Two ‘Chop Looseners (!)’ For Trumpet And Brass Players…

Sometimes an exercise is necessary after the tea or lunch break to get the lips vibrating quickly again. These are as good as any: I have heard the following two exercises played by many, many players.

Exercise One – The Jack Mackintosh ‘loosener’


One of the greatest of British cornet soloist legends was the amazing Jack Mackintosh. Apart from being one of the greatest cornet players the world has ever known, Mackintosh was a founder member of the BBC Symphony orchestra as Principal Cornet and third trumpet in the famous trumpet section with the great Ernest Hall as Principal Trumpet. Mackintosh later went on to be third trumpet with the Philharmonia Orchestra (Known as the ‘New Philharmonia’ at the time) under my own teacher David Mason as Principal. This exercise was given to me by one of my first teachers, Harry Bentham; himself a famous cornet soloist and Principal of Leyland Motors Band when Harold Moss was the conductor. Mackintosh would always warm up by playing the above exercise many times before practicing his famous ‘cowboy cadenzas’ etc. Mackintosh’s close rivalry with Harry Mortimer was legendary. These two players would often be the topic of conversation over who was the best. Two equally brilliant players. Mortimer was Principal of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and The Halle at the same time, his services were in such demand!

I suppose the ‘bubble wrap’, pictured, is for sore chops at the end of the day!

Exercise Two – Rolf Quinque, Bill Houghton, Nige Gomm, Ian Brown, Julie Ryan ‘loosener’

I used to hear my fellow student, Julie Ryan warming up with this study a lot at the Royal College of Music in the 1980s. I bought Rolf Quinque’s book around the same time and saw it in there. I was discussing this sort of thing with William (Bill) Houghton (Principal Trumpet of the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the time) and he recommended this study saying that his former student, Nigel Gomm (formerly co-Principal Trumpet London Symphony Orchestra) considered that playing this exercise had helped him develop his phenomenal high register. I also used to hear Ian Brown playing this a lot before going into the pit at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden to undertake his duties as Principal Trumpet.

It must be good for something then!!!

unnamed-20Repeat as many times as possible before playing the long note. As with everything else, work for speed when technical satisfaction is achieved…


About brendanball

Professional Trumpeter: Soloist, Orchestra Player, Chamber Music, Contemporary Music & Education.
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