atlanta brought him to an area starved for experienced repairmen. After six years at the areas largest retail music store, Ken Stanton Music, he opened his own shop - the Brass Instrument Workshop - and suddenly found himself hanging on for dear life and loving every minute of it! Rich would like to sincerely thank all of the wonderfully talented brass musicians who have placed their trust in his skills and have given him the opportunity to do the work he truly loves - making their prized instruments perform and look their best.

The Monarch Brass Quintet

Susan Slaughter - Trumpet

Stacy Simpson - Trumpet

Stacy Simpson lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where she performs regularly with the Louisville Orchestra and performs regularly as lead trumpet at Derby Dinner Playhouse.  She continues to be one of the busiest freelance artists in the area.  Stacy is a former member of the St. Louis Symphony performing full time as Second Trumpet from 2002-2003.  Ms. Simpson has also served as a member of the Cincinnati Ballet Orchestra, Aronoff Center Broadway Series, Louisville Bach Society, Owensboro Symphony, Evansville Philharmonic, Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, and Springfield Ohio Symphony and has performed with many other ensembles such as the Choral Arts Society, Lexington Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony and Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, and the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra.  

Stacy has won numerous awards and competitions including, first place at the International Trumpet Guild's Mock Orchestra Audition; won the prestigious Fischoff Chamber Music Competition with the Canterbury Brass; twice won the University of Louisville's (UL) Solo Competition performing the Arutunian Concerto and Tomasi Concerto with the UL Symphony Orchestra; won the Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music's (CCM) Solo Competition performing the Haydn Trumpet Concerto with the 18th Century Orchestra; and has been a featured artist on WGUC of Cincinnati, Ohio after winning the WGUC Solo Competition. 

In the summer of 2000, 2003 and 2006, she recorded and toured with the professional all-women's brass ensemble, Monarch Brass and Monarch Brass Quintet at the International Women's Brass Conference in Cincinnati, OH, Normal, IL, and the International Trumpet Guild Conference in Glassboro, NJ.  She toured in Germany and South Carolina giving master classes and concerts with the Monarch Brass Quintet.  

Ms. Simpson loves sharing her passion for music making by maintaining a full trumpet studio.  She is currently the Teaching Assistant at the University of Kentucky, teaching studio trumpet, coaching the trumpet ensemble and teaching brass methods.  She also maintains a trumpet studio at her home in Louisville.   Stacy has held the position of Adjunct Trumpet Instructor at Campbellsville College, Central State University, Sinclair Community College and Associate Instructor of Trumpet at Indiana University (Bloomington). 

Ms. Simpson has received her Bachelor’s of Music degree in trumpet performance from the University of Louisville, where she was a student of Michael Tunnell.   While attending U of L she received the Leon Rapier Award.  Stacy received her Master’s of Music in trumpet performance with a cognate in brass repertoire from Indiana University (Bloomington) studying with John Rommel, Stephen Burns and William Adam.  At IU, she was awarded with the position of Associate Instructor of Trumpet.  Stacy then received her artist diploma from University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music, where she was a student of Marie Speziale.   Stacy is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Music Performance at University of Kentucky under the direction of Mark Clodfelter.

Laurel Bennert Ohlson - French Horn

Laurel Bennert Ohlson, Associate Principal Horn of the National Symphony Orchestra since 1980, has appeared as a soloist with the NSO, and in numerous solo engagements in Washington, DC; Boston, Massachusetts; Long Island, New York; and across South America.  Ms. Ohlson is an active performer and teacher through the NSO’s Fellowship Program, Summer Music Institute, and annual State Residencies.  She is a member of the Eclipse Chamber Orchestra and the Capitol Woodwind Quintet, premiered Truman Harris’ Concertino for Horn and Chamber Orchestra with Eclipse in 1999, and recorded the Concertino for Naxos in 2006.

Ms. Ohlson has delighted both young and not-so-young audiences with her “History of the Horn” lecture/ demonstrations in which she performs on eleven different horn-related instruments including the Alphorn and ever-popular garden hose.  She has also presented Wagner tuba clinics and horn recitals at International Horn Society Workshops and International Women's Brass Conferences across the U.S.  Ms. Ohlson has been on the Board of Directors of the IWBC since 1991, and is Vice-President of that organization.  A graduate of Boston University's School for the Arts, Ms. Ohlson majored in horn performance with a minor in mathematics. The accomplishment closest to her heart is having raised a beautiful daughter, currently a physics major at MIT. 

Jeannie Little - Trombone

Jeannie Little, trombone professor at Louisiana State University received her degrees from Northwestern University and The Florida State University. Her principal teachers include Jay Friedman, Frank Crisafulli, Charles Vernon, Arnold Jacobs, John Marcellus, John Drew and William Cramer. Ms.Little has served as principal trombonist of the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, Charlottesville Symphony Orchestra, the Illinois Chamber Symphony, Chicago Sinfonietta, Elgin Symphony orchestra, and the FSU Marching Chiefs. In addition, she has performed with the Detroit, Honolulu, Alabama, Chautauqua, and New Mexico Symphony Orchestras, and has toured and recorded with the Chicago Symphony under Leonard Bernstein. Ms. Little was a founding member of the highly acclaimed, award-winning trombone quartet, PRISMA, which toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe, and has been featured at International Trombone Workshops and the International Women's Brass Conference. She is currently a member of the Monarch Brass Ensemble, an ensemble of outstanding women brass players from North America’s top symphony orchestras and universities. As a clinician, Ms. Little is active organizing trombone workshops and presenting recitals and master classes throughout the country, with recent performances and clinics at the International Trombone Festival, the International Women's Brass Conference, the Eastern Trombone Workshop, Trombone Day LA 2005 & 2007, the Oberlin Conservatory, and the Arizona Low Brass Symposium. She has also appeared as guest conductor and performer in the International Women's Trombone Choir at the International Trombone Festival.  Previous teaching positions include Music Specialist with the Los Angeles Unified School District, Trombone Professor at James Madison University, and Instructor of Low Brass at the Interlochen Arts Academy, and the University of Hawaii. Ms. Little resides in Baton Rouge with her partner Eliese, their baby girl Annalise, and their three dogs and two cats.

Velvet Brown - Tuba

Velvet Brown is professor of tuba and euphonium at the Pennsylvania State University and the brass area coordinator. Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State in 2003, she taught at Bowling Green State University (Ohio), Ball State University (Indiana), and served as an associate director of University Bands at Boston University. Currently Ms. Brown is a member of the ITEA Board of Directors and has served as the secretary of the Executive Committee for the International Tuba and Euphonium Association (2001-2007). She is also a board member of the International Women’s Brass Conference. Ms. Brown is noted for receiving the 1999-2000 William Fulbright Fellowship Vinciguerra Award. She has had many successful students who have won prestigious playing and teaching positions as well as prizewinners at various regional, national and international competitions.  Velvet Brown also enjoys a professional career as an international soloist and chamber ensemble performer, recording artist, conductor and orchestral player. She has made regular appearances throughout Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Finland, France, England, Hungary, Slovenia, Russia, Japan, Canada and the United States.  Ms. Brown is currently the principal tubist of the Altoona Symphony Orchestra and the New Hampshire Music Festival Orchestra. She has served as principal tuba with the River City Brass band, and as substitute or additional tubist with the Detroit Symphony, Saint Louis Symphony, San Francisco Women’s Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic.  In 2004, Brown joined Howard Johnson’s “Gravity” Tuba Jazz Ensemble as lead tuba. She has also garnered high praise as a founding and current member of the Monarch Brass Quintet and Brass Ensemble, the Junction Tuba Quartet, and the Pennsylvania Brassworks (Faculty Brass at Penn State). She has released three solo CDs on the Crystal Records label, and a CD for the Nicolai Music Label. Velvet Brown can also be heard on Albany Records in her interpretation of John Williams’ Tuba Concerto. Velvet Brown is a Meinl Weston Performing Artist performing on the MW 2182 F tuba and the MW 2000 C tuba.

The Band for Harry Kim:

Harry Kim - Trumpet

Matt Olson - Saxophone

A native of Racine, Wisconsin, Matt Olson is Associate Professor of Saxophone and Director of Jazz Studies at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a Master of Music degree in Jazz Pedagogy and Bachelor of Music degree in Saxophone Performance from Northwestern University. Matt’s teachers have included Frederick Hemke, Debra Richtmeyer, Mike Kocour, Don Owens, Paul Bro, and Jonathan Helton.

Matt’s professional work includes performances with Randy Brecker, Kurt Elling, Benny Carter, Ken Peplowski, Kevin Mahogany, Chris Vadala, Doc Severinsen, Manhattan Transfer, Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Lou Rawls, Johnny Mathis, Wayne Newton, the Temptations, the Four Tops, children’s entertainer Shari Lewis, the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. His performances have taken him to the Montreal Jazz Festival as well as to Chicago’s Jazz Showcase and Orchestra Hall. Matt has performed at numerous national and regional conferences of the North American Saxophone Alliance and the 2003 World Saxophone Congress. He has also been a featured guest artist and clinician at Northwestern University, Arizona State University, the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, Samford University, and high schools throughout the United States. His article on Jerry Bergonzi’s approach to intervallic improvisation appeared in the January 2006 issue of Downbeat magazine. Matt’s debut jazz recording, Vortex was released in March 2006.

Matt is active nationally as a clinician and adjudicator. He presented a clinic on playing "both sides" of the saxophone at the 2009 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago. He also serves as instructor of saxophone for the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities and previously as summer instructor of jazz saxophone and jazz combos for the National High School Music Institute at Northwestern University. He also conducted one of two 2005 South Carolina Band Directors Association All-State Jazz Ensembles. He holds memberships in a variety of professional music societies including the North American Saxophone Alliance, BMI, Pi Kappa Lambda, MENC, Music Teachers National Association, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.

Miguel A. Torres - Trombone

Miguel A. Torres was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, studied at PR Conservatory and Berklee College of Music, was a member of Hector Lavoe's Band, have performed with salsa legends Tito Puente, Ismael Miranda, Tito Allen, Papo Lucca, Isidro Infante just to name a few, have recorded with Orquesta La Terrifica, Salsa con Clase, Foto Rodriguez, Cuco Valoy,  active member of the US Army Bands since 1987, currently resides in Evans, GA.

José Manuel Garcia - Piano

José Manuel Garcia, born in Caracas, Venezuala, graduated from Emil Friedman Conservatory in 1992. He received his BM in piano performance from Clayton State College. While at Clayton, he studied with George Lucktenberg and Michiko Otaki. Mr. Garcia earned his Master of Music in piano performance from Georgia State University in 2001, while a student of Geoffrey Haydon. Mr. García holds a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from the University of Georgia, from the piano studio of Evgeny Rivkin. His prizes include the Spivey Foundation Scholarship, the 1991 Harriet Serr Piano competition, the second prize at the 1994 Moisés Moleiro National Piano competition, the 2004 UGA Franz Liszt Award, and the Madge Johnson Weir Award at the 2005 Beethoven Club International Piano Competition.

A Steinway Artist, Mr. García is also actively involved as a jazz pianist in Atlanta and throughout the United States. He has performed with internationally acclaimed artists such as Michael Philipp Mossman, Ray Vega, Bill Summers, Kemba Cofield, Jennifer Holliday, El “Cano” Estremera, Luisito Rosario,Paquito Guzmán, Anthony Cruz, Willie González, Marlon Fernández, Oswaldo Román, Darmon Meador, Joe Jennings, Ilona Knopfler. Luisito Carrión,Ignacio Berroa, María Teresa Chacín, y Juan Carlos Salazar. Mr. García is a founder of International Groove Conspiracy, an Atlanta- based jazz trio which received great reviews by giants in the industry such as pianists Ahmad Jamal and Chucho Valdés, while also performed at major venues in the nation, including the Atlanta Jazz Festival, the Montreaux Jazz Festival, The National Black Arts Festival, the Rialto Center for the Arts, Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre, and the Blue Note in New York City.

Gerardo Colón Ortiz - Bass

Gerardo Colón Ortiz has over 26 years experience playing bass and over 18 years arranging and composing salsa and Latin jazz music. Born in Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, he received a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico in 1988. While attending college, he could also be found playing in such groups as the Musician's Association of Puerto Rico's Jazz Ensemble. Following graduation, Colón began teaching in the public schools of Puerto Rico, while gaining recognition among local salsa and jazz musicians by playing with such bands as Marvin Santiago, Eriguá, Mickey Cora, Joey Hernández, Cuto Soto, Sammy González and Yambaó. Later on, he joined the National Guard Band and led its Latin jazz ensemble. Since 1994 until present he works as a bass player for the US Army Band program. His resume also include advanced bass studies with bass player Jeff Berlin. Also he was the bass instructor for seven years for the “Armed Forces School of Music”.

His works accompanying jazz artists include; Frank Mantooth (big band), Terell Stafford and Richie Cole. Currently, he lives in the Evans, GA area and plays professionally with his group The Latín Jazz Note . He also gives private music lessons, (bass, cuatro, theory and improvisation). Also he is a contributing writer for the e-magazines SalsaJazz, The Latin Beat, ABI (https://abi.army.mil/resources/Default.asp?q=claves) and El Boricua.com. Books of his authorship; Ritmos Sight Reading for bass, LatinJazz duets for bass,Grooving Low Ultimate Grooves for Bass and Mambos for the Salsa and Latin Jazz horn section.

Jorge Santa - Drums and Percussion

Jorge Santa, a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, began his musical career at the age of 13, and attended Miami Dade College on scholarship to begin his first formal music training. He was a sought-after performer in the Miami music scene, where his versatility enabled him to perform with diverse groups, ranging from rock, country, blues, gospel, R&B, traditional & Cuban salsa, Jazz and pop bands. In 1998, he was busy in the cruise ship entertainment industry, musician on several ships. He has also performed with many artists and music groups in his native Puerto Rico. Artists such as Valle Verde (Latin Rock), Havana Son (Cuban music), Danny Rojo (Cuban music), Puerto Rico Symphonic Orchestra featuring Roy Brown, La PVC (Cuban music), Michael Angelo (Pop), Songwriters Workshop (Puerto Rico Institute of Cultural Affairs), Juan Jose Hernandez (Salsa).

After the 911 attacks Jorge joined the Air Force as Security Forces, later becoming a Police officer, first in PR and currently in Atlanta, Georgia. Jorge Santa is currently a member of the Air Force National Guard Band of the South, while a full time police officer. Jorge is active in the Metro Atlanta music scene and has worked with; Serenata Band-latin jazz (2008 Atlanta Jazz Festival), Orquesta Intl. Labor (Salsa), Orquesta Lirica (Salsa), Rob Garrido (Contemporary Christian), Brookwood Split (funk and R&B), Sally Blandon (jazz/ R&B).

Jose Muñiz - Congas

Jose Muñiz, a native from Caguas, Puerto Rico, began into the music world at age of 9 years old attending classes at the escuela libre de musica. While after he joined the school music band in Gurabo, Puerto Rico playing electric guitar under the direction of Mr.Semiday. After that he joined the salsa band La orquesta Juventud Latina for about a year then he moved to play with famous salsa musical director Roberto Perez y su Merensalsa group, playing with them for about 2 years. He also took one year of the preparatory music course at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico. After that he dedicated most of the time to play gospel music at church. When he moved to Florida he joined another church and also joined the salsa group “el conjunto candela” touring with them around the Florida area. He was one of the founders of the group “Positivo” and spent two years with the group playing a variety of musical styles . After relocating to South Carolina he was invited to play with the Rock Band “Haven” located in North Augusta, South Carolina. Currently he is an active member of the Puerto Rican Folk Music group”Mejor que Nah” from Augusta, Georgia.

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Claude Gordon Music Enterprise

Purtle Brass Conference - 2011

Purtle Brass Conference

July 7-9, 2011 at Anderson University

Inspiring Instruction In Practice, Playing and Business

 

Purtle Brass Conference 2011 Poster

Jeff Purtle (Host) - Claude Gordon's Teachings

Featured Artists:
Harry Kim (Lead Trumpet for American Idol and Phil Collins, Founder of The Vine Street Horns)
Carl Lenthe (B&S Artist and Trombone Professor at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music)

Guest Speakers:
Dr. Larry Miller, M.D- The Diaphragm Breathing Fallacy
Dr. Keith Amstutz - Col. Earl Irons and His Teaching
Rich Ita - Brass Repair and Maintenance
Arturo Sandoval - Interview over FaceTime
Philippe Schartz from the BBC

Highlights:


Vendors of Professional Instruments
Philippe Schartz FaceTime Interview
Carl Lenthe Masterclass
Dr. Keith Amstutz on Col. Earl Irons, the person and his work
Harry Kim on Improvisation
Catered BBQ and Jam Session 

Jeff Purtle on Claude Gordon's Teachings
Dr. Larry Miller, M.D. on The Diaphragmatic Breathing Fallacy
Jeff Purtle on Developing Range, Power and Control
Arturo Sandoval FaceTime Interview
Harry Kim Lecture/Recording Session on Marking Parts and Playing in a Horn Section
Rich Ita on Repairs and Maintenance
United States Marines on Military Music Careers
Participant Groups Rehearse with Peter Voisin, Gary Malvern and David Stern
Carl Lenthe Recital
After Party At Tucker's Resteraunt in Anderson, SC (next to Holiday Inn)
Jeff Purtle on CG Routines to Solve Problems
Carl Lenthe: "Music In Your Life - Your Life In Music"
Open Q & A with Dr. Larry Miller and Jeff Purtle
Harry Kim on Life Lessons from the Music Business
Harry Kim Concert
After Party at Carson's Steakhouse in Anderson, SC (next to Holiday Inn)
Graduate Credit Available

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Shires Trombones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Claude Gordon Music  

Look Who Recommends PbC:

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Reviews:

The Brass Herald's review of PbC 2010
International Trumpet Guild's review of PbC 2010
OnlineVideo.net about PbC 2010
Telestream's Customer Success Story about PbC 2010

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Jeff Purtle - Host

 

AnchorHarry Kim

 


Harry Kim was born and raised in New York City where he attended High School For The Performing Arts and prepared for a career as a classical trumpeter. After high school however, he relocated to Los Angeles and soon discovered the world of funk and jazz. After several years touring throughout the U.S. with various show groups, R&B revues and big bands, including the Harry James Big Band, he returned to Los Angeles to further his career.

Latin music took a front seat during the disco era, a time when live music was rarely featured in discotheques but was in strong demand by salsa audiences. It was at this time that he began working with artists such as Tito Puente and Celia Cruz, and also began honing his arranging skills by writing and performing on many disco productions.

Soon he joined Stevie Wonder’s Wonder Love which opened the doors of opportunity to perform and record with such artists as Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, The Four Tops, The Temptations, and Smokey Robinson. He was on stage for the Emmy Award winning 25th Anniversary of Motown performing with many of Motown’s greatest stars. It was an evening highlighted by Michael Jackson’s introduction of his now legendary moonwalk.

In 1985 he joined the Phenix Horns, the celebrated horn section of Earth Wind and Fire. Together they performed with various artists throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Included were two tours in 1987 and 1988 with French icon Michel Berger and vocalist France Gall.

In 1989 he participated in the making of Phil Collins’ multi award winning CD ...But Seriously. A world tour followed in 1990  marking the beginning of a long association with Collins. The multi platinum live concert CD Serious Hits Live was released soon after. 

Realizing the many advantages of being part of a high performance horn section, Kim founded The Vine Street Horns. He called together musicians with whom he had worked for many years. Numerous productions with various artists were to follow.

In 1994 Phil Collins called on The Vine Street Horns to join him on his Both Sides Tour, an extensive 18 month world tour.

In 1996 he was asked by Collins to organize a big band featuring adaptations of his music and the music of Genesis in a jazz setting. The Phil Collins Big Band was born. As musical director and arranger, Kim and The Vine Street Horns took center stage performing at all the major European jazz festivals, with Tony Bennett as vocalist and Quincy Jones as guest conductor.

This was also the year they recorded Phil Collins’ Into The Light CD, which toured the world in 1997.

The year 1998 saw another Phil Collins Big Band tour resulting in a live CD entitled A Hot Night In Paris.

Later that year an introduction to France’s legendary singer Johnny Hallyday led to 3 sold out performances at the Stade de France, five successful tours from 1998 to 2009 and numerous top selling concert CDs and DVDs.

In the new millennium Harry Kim continues to enjoy a well balanced schedule of studio recordings and live performances. Although he continues to tour throughout the world, with Johnny Hallyday and Phil Collins, he also manages to add to his long list of credits while at home. Recently he has acted as horn section leader and arranger for the 2005-2010 seasons of American Idol as well as for America’s Got Talent and Celebrity Duets.

Recent highlights:

Films: Evolution, El Dorado, Chicken Run, The Stick Up, The Italian Job, X-Men 3, Robots, Ice Age 2, Ice Age 3, The Poseidon Adventure, Out of Time, Love In The Time of Cholera, Happy Feet, Horton Hears a Who?, Jumpers, Hancock, Bolt, Kung Fu Panda

Television Specials and Award Shows:
Muhammad Ali 60th Birthday Celebration - Performing with Paul Simon and Natalie Cole
Jennifer Lopez - NBC Concert Special from San Juan, Puerto Rico
Grammy Award Winning MTV Unplugged with Spanish pop artist Alejandro Sanz
The Kennedy Center Honors Performing with Herbie Hancock
The 45th Anniversary Special of Motown
The 75th Anniversary Special of the Apollo Theater
Ray Charles... A Night of Genius.
The Black Film Awards
UNCF... An Evening of Stars (Annual)
The NAACP Image Awards (Annual)
The TVland Awards (Annual)
The BET Awards - Performing with Prince and Chaka Khan
BET Celebration of Gospel Music.
The World Music Awards - Performing with Stevie Wonder
The Billboard Awards - Performing with Diana Ross
The Grammy Awards - Performing with the Backstreet Boys
The Grammy Awards - Performing with Usher and James Brown
The Grammy Awards - Performing with Christina Aguilera
The Grammy Awards -  Performing with Alicia Keys
The Grammy Awards - Performing with Beyonce and Tina Turner
The 2011 Grammy Awards - Opening Feature Tribute to Aretha Franklin with Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Yolanda Adams, Martina McBride, and Florence Welch
Super Bowl XXXVIII - Performing the National Anthem with Beyonce
Super Bowl XXXIX - Performing with Alicia Keys
Super Bowl XXXXII - Performing the National Anthem with Jennifer Hudson
American Idol 2005-2010 seasons
Presidential Innauguration Ceremony For Barack Obama - Performing My Country Tis Of Thee with Aretha Franklin

Recently recorded with: Chaka Khan, Alicia Keys, Lyle Lovett, Chris Botti, Marc Anthony, Joe Zawinul (Faces and Places), Shakira.

AnchorCarl Lenthe

 

 

Carl Lenthe, Professor of Music at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, was born into a musical family in 1956 and grew up in the Delaware Valley in Pennsylvania. His love of good music, inspired by concert bands and recordings of the great orchestras, was nurtured by both the school and church music programs in his hometown of Springfield. Studies at the Curtis Institute of Music led him to a career in music, which commenced at the age of 20 with his engagement as principal-trombonist under Wolfgang Sawallisch at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Germany. His 17-year tenure there, during which he was named "Bavarian Chamber Virtuoso" by the Ministry of Culture, was followed by his appointment as principal-trombonist with the Bamberg Symphony, where he also served on that orchestra's executive committee.

As a trombone soloist, Lenthe won first prize with special distinction at the international music competition "Prague Spring" and has appeared as soloist with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Prague Symphony and the Bamberg Symphony. His solo CD "The Audition Window" has met with critical acclaim, contains some of the most standard contest and audition pieces for aspiring trombonists, and is coupled with a pilot project in music distance learning, theLentheLessons.  As Principal-Euphonium player in the Hal Leonard Recording Band, he was called upon to record the new solo CDs for the re-release of H. Voxman's venerable "Concert and Contest Collection"- for both euphonium and trombone.

Extensive chamber music and recital activities have not only kept him well-versed in the literature for Brass Quintet, Brass Ensemble, Trombone Quartet and Solo Trombone but also led him to arrange and publish music for these combinations. He is a regular performing member of Summit Brass, serving also on their Artist Board. His journalistic efforts have met with encouraging resonance in professional circles. In addition to his activities in the brass world, he also served as a mediocre but enthusiastic church organist and choir director for the Lutheran Chapel of the US Military in Bamberg, Germany.

As an orchestral trombonist Carl Lenthe has been a frequent guest with the Berlin Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Maggio Musicale in Florence and many other major orchestras in Europe. His expertise on the Wagnerian bass trumpet kept him in regular demand in many European opera houses. In the US, he has performed with the Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra and others.

Having received high quality instruction from the start, he feels a commitment to teaching and, beyond his regular studio teaching, enjoys working with a wide variety of pupils both on an individual basis as well as in workshops, clinics and master classes in southern Germany, Austria, northern Italy, Brazil and in the USA. Through his pedagogical and performance reputation he is frequently called upon to serve as juror for instrumental competitions at both regional and international levels. 

Also active as an instrument design consultant with the B&S Company of Germany, Lenthe is working with that company on a new line of highest quality professional trombones, the Meistersinger Series.

Carl lives in Bloomington with his wife Martha, a teacher and life-long learner. Together, they enjoy proudly following the paths and passions of their four children.

Audition Window: Timeless Trombone Tales - Carl Lenthe
Trombones Under the Tree - Carl Lenthe, Joseph Alessi, M. Dee Stewert & Mark Lawrence
Morceau Symphonique - Philip Jones Story - Carl Lenthe
Canzonetta - Philip Jones Story - Carl Lenthe

Dr. Keith Amstutz

Dr. A. Keith Amstutz, Professor Emeritus at the University of South Carolina, received his Bachelors and Masters degrees from Michigan State University and his doctorate from the University of Oklahoma. He studied trumpet with Byron L. Autrey, Col. Earl D. Irons and John J. Haynie. Prior to joining the USC faculty, Dr. Amstutz taught at the University of Texas, Arlington, the University of North Texas, and the University of Kansas. A nationally-known recitalist/clinician, Dr. Amstutz has appeared at universities and music conferences in 29 states. For fourteen years he performed as Principal Trumpet of the South Carolina  Philharmonic and Chamber Orchestras, the Columbia Lyric Theatre Orchestra and as a member of the Jimmy Farr Big Band.

“A Videofluorographic Study of the Teeth Aperture, Instrument Pivot and Tongue Arch and Their Influence on Trumpet Performance”, Dr. Amstutz’s videofluorographic research, remains the most in-depth study of the functions of the oral cavity organs during trumpet performance. Dr. Amstutz holds the patent on BRACEGUARD, the orthodontic shield for instrumentalists with braces. BRACEGUARD was introduced in 1983 is distributed world-wide. His publications also include two commercial albums of trumpet solo literature.

Kuo-Pei Cheng-Lin (Piano for Carl Lenthe Concert)

Kuo-Pei Cheng-Lin has enjoyed teaching piano & collaborative piano for more than 27 years. Born in Taiwan, she started playing the piano at the age of six and entered classical music school in her seventh grade. She holds a B.M. in Piano Performance from the National Institute of Arts in Taiwan and two Master’s degrees in Piano Performance and Collaborative Piano from The Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with Anne Epperson, Sandra Shapiro, Thomas Hecht and Olga Radosavljevich and performed in master classes given by Jerome Lowenthal, Warren Jones, Jean Barr and cellist Denis Brott. She received a full scholarship from the Santa Barbara Summer Music Festival and after graduation was appointed staff accompanist at CIM. In 1995 she moved to Cincinnati where she served as principal pianist for the Middletown Symphony Orchestra and as the music director and pianist for the Cincinnati Chinese Church at Mason. A Greenville resident since 2004, Mrs. Lin is currently serving as the principal pianist for the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra and piano faculty for North Greenville University.

Through the years she has continued to perform recitals as a soloist and with musicians from such institutions as the Cincinnati Symphony and Greenville Symphony, as well as faculty members of North Greenville University, Clemson University, and Furman University, among others. She recently performed Liszt’s Concerto No. 1 with the Foothills Philharmonic at the Peace Center.

Gerardo Colón Ortiz has over 26 years experience playing bass and over 18 years arranging and composing salsa and Latin jazz music. Born in Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, he received a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico in 1988. While attending college, he could also be found playing in such groups as the Musician's Association of Puerto Rico's Jazz Ensemble. Following graduation, Colón began teaching in the public schools of Puerto Rico, while gaining recognition among local salsa and jazz musicians by playing with such bands as Marvin Santiago, Eriguá, Mickey Cora, Joey Hernández, Cuto Soto, Sammy González and Yambaó. Later on, he joined the National Guard Band and led its Latin jazz ensemble. Since 1994 until present he works as a bass player for the US Army Band program. His resume also include advanced bass studies with bass player Jeff Berlin. Also he was the bass instructor for seven years for the “Armed Forces School of Music”.

His works accompanying jazz artists include; Frank Mantooth (big band), Terell Stafford and Richie Cole. Currently, he lives in the Evans, GA area and plays professionally with his group The Latín Jazz Note . He also gives private music lessons, (bass, cuatro, theory and improvisation). Also he is a contributing writer for the e-magazines SalsaJazz, The Latin Beat, ABI and El Boricua.com. Books of his authorship; Ritmos sightreading for bass, Latin Jazz duets for bass, Grooving Low Ultimate Grooves for Bass and Mambos for the Salsa and Latin Jazz horn section.

Lisandro Quintero - Congas

Lisandro Quintero was born on September 6, 1976 in Venezuela in Maracaibo, Zulia State. At the age of 8 he began to venture into the world of music at the Yamaha Music Academy where he excelled with the instrument Organ. After his 18 years of age he began his studies at the Academy Percussion Latin America 21 where performance skills to play congas, bongos and timbales. Thereafter began working with several orchestras of Zulia was one of his first 7 Scala Orchestra, where he recorded his first production in 1999. Then he enters the world of Teaching, where he began teaching Latin Percussion. Forward begins to work with many artists, groups and bands of Venezuela and the world such as: Elvis Crespo, Johnny Ventura, Luis Enrique, Fulanito, Jenny Rivera, Bobby Pulido, Ismael Miranda, Luisito Carrion, David Pavon, Hector Tricoche, Luigi Texidor, Maelo Ruiz, Chino y Nacho, The Aviators, Gilberto Santa Rosa caranjanos, The Teenagers, Omar Henry, Erica and her Brazilian Explosion, Charly Zaas among others. Currently in U.S. working with Univision Atlanta and Miami Show Band and transmitting their knowledge throughout the world.

Doug Norwine - Saxophone

An accomplished saxophone player, Doug graduated Magna Cum Laude from Bowling Green University in Ohio with a Bachelor of Music degree. He also received a Masters Equivalent in Performance from Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Doug has received 12 Gold and Platinum records from the RIAA for his work as a musician. Doug's musical credits are numerous, and will certainly be familiar to anyone tuned into the American popular culture landscape. Perhaps his most popular credit is that of the baritone sax behind Lisa Simpson and her mentor, "Bleeding Gums" Murphy on the FOX hit series, The Simpsons.

A busy studio musician in Los Angeles for the past 28 years, Doug has been featured on such television shows as Roseanne, Full House, Seinfeld, The Tonight Show and too many others to list.

Miguel A. Torres - Trombone

Miguel A. Torres was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, studied at PR Conservatory and Berklee College of Music, was a member of Hector Lavoe's Band, have performed with salsa legends Tito Puente, Ismael Miranda, Tito Allen, Papo Lucca, Isidro Infante just to name a few, have recorded with Orquesta La Terrifica, Salsa con Clase, Foto Rodriguez, Cuco Valoy,  active member of the US Army Bands since 1987, currently resides in Evans, GA.
Watch Miguel playing with Salsa legend, Hector Lavoe.

Trio for BBQ and Jam Session (Thursday night):

Keith Davis - Piano

Keith Davis is a jazz pianist, composer, and educator with 30 years of professional experience. He currently lives in Greenville, South Carolina. Keith performs regularly at jazz festivals, clubs and events throughout the Southeast, both as a solo pianist and with many of the finest musicians in the area. He also teaches piano lessons, with a focus on improvisation, and also serves as Adjunct Instructor of Jazz Piano at Furman University. Keith also teaches Chen Style Tai Chi and Qigong.

Shannon Hoover - Bass

Shannon Hoover is an upright/electric bassist/composer from Greenville SC. He actively freelances in diverse styles such as jazz, latin, and classical, and also leads his own band featuring original compositions. He is a first-call session and touring bassist, recently performing at the Blue Room in Kansas City, MO with Kobie Watkins and Yoshi’s in San Francisco CA with the Hipbones. Shannon has played with greats like Branford Marsalis, Joe Craven, Derek Trucks, Rick Simerly, Pete McCann, Kofi Burbridge, and Jeff Sipe. He currently teaches private lessons at Watson/Wood Music Greenville SC and is adjunct bass instructor at USC Upstate University in Spartanburg SC.

Tim Blackwell - Drums

A Spartanburg, South Carolina native and an honor graduate of the Percussion Institute of Technology at Musician’s Institute in Hollywood, California as well as the University of South Carolina Upstate.  Tim is a devoted student of drums with more than 25 years playing and recording experience.  He has had the opportunity to study with some of today's top studio players and educators including: Joe Porcaro, Ralph Humphry, Steve Houghton, Casey Scheurell, Chuck Silverman, Efrain Toro, and Chuck Flores to name a few.

After earning his bachelors, Tim taught at USC Upstate for three and a half years as Adjunct Music Instructor.  He taught Applied Drum Lessons and was the Assistant Director of the Jazz Ensemble.  He currently teaches at Hames Music in Gaffney, SC and conducts private lessons in his Spartanburg, SC, studio.

Over the years of studying and teaching privately, Tim has performed with jazz artists such as saxophonist Walter Blanding Jr., saxophonist Don Braden, trumpeter Mark Rapp, pianist Ellis Marsalis, trombonist Steve Turre, guitarist Scott Henderson, and bassist Jeff Berlin among others.

Locally, Tim is the leader of a straight-ahead jazz quartet always featuring the finest players in the region, has played with the Spartanburg Jazz Ensemble Big Band and works as a freelance drummer playing and recording in many popular styles of music.

While Tim’s drumming is centered in jazz, his passion for all genres and styles of music gives him an edge.  He is best known for his versatility in a wide variety of musical settings.  Whether he is playing jazz standards, kicking a big band, or laying down a tight funky groove for a pop or rock tune, his greatest satisfaction comes from creating a vibe in the music and helping to make tunes groove.

Purtle Brass Conference - 2012

Purtle Brass Conference
at Anderson University
Inspiring Instruction In Practice, Playing and Business

August 2 - 4, 2012

 

 

Jeff Purtle - Host
Bob O'Donnell - Los Angeles Studio Trumpet Player
Harry Kim - Founder of the Vine Street Horns
Philippe Schartz - Principal Trumpet of BBC National Orchestra of Wales

Highlights:

  • How To Use Method Books To Improve Technique
  • Professionals Share Life Lessons Learned From The Professional World For Anyone
  • Recording Session with Harry Kim
  • Ensembles directed by Peter Voisin (Roger Voisin's son) and Gary Malvern
  • Interview with Brad Kintscher, studio horn player
  • Jam Session(s) and Excellent Food
  • University Credit Available (Under Online MM Ed. Degree at Anderson University)
  • A never before seen presentation from Philippe Schartz
  • Brass Pedagogy Forum with Experts on Jimmy Stamp, Donald Reinhardt, Bill Adam, Claude Gordon and others
  • More exciting details are soon to be announced.

Schedule:

Thursday, August 2, 2012

10:00 - 11:30am Check-in, Exhibits Open, Chick-Fil-A and Coffee provided
12:00 noon Opening
Brad Kintscher Interview and Demo
Gil Estes Presentation on Practical Technology
Philippe Schartz HD Video of The Diaphragm During Trumpet Playing
Improv Workshop with Doug Norwine, Bob O'Donnell and a live rhythm section
Ensemble Rehearsals
Jam Session with Catered BBQ  (An encouraging environment for anyone to participate.)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Jeff Purtle on Claude Gordon's Teachings
Harry Kim about overcoming teeth and chop problems while on the road
Bob O'Donnell Lecture
Recording Session
Ensemble Rehearsals
Philippe Schartz Recital
Jam Session and Get Together after Recital

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Philippe Schartz Lecture
Harry Kim on Life Lessons from The Music Business
Brass Pedagogy Forum (Bob O'Donnell, Roy Poper, Rich Willey, James Stokes, and TBA)
Ensemble Rehearsals
Participant Ensemble Opens The Evening Concert
Concert with Bob O'Donnell and Harry Kim with Big Band
Jam Session and Get Together after Concert

Bios:

Jeff Purtle - Host

 

 

Bob O'Donnell - Los Angeles Studio Trumpet Player

 

 

Born and raised in Los Angeles, attended Pasadena City College and then transferred to Cal State University Los Angeles where he received a Bachelors Of Arts Degress in Music. Right out of High School, at age 18, Bob traveled with the Si Zentner Orchestra for the summer then returning to school, he worked at Disneyland throughout his college years. During this time, he played Lead Trumpet in the Stan Kenton Jr. Neophonic Orchestra.

After college, he traveled with different acts, such as Johnny Mathis, Helen Reddy, and Tony Orlando. He was hired to play Lead Trumpet for Shipstad's and Johnson's Ice Follies which took him to 28 cities a year. After five years with that company, he was hired by Paul Anka as Lead Trumpet where he spent two years traveling around the world with him.

After leaving he road, he settled back in Los Angeles and began working in the studios for Motion Picture, Television, and Records. Some of the TV shows he was involved in were Star Trek, The Next Generation, Voyager, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Private Benjamin, Knight Rider, Hulk, B.J. and The Bear, and Chicago Story.

Other Television shows were two seasons of Barbara Mandrell, nine TV Specials with Lynda Carter, a Diana Ross Special, many Midnight Special shows and Don Kirchner Rock Concerts, and 14 years of the American Music Awards shows.

A few of the Motion Pictures are the X-Files, Star Trek 2, Gremlins 2, Betsy's Wedding, and The Day After Tomorrow and others.

Bob has been involved with Broadway shows since 1979 and done over 50 different shows from Chicago to Phantom of The Opera.

Harry Kim - Founder of the Vine Street Horns

 

Visit Harry's new website, with this impressive list of credits.

Harry Kim was born in raised in New York City where he attended High School For The Performing Arts and prepared for a career as a classical trumpeter. After high school however, he relocated to Los Angeles and soon discovered the world of funk and jazz. After several years touring throughout the U.S. with various show groups, R&B revues and big hands, including the Harry James Big Band, he returned to Los Angeles to further his career.

Latin music took a front seat during the disco era, a time when live music was rarely featured in discotheques but was in strong demand by salsa audiences. It was at this time that he began working with artists such as Tito Puente and Celia Cruz, and also began honing his arranging skills by writing and performing on many disco productions.

Soon he joined Stevie Wonders Wonder Love which opened the doors of opportunity to perform and record with such artists as Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, The Four Tops, The Temptations, and Smokey Robinson. He was on stage for the Emmy Award winning 25th Anniversary of Motown performing with many of Motowns greatest stars. It was an evening highlighted by Michael Jackson's introduction of his now legendary moonwalk.

In 1985 he joined the Phenix Horns, the celebrated horn section of Earth Wind and Fire. Together they performed with various artists throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Included were two tours in 1987 and 1988 with French icon Michel Berger and vocalist France Gall.

In 1989 he participated in the making of Phil Collins's multi award winning CD ...But Seriously. A world tour followed in 1990 marking the beginning of a long association with Collins. The multi platinum live concert CD Serious Hits Live  was released soon after.

Realizing the many advantages of being part of a high performance horn section, Kim founded The Vine Street Horns. He called together musicians with whom he had worked for many years. Numerous productions with various artists were to follow.

In 1994 Phil Collins called on The Vine Street Horns to join him on his Both Sides Tour, an extensive 18 month world tour.

In 1996 he was asked by Collins to organize a big band featuring adaptations of his music and the music of Genesis in a jazz setting. The Phil Collins Big Band was born. As musical director and arranger, Kim and The Vine Street Horns took center stage performing at all the major European jazz festivals, with Tony Bennett as vocalist and Quincy Jones as guest conductor.

This was also the year they recorded Phil Collins Into The Light CD which toured the world in 1997.

The year 1998 saw another Phil Collins Big Band tour resulting in a live CD entitled A Hot Night In Paris.

Later that year an introduction to France's legendary singer Johnny Hallyday led to 3 sold out performances at the Stade de France, five successful tours from 1998 to 2009 and numerous top selling concert CDs and DVDs.

Although he continues to tour throughout the world with various artists he also manages to add to his long list of credits while at home in Los Angeles. As an example in one week he played Beethoven's Ninth Symphony for the tribute concert for the victims of the 2011 Japan earthquake, then flew to the Toronto Jazz Festival to play with the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, then returned to Los Angeles to play on the Tonight Show Band with Rickey Minor. In 2011 he was on several awards shows such as the TV Land Awards, the American Film Institute Awards, and opened the 2011 Grammy's with the ten minute tribute to Aretha Franklin.

From 2005-2011 he has acted as horn section leader and arranger for the 2005-2011 seasons of American Idol. In the USA Harry was even televised twice in one day as he played the final week of the Oprah Show, airing in the afternoon, and the final week of American Idol, airing in the evening.

Philippe Schartz - Principal Trumpet of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales

 

Philippe Schartz is one of the most exciting trumpeters of  today. He has developed a highly successful career as an orchestral and chamber musician as well as a soloist. As Principal Trumpet of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, until summer 2002, and in his student days with the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra he has performed, to much critical acclaim, with conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Pierre Boulez and Bernard Haitink. His solo career includes many recitals and concertos all over Europe as well as four solo CD recordings. In addition Philippe has been broadcasted on numerous radio and TV stations including the BBC and diverse European networks. Philippe also enjoys teaching as part of the staff at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and has travelled around the world giving many masterclasses and educational workshops including at the Royal College of Music, Northwestern University of Chicago and Queens University Belfast Music School.

"Philippe Schartz is an outstanding musician and person. We are pleased to have been able to provide instruction for him, and have high expectations for his professional success. "(Jon E Engberg, Associate Director, Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY)

Born in Luxembourg, Philippe's enjoyment for the trumpet began when he listened to his father play in the village wind band. This passion grew through the careful handful hands of his teachers including the great player Dino Tomba who became a great friend and mentor. His studies were continued first at the Royal College of Music in London with David Mason, and afterwards was invited to join the "Special Student" programme at the Eastman School in Rochester, New York. During his student years he won many prizes and awards which were a testament to the player that he would become.

Philippe Schartz is an official Yamaha artist and plays exclusively on Yamaha trumpets.

Recent Albums:  NEW  Apres La Nuit...,     and Trumpet Renaissance,    

Brad Kintscher - Los Angeles Studio French Horn Player

Brad Kintscher is a free-lance hornist who played in the Los Angeles area for the past 20 years and recently relocated to the Pacific Northwest. He is an active recording musician, and has played for motion pictures, television, jingles, and records as well as other live events in the Los Angeles Area, as seen by his long list of credits.

In addition to being Principal Horn in the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra and Third horn in the Santa Barbara Symphony, he plays extra regularly with the Pacific Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Los Angeles Opera. Brad also plays principal horn for Broadway musical productions at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, Ahmanson, and Shubert theatres.

Mr. Kintscher received a Bachelor of Music Degree from California State University Northridge where he studied with Ralph Pyle. During this time Brad also studied for many years with Brass Pedagogue Claude Gordon.

Peter Voisin

Peter Voisin is the leader and founder of Premier Brass and he is the son of the legendary Roger Voisin, who was principal trumpet of the Boston Symphony for 38 years. Peter attended the Aspen Music School,  Oberlin Conservatory and New England Conservatory of Music; was a member of the Syracuse Symphony and the SSO Brass Quintet for ten years.  He also played third trumpet and forth trumpet with Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra from 1983 to 2005. While in Jacksonville, he attended Southside United Methodist Church and performed on keyboard, Flugelhorn, Trumpet, and Piccolo Trumpet with “FAITH” praise band as well as performed at weddings with the well-known organists in Northeast Florida. He composes and arranges for brass and chamber groups.

Since moving to Hendersonville, NC in August of 2005, Peter has performed with the Asheville’s First Baptist Church Orchestra, The Spartanburg Philharmonic, (1st trumpet on Carmina Burana), the Brevard Community Orchestra and Brevard Chamber Orchestra, as well as Premier Brass Seasonal Christmas and Easter Services at St. James Episcopal Church in downtown Hendersonville, NC. He has now started playing with the Smoky Mountain Brass Band out of Asheville, NC. He is also a designated CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Councelor) and CLTC  (Certified in Long Term Care) Financial Advisor since 1984.

Gary Malvern

Gary Malvern has traveled throughout the world as a soloist and section member, performing with such ensembles as the National Repertory Orchestra (principal trumpet) and the American Wind Symphony. Whether traveling to Australia for an artist-in-residence program or performing for the Spoleto Festival or the International Trumpet Guild Conference, Dr. Malvern performs with a high level of skill and musicality. These experiences have enabled him to offer his students a larger musical perspective, and to empower them to do their best work. Students in his trumpet studio focus on a wide range of fundamental exercises as well as sight reading, etudes, solo literature and orchestral excepts.

In addition to his responsibilities with private instruction and brass ensembles, Dr. Malvern has an active interest in classroom teaching, and enjoys working with students in a variety of history and theory classes. He believes strongly in the Liberal Arts approach to music education: that every class a student takes--be it in the music curriculum or not--nourishes and enhances one's own musical specialty. 

Alongside of academic life at Furman, Dr. Malvern leads a rich and varied professional life, which includes performing as principal trumpet of the Greenville Symphony, playing with the Aurora Brass Quintet, and appearing as a regional clinician and soloist.  Dr. Malvern is trumpet instructor for the South Carolina Governor's School of the Arts.

Brass Pedagogy Forum

Roy Poper - Long Time Student of Jimmy Stamp

Roy Poper has for more than 30 years maintained an active performing career of a breadth rare among musicians. His engagements span every facet of trumpet performance including symphonic principal player (Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and L.A. Opera), film studio work (over 500 major motion pictures), chamber music (founding member, The Modern Brass Quintet), and "popular" genres including jazz ensembles, Broadway shows, and even recordings with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention.

Equally respected as a teacher, he was for more than 20 years a member of the faculty of the University of Southern California School of Music prior to moving to Oberlin, OH in 2002 to assume the duties of Associate Professor of Trumpet at the Oberlin Conservatory. His book, Roy Poper's Guide to the Brasswind Methods of James Stamp (Balquhidder Music), which serves as a companion to James Stamp Warm-ups and Studies (Editions BIM) has become an acclaimed addition to the trumpet method-book literature, thoroughly explaining how to execute and effeciently utilize James Stamps' teaching methods.

He continues to be in demand as a performer, performing frequently in the greater Cleveland Area and Los Angeles. He has commissioned numerous works, some of which appear on his forthcoming CD, L.A. Trumpet Works. Roy has been recorded on the Crystal, Orion, Nonesuch, and Dorian labels.

Bob O'Donnell - Long Time Student of Claude Gordon

James Stokes - Long Time Student of Bill Adam

Rich Willey - Long Time Student of Donald Reinhardt and The Pivot System

As a bandleader, Rich Willey has presented music at functions and events with a quartet, quintet, sextet, septet, octet, nonet, dectet and even a sixteen-piece big band. Rich’s jazz bands are versatile, playing latin, swing, dixieland, or bebop styles and employ some of the best players in the Asheville and Western North Carolina region.

As both a player and composer, Rich Willey is firmly rooted in the jazz tradition. His trumpet and bass trumpet playing draw upon the wellspring of bebop with a contemporary freshness; brash and forceful, but also lyrical and warm. His compositions and arrangements are thoughtful and substantial, yet always accessible and listenable, combining a solid sense of swing with an overriding concern for melody.

Rich was active on the New York scene in the 1980s to the mid 1990s, handling a wide range of Latin and jazz gigs, most notably backing up legendary vocalist Mel Tormé. He is the author of The Ultimate Collection of Jazz Duets,Jazz Improv Materials Handbook Complete — a melodic approach to jazz improvisationThe Melody Lingers On — 24 Melodic Jazz SolosThe Ultimate Blues WorkoutWe’re Talkin’ Bebop — a melodic approach for developing a bebop-style jazz vocabularyTrumpeter’s Guides to Major and Minor II-V-IsRhythm MadnessScale ForceVariations on Clarke’s Second Study Vols. 1 and 2Upside-Down Scales for Improvisation, and a trumpet method book FocalPoint — a centered approach to embouchure development (Boptism Music Publishing).

Rich has a B.A. in music education from the University of South Florida. He finished his M.M. in jazz performance in 2001 at the renowned Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Byron Stripling and Mike Abene. Rich spent the fall of 2001 on tour playing second trumpet — the challenging “jazz chair” — with trumpet legend Maynard Ferguson’s Big Bop Nouveau.

Rich and his quintet recorded Gone With the Piggies (Consolidated Artists Productions CAP962) in 2001, a striking collection of brilliantly conceived and impeccably performed tracks, including four of his own distinctive compositions. 2001 also saw the formation of the partnership between Rich Willey and Bob Bernotas and their new company, Boptism Music Publishing.

Since 2002 Rich has toured with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra under the direction of Buddy Morrow. A resident of Candler, NC, he teaches at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, taught at Limestone College (Gaffney, SC) for two years, and also directed the Spartanburg Jazz Ensemble for two years. In addition to being on the music faculty at UNC-Asheville, Rich is also on the music faculty at Clemson University in Clemson, SC, was the director of the historic first jazz bands at Brevard Music Center, Brevard, NC, and is also the conductor of the Spartanburg Jazz Ensemble.

Rich has performed with many great musicians (in no particular order): Maynard Ferguson’s Big Bop Nouveau, Hank Mobley, Johnny Coles, Bob Haggart, John Hart, Tim Hagans, Lionel Hampton, Bootsie Barnes, Larry McKenna, John Swana, Mike Natale, Jack Petersen, Don Paterson, Bob Belden, Bob Mintzer, Ernie Watts, Paquito D’Rivera, Kenny Soderblom, John LaPorta, Ted Rosenthal, Larry Camp, Jeff Rupert, The Clayton Brothers, Andy Fusco, Ray Vega, John Lamb, Johnny Varro, Bill Conti, Kenny Drew Jr., Bobby Rosengarden, Jon Gordon, Conrad Herwig, Jerry Jerome, Lou Stellute, John Colianni, Joel Frahm, William Evans, Chris Potter, Greg Gisbert, Scott Wendholt, Brad Mehldau, Joe Farnsworth, John Webber, John Samorian, Danny Gatton, Cecil Bridgewater, Claudio Roditi, Dave Trigg, Dave Stahl, Frank Greene, Tony Berrerro, John DiMartino, Bobby Sanabria, Gary Morgan (PanAmericana Big Band), Jack Wilkins, Dave Riekenberg, Carlos Santos, Napoleon Murphy Brock, Bogus Pomp (Zappa tribute band), Dick Hafer, Chip McNeill, Harry Allen, Ron McClure, Mel Tormé, Jerry Weldon, Adam Brenner, Dave Schumacher, Scott Robinson, Bob Milliken, Don Lamond, Jim Snidero, Jon Owens, Danny Stiles, Bill Mobley, Pete Malinverni, Ed Palermo Big Band, John Walsh, Steve Kirby, John Benitez, Rick Simerly, John Eckert, Chuck Owen, John Simon, Andy Gravish, Bill Moring, Doug Weiss, Randy Eckert, Lynne Arielle, Tim Newman, Debby Boone, Cab Calloway Orchestra, Natalie Cole, Kevin Mahogany, Clay Aiken, The Temptations, Martin Short, Terry Vosbein, Knoxville Jazz Orchestra, Arturo O’Farrill, John Bunch, Derek Smith, Bobby Shew, Rufus Reid, James Moody, Jon Hendrix, Junior Mance, Eddie McFadden, Ira Sullivan, Duffy Jackson, the Cab Calloway Orchestra, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra directed by Bill Tole, etc. Tours (in 2002 and 2004-present) with Tommy Dorsey Orchestra under direction of Buddy Morrow, playing 2nd (jazz) trumpet. Played with Tommy Dorsey Orchestra at 2005 Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C. Played trumpet on the Delta Queen Riverboat in 2003.

Others Soon Announced

PbC Big Band

Shannon Hoover - Bass and Leader

Shannon Hoover is an upright/electric bassist/composer from Greenville SC. He actively freelances in diverse styles such as jazz, latin, and classical, and also leads his own band featuring original compositions. He is a first-call session and touring bassist, recently performing at the Blue Room in Kansas City, MO with Kobie Watkins and Yoshi’s in San Francisco CA with the Hipbones. Shannon has played with greats like Branford Marsalis, Joe Craven, Derek Trucks, Rick Simerly, Pete McCann, Kofi Burbridge, and Jeff Sipe. He currently teaches private lessons at Watson/Wood Music Greenville SC and is adjunct bass instructor at USC Upstate University in Spartanburg SC.

Howard Kim - Piano Accompanist for Philippe Schartz Recital

Jam Session Musicians

Keith Davis - Piano

Keith Davis is a jazz pianist, composer, and educator with 30 years of professional experience. He currently lives in Greenville, South Carolina. Keith performs regularly at jazz festivals, clubs and events throughout the Southeast, both as a solo pianist and with many of the finest musicians in the area. He also teaches piano lessons, with a focus on improvisation, and also serves as Adjunct Instructor of Jazz Piano at Furman University. Keith also teaches Chen Style Tai Chi and Qigong.

Shannon Hoover - Bass

Shannon Hoover is an upright/electric bassist/composer from Greenville SC. He actively freelances in diverse styles such as jazz, latin, and classical, and also leads his own band featuring original compositions. He is a first-call session and touring bassist, recently performing at the Blue Room in Kansas City, MO with Kobie Watkins and Yoshi’s in San Francisco CA with the Hipbones. Shannon has played with greats like Branford Marsalis, Joe Craven, Derek Trucks, Rick Simerly, Pete McCann, Kofi Burbridge, and Jeff Sipe. He currently teaches private lessons at Watson/Wood Music Greenville SC and is adjunct bass instructor at USC Upstate University in Spartanburg SC.

Tim Blackwell - Drums

A Spartanburg, South Carolina native and an honor graduate of the Percussion Institute of Technology at Musician’s Institute in Hollywood, California as well as the University of South Carolina Upstate.  Tim is a devoted student of drums with more than 25 years playing and recording experience.  He has had the opportunity to study with some of today's top studio players and educators including: Joe Porcaro, Ralph Humphry, Steve Houghton, Casey Scheurell, Chuck Silverman, Efrain Toro, and Chuck Flores to name a few.

After earning his bachelors, Tim taught at USC Upstate for three and a half years as Adjunct Music Instructor.  He taught Applied Drum Lessons and was the Assistant Director of the Jazz Ensemble.  He currently teaches at Hames Music in Gaffney, SC and conducts private lessons in his Spartanburg, SC, studio.

Over the years of studying and teaching privately, Tim has performed with jazz artists such as saxophonist Walter Blanding Jr., saxophonist Don Braden, trumpeter Mark Rapp, pianist Ellis Marsalis, trombonist Steve Turre, guitarist Scott Henderson, and bassist Jeff Berlin among others.

Locally, Tim is the leader of a straight-ahead jazz quartet always featuring the finest players in the region, has played with the Spartanburg Jazz Ensemble Big Band and works as a freelance drummer playing and recording in many popular styles of music.

While Tim’s drumming is centered in jazz, his passion for all genres and styles of music gives him an edge.  He is best known for his versatility in a wide variety of musical settings.  Whether he is playing jazz standards, kicking a big band, or laying down a tight funky groove for a pop or rock tune, his greatest satisfaction comes from creating a vibe in the music and helping to make tunes groove.

Technical Staff

Randy Rouse - Video Production

Randy Rouse has been involved with media productions of all types ranging from broadcast television and live internet streaming to live arena productions and studio recording projects. In recent years he has developed a local cable channel; Home Town TV, serving the eastern Pee Dee region of South Carolina.

Randy, an ordained bishop in the Church of God, is also heavily involved in ministry, serving as Worship and Fine Arts Pastor for the Dillon Church of God in Dillon, South Carolina.

Tim Godby - Audio and Mac Multimedia

Tim is a classically trained musician who studied at Olivet Nazarene University (a small liberal arts school south of Chicago) and Indiana University. He has been a Director of Worship and Arts for the past thirty-one years, serving churches in Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina. The natural outcome of that occupation has been an immersion in vocal and instrumental production, lighting design, audio installation and production, and video editing and production. "Technology has been a life-long passion as well as a necessary part of what I do," he says. Music has also been a vocation, avocation and passion (he admits to having spent more on his first audio system than on his first car).

"The Purtle Brass Conference has had a rather profound impact on my life," he says. "After forty years as a woodwind player, I am learning to play the trumpet!"

Tim is husband to Jane and father to William, Joseph and Ashleigh.

Kyle Hamilton - Recording Studio Engineer and Live Audio

Kyle T. Hamilton, a native of Anderson, South Carolina, is currently a music major at Anderson University and is a studio engineer and runs live sound.  Coming from a classical background doesn’t dissuade him from an appreciation of contemporary forms which he also enjoys. In addition to his expertise as a recording engineer, he holds positions as a violist with the Anderson Symphony Orchestra, Anderson University String Ensemble and the Anderson University String Quartet. He has a deep interest and understanding of audio recording electronics and techniques and has a focused passion toward making excellent recordings.

Sponsors:

Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina

Yamaha Music Europe (UK)   Wirecast Live Streaming Production Studio by Telestream

MediaTemple - Servers for the Purtle Brass Conference      Fusion Audio Video: Home Theaters, Automation and More   The Pompous Pig "Barbecue with and Attitude" 
    Blue Juice Valve Oil   iPhone Solutions - Gil Estes - iOS App Developer and Trombone Playera

         

Correct Hand Position For The Trumpet And Valved Brass Instruments by Jeff Purtle

In this article two of the seven fundamental physical items of Brass Playing are going to be explained. This article is meant to accompany the article How To Practice. The article What To Practice also explains how to apply all the Seven Basic Items in a daily practice routine using the various known method books.

Hand Position includes two items: The Fingers Of The Right Hand and The Grip of The Left Hand as applied to the trumpet. The French Horn will have a slightly different application as the hands are reversed and the right hand is involved in other functions.

To most people finger position is insignificant as a concern. But, it becomes an issue when the player desires to achieve the highest of goals in regards to speed and agility. The habits that are started at the beginning stages of playing can lay a solid foundation for success or doom the player to future frustration and failure. That is why this should be a big concern to every player.

The obvious function of the Fingers of The Right Hand is to control the valves. The Grip of the Left Hand must be firm and solid in order to completely hold the weight of the horn and thereby completely free The Fingers Of The Right Hand to only control the valves.

Correct Hand Position - Firm Grip with Left Hand

CORRECT (Firm Grip with Left Hand)

Correct Hand Position - Right Thumb Straight on First Valve, Strike Valves Hard on The Ball Of The Fingers and Lift Fingers High

CORRECT (Right Thumb Straight on the First Valve, Strike Valves Hard on The Ball Of The Fingers and Lift Fingers High)

The thumb of the right hand must remain straight and not bent at the knuckle. The thumb should be ON the first valve and not between the first and second valves. The tendency with everyone that places their finger between the first and second valves is to further bend the thumb's knuckle and thereby shift the right hand in closer to the valves. This makes it impossible for the fingers to strike on the ball of the fingers. The fingers either will press on the tips or flatten. The use of the tips will result in a cramped and tight hand position and the flattened position will result in loss of control and leverage with the fingers. The goal is to have the fingers in a position that is the fastest and most relaxed position in order to play and never get tired. I believe that most player's complaints of carpal tunnel syndrome are a direct result of incorrect hand position.

Incorrect Hand Position - Right Thumb Bent and Finger Tips on Valves

INCORRECT (Right Thumb Bent and Finger Tips on Valves)

Incorrect Hand Position - Right Thumb Bent and Fingers Flat On Valves

INCORRECT (Right Thumb Bent and Fingers Flat on Valves)

The little finger of The Right Hand should not be put in the finger hook, except when needed for a page turn, use of a plunger mute or another brief use of The Left Hand. Placing the little finger in the finger hook inhibits the movement of the third valve finger and allows for the bad habit of using it to apply more than necessary pressure to the lips when playing.

The issue of Striking The Valves Hard versus pressing the valves and not lifting them off the valve caps is an issue worth covering too. It comes from the belief that more movement will slow you down. In practice this is not the case. As the fingers are trained in striking the valves and lifting the fingers high it results in more instantaneous reaction and clarity as the valves are either up or down and nothing else. Precise valve alignment is negated if the fingers are allowed to rest on the valves even slightly depressing them and if the valves are not held down completely. The result will be loss of response and a sacrifice of one of the other seven items, Wind Control, which is closely related with the two items being discussed.

Claude Gordon's Lift Fingers High Strike Valves Hard Stamp

Stamp that Claude Gordon put on every finger exercise

The Grip of The Left Hand too serves an important function in the control of the horn. It must be firm so as to not be easily disturbed by the striking of the valves. The wrist must be relaxed so as to accommodate movements specific to each player in response to movements of the face. It too has a specific correct position in maintaining the valve casing in a vertical position and not rotated in a clockwise fashion. The error in the rotation of the valves is that it throws the Fingers of The Right Hand out of alignment and results in the same problems as having a bent right thumb or the right thumb between the first and second valves. This all results in a more cramped finger position.

Incorrect Hand Position - Horn Rotated Clockwise and Finger Tips on Valves

INCORRECT (Horn Rotated Clockwise and Finger Tips on Valves)

Admired players are sometimes immulated without thought as to why it is being done. Maynard Ferguson, undoubtedly a trumpet legend, is sometimes immulated in his left hand grip. Claude Gordon in his classic response to this says, "When you can play like Maynard then you can hold it anyway you wish! But, until then you hold it correctly!"

Incorrect Hand Position - Unstable Left Hand Grip AKA Maynard Ferguson Pistol Grip

INCORRECT (Unstable Left Hand Grip AKA Maynard Ferguson Grip)

Correct Hand Position - Left Little Finger Under Third Valve Slide - an option for bigger hands

CORRECT (Left Little Finger Under Third Valve Slide - an option for bigger hands)

There are some people that have larger or smaller hands than others and their hand might not fit in order to place the ring finger of the left hand in the finger ring. If this is the case some may place their little finger under the third valve slide. For some with very small hands their little finger will fit in the finger ring and the other three fingers can fit around the valve casing. The point is that the valve casing should rest in the palm of the left hand in order to be stable.

Correct Hand Postion - Valve Casing Resting in the Palm of the Left Hand for a stable and comfortable grip

CORRECT (Valve Casing Resting in the Palm of the Left Hand for a stable and comfortable grip)

Remember that the Seven Basic Items work together as a complete machine as covered in the article How To Practice. They must each be trained specifically so as to function correctly by habit. There will undoubtedly be people that read this and say that it is too hard to do it in the described manner. Once habits are developed it takes concentrated effort to correct them. Things that seem to be more difficult that are correct will only become easy and be fully understood through the type of practice routine explained in the What To Practice article.

©2003 Jeff Purtle

Claude Gordon Music Enterprise Archived Website - Career Biography

On January of 1999 the Claude Gordon Music Enterprise website was launched. The website went offline in late 2012 after the death of Eric Swanson, Claude's stepson, which was preceded by the death of Claude's second wife, Patty Gordon, in 2011. These are archived pages from the original site. Some of the content has been condensed, combined and summarized to show all the content on each page in an easy to find manner.

Career Biography

It is truly uncommon, in any field of endeavor,
to find a recognized authority who has coupled
a thorough and exhaustive study on the scientific level
with years of arduous work and personal application.
Then, with affection and infinite compassion,
be willing to share his success discoveries with others,
an expert of this caliber is a truly valuable commodity.
Claude Gordon was this type of expert.

Though much has been written about the career of Claude Gordon, it seemed fitting that this biography should come from the final interview Claude gave before his death on May 16, 1996.

Claude Gordon with his beloved cornet, given to him by his father when he was five years old.
Claude Gordon with his beloved cornet, given to him by his father when he was five years old.

"I began my musical career at a very early age. By the age of 8 I was a professional cornetist and by the age of 14 I was a professional player and teacher of both the cornet and piano-accordian. My professional career covered a span of seventy years until ill health forced me to retire in 1994.

All of my brothers and sisters were musicians.  My father was a clarinet soloist and played with many of the old bands of  his time. He was also a friend of Herbert L. Clarke, who played such a vital role in shaping my career.  My mother was a concert pianist.  The entire family made up the orchestra that became staff orchestra for an early northern radio station.  We also become the number one concert orchestra for various hotels in the northwestern states.

My mother spent hours with me and each of my brothers and sisters in practicing our lessons.  It became so natural for all of us to play solos and duets as well as orchestral works.

My father was conducting a 40 piece theater orchestra.  One evening he sat me in the trumpet section and told me to "follow the part."  I did follow it, even though I did not yet know the names of the notes.  I learned to follow the parts well and later became an excellent reader.  While in public school, which ended when I graduated from Great Falls High School, I formed my first eight piece orchestra at the age of 16. I enjoyed becoming involved in every musical activity and community function where a musical opportunity presented itself.

Claude Gordon plays both according and cornet for a crowd of 25,000 people.  The program was broadcast by remote control.  Great Falls, Montana, July 4,1932
Claude Gordon plays both accordion and cornet for a crowd of 25,000 people.  The program was broadcast by remote control.  Great Falls, Montana, July 4, 1932

A decision to leave Montana in 1936 and come to Los Angeles started my long and fruitful relationship with the famed cornet soloist, Dr. Herbert L. Clarke, that lasted until his death in 1945, and one that set me on the road to a career that I doubt would have been as successful without his influence. His advise to me was always "don't stop where I stopped - go further."

Those words in the back of my mind became the driving force that helped me to overcome discouragement and the negative advice of others.  It was also at this time that a serious and personal interest in the Bible started to take root, providing me a stabilizing force that is still with me to this day.

Claude Gordon and Herbert L. Clarke on November 26, 1937, after a lesson at Clarke's home in Long Beach , California.
Claude Gordon and Herbert L. Clarke on November 26, 1937, after a lesson at Clarke's home in Long Beach, California.
Claude appears playing his accordion in this 1939 motion picture musical An Old Spanish Custom, later renamed In Rhumba Land, featuring the Darryl Harpa Orchestra and celebrated singer, Wini Shaw.  (Released through Universal Studios. Still searching for a film copy, please help.)
Claude appears playing his accordion in this 1939 motion picture musical An Old Spanish Custom, later renamed In Rhumba Land, featuring the Darryl Harpa Orchestra and celebrated singer, Wini Shaw.  (Released through Universal Studios. Still searching for a film copy, please help.)
Claude Gordon's Orchestra won out as top band of the United States and Canada in the American Federation of Musicians best new band contest for 1959.  Gordon's orchestra competed against 183 bands in the United States and Canada for this coveted honor.  He first was pitted against 16 Los Angeles bands on Friday, May 1, and six regional bands on Saturday, May 2 at the Hollywood Palladium.  As a winner in the preliminary division he moved onto The Chicago Aragon on May 8 and took the semi-finals in competition with other regional winners.  Off to a smashing  start and into the finals at New York's famous Roseland Ballroom on May 11, where he took the top honors in this most important band event.
Claude Gordon's Orchestra won out as top band of the United States and Canada in the American Federation of Musicians best new band contest for 1959.  Gordon's orchestra competed against 183 bands in the United States and Canada for this coveted honor.  He first was pitted against 16 Los Angeles bands on Friday, May 1, and six regional bands on Saturday, May 2 at the Hollywood Palladium.  As a winner in the preliminary division he moved onto The Chicago Aragon on May 8 and took the semi-finals in competition with other regional winners.  Off to a smashing  start and into the finals at New York's famous Roseland Ballroom on May 11, where he took the top honors in this most important band event.

Across the bottom, left to right: Saxes: Ron Brandvick, Cecil Hill, Pete Galodoro, Wayne Songer, Jr. Second row: Trombones: Gil Falco, Johnny Wanner. Third Row: Trumpets: Kenny Hillman, Sanford Skinner, Dick Forrest (Feinberg), Piano: Bob Piper, Drums: Ray Price, Base: Val Kolar

The last trumpet teacher that I studied with was Louis Maggio, who was doing great things for players in Los Angeles.  I studied with him for about three years after Clarke died.

Thus, it was with the influence of these two great teachers that I started my first method book, Systematic Approach to Daily Practice for Trumpet  Then my second, Daily Trumpet Routines and a third, Physical Approach to Elementary Brass Playing.

In all, I have written six method books for treble clef and bass, the last one being Brass Playing is No Harder than Deep Breathing. I also edited the bass clef edition of Clarke-Gordon Technical Studies for Bass Clef.  In addition to these books I have annotated Arban's Complete Conservatory Method for Trumpet, now in print, and have submitted annotations for Saint-Jacome's Grand Method for Trumpet.  All of these books are published by Carl Fischer Publications. 

My "method" is the detailed subject of an 85 minute, color video tape entitled The Seven Natural Elements of Brass Playing.  All of these materials have been universally distributed and accepted by brass players the world over. And I am proud to say, have helped many students to become notable names in their own right.

Claude giving acceptance speech for his doctorate on June 24, 1992
Claude giving acceptance speech for his doctorate on June 24, 1992

Although my orchestra never had a hit recording you can still hear some of my studio playing in TV reruns, such as the I Love Lucy show on the Nickelodeon Cable Channel's Nick At Nite. In 1992, my achievements and contributions to the world of music and teaching were recognized in the form of a formal presentation of an honorary doctorate degree in the field of "Music and Letters," from the La Sierra University in Riverside, California. Currently my wife, Patty, is putting together a photographic history and documented biography of my career and private moments in my life,  When finished, it will be released through the Claude Gordon Music Enterprise, a mail order business that she established this year."

A Final Note 

April 5, 1916 - May 16, 1996

The last page in the chapter of a brilliant life and career has closed for the world renowned trumpet virtuoso and foremost authority on brass playing.

The "King of Brass," Claude Gordon, died at home in the mountain community of Big Bear Lake, California, on May 16, 1996.  Claude was 80 years of age at the time of his death, a victim to cancer.

The "Claude Gordon Method," as his books, video tapes and teachings are referred to, has impacted the world of brass playing for an indelible betterment that it had never known until his time. It will continue to be his legacy to time indefinite, for as long as there is a brass playing world out there and for as long as there is a brass player in it.

Claude Gordon's spectacular music and teaching career began at age five when his orchestra director father gave him a cornet, taught how to finger and told him to "practice."  It ended at the age of 80, just a few days after completing the  interview above.

Claude Gordon Music Enterprise Archived Website - Incidentals

Homestead

The demands of working in Hollywood and being homesick for Montana's blue sky and tall trees prompted the Gordons' to choose a permanent home site in the San Bernardino mountains. A small airport in the heart of the Big Bear Valley determined the location.

The Claude Gordon Homestead
The Claude Gordon Homestead

With an airport five miles from his new mountain home, Claude could now pilot himself to studio calls and teaching obligations within a short period of time.This arrangement served him well for thirty years. Claude sold his plane in 1990, after accumulating over three thousand hours of flight time as it's pilot.

There have been some changes made to the Gordon home since Claude's death. To accommodate visitors and over night guests through the snow and vacation seasons, some rooms have been re-arranged appropriately.

People from all over the world come to the resort community of Big Bear Lake to enjoy the fine winter sports, fishing and year round vacation activities it offers. It remains to be seen if the Gordon homestead will become the site of the Claude Gordon Heritage Room and Library or not. 

Family

The family surrounding Claude Gordon was loving and supportive.  The nurturing qualities of both Claude and his caring wife, Jenny, gave their two sons a foundation for growth and success in the careers they each chose.

Gary, the oldest son, was an accomplished musician and trumpet player.  His first love, however, was in construction. Building shopping malls and acoustical ceilings was his forte and he became a skilled master at his craft.  Steven, on the other hand, seemed born to be a pianist.  His first recital was held at the Hollywood Bowl when he was just nine years old. He later married his piano partner, Nadya Cataldo, and together they became one of the most successful and dynamic young duo-piano teams to ever tour the country.

 

December 8, 1983 Gordon family gathering at Carnegie Hall after a concert recital given by youngest son, Steven   left to right - Steven, Jenny, Claude and Gary
December 8, 1983
Gordon family gathering at Carnegie Hall after a concert recital given by youngest son, Steven 

left to right - Steven, Jenny, Claude and Gary

In 1984 Steven Gordon coached the 84 pianists who played George Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue" during the opening ceremonies of the Los Angeles Olympics.

1988 was a year of tragedy for the entire Gordon family.  Jenny, Claude's beloved wife of 52 years, died from flu complications during an epidemic that year.  Gary died three weeks later from an apparent heart problem.  In the months to follow, Steven was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and died in June of 1990.  In the meantime, Claude was diagnosed with an in-operable cancer in the back of the sinus. An over the counter pain medication he was taking during radiation treatments blew out a hole in the bottom portion of his stomach and part of his intestine. The Loma Linda Medical Hospital gathered a team of skilled doctors who, after hours of bloodless surgery, saved his life.

In September of 1990, Claude married his devoted companion and caretaker, Patty, whom he and Jenny had known for several years through their mutual Christian faith.

With Patty by his side, Claude continued to teach at his annual International Brass Camp and Workshop, completing the seventeenth and last one held in 1993.  He continued teaching private students in northern California and at his home in Big Bear Lake as well.  During this time he trained several students to become certified teachers of the Claude Gordon Method and had Patty record video tapes of the classes and workshops for future use. 

Religion

The Gordon Family Orchestra was a featured attraction at various church services and church functions. As a result, Claude was exposed to a variety of religious teachings and ideas while growing up. He did not embrace any particular religion during this time but he loved to listen to his grandmother read about the blessings of a paradise earth, the resurrection of the dead and the peace among animals and mankind that the Bible spoke about. The life and qualities of Jesus Christ made a lasting impression on his mind as well.

Unlike modern Bible translations of today, the english and foreign language Bible translations used during the time of Claude's youth left the Divine name for God, "JEHOVAH," visible. It was clear who the Almighty God was and who His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, was.

It was Claude's nature to dissect and look inside and outside anything he became interested in and the Bible was no exception.

After moving to California and living in an apartment in Los Angeles, Claude heard a loud knock on the door while practicing his trumpet. He opened the door expecting to get a bawling out from an irritated neighbor over his practicing. To his surprise, it was a little old lady with white hair offering him a free home Bible study and a Bible book entitled, Salvation. This was the beginning of a serious interest and personal investigation of the Bible for Claude.

In the meantime, Claude's mother and sister, Ruth, became interested in the Bible.  Eventually, all three accepted the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ and in symbol of their Christian dedication were baptized. It was not for several years later that Claude's wife, Jenny was also baptized.

Claude later joined the Theocratic Ministry School at a local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses and accepted the speech counsel and Bible application training that enabled him to become a very fine public speaker in the local congregations and a thorough Bible teacher.

Claude also gave credit to this school for aiding him to become a skilled speaker for brass clinics throughout the United States and Canada.  He later applied the same principles of comprehensive teaching in each of the six method books he wrote for brass players.

Aviation:

Claude standing by the cockpit of his single engine Cessna.
Claude standing by the cockpit of his single engine Cessna.

For thirty years Claude Gordon flew his single engine Cessna to teaching tours and brass clinics throughout the United States and Canada.  Personal study and on hand experience with aviation aerodynamics greatly enhanced his ability to understand and apply the laws of wind power and wind control to the human body, two elements necessary for successful brass playing.

Who's Who

The revolutionary career of Claude Gordon caught the attention of several Who's Who publications throughout the years.  The most current biographies are listed in the 26th edition of Who's Who In California published by the Who's Who Historical Society and Who's Who In The World, 13th edition, published by Marquis Who's Who. His biography has also appeared in various editions of Who's Who In America, Who's Who Entertainment, Who's Who In The West, Who's Who In Music and others.

Parting Thoughts

Throughout Claude's lifetime he had hundreds of brass students and a multitude of Bible students. Some were students of both.  

To All of Claude's students I want you to know that just a few days before his death, I asked Claude if there was anything that he wanted his students to know.  What he said is not new and something that he always tried to teach you..."Just tell them not to be loyal to wrong ideas and they will do just fine."

Claude loved you all, each and every one. 

Sincerely,
Patty Gordon

What would Claude say?

What Would Claude Say?

Answers from the personal notes and lectures of Claude Gordon

Question of the Month Subject: Gadgets and Gimmicks...do they work?

"If you think for one moment that a gadget or a gimmick will make you a good brass player you are in deep trouble. And yet, you see them advertised over and over again in popular brass magazines.

Millions of dollars are made each year selling gadgets and gimmicks to the struggling brass player!  How often have you heard one of these gimmick peddlers play a brass instrument ???  Or heard one of his students play first chair in a famous orchestra for several years in a row???

What I tell all of my students and what has always proven to hold true is that your success comes when you apply the correct principles to your brass playing so that you develop by habit.  When this happens your mind is free to concentrate on your music and on your teaching if you have students."

For a detailed discussion of this and other related subjects refer to the bookBrass Playing Is No Harder Than Deep Breathing, a Carl Fischer Publication.  For video taped information see "The Seven Natural Elements Of Brass Playing" available through the Claude Gordon Music Enterprise on this Web site. 

From 02/03/2000

Question of the Month Subject: What's the big deal about pedals?

"Many players perceive pedals as a separate entity to brass playing. This is not so!

Pedal notes are not an isolated endeavor but just an extension of the traditional trumpet register.

The test to playing pedal notes correctly is being able to connect them to the entire trumpet register without changing the embouchure or mouthpiece position.

From low F natural to pedal C sharp is essentially letting the note go flat.  From low pedal C and down, it is just a greater amount of jaw relaxation. As in saying the word "awe" you drop the jaw while maintaining the same mouthpiece position. No change should be necessary."

The subject of pedal notes is detailed in the book Systematic Approach To Daily Practice (for trumpet item #04702) (for bass clef item #04959)

For a visual demonstration of the application of pedal notes by Claude Gordon see the video The Seven Natural Elements Of Brass Playing.  

Formatted in both VHS and PAL editions.

From 06/04/2000

Question of the Month Subject: Why practice so many models?

"If there ever was a secret to brass playing it is found in the tongue...the air does the work, the tongue channels the pitch.

Never underestimate the value of model practice!

The major reason for practicing models is to train the tongue to "feel" every approach you will need in music.

Whether you are tonguing two notes and slurring two notes or any pattern of tonguing and slurring...you practice them in all different keys and articulation so your tongue will learn each level it needs to produce the given notes.

Model practice also sharpens eye and finger coordination and aids in developing technical proficiency, a must for quality musicianship.

Models can be viewed as improvising on a basic theme.  I encourage all of my students to make up their own models in addition to their given assignments."

For additional information on models see: 

  • H. L. Clarke's Technical Studies for Cornet 
  • Saint-Jacome Grand Method for Trumpet or Cornet 
  • Claude Gordon's Daily Trumpet Routines 

Video presentation by Claude Gordon " The Seven Natural Elements Of Brass Playing"  (Formatted in both VHS and PAL editions.)

From 09/25/2000

Question of the Month Subject: Why is the practice of different models so important to proficient trumpet playing?

"The practice of different models on a specific exercise isolates individual elements of correct trumpet performance. When all the models are practiced, each individual element is improved. When two notes are tongued and two notes are slurred, it demands a different tongue position and movement than a model where the first two notes are slurred and the next two notes are tongued. When all the possible variations of tonguing and slurring are practiced, very few surprises will come about during a music performance.

Model practice also includes playing in all different keys and chord progressions."

For additional information on models see

  • Claude Gordon's Brass Playing Is No Harder Than Deep Breathing
  • Claude Gordon's Daily Trumpet Routines
  • Claude Gordon's Systematic Approach To Daily Practice for Trumpet* Video presentation by Claude Gordon " The Seven Natural Elements Of Brass Playing"  (Formatted in both NTSC and PAL editions.) 
  • H. L. Clarke's Technical Studies for Cornet 
  • Saint-Jacome Grand Method for Trumpet or Cornet

*Bass clef also available

From 12/06/2002

Question of the Month Subject: What does systematic approach to trumpet playing really mean?

"There are seven elements involved in playing the trumpet and a student must practice different routines to develop each element until it works by habit. These elements include wind power, air control (controlling the air),the tongue, the muscles of the lips and face, the fingers of the righthand, and the left hand as it holds the trumpet.

Correct understanding of these seven elements is the first step to selecting exercises that will develop and improve each element individually so that the total "machine" works in harmony.

Each day the student should select routines that work on specific elements and also routines that bring all of these elements together at one time."

(Note: The selection of different routines is one of the aspects that made Claude a great teacher in that he could see what the student needed to begin practicing and when to move the student forward to more challenging routines.)

For additional information on the application of the seven "natural" elements to brass playing see;

  • Claude Gordon's Brass Playing Is No Harder Than Deep Breathing
  • Claude Gordon's Systematic Approach To Daily Practice for Trumpet* Video presentation by Claude Gordon entitled "The Seven Natural Elements Of Brass Playing"  ( NTSC or PAL editions.)

*bass clef also available

From 01/24/03

Question of the Month Subject: Claude Gordon never advocates "mouthpiece buzzing." Why?

"There is only one time that mouthpiece buzzing has any validity to trumpet playing and that is when a beginner uses it to establish mouthpiece placement on the lips (embouchure) and to get the feel of how the lips vibrate.

You are not playing a mouthpiece! The mouthpiece is an extension of the trumpet and amplifies vibration through the horn to establish tone.

The correct development of wind power and the feel of playing a trumpet can only be obtained by practicing on the instrument. Mouthpiece buzzing promotes tightening and pinching of the lips where blowing through the horn promotes development of wind power and wind control when specific exercises are used.

Trumpet players who spend time "buzzing the mouthpiece" are practicing a ritual that has no application to actual trumpet playing and in most cases intensify unnecessary lip abuse and the false notion that the lips play the horn.

The books that advocate mouthpiece buzzing usually end with the salutation "Good luck and best wishes" because they have taught the player nothing constructive and leave him a legacy of self doubt and confusion when no improvement is seen from the practice."

For this months answers refer to Claude Gordon's books:

  • Physical Approach To Elementary Brass Playing
  • Systematic Approach To Daily Practice For Trumpet
  • Brass Playing Is No Harder Than Deep Breathing

For additional information on the application of the seven "natural" elements to brass playing see;

  • Claude Gordon's Brass Playing Is No Harder Than Deep Breathing
  • Claude Gordon's Systematic Approach To Daily Practice for Trumpet* Video presentation by Claude Gordon entitled "The Seven Natural Elements Of Brass Playing"  ( NTSC or PAL editions.)

*bass clef also available

From 03/07/03

Question of the Month Subject: I practice and practice but I see no improvement in my trumpet playing. Why?

"There is a saying that "practice makes perfect" and valuable only when the practice is perfect for the subject you want to achieve.

The manner in which you practice is of vital importance. Brass playing is a form of athletics and therefore requires muscle co-ordination and development of strength. Practice then, must be done with diligence, using the proper exercise to develop the proper muscle structure. If one develops the wrong muscles, he will practice for years without any improvement.

These things will not develop over night but take lengths of time as does any athletic endeavor. Most brass players are so impatient for instant success that they fail to build a solid foundation of correct physical approach to brass playing. You cannot build a sky scraper on a foundation laid for a single story house, and yet the very foundation needed to achieve correct brass playing is the one most often ignored.

There are seven natural elements of brass playing required to become an accomplished player. They must be developed individually until they all work together by habit or feel."

For this months answer refer to Claude Gordon's books:

  • Physical Approach To Elementary Brass Playing
  • Systematic Approach To Daily Practice For Trumpet
  • Brass Playing Is No Harder Than Deep Breathing

For additional information on the application of the seven "natural" elements to brass playing see:

  • Claude Gordon's Brass Playing Is No Harder Than Deep Breathing
  • Claude Gordon's Systematic Approach To Daily Practice for Trumpet* Video presentation by Claude Gordon entitled "The Seven Natural Elements Of Brass Playing"  ( NTSC or PAL editions.)

*bass clef also available

From 01/13/04

Question of the Month Subject: Many have asked about the long pending Claude Gordon Heritage Room and Library.

I am pleased to inform you that the University of Illinois Foundation at Urbana-Champaign has just acquired the Personal Papers and Music Instruments of Claude Gordon.

Along with the Herbert L. Clarke Collection, the Claude Gordon Collection will be housed in the John Philip Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, a Division of the University Library at Urbana-Champaign and open for public inspection and research.

Pending announcements will be made by the University for a special program and sesquialteral celebration of the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music for the coming month of November. The public will be invited and many musicians will be on hand to play a variety of tunes and styles of music born during the early days of American History.

This Website will provide future announcements of current and up coming events surrounding the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music and the Claude Gordon Collection.

Respectfully yours,
Patty Gordon

Claude Gordon's method books for brass players:

  • Physical Approach To Elementary Brass Playing
  • Systematic Approach To Daily Practice For Trumpet
  • Brass Playing Is No Harder Than Deep Breathing

For additional information on the application of the seven "natural" elements to brass playing see:

  • Claude Gordon's Brass Playing Is No Harder Than Deep Breathing
  • Claude Gordon's Systematic Approach To Daily Practice for Trumpet* Video presentation by Claude Gordon entitled "The Seven Natural Elements Of Brass Playing"  ( NTSC or PAL editions.)

*bass clef also available

From 07/27/04

Question of the Month Subject: Mouthpiece buzzing is advocated by several method books and some professional players. I have not seen any improvement in my playing after several years of following this advice. Why?

"Once again, the fallacy that the lips play the horn laid the foundation for mouthpiece buzzing. There is nothing more counterproductive to brass playing than mouthpiece buzzing.

Buzzing the lips and or the mouthpiece does not build or strengthen anything! You practice to keep the lips and facial muscles elastic and flexible, buzzing has the opposite effect and is very stiffening. Besides that, one does not breath correctly when buzzing so range and endurance never develop.

Buzzing puts all of your focus on the lip, misleading you into thinking that it does more than just vibrate. You have to remember that the lips act as a vibration medium only. A free vibration from the lips is what determines the quality of tone that comes through an instrument.

I will not allow my students to "buzz" either the lips or mouthpiece as a practice tool! Although many so called methods advocate buzzing, as do many teachers and schools, this is a shameful waste of time."

  • Claude Gordon's method books for brass players:
  • Physical Approach To Elementary Brass Playing
  • Systematic Approach To Daily Practice For Trumpet
  • Brass Playing Is No Harder Than Deep Breathing (bass cleff also available)*

For additional information on the application of the seven "natural" elements to brass playing see the video presentation by Claude Gordon entitled "The Seven Natural Elements Of Brass Playing"  ( NTSC or PAL editions.) *

If you wish to have your personal questions about brass playing answered by a Certified Claude Gordon Teacher you may contact Jeff Purtle through his web site at www.purtle.com

From 11/03/04

Question of the Month Subject: What do you mean when you state that "open equipment"is essential for proper development?

"All wind powered instruments require physical strength that must be developed. It is easier to notice it by playing the horn than it is to talk about. However, free blowing equipment is what I mean when I use the term "open" in reference to it. This applies to both the horn and the mouthpiece as there is not a horn or a mouthpiece made that will play for you.

Free blowing equipment allows you to develop the wind power and all of the related elements necessary for successful brass playing. If your physical strength is used to fight the resistance of small equipment, you hinder the very thing you are trying to develop and end up developing a fight against resistance rather than an easy performance.

It needs to be noted too that you will not get good results by using an open bore horn and then try to get "high notes" by putting a tight mouthpiece in the leadpipe. Both the horn and the mouthpiece should be open and aerodynamically balanced. This will allow one to develop the essential physical elements of brass playing, the key to playing any note you wish to produce."

Claude Gordon's method books for brass players: Physical Approach To Elementary Brass Playing, Systematic Approach To Daily Practice For Trumpet and Brass Playing Is No Harder Than Deep Breathing (bass clef also available)*

For additional information on the application of the seven "natural" elements to brass playing see the video presentation by Claude Gordon entitled "The Seven Natural Elements Of Brass Playing"  ( NTSC or PAL editions.) *

If you wish to have your personal questions about brass playing answered by a Certified Claude Gordon Teacher you may contact Jeff Purtle through his web site at www.purtle.com

From 12/02/05

Question of the Month Subject: WHEN ARE THE NEW CLAUDE GORDON TRUMPETS COMING?

YOU WILL NOW HAVE A CHOICE!

Custom made reproductions of the Claude Gordon Classic 468 and 470 bore size Bb trumpets are now in the making.

The Claude Gordon Music Enterprise is proud to announce that it has teamed-up with the  world renowned Marcinkiewicz Co. Inc. noted for its quality and hand crafting capabilities to reproduce the Claude Gordon trumpets.  These trumpets represent the original Claude Gordon specification for aerodynamic accuracy, metal quality and a quality of performance that is right for all types of music and that players expect from a quality crafted horn.

The trumpets are in production now and will be formally introduced at the NAAM Show, January 17th to 20th, in Anaheim California.  Look for Booth 4131 Hall "D."

Both the Claude Gordon 468 and 470 Bb models will be available and a special limited edition of 25 is in production for each horn.

In the meantime, deposits on the first 25 limited editions are being taken.  These horns will be in silver with gold trim in various places and individually numbered.  The horn comes with a mouthpiece, warranty and case.

The current price for one limited edition trumpet is $3,500 and after the limited editions are sold the price may or may not be the same but the gold trim will be optional at additional cost.

If you wish to reserve one of these 25 trumpets you may do so with a 50% deposit directly to the manufacturer with the balance due on delivery that would require a 6 to 8 week production time.

I hope this is helpful. We look forward to serving you.

Respectfully,
Patty Gordon

Claude Gordon's method books for brass players:

  • Physical Approach To Elementary Brass Playing
  • Systematic Approach To Daily Practice For Trumpet
  • Brass Playing Is No Harder Than Deep Breathing (bass clef also available)*

For additional information on the application of the seven "natural" elements to brass playing see the video presentation by Claude Gordon entitled "The Seven Natural Elements Of Brass Playing"  ( NTSC or PAL editions.) *

If you wish to have your personal questions about brass playing answered by a Certified Claude Gordon Teacher you may contact Jeff Purtle through his web site at www.purtle.com

From 01/02/07

Question of the Month Subject: What is the history behind the two new "Claude Gordon 468" and the "Claude Gordon 470" bore size trumpets?

Answered by Patty Gordon:

The answer is timing.  Claude wanted to preserve and duplicate what he found to be a better playing trumpet in his pre-World War 2, French made Besson.  He spent hours tearing apart several horns, measuring and testing metal quality to see what made one work better than others.

By the time Claude made his speculations and modifications to produce the horn he desired, the industry was not ready to go back to an "open bore horn."  The passing of time and false notions on what made a trumpet play well or why was now overshadowed by "new and unproven theories" and sales gimmicks that promoted small bore size horns that Claude called the "pea shooters."

In the late 60's early 70.s the Benge Company agreed to produce the "Claude Gordon Trumpet" but did not agree to go the full 470 bore size that Claude hoped for.  He then adjusted the tapers but maintained the correct aerodynamic flow in the reduced 468 bore size trumpet.  It immediately became a hit among the players as it  performed very well indeed..... and is still very much in demand.

In 1984 The Selmer Company agreed to produce the "Claude Gordon Trumpet" in the full 470 bore size that Claude initially wanted.  To the credit of Claude's insisting on correct aerodynamic flow, both horns played very well and are still sought after today.

In 2006 the Marcickiewicz Company Inc.  and the Claude Gordon Music Enterprise  teamed together to re-produce both the "Classic Claude Gordon 468" and the "Classic Claude Gordon 470" bore size trumpets.  These horns are open, balanced and offer the free blowing quality of performance that was important to Claude Gordon and his students. Truly a gift to the trumpet player wanting this same experience that will last for a lifetime of playing.

Both trumpets are now in production in limited editions per year.  The hand crafting and quality of performance that these horns offer are unsurpassed anywhere in the world.

If you wish to reserve one of these trumpets you may do so with a 50% deposit directly to the manufacturer with the balance due on delivery that would require a 6 to 8 week production time.  The current price for a trumpet in silver with 24k gold trim and a case is $3,500.

I hope this is helpful. We look forward to serving you.

Respectfully,
Patty Gordon

Claude Gordon's method books for brass players:

  • Physical Approach To Elementary Brass Playing
  • Systematic Approach To Daily Practice For Trumpet
  • Brass Playing Is No Harder Than Deep Breathing (bass clef also available)*

For additional information on the application of the seven "natural" elements to brass playing see the DVD presentation by Claude Gordon entitled "The Seven Natural Elements Of Brass Playing"  (PAL edition Video still available ) *

If you wish to have your personal questions about brass playing answered by a Certified Claude Gordon Teacher you may contact Jeff Purtle through his web site at www.purtle.com

From 05/23/07

International Trumpet Guild Conference 2017 - Jeff Purtle Trumpet Clinic
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Review of presentation

ITG Conference 2017
Jeff Purtle Clinic

Hit it Hard & Wish it Well: Claude Gordon's Approach to Trumpet Playing

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 9:00-10:15am
Magnolia Ballroom
Hershey, Pennsylvania

This clinic was a practical application of how to apply the Claude Gordon principles to a practice routine. It was essentially a group private lesson in a multimedia lecture format and an expansion of Chapter Nine in Jeff's Hit it Hard and Wish it Well book.

Park City, Utah Trumpet Clinic - Jeff Purtle - January 2017

Park City, Utah Trumpet Clinic
January 2017

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