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 south Florida and started trumpet in beginning band during my sixth grade, just like most kids that age. I had already taken piano lessons for a few years prior, so I had some musical background when I started the trumpet. I really enjoyed it and started taking lessons from a local professional. During that time, he encouraged me to attend summer music camps. So, I went to Interlochen Arts Camp one summer — loved it, and eventually did my last two years of high school at Interlochen Arts Academy. While there, I was exposed to extremely amazing music and trumpet playing, and that’s when I knew I wanted to pursue a musical career. From there, I went to the University of Michigan and studied with Charles Daval, former principal trumpet of the Montreal Symphony. He was one of the most significant influences to me as a teacher, and introduced me to the “Chicago School” of playing which emphasized sound and phrasing. From there, I then attended Indiana University for both my Masters of Music and Doctorate of Music, and I studied with John Rommel. He was also an extremely influential teacher, and truly helped me work through many playing challenges. During school, I was not the most naturally gifted trumpet player, and I had to work through many playing challenges. Through that process, I decided college teaching was my calling because I wanted to share my experiences with other struggling students.
Every trumpeter has his methodological preferences. What type of exercises or methods do you emphasize when practicing and teaching, and why?
I approach playing the trumpet with one simple thought — play as beautifully as I possibly can on every single note. I use lots of typical exercises in the trumpet repertoire including: Clarke Study #1 & 2, Irons and Colin Lip Flexibilities, Arban’s, and Cichowicz Flow Studies. While at Indiana University, I spent a great deal of time using Bill Adam’s Daily Routine in my practice. Today, I do a version of it, but focusing a few different things depending on my current playing needs. I find that if you focus on the ideal sound, much of the trumpet playing mechanics take care of themselves. For example: I work on sounding good when I double tongue; I work on sounding good when I do lip slurs, and so on. So, everything comes back to sound. I also find that playing with a consistent and beautiful sound also achieves better range and flexibility. I tend to over analyze often when I play, so simplifying my focus only on sound helps keep me in check.
Day to day with the trumpet
Could you tell us what your daily trumpet routine consists of?
My daily routine is my personal version of Bill Adam’s Daily Routine. I do lots of scale-like exercises striving to connect all of my registers with a consistently beautiful sound. The main bases I cover are long tones, range expansion, flexibility, and articulation.
What brands of trumpets and mouthpieces do you use? Do you use them for any particular reason?
I play on a Shires model 401 and I am a Shires Performing Artists. I find that their trumpets are a really great balance between ease of playing and consistent brilliant sound. I play on a Parke Merkelo 630-270-24 mouthpiece.
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.)
The teaching center
Where can a student, that would like to study with you, find you? Where do you teach?
What can a student expect from you? And what do you expect from the student?
At Auburn, I teach a variety of music majors (music education, performance, and bachelor of arts). While the workload may vary for each student based on their program, my expectation for sounding your best and being prepared for lessons and rehearsals does not change. If my students are prepared, engaged, and excited to learn, they can expect me to do the same. I make a strong effort to give each student the tools to play better and teach themselves so that when they leave Auburn, they can continue to grow.
In your experience, what is the one common problem young players have today?
My biggest concern for younger players is not having a great sound concept when arriving at college. Having a clearly defined ideal sound is the most important tool a musician has to develop on their instrument. Despite the great accessibility of recordings and performances online, many students who get to college do not have their sound clearly defined. I encourage all young players to attend more concerts, listen to great recordings, and surround yourself with great trumpet playing and music.
Sharing exercises with Trumpetland
Do you have any exercise you would like to share with the Premium members of Trumpetland?
Here is a copy of my daily routine — a version of Bill Adam’s. I have taken many of his exercises, and adapted them to address my personal playing challenges. Many of the exercises start in the mid-register — this is to ensure starting with a great sound, and maintaining that sound as you expand. This is by design and the main focus.
Exercise by Mark DeGoti (PDF 344,43 KB) [Only Premium members]