Those of you who learned to play the trumpet in the 40s or in my case, the 50s, could not help but be influenced by the great Rafael Mendez. Although Mendez said, more than once, that all you have to do is scales and more scales, it was somewhat tongue in cheek, but flavored by a whole lot of truth. Of course, Mendez taught us a lot more about playing the trumpet ( check out his tutorial videos sometime ), but one thing he never wavered on was the belief that a foundation based on scales was of the utmost importance in mastering the the trumpet.
Although 6 months in a conservatory of music gave me some grounding, it was a professional trumpet player who did it all, from classical music to jazz, who really taught me how to play the trumpet, and he was a great believer in Mendez so you can be sure that scales became an important part of my practice routines.
When I started playing again at age 79, I hadn't touched the horn in over 50 years. Something I quickly learned was that I was learning to play the trumpet all over again. Some things, like the fingerings, came back to me fairly quickly, but being able to play for hours, rather than minutes, took much longer.
So what did I do to get back my youthful ( that's a laugh ) endurance, well you guessed it, I started playing scales daily. First I started doing one octave major scales in all keys. As the chops began to strengthen I began adding a note or two to the octave until I was up to a full two octave run from low C to high C above the staff in all keys.
Along with the major scales I started adding sets of intervals in all major keys.
This became the foundation of re-developing my ability to play the trumpet with a decent endurance. Oh, there were other things, of course, like long tones, lip slurs from below to above the staff, arpeggios, articulation exercises, etc.
But the foundation was scales. I had started playing in March of 2016 and by September I was playing first chair with the local Horizons band.
Now, going on 6 years later, I am playing with one of the province's top brass and reed bands. And because I sometime still think I can play like I did in my teens and my twenties I will do stupid things like over playing when I should know better. This has led to a few injuries that have caused me to stop playing for awhile ( one time for a
month ) but there is still one thing that always gets me back to where I was...
SCALES, SCALES AND MORE SCALES