A "Short" Tale
The Legend of The 5 Foot High Trumpet Guy
The story begins in the small town of Citrus Springs, FL. Al Venezio, mechanic by day and professional trumpet player by night, began to teach his 7 year old son to play trumpet. That 7 year old boy was me … Allen J. Venezio … the 5 Foot High Trumpet Guy!
When I started out, my dad taught me all the basic skills I needed to be a fine trumpet player. He was hard on me and while I was progressing at a swift pace, I was not fond of practicing and decided to give it up. My dad was disappointed, of course, but his philosophy was that he wasn’t going to force music upon any of his children.
A little over a year later, I decided that I wanted to play again. This time, however, I didn’t quit. I played a lot of long tones and began developing what later would become the signature aspect of my trumpet playing, my tone quality.
The Big Fish In The Very Tiny Pond
I played in the elementary school band where I was, by far, the best trumpet player. I played in the middle school band and, for the most part, enjoyed the same level of success. Upon entering high school, I was promoted to lead trumpet in the jazz band the third day of my freshman year and was named soloist in the marching band as well. I spent four years as the school’s #1 trumpet player and ended up first chair in the All-District Band, attended numerous national honor bands and earned many accolades as a soloist.
The Fish Gets Caught
My college experience, however, was quite different from this. I found out pretty quick that there were A LOT of really great trumpet players out there. It was vastly different than what I was used to coming from the thriving metropolis of Beverly Hills … 34465! Throughout my college days, I learned a lot about what I needed to do to get better. What I learned that was more important than that was that there are a lot of bits of information out there about trumpet playing … and not all of it is good!
Being Chased By A Shark
My life changed greatly in the spring of 1993 when I first heard about a trumpet player who’s life would change mine forever … Bill Chase. A friend of my named Greg told me about him and I had to hear him play. There was only one problem with this – Bill Chase died in 1974! So, I searched the United States for a recording of him and after months of looking, I found an LP of Chase’s first album. I put it on my turntable and from the opening notes of “Open Up Wide” I became a disciple of the man and vowed to find out everything I could about him.
Swimming In A Sea Of Information
College and the subsequent teaching assignments I have held in my career have brought with them a wealth of information both about trumpet playing and about music education. Wading through it all was a mind numbing task. I spent much time in the practice room trying different methods and experimenting with other people’s ideas on how I could improve my trumpet playing. Through it all, I only moderately improved.
When I first started teaching private studio lessons, however, I learned, what truly worked and what did not for more than just myself. I invested a lot of effort in attempting to customize everything for every student I taught. I made many mistakes and wasted a lot of time trying things that did not make any significant impact on my students and I knew there had to be a better way. In the end, I found myself coming back to the same fundamentals that my dad had taught me over 2 decades before. It was then that I decided that I needed to write my own method and infuse it with my unique philosophy.
Owning The Pond Is The Only Way To Go!
Over the course of a three-year period, I researched many trumpet pedagogy topics, composed numerous exercises, experimented with different methodologies on my private students and practiced a lot on my own. From all of this research, Trumpet 101: A Resource Manual For Trumpet Players was born.
Today, practicing is something that I love to do. Without good practice, good performance is virtually impossible.
Music should be, above all else, fun. The better you are at something, the more fun it is. This is so very true about trumpet playing. I am playing some of the best trumpet of my life right now and my only regret is that I can’t go back and tell that 7 year old boy not to quit and to love playing the trumpet because there’s nothing in the world quite like it.