Teachers around the world:

Brian Neal

Professor at Miami Dade College (United States).

«Developing a healthy embouchure and awareness of use of relaxed air are key to success as a trumpet player»

2018-03-13

Today, in “Teachers around the world” we have Brian Neal, who, apart from forming the Dallas Brass for 10 years and as soloist of the Miami Symphony, is now the trumpet professor at Miami Dade College. (And now we have him as a professor in Trumpetland!). For Premium Members, he is sharing a PDF of Caruso exercises adapted by Julie Landsman, titled “Lips + Mouthpiece + Trumpet.”

Up close and personal
  • Age: 50.
  • City of birth: New York City, New York (USA).
  • A hobby: Cooking.
  • A food: Lamb.
  • A drink: Red wine.
  • A book: Meetings with Remarkable Men (George Gurdjieff).
  • A film: The Man Who Knew Too Little (Jon Amiel).
  • A place: 1 Sitka, Alaska (USA).

Musical roots

Where do you come from? That is, we would like to know 1) where you grew up as a trumpeter, 2) who were your most important teachers, and 3) what your professional and pedagogical trajectory has been until today.

I grew up in Miami, Florida (USA). Luckily the principal trumpet of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Gilbert Johnson retired here so I was able to study with him during my high school years. I also went to Tanglewood and studied with Rolf Smedvig of the Empire Brass, these were my first two major influences. I then went on to NYC to work with Raymond Mase. Toured with the Dallas Brass for 11 years and am now teaching and performing as a soloist.

Every trumpeter has his methodological preferences. What type of exercises or methods do you emphasize when practicing and teaching, and why?

Developing a healthy embouchure and awareness of use of relaxed air are key to success as a trumpet player. Caruso exercises, Earl Irons slow lip slurs, whatever will bring an awareness to what is needed to play without relying completely on pressure.

Day to day with the trumpet

Could you tell us what your daily trumpet routine consists of?

Practicing in half hour blocks works best for me. In order to maintain a healthy embouchure I work with fresh muscles. The first half hour is spent on Caruso exercises brought by Julie Landsman and Clarke studies 1-5 slurred and tongued. The second half hour I will work on simple Earl Irons lip slurs and some etudes. The third half hour solo repertoire.

What brands of trumpets and mouthpieces do you use? Do you use them for any particular reason?

Mount Vernon Bach 1 ½ B on Bb trumpet. 1 ¼ C with 21 throat on C trumpet. GR on Piccolo.

Do you use any equipment that is beyond what we would consider normal? (E.G. a Delrin top, bent mouthpiece, bent trumpet receiver, different bell configuration, etc.)

Most of my solo recording is done on a Yamaha G trumpet with a 5 C mouthpiece.

The teaching center

Where can a student, that would like to study with you, find you? Where do you teach?

I am professor of Trumpet at Miami Dade College in Miami, Florida during the school year and Sitka Fine Arts Camp in Sitka, Alaska during the summer.

What can a student expect from you? And what do you expect from the student?

Much time is spent on building a solid foundation of basics. Afterwards etudes and solo repertoire. If you have a health embouchure then you can play anything. From the student, diligence, discipline, being relaxed and having an inquisitive mind are important elements to strive for.

In your experience, what is the one common problem young players have today?

Lack of musicality and spread embouchures.

Sharing exercises with Trumpetland

Do you have any exercise you would like to share with the Premium members of Trumpetland?

There are certain exercises that have been developed by master teachers that can help us discover the correct way of playing. If done regularly, you will make discoveries not yet known to you. One such exercise is presented in my video lessons demonstrating the Caruso, Lips, Mouthpiece, Trumpet.

Free download:

Exercise by Brian Neal (PDF 276,09 KB) [Only Premium members]