Warming Up

Warming Up

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Practicing: Schlossberg

One of the trumpet method books I’ve had the longest is still one of my favorites:  Max Schlossberg’s “Daily Drills and Technical Studies.” 

Schlossberg was educated in Russia but came to the US around the turn of the 20th century.  He played for the New York Philharmonic but he is best remembered as maybe the first great “American” trumpet teacher.  His students were a who’s who of the (mostly classical) trumpet world.  And then many of his students became legendary teachers too.  I’m certainly partial to this book, maybe because I got it from my trumpet teacher, Frank Eisenreich (Pittsburgh – more on Mr. E in a future post) about 20 years ago.  I think I also really like this book because it works.  Whenever I’ve had time off of the horn for whatever reason, illness, kids being born, vacation, etc., I know that a few days spent with Mr. Schlossberg will always get me back to where I need to be. 

When I was a kid I really only played the slurs in the beginning of the book.  They are great slurs, for sure, but I think that I was missing the point of the book.  Schlossberg divided the book into sections and practicing a few exercises in each of these sections is the true key to getting the most out of this book.  In fact, on days when there is just isn’t much time to practice that much, or for those days when you have a long hard gig ahead of you, playing 30 -45 minutes of smart practicing (plenty of rest in between exercises) out of the Schlossberg book can cover almost all the bases you need.  It really is a great method.  You just need to know what you need to work on and you need to use some common sense so you don’t overextend yourself (especially if you are trying to get back into shape – pacing is key so you don’t tear down the tissue you are trying to build up). 
Here’s an example routine of how you could break this book down:

Section I: Long Note Drills
(he says long note yet most of these are slurs.  I think the idea is to play “through” the notes, keep the air moving as if it was one long note)




Section II: Intervals


Section III: Octave Drills


Section IV: Lip Drills
#59 and #60

Section V: Chord Studies

#70 (can be played tongued or w/slur combinations)


Section VI: Scales
#90 and #91 (for #91 proceed down in half steps to low F#)


#99 (you can also use minor scales)

Section VII: Chromatic Scales



Section VIII: Etudes


(I like this one, #130. Plus it’s pitched fairly low and at this point I’m getting tired.  Play it tongued [single, K, double] or slurred in different combinations).

So you can see that this book really does cover all the bases of trumpet playing.  I’m not a high note guy at all, but this book has exercises that go higher than the ones I normally choose; and, like any other book, you can always extrapolate higher and higher if you are so inclined (and gifted). 

If you play trumpet then you probably already have this Schlossberg book in your library, but maybe check out using it this way - as maintenance when you don't have much time; or as a quick way to get back in shape.  If you don’t have it, then you need to get it :)  It’s a pretty special text.

Thanks for Caring, Thanks for Sharing.

P.S. - Wanna get real nerdy with some Schlossberg and a little Schlossberg drama? http://www.trumpetguild.org/pdf/2009journal/200906SchlossbergOnline.pdf

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