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Fast and furious . . .

Hello Carl, I live in Adelaide, South Australia. Started playing the trumpet when I was 25, that was about 1973. Just played for pleasure not too serious but put a lot of work in nevertheless. About 7 years ago I let it go and didn’t play for a couple of years except the odd blow every couple of months with a CD. After a couple of  years I was really missing it and at the age of about 51 tried to get some of back. At 57 I somehow managed to get into the Adelaide University and study jazz trumpet. 2005 will be my 3rd year. There are some things that just arn’t as good. My range is lower – only about High C with the odd D and a squeaked E (Used to get F and just G). Seem to get ‘sticky’ lips after a while – very frustrating. Anyway mainly enquiring regarding playing fast or rapid passages – flourishes. I really don[t quite know where to start. Do you know of a book that would help? I listen to a lot of CD’s which is good but some times its hard to know how the passages are created and of course what they are broken down. – is it scales?, or lyrical lines? or chromatic lines? are most flourishes slurred? etc. Wondered if someone has written a book on the subject?

Playing fast and rapid passages, flourishes as you call them can only be achieved with very flexible fingers. Finger flexibility is of course achieved by running regular scales in all the keys until you can run them very fast and clean but I have found that if you concentrate on the chromatic scale you can reach higher levels of flexibility because you are playing all the notes instead of some of them. Make up your own patterns of chromatics like 8 sixteenth notes going down starting on C for example and then starting on B and on down chromatically, then 12 triplets the same way..Then do the same thing going up. As you make up your own patterns write them down. Make long and short patterns and make a collection of them. When practicing them start slowly and never go faster than you can play them clean and as you improve increase the speed. I have found that working on chromatics makes the regular scales easier because your fingers are more flexible..Play them as fast as you can but always at speeds that you are in control of.. Good luck and good skill.  Carl 

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