Trumpet Methods/ pedagogical figures

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Calliope, Sep 20, 2005.

  1. Calliope

    Calliope New Friend

    Jun 17, 2005
    Hello All-

    I am wanting to do some research on influential trumpet methods and trumpet teachers. For example - the Caruso method, Claude Gordon method, etc. If you are fimiliar with a specific method or teacher, would you tell a bit about it? What is their main focus? What problems do they address? How is this method/approach unique? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the method? Are there published materials for the method? Do you have any personal experience in this area? How was the method developed? All info is most welcome!

  2. Chris4

    Chris4 Pianissimo User

    Jul 16, 2005
    I have looked at several different methods. Here are my responses to each one:
    Superchops-Jerome Callet
    There are 3 versions-Trumpet Yoga, Super Chops, and Trumpet Secrets all available at In the lower register the lips stay between the top and bottom teeth. As you ascend the chin muscles bunch and push the lips over the top teeth and forces the air stream to move and follow it. In the upper register the junction where the lips meet is above the top teeth at the gum line.
    The lower lip curls slightly over the bottom teeth, lip compression is form all sides into the center.
    This style demands you not use toungue arch(with the exception of TCE).
    The air does the work. All tounguing is done through the teeth. The toungue is anchored and controls the lip aperature.

    I personally found this method too direct for my liking. I don't think it works for everyone and IMO Jerome Callets method would have a higher success rate if there were more leeway in this method.

    Balanced Embouchure-Jeff Smiley
    This is an indirect method that has success for almost everyone who tries it. It's based on the concept of finding the "balanced point" between lips being all the way out to rolled in. The balanced point is met through a series of exercises that go through the lips full range of motion. This method is very good for finding and fixing problems. Jeff explains all the exercises very clearly and since the exercises are indirect, they don't make you knowingly change your current embouchure-it happens gradually over time. I think this is one of the best embouchure methods out there.

    The Maggio System-Louis Maggio This is a great method for comebackers or players suffering from injury. In the Maggio Syatem players cushion the embouchure by puckering the lips. This embouchure was established because Louis Maggio sustained an injury which prevented him from playing. It lets the player play an extended time in the upper egister and is one of the best methods for extending range very quickly. The book is available at

    In my experience, all of theses methods have contributed a lot to my current embouchure and still are. Hope this helps,Chris
  3. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

    Nov 2, 2003
    There are as many different methods for playing the trumpet as there are successful trumpet players. The bottom line is does everything you have to play sound good (i.e. would it be acceptable at the professional level), that is all that matters.

    With that said some teachers/methods seem to have a much higher success rate than others in producing top players. All of the approachs that I would consider for use are very similar in their method and results.
  4. Chris4

    Chris4 Pianissimo User

    Jul 16, 2005
    Yes, Bill Adam is the best for developing a good sound. He even taught Chris Botti.
  5. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    I studied with Sigmund Hering. Dare I say he wrote the books on trumpet :roll: (Groan)
    Mr Hering placed etude after etude on the stand. By the time I graduated High School I had been exposed to the French writers, Sachse, IMC orchestral books. Oh......and you had to play though all his books. He sold them to us at a discount rate. Your playing each week was placed under a microscope. His students won jobs and played great. Gil Johnson was an example. I hear Wallace Roney was also one of Siggy's boys :cool:
    With Mr Hering you worked your butt off.
  6. R.A.S.

    R.A.S. Pianissimo User

    Oct 13, 2004
    Woodbury, Minnesota

    Your original post mentioned Caruso and Gordon, so I will give my impression of those two and add one other.

    The basis of the Caruso book is in the first page. This is an excellent warmup. From there on, the exercises are very open-ended in terms of how high you are to go. It is very easy to (at least I did) push the high register farther than you should, as the exercises consist of mostly longtones. If you know how to feel your limitations, and play the exercises as instructed, this method can help you build both endurance and high range.

    The Claude Gordon books can be very helpful in establishing a daily routine that works your embouchure without taxing it too much. His
    Daily Routines holds many pages of simple exercises that can give you a workout in the middle (high C and below) range of the trumpet. It is also good to preceed these each day with one of the warmups in The Systematic Approach to Trumpet Playing book. Just pick one that you like to start each day's practice. They're all good.

    Another method that I think is worth mentioning is James Stamp's method. Whether or not you agree with his use of buzzing the mouthpiece and buzzing the lips alone, there is a great approach in his exercises (especially 3, 3a, and 3b). Unlike many other methods that start you playing pedaltones and build upwards from that embouchure setting, Stamp starts you in the middle of the staff and takes you down into the pedals and back up. This way, both the pedaltones and the upper register are forced to maintain the same lip setting, as opposed to just aiming wildly at high notes without regard for the student's normal embouchure.

    I hope this helps some. Personally, I'm using the Gordon books right now. There is much more information in the Claude Gordon section of the Trumpet Herald site.
  7. Calliope

    Calliope New Friend

    Jun 17, 2005
    All of this is very interesting! I'm very curious to find out about all the various methods out there. Keep it coming- I appreciate it!

  8. camelbrass

    camelbrass Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Dubai, UAE

    Just a correction or 2 to your Caruso summation. Carmine Caruso was actually a saxophinist who developed a set of excercises, or calesthenics if you like, designed to prepare the muscles in your body to play music. These include the famous six notes (this excercise is not a warm-up but some players use it as one) and long tones in various different dynamics and intensities but that is just a small part of the whole. The method demands that you follow 4 rules when playing the excercises:

    1. Tap your foot
    2. Keep the mouthpiece in contact with the lips (even in rests)
    3. Keep the blow steady
    4. Breath through your nose

    If you follow these there is no 'right' or 'wrong' way of doing the excercise.

    It relies heavily on breath attacks, but not exclusively. It is not an analytical approach to developing a player but rather relies on the fact that like an athlete who wants to do a 10 sec 100 metre the muscles in the body must be trained slavishly.

    One thing that is misunderstood is that the system is not exclusive, it is part of a routine. These excercises should be done in addition to your other technical and fundamental studies. Sound and playing music is important and should be the major part of your practice time.

    I'm sure that Pat or somebody will correct me if I'm off track.

    Hope this helps.



    PS The whole system is encapsulated in one thin book "Musical Calesthenics for Brass' by Carmine Caruso but there has been some very successful adaptations by ex Caruso students notable 'the Flexus System' by Laurie Frink.
  9. R.A.S.

    R.A.S. Pianissimo User

    Oct 13, 2004
    Woodbury, Minnesota
    As I said in my post, "play the exercises as instructed".
    You summarized these well.
    The rest was from my personal experience with the book.
    Thanks for the clarification for all.
  10. Dr. Stu

    Dr. Stu New Friend

    Sep 24, 2005
    New York, NY
    Is breathing through the nose meant to be carried over to regular playing, or is it just for the exercises? Also, while I believe I was originally taught with a Caruso-like method, I was always taught to keep the mouthpiece on my lips, but to breathe through the corners of the mouth.


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