O.J.'s Trumpet Page Articles and reviews

"Buzz along with James Thompson"

Daily Play-Along Brass Builder

Atlanta Brass Society Press, 1995
(including 2 play-along CDs with examples of James Thompson's trumpet playing to imitate!)

To be used as a supplement with other method books.
By doing this ten minutes a day, the beginning student (or comeback player) will:

Let's have a closer look at these 3 points presented in the introduction of the book.

Improve pitch accuracy
The first 3 series in the book do not use written music. This makes the students focus on the pitch of Thompson's performance they need to imitate. This type of practice encourages them to develop a good listening habit.

By playing on the mouthpiece without written music and fingering distractions, the students can focus on what needs to be done to match pitches on his/her mouthpiece.

This part of the system (pitch accuracy) is clearly derived from James Stamp's teaching. Stamp was very concerned with matching the pitch when playing on the mouthpiece. He would play a sequence on the piano and the student would then repeat it on the mouthpiece.

Establish a correct embouchure
The long setting, nose breathing is wellknown from the Carmine Caruso teaching. It is used here in series 2 and series 3 not as an isometric exercise but to establish a stable embouchure setup.

In all the Vizzutti books the glissando on the mouthpiece is used as part of the warm up. By making the glissando as smooth as possible, the player trains the lips to go smoothly into the break areas without changing the embouchure setting. By imitating the steady glissando played by Thompson, and not making any change in the air flow or any abrupt changes in muscle tension the student will soon develop a much better embouchure.

Develop a full, pleasant tone quality
The call/response pattern in the book helps the student focusing on the sound. Listening to Thomson's "call" and "echoing" it back trying to match his sound is an excellent model. This forces the student to use his/her ears, and then go for the right note.

It is strange that play-along systems like this are not more used in today's beginning methods! After all, most kids have access to a CD player - and they learn more from imitating (aural model) a good player than from being told (oral model) a lot of things.

The call/response also gives the student regular rests during each exercise - this will speed up the muscular development.

The absence of written music in the first 3 series will also help the young student to concentrate more on his own tone.

When the student has finished this book he can go on to the next book:

Buzzing Basics for the advanced trumpet player

by James Thompson and Robert Sayer
Atlanta Brass Society Press, 1995
(including play along CD)

Volume 1 & 2

You can get all the books & CDs from:

Atlanta Brass Society Press
(They take money order and VISA)

o.j. 2001