As trumpet players we are often seen as the heroes of the band or orchestra (even if it’s only us who see it that way), but there is more to playing the trumpet than playing loud or playing high, scream parts. As musicians we should always strive to be making music, and more importantly making musical choices with the parts we play. This is where practicing lyrical studies comes in handy!
While deceptively simple, most lyrical studies that we use as brass players famously come from the works of two Italian vocal teachers; Giuseppe Concone and Marco Bordogni. The studies that have been adapted from their vocal teachings apply incredibly well to brass playing and are great for focusing on good sound, phrasing, flow, vibrato, and can even be applied to learning transposition (I’m looking at you, Leduc Bordogni book). When using these studies you may even find it prudent to sing through them while working on lyrical style in order to get your head away from trumpet mechanics and fully immerse yourself in the music.
There truly is more to trumpet playing than trying to “be the hero”. Always remember that anyone can pick up a trumpet and learn to play high notes or very fast, technical passages. Doing these things while making music and always thinking about the musical story you’re telling is why we’re here. The great players always make music.. It’s time you do too!
The following books are good resources to start your journey, but by no means do they cover all aspects.
Melodious Etudes for Trumpet by Marco Bordogni, ed. Clarke and O’Laughlin Lyrical Studies for Trumpet by Giuseppe Concone, ed. Sawyer
Lyrical Etudes by Phil Snedecor
If you’re interested in working lyrical playing and musical phrasing, feel free to contact me for additional tips at Acarter@paigesmusic.com