The Music of Drew Fennell

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I mean to share some of what I have learned about music in general and about the trumpet in specific (if you want to read some more, you may want to visit my blog as well). I include here a number of articles I have written on trumpet playing and equipment, as well as links to information on great trumpet players, trumpet and musical resource websites and some online music stores. If you know of a good resource website you would like to contribute, contact me, and I may include it. I hope you will find this to be useful. Enjoy.

Articles/Items from Drew Fennell

Glossary of Musical Terms...NEW AND IMPROVED!!!
Here is a glossary, now with well over 1,200 musical terms! The listing is geared towards trumpet players (and brass players in general), but I hope it will be useful to any musician.

Must-Know Musical Terms
Here is a listing of about sixty musical terms - words and phrases a musician should know withOUT having to look them up in a glossary like the one above.

Here is some information on the instruments I play with descriptions and background on each.

Here is some information on the mouthpieces I use, with descriptions and background on each. Also included is basic background information and terminology on mouthpieces in general.

Here is some information on the mutes I use, with descriptions and background on each.

Here you will find information on various accessories with which I have had experience - gift ideas for the musician who has everything.

Here are some of my favorite recordings.

Trumpet Recordings
Here are some recording recommendations for the standard trumpet literature. Some recordings are a little obscure and may require a bit of searching. This listing is also available sorted by title and sorted by performer. If you would like to recommend a great recording, let me know.

Practice and Performance Tips
This is an article with some random thoughts on practice and performance.

Trumpet Fingering Chart
This is a fairly extensive fingering chart which includes standard fingerings and the most practical alternate fingerings, all the way from low F# to double-high F. If you are playing notes higher than that, you certainly don't need me telling you which buttons to push.

Long Tone Exercise
Here is a basic "old school" long tone exercise intended to focus on evenness of sound and accuracy of pitch over the entire range of the trumpet. Students should practice this (or something like this) every day.

Orthodonic Braces Lip Protector
Here is a useful product for protecting the lips when playing with braces. This product is available elswhere on the internet as well; and there are multiple products on the market made by different manufacturers. This one seems to work as well as any. Additionally, a DIY solution is possible, using football mouthguards trimmed down and shaped to the braces. Your mileage may vary.

Cornet Obbligato from Hector Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique*
Here is the cornet obbligato from the Symphonie Fantastique (movement 2: "Un Bal") by Hector Berlioz. In my experience, this is not included in many editions of the piece, so I place it here for anyone who might be interested. If you are not familiar, after premiering Symphonie Fantastique in 1830, Berlioz added the obbligato for an 1844 performance of the work which would include famous cornet virtuoso Jean-Baptiste Arban. It is said that Arban wanted to show off a new and improved cornet. Oddly enough, though Berlioz wrote many pieces which included the cornet, he was not a fan of the instrument - he believed it was a crass and unrefined. Take note the part is in the key of A.

* DISCLAIMER: This is a reproduction of some music I received via fax machine in 1997. That music was created using stone-aged music notation software and didn't look so great, so I cleaned it up as best I could. I make no guarantees as to the accuracy of this part, though I will say that the music from which it was created worked just fine in performance.

Grove City College Trumpet Studio
Grove City College trumpet players will find a course syllabus, required studies and other information here.

Private Trumpet Studio
Trumpet students will find a schedule, policies and other information here.

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Articles From Around the Web

Baroque Ornamentation (J.S. Bach specifically)
Here is a very detailed article on the interpretation of the ornamentation shown in the works of J.S. Bach. While this is specific to Bach, the rules outlined here are applicable to most Baroque music.

Baroque Ornamentation
Here is an article from oboist Rebecca Schalk Nagel (University of South Carolina School of Music) about Baroque ornamentation and how to interpret the trill, long and short appogaturas and mordent markings.

Baroque Ornamentation
Here is a general Wikipedia article about Baroque ornamentation.

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A Few Trumpet Players I Admire

There are so many great trumpet players out there. Here are a few of my favorites.

Maurice André
André is credited with bringing the solo trumpet into a much brighter light, expanding the repertoire and - in many ways - redefining for the whole world what the kind of music the trumpet can play and really changing the very concept of the sort of sound a trumpet can produce.

Alison Balsom
Alison Balsom is a first-rate concert soloist. She recorded a rendition of Niccolò Paganini's Caprice No. 24 that ranks as one of the greatest displays of trumpet playing I have ever heard. It is great to see a young female trumpet player doing so well. She really plays.

Håkan Hardenberger
He has absolutely incredible technical facility and a different sort of musical sense: he plays like a woodwind player, possessing such fluidity and grace - he is simply a great player.

Malcom McNab
His recording of the Tchaikovsky Concerto (originally for violin) is simply not to be believed. I find it laughable that on his website he offers for sale the sheet music for the Tchaikovsky transcription he plays on his album Exquisite. ...For what? ...Framing? There might be five trumpet players in the world that could begin to play it (and that's not a conservative estimate). He is one of the most well-rounded trumpet players in the world having done numerous soundtracks in addition to solo work. And Exquisite is a must-have for any trumpet player. I do not overstate it when I say that, for a trumpet player, listening to that album is like watching watching a basketball player dunk from mid-court, or witnessing Evil Knievel jump the Grand Canyon...on a moped. His playing is just superhuman.

Timothy Morrison
Tim Morrison is the musician you hear on many of the movie scores best loved by trumpet players. He performed for a number of years with the Boston Symphony and became a favorite of composer John Williams - who wrote a number of scores and a wickedly challenging trumpet concerto to feature Morrison's talents. Timothy Morrison is my favorite personal trumpet player, and I do my best to pattern my approach to playing after his (and I fail miserably every time!). He is very technically sound, but his playing is so astonishingly musical; it possesses a sheen - a brilliance that is unmatched by most any other player.

Phil Smith
Phil Smith, Principal Trumpet of the New York Philharmonic, is one of the truly great trumpet artists occupying a seat in a major orchestra. In a field (orchestral trumpet playing) where consistency and great power are highly prized, he also brings a sublime sense of musicality.

Wynton Marsalis
He is one of the great trumpet players of our generation - and maybe of all generations. As both a classical and jazz player he is nearly unparalleled. He has two classical recordings that are required listening for any trumpet player: Carnival! (with Donald Hunsberger and the Eastman Wind Ensemble) features a bunch of old chestnuts by Arban and Clarke; and Baroque Music for Trumpet (with Raymond Leppard and the English Chamber Orchestra) spotlights Marsalis playing all the parts, including an excellent Vivaldi Concerto in C and a stunning version of Pachelbel's Kanon.

George Vosburgh
George Vosburgh occupies thr Principal Trumpet chair of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, but his body of work is much larger, including collaborations with Mannheim Steamroller and a bunch of recent recordings as a soloist and with the Pittsburgh Symphony Brass. He is an amazingly consistent and very powerful trumpet player who is equally musical. I am proud to have been able to sit next to him on a great number of occasions. I found matching him to be easier than with any other player I've ever played with because his pitch is so reliable, his rhythm is absolutely impeccable and his interpretation is unfailing. He is predictable in the best possible way, and I consider that to be the highest of praise.

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Some Great Brass Ensembles

Below are some excellent brass ensembles. There are definitely many more, but these are a few off the top of my head.

American Brass Quintet

Brass Band of Battle Creek

Boston Brass

Canadian Brass

Empire Brass

Gomalan Brass

London Brass

Mnozil Brass

River City Brass Band

Synergy Brass Quintet

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More Musical Resources

Below are some websites which range from interesting to very useful. The Musical Chairs website, in particular, is quite useful if you are looking for a job in music.

Brass Players in Filmmusic
This is an interesting website with information on which brass players played on which movie soundtracks. I like it because it, for once, recognizes the musicians working, as they say, "in the trenches." Sometimes you wonder who is the possessor of that incredible sound you heard at the movie the other day. Here, you might just find the answer.

International Trumpet Guild
There are lots of resources online and any serious trumpet player should become a member. The website includes archives of back issues of the journal.

This is the resource website of Craig Morris, who was Principal Trumpet of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for a time and current occupies the position of Professor of Trumpet at Miami University. Mr. Morris has written a large number of blog articles which are interesting and entertaining, with lots of information on trumpet playing, being a musician in general and just ... living.

Musical Chairs
There are a number of angles covered at this website, but the most useful is the resource for learning about job openings in the music business. This includes information on auditions for playing jobs in and administrative positions.

Trumpet Players' International Network
There are a lot of resources with information on various aspects of trumpet playing. Take a browse around.

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Online Music Stores

Everyone has their own ideas about what music stores are best. Here are several with which I have had good success.

Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center
I have bought some instruments here. They always have a lot in stock, so you can try them until you find one you like.

Giardinelli Online
I find this is a reliable place to buy instruments, mutes, mouthpieces and accessories.

Hickey's Music Center Online
This is a great place to buy sheet music. They are a comprehensive music store, but I cannot speak to anything but the sheet music aspect.

You know what it is. If you haven't tried using iTunes, believe me, it's time. One caveat: if you own an off-brand mp3 player (i.e. not an iPod), iTunes makes it difficult - even impossible - to sync up directly.

Robert King Music Sales
Robert King has a huge catalogue of brass music.

Volkwein's Music
For those local to Pittsburgh, they are a full-service music store with a good service and repair department, and a large selection of instruments for sale.

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Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 Drew Fennell
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