The gates to the car park of the Estonian National Opera!


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How To Open Bottles Without Standard Opening Devices…

I know that the following posts have nothing to do with the RLPO or brass playing but I love my food and wine etc… Some great ways to open bottles of various kinds of beverages without the standard openers; plus a neat way of cutting cherry tomatoes. Don’t laugh, you’ll love these! Also included is an added bonus of starting a fire with an orange… Enjoy!

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The Great Arnold Jacobs…

“… If you play a brass instrument, you have been taught by him, even if you don’t realise it.” – the great Dale Clevenger


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Phil Parker Senior Flexibility Study

I am currently waging war on this blog against long trumpet warm ups. As a full time professional trumpet player I don’t see any need for long routines of pedal notes and lip slurs and other similar types of trumpet weight lifting (Caruso included!). I have tried all these things and it has taken me many years of due diligence to these routines to realise I would have been better off playing music instead! My students are discovering this for themselves at a much earlier age than I ever did.

A very wise man said to me a couple of years ago, “… There is no point in practicing to sound ugly!”

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The Piano Tuner…

Here is one for Paul Morgan, Steinway’s piano tuner!


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The Horn Makers…

So that’s how they do it!


Split one pearl one…

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Shostakovich at work!

A great photo from the archives of DCSH Shostakovich Journal showing the maestro at work in Mosfilm studio rehearsing the film music for “The Fall of Berlin”. 1949.unnamed-3

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Rolf Quinque/Ian Brown Study…

Those who read my posts about trumpet playing will already know that I am no great champion of over long ‘warming up’. During earlier periods of my career and as a student I adhered to many well known routines. For years I would do lengthy flexibility exercises and strengthening studies.

With experience, I have learnt that the more warming up a player does, the more he has to do! Also, I find that lengthy routines of this type tend to train the player to be tired when the warming up is over and the time finally arrives to actually play music. Even worse, the student who feels the need to do hours of lip slurs, pedal tones etc often leaves the best ‘chops’ behind in the practice room and goes onto the concert platform under par! Personally, I find that too much playing of this stuff also means my chops always feel a tad sore, un-supple and a constantly tired embouchure can make the mouthpiece feel in the wrong place and other embouchure problems can quickly ensue…

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Delia Derbyshire Day 2014 – The Consequences Of Falling!

Great rehearsal with bassist Geth Griffiths tonight. We will be performing the work ‘The Consequences Of Falling’ by Ailis Ni Riain for solo trumpet and acoustic double bass specially commissioned for Delia Derbyshire Day in Manchester tomorrow evening…



Geth and I will be embarking on a nationwide tour following Delia Derbyshire Day with the Delia Darlings. Click on the link above for details.

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A Great Study By Stan Woods…

I spent a wonderful final year at the Royal College of Music studying trumpet with Stanley Woods. Stan was Co-Principal Trumpet with the London Philharmonic  Orchestra at this time. Although he had previously been a principal trumpet he had a reputation as the best second trumpet in the business. He could turn his hand to anything. During lessons Stan could just walk over to the grand piano, in the Ernest Hall room,  and accompany the trumpet part to Gershwin’s ‘American In Paris’ or Bartok’s ‘Concerto For Orchestra’ from memory. A brilliant player, former cornet champion, and composer. Stan seemed to find music so easy.

He also had a morbid hatred of trumpet books, too. His thinking was that a good trumpeter should be foremost a top musician. A trumpet player should be able to play his own exercises ‘by ear’ and not play out of loads of tutor books. It has taken me a long time to realise that he was correct. I spent years buying and spending many hours playing this method or that.  What a waste of time and money! I now realise that after getting the lips going I need to get to playing music as soon as possible. Stan was a keen advocate of mouthpiece practice and admitted that he felt he had to disguise his mouthpiece playing at the traffic lights as he drove to work!

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