BlackBinder : App Review

Over the past few years I have come across numerous apps for reading and performing with ‘sheet’ music. I find the developments staggering in how far we have come, integrating this technology into our performances. However, there have always been compromises to be made, whether it be in turning pages, marking up parts, editing, or just the general viewing and using experience, that I have made me wonder whether I wouldn’t just prefer to have some sheets of paper in front of me! That is until now!... I tried BlackBinder for the first time a few weeks ago on my iPad, and it is the first app that I have found that really addressed all of these niggles that I had.

37 vs 43

The Bach Stradivarius 180 model Bb trumpets have been the best-sellers worldwide in the pro and advanced upgrade instrument market for many many years. The 2 most popular bell shapes, models 37 and 43 both provide a lot of flexibility and versatility, and of course will respond very differently depending on the player. This video from Dawkes Music gives a really good overall and balanced comparison of the two models, allowing you to really hear the different characteristics.

Vhizzper : Mute Review

So, here is a really interesting new product that I have been sent through for review… The Vhizzper mute is the brainchild of Christoph Baerwind, trumpeter in ‘German Brass’ and ‘Der Orchester der Hamburgischen Staatsoper’. The essential concept is a practice mute that can also be used as a mouthpiece mute. This is not something that I have encountered before so was fascinated to give it a try.

Trumpet Artist Profile: Mario Guarneri

Mario Guarneri will be known to many readers as a performer and educator of the highest calibre. A former member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mario is also in demand as educator and lecturer on the pedagogical concepts involved with his groundbreaking designs and the trumpet in general. Here he shares with me some thoughts on approaching different stylistic challenges both as a player and a teacher.

‘Design Innovations’ Part 4 : Berp

‘Design Innovations’ is a series of articles looking at new and innovative developments in trumpet design, as well as gadgets and tools that are designed to make our practice and performance easier.

Mario Guarneri will be known to many readers as a performer and educator of the highest calibre.  A former member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mario is also in demand as lecturer on the pedagogical concepts involved with his designs.  Here he shares some thoughts and insights on the processes involved with the development of the BERP.

Buying Guide : Practice Mutes

Practice Mutes have become accepted as a necessary evil for brass players.  They are not an ideal way of preparing yourself, however there are times where we all accept that you just need to practice or warm-up quietly.  Listed below are a number of mutes currently available that will all do the job.  They will all have different strengths though, so I have tried to demystify them somewhat with this ‘Buying Guide’.

Trumpet Artist Profile: Marvin Stamm

Marvin Stamm is a colossus of the music world, having performed and recorded with many jazz legends throughout his illustrious career. At 79-years-young, he is still going strong and and has many interesting thoughts here on adapting to change, both musically and physiologically over the years. There is sound and compelling advice here for musicians of all instruments and of all ages!

‘Professional Development’ Part 2 : Kate Amrine

When I left music college (nearly) 20 years ago, the approach to building a healthy portfolio of freelance work as a trumpeter was rather different to now:  Face-to-face networking; Being in “the right place at the right time” with the right people; Backing up any opportunities by being a “good guy to have around” and a good player.  This was the limit to one’s self-marketing.

It struck me at the time that even when things were busy, and the diary was booked up a couple of months ahead, there was never a feeling of being in control and having ‘ownership’ (this seems to be the buzz word) of your career.  This is what led me to start to explore other things that I could do alongside the trumpet-playing that could bring me more of a sense of control over my own career.

Speaking to younger professionals now, I see quite a different picture.  The opportunities that the internet has brought are vast, and musicians are quickly learning how to maximise what it has to offer. Players now have limitless control over their own image and career.  This series looks at this in more detail:

Next up in 'Part 2' to help me look at this in more depth is Kate Amrine.  Kate is a trumpet player and educator based in New York City.  She currently freelances in many different genres from Orchestra to Broadway, and also is an active soloist, currently working on her second album.  Music entrepreneurship has always been an interest and she recently presented her "Designing your Career in Music" masterclass at New York University where Kate has been an Adjunct Professor since 2013.

Trumpet Artist Profile: Massimo Longhi

After visiting the Arena in the beautiful city of Verona some 20 years ago, I have been fascinated by not only its history but its use today as one of the most spectacular opera venues that you will ever visit.  Built nearly 2,000 years ago, this outdoor amphitheatre could accommodate over 30,000 spectators, attracting audiences from across the Roman Empire.

What would it be like to work here as Principal Trumpet with its resident orchestra?  Well Massimo Longhi knows!  He has held this position for 25 years now and has kindly shared his thoughts with us.