Frequently Asked Questions
What is your philosophy of teaching undergraduate trumpet majors?
I believe undergraduate trumpet performance is an important demonstration which people use to evaluate your musicianship. Does your performance demonstrate focused sound, consistent intonation, rhythmic accuracy, sensitive interpretation, awareness of styles, and confident stage presence? Have you developed an extensive knowledge of trumpet materials and collected numerous teaching approaches for work with students? Do you accept the challenge of being a lifelong student of music in pursuit of new information and ideas? Methodically, you and I explore these areas essential for professional success, so at graduation I can say, “I’m proud to have you as a colleague!”
What is involved with applied trumpet study?
Besides personal practice, you have an hour-long private lesson weekly and trumpet repertoire class meets every two weeks for solo performances. Trumpet ensemble has two hour-long rehearsals each week, but rehearsal time for individuals averages one hour weekly since we create smaller ensembles within the larger unit of 15 to 20 majors. Each semester you have at least one solo performance with piano accompaniment in preparation for a senior solo recital.
What happens in a typical lesson?
Each lesson is a review of technical control exercises, performance repertoire, and how to improve practice efficiency and consistency. The first part focuses on tonal patterns (scales and chords) done with modal, articulations rhythm, and dynamic variations. The second part deals with etudes, solos and excerpts from orchestra and band music. To prepare you for work with young trumpeters, we periodically review solos and methods for inexperienced students.
What materials do I need as a trumpet major?
You will need a professional model Bb trumpet, a collection of mutes (straight, cup, harmon, plunger), tuner, metronome, and a black suit for performances. Each year of trumpet study has required methods and solos to purchase. By graduation, you will own and have worked in more than 30 trumpet methods or etudes and studied dozens of solos ranging from cornet showpieces to major concerti.
How much practice time is expected of a trumpet major at TTU?
You will need to practice from 10 to 15 hours weekly in order to develop the performance skills necessary to meet minimum professional standards. As important as how much you practice is how well you practice. Efficiency and consistency in practicing is constantly reviewed because it is essential to improving performance skills and providing greater satisfaction and pride in your work.
What about the other trumpets, like piccolo or C?
It is important you experience playing all the basic trumpets (C, D, Eb, piccolo, cornet and flugelhorn) during undergraduate study. While the studio has 25 professional instruments for use by trumpet majors, I do encourage people to purchase additional instruments beyond the Bb trumpet when possible.
How do Tech trumpet majors measure up to regional and national competition?
Tech trumpeters have been recognized for their national and regional accomplishments including scholarship recipients to summer music festival and winners of highly competitive graduate assistant grants. TTU undergraduates have received numerous performance awards from the National Trumpet Competition and the International Trumpet Guild. Many of our alumni have regional and national reputations for professional excellence.
What can I do to be well prepared for music study at college?
Take private lessons weekly. Attend clinics and participate in a summer music festival. Take music theory in high school. If your school does not offer music theory, teach yourself. I recommend the Alfred Essential of Music Theory and the online theory site Music Theory.net. (http://www.musictheory.net/index.html)
How do I audition for a music scholarship and what should I prepare?
Contact the TTU Music and Art Department or me to set an audition as either a music major or a non-major participating in band. If you can’t make one of the scholarship audition days, you can arrange a time by contacting me. A pianist is not required for the audition. You will perform major scales (one and two octaves), solo music of your choice, and sightread. Please see audition information for trumpet solo recommendations.
Do you teach trumpeters who are not music majors?
No, but I encourage trumpeters majoring in other fields to participate in the TTU band program. It’s a great way to be around people with a common interest outside of your major and continue to develop your music skills. Numerous students who are not music majors participate in our ensemble program.