Category Archives for Reviews

Book Review – Burton Kaplan’s “Practicing for Artistic Success”

I just posted this book review to the Dr. Flegg’s Structured Practice Method Blog:

One day this past summer I was surfing my Facebook feed and saw an intriguing post from Manny Laureano. Manny is the Principal Trumpet with the Minnesota Orchestra, and Co-Artistic Director and Conductor of the Minnesota Youth Symphonies Orchestra. He also was on the faculty of the National Orchestral Institute many years ago when I was a fellow there. He is a musician, music educator, and human for whom I have the utmost respect.

His post on Facebook that morning talked about a workshop he was going to be participating in: A “Practice Marathon Retreat” for brass players, at the Magic Mountain Music Farm in upstate New York. I did some reading about the retreat, Magic Mountain, and the founder and co-presenter of the workshop, Burton Kaplan. I really wanted to attend the retreat in person, but I had a performance booked that week that I absolutely could not back out of, so I did some research and found the next best thing… the book “Practicing for Artistic Success,” by Burton Kaplan.

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Relief for Tired Eyes!

The last time I had my eyes examined, the doctor said to me “Your reward for your longevity is that you get to wear these really cool glasses!” That’s a good perspective I suppose.

Back in the day I could read not only off my own stand, but also the stands of my neighbors, and even people in the row in front of me. Those days are gone. Now it’s even a challenge to read my OWN music if the lighting isn’t great.

[amazon_link id=”B003B0I09Y” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Mighty Bright Orchestra Light, with Adapter and Bag[/amazon_link]

Enter the Mighty Bright Orchestra Light. I bought this a few months ago after a particularly difficult gig, and I’m so glad I did!! It’s really made my playing life easier!!!

If, like me, you perform in a wide range of conditions, and your eyes are giving you a little trouble, I highly recommend this light. It’s a lifesaver!!

A New Arban Edition

One of my students recently brought to my attention what appears to be a brand new edition of the Arban Book for trumpet. It’s published by Dover, and is currently taking preorders at $14.95. That’s the lowest price I’ve seen on this book in more than 20 years.

[amazon_enhanced asin=”0486479552″ container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /]

A lot of people call this book the “bible” of trumpet. I’m not sure I’d go quite that far, but it is a great tool for mastering the instrument. This might be a great opportunity to pick one up!

The Best Tuner/Metronome for Trumpeters Ever

I don’t do a lot of product reviews on this site, but every
once in a while I run across something I just have to share with my readers. This is one of those times.

Back in December, one of my students brought a new gadget to his lesson: The CenterPitch CP10 Tuner/Metronome. I’ve had an earlier model, the CP-2, for several years, and have been very happy with it. This new model is a huge step up.

The main difference between the CP-10 and the CP-2 is that the new model features a metronome in addition to the usual tuner.

What sets this metronome apart from others is one simple thing: volume. I have way too many metronomes in my possession that do nothing more than collect dust because they’re simply too quiet to be heard when you’re practicing the trumpet. This metronome projects like crazy. I’ve been using it since December and can happily report that you can hear it while playing the trumpet. The value of this feature cannot be overstated!!

The tuner is also quite good. It’s easy to read, handles transposing instruments well, and the entire display turns green when you are “in tune.” It also relies on a vibration sensing clip rather than a microphone, which means it can be used to check pitch reliably even in a room full of other people playing their instruments (like, say, a school band room).

Radio Lab

Over the past few years, while I was commuting back and forth to MSU in East Lansing, I came to rely on audiobooks and podcasts to keep me awake on the road. One of the very best I’ve found is RadioLab, from New York Public Radio. Continue reading

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