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My Favorite Things

by Allen J. Venezio on May 9, 2011

The way I look at it, if Oprah can have a list of her favorite things, why can’t I? The only difference, however, is that you don’t get one of everything on my list. I do apologize in advance for that.

On my list will be 10 trumpet-related items (not including the trumpet itself) that I think you should not be without as a trumpet player. How many of them do you have?

1. A copy of the Arban’s Method for Trumpet – This book is “The Bible of Trumpet” and is required reading and practice material. Enough said.

2. Metronome – All musicians should have a metronome for practicing. It is truly an important tool for working out difficult technical passages.

3. Chromatic Tuner – All musicians should have one of these too. Use this to tune EVERY note on your instrument, not just concert Bb and concert F. Make sure you tune your low D and low C# so that you know exactly how far to extend your third valve slide when playing these notes.

4. A pencil – “The musician’s best friend”. Never arrive at a rehearsal without one of these. Period. You never know when you need to mark your part with directions from the conductor or a note to yourself.

5. Straight Mute – This is the standard mute for symphonic band and orchestral work. It is used in big bands as well. I recommend a Denis Wick aluminum mute simply because they sound the best.

6. Cup Mute – Another standard mute used in many ensembles, especially in the jazz ensemble. I recommend a Denis Wick adjustable cup mute. However, don’t use this mute without the cup on it as a straight mute!

7. Folding Music Stand – Always practice with a music stand. Don’t use your case to hold music up while you play. It does not help you play the proper way and non-productive practicing is worse than not practicing at all. Besides, you never know when you will need to bring a stand somewhere and these are a lot easier to deal with than a large metal stand.

8. P.E.T.E. – The Personal Embouchure Training Exerciser made by Warburton Music Products is great for working the chop muscles necessary to build great endurance and range. You can check out their site at http://www.warburton-usa.com. Be sure to tell Terry that the 5 Foot High Trumpet Guy sent you!

9. A copy of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue – All trumpet players should own this CD. One of my college professors, Dr. Rhonda Buckley, told me that if I was to own only one jazz CD, this was the one to buy. She was right. It’s definitely one of the greatest recordings ever made.

10. A copy of Trumpet 101: A Resource Manual for Trumpet Players – I don’t say this just because I wrote the book, I say it because it has great exercises and motivational stories that will help you make it to the next level in your development as a trumpet player. If you don’t have one, you may just have to trust me and order a copy.

Well, there you have it! A list of My Favorite Things. Now, doesn’t it feel like Christmas already?

Until next time, keep blowin’ baby!

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