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  • Writer's pictureAllen J. Venezio

My Favorite Things

The way I look at it, if Oprah can have a list of her favorite things, why can’t I? The only difference, however, is that you don’t get one of everything on my list. I do apologize in advance for that.

On my list will be 10 trumpet-related items (not including the trumpet itself) that I think you should not be without as a trumpet player. How many of them do you have?

1. A copy of the Arban’s Method for Trumpet – This book is “The Bible of Trumpet” and is required reading and practice material. Enough said. As this book is in the public domain, obtaining a free PDF copy is as easy as a Google search. There are many great print editions as well, including my favorite, the Platinum edition (it lays flat)!

2. A pencil – “The musician’s best friend”. Never arrive at a rehearsal without one of these. Period. You never know when you need to mark your part with directions from the conductor or a note to yourself.

3. Tonal Energy (Tuner and Metronome App) – All musicians should have a metronome for practicing. It is truly an important tool for working out difficult technical passages. All musicians should have a chromatic tuner also. Use this to tune EVERY note on your instrument, not just concert Bb and concert F. Make sure you tune your low D and low C# so that you know exactly how far to extend your third valve slide when playing these notes. This app gives you both and so much more! You can even track your daily practice with it!

4. Straight Mute – This is the standard mute for symphonic band and orchestral work. It is useful in big bands as well, especially in classic big band charts. I recommend a Denis Wick aluminum mute simply because I think they sound the best.

5. Cup Mute – Another standard mute used in many ensembles, especially in the jazz ensemble. I prefer a Denis Wick adjustable cup mute. In a pinch, you can use this mute without the cup on it as a straight mute ... but I don't recommend it as standard practice.

6. Microfibre Cloth – The same cloth that you use to wipe down eyeglasses comes in larger sizes and is very useful for wiping down your trumpet after you handle it. This takes the fingerprints and oils off of the instrument and keeps the finish looking clean. It also helps to prevent the finish from being worn off so quickly (especially if you have acidic hands).

7. Folding Music Stand – Always practice with a music stand. Don’t use your case to hold music up while you play. It does not help you play the proper way and non-productive practicing is worse than not practicing at all. Besides, you never know when you will need to bring a stand somewhere and these are a lot easier to deal with than a large metal stand.

8. P.E.T.E. – The Personal Embouchure Training Exerciser made by Warburton Music Products is great for working the chop muscles necessary to build great endurance and range. You can check out their site at Be sure to tell Terry that the 5 Foot High Trumpet Guy sent you!

9. A copy of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue – All trumpet players should own this CD. One of my college professors, Dr. Rhonda Buckley, told me that if I was to own only one jazz CD, this was the one to buy. She was right. It’s definitely one of the greatest recordings ever made.

10. A copy of Trumpet 101: A Resource Manual for Trumpet Players – I don’t say this just because I wrote the book, I say it because it has great exercises and motivational stories that will help you make it to the next level in your development as a trumpet player. If you don’t have one, you may just have to trust me and order a copy.

Well, there you have it! A list of My Favorite Things. Now, doesn’t it feel like Christmas already?

Until next time, keep blowin’ baby!

Trumpet 101: The ULTIMATE Resource Manual for Trumpet Players

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