O.J.'s Trumpet Page Articles and reviews

Hans Gansch

Hans Gansch - soloist with Nordic Brass Ensemble, March 2007
Photo: Jørn Simenstad

Hans Gansch was born in 1953 in Kirnberg an der Mank, in Austria.
Seven years old, he got his first music instruction from his father, Johann Gansch (on flute and a small drum).
When he was eleven, he began playing trumpet in a band led by his father. He studied trumpet with Prof. Franz Veigl at the Anton Bruckner University in Linz.
From 1974 to 1976, he was principal trumpet with Brucknerorchester Linz and from 1976 to 1982; he had the same position in the Austrian Radio Symphony Orchestra.
From 1982 to 1996, he was principal trumpet in the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
Since 1996, Gansch has been professor of trumpet at the Mozarteum in Salzburg.

How to play the trumpet
In a masterclass in Oslo in March 2007, Gansch first talked a little about his teaching philosophy:
Playing the trumpet is a subjective thing. "I sometimes change my mind about this."
Some very lucky few have no trouble playing (they have musical talent, good teeth and lips).
The vast majority of practitioners have to figure out what works for them - they are not what we call natural talents.
"I had a talent for music, but I have problems with my uneven under teeths."
To compensate for this, he developed a false embouchure (by putting the under lip behind the upper lip to get to higher tones).
Since then he has worked for almost 40 years to get rid of this bad habit.

The idea is to place upper and lower teeth aligned and strengthen the muscles of the lips and cheeks so that they can resist pressure from the mouthpiece. This will make the upper lip free to vibrate.
He demonstrated the different roles of the lips by buzzing and then placing a finger on them.
When putting his finger on the lower lip, the buzzing sounded a little disturbed, but you could hear it all the time.
When his finger hit the top lip, it stopped the buzzing sound at once.

Preparing for the warm up
Start first with a strong exhalation to get rid of stale air in the lungs.
To get ready to play, it is usually wise to do simple relaxation and focusing exercises without the instrument.
Sit in a comfortable and relaxed position and take in air through the nose. Let the air out slowly through the mouth with an "open feel". Repeat and try to let the air out even slower.

To make the body more relaxed, but focused, you can then do some basic types of yoga exercises where you feel different parts of your body:
Feel right thumb - is it a little warmer? Then feel the left thumb, feel the right big toe, feel the left big toe, etc., etc.

The warm up
The warm up starts with some loose lip flaps to get the blood to flow. Gansch starts with a "favorite tone" in the middle register. He plays only this single tone until it is "clean". First, he concentrates on the start of the tone - trying to hit "the bull’s eye" (center of the tone). When this is good, he goes to the "center" of the tone - get it to flow as freely as possible.

When this tone is good, keep the memory of it in the head and go to other tones. It is important to be patient and not rush on with the warm up. By working with just a tone, you establish a very good foundation for all playing. A problem for many trumpet players is that exercises are full of errors. Stop it!
The next step is short tones - the same procedure here, work to get a clean first tone, the got to other tones.

About trumpet playing
Sometimes we should put it to play trumpet in a wider perspective.
Gansch mentioned some points one can think of:

The trumpet is a "tool".
Playing the trumpet is a "game". It may not make you happy.

There are other more important things in life than trumpet.
Think of the universe.
Think of love.

Masterclass - Play all in a "straight line"!

Gansch with two young students
Gansc talking with two young Norwegian talents, Audun and Lasse.
Photo: Jørn Simenstad

In the masterclass, Hans Gansch many times came back to points he had talked about in regards to the basics of trumpet playing.
He frequently asked his students to avoid too much movement when playing larger intervals. :

Play everything forward in a straight line!
By thinking like this, you will develop a much more economical use of the embouchure.

Solo recordings:
"Trumpetenkarneval" (1993)
"Trompetenkonzerte" (1994)
"Da oana Summa" (1999)
"Trumpetenmusik des 20 Jahrhunderts" (1999)
"Gansch Meets Höfs" with Matthias Höfs (2006)

o.j. 2014  - Article first published in Norwegian in “Schallstykket” No. 2, 2007