Master the Petrouchka Trumpet Excerpt with these drills – Part 1

Master the Petrouchka Trumpet Excerpt with these drills – Part 1

Master the Petrouchka Trumpet Excerpt with these drills – Part 1

Written by benwright2021

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If you want to play in an orchestra, sooner than later, you are going to need to learn to play the Ballerina Dance from Stravinsky’s Ballet, Petrouchka. Why? It’s on every audition. The honest truth: this excerpt was tough for me in school. I didn’t really learn to play it well until I had won my third job. If you also struggle with this piece, fear not. If I was able to own it, so can you!

I used to “rent” this excerpt, simply running through and repeating the same mistakes. Owning this excerpt didn’t come until I thought bigger: I needed to improve the parts of my playing that were insufficient to make it sound good, namely my flexibility and clarity of articulation. Once I made inroads with flexibility and a lighter, clearer articulation — which had much more to do with how I was using my air than with articulation itself — this excerpt and others like it (Ravel’s G-major piano concerto, etc.) became much more consistent.

In this video and in its companion video Petrushka Drills part deux, I share all the exercises I’ve used to take ownership of this ubiquitous excerpt. They will help you to gain the skills you need to truly own it.

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Clarke Routine

Clarke Routine

Clarke Routine

Written by benwright2021

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Starting with my first teacher, James Bursen, who was a VERY patient man, H.L. Clarke’s Technical Studies for the Cornet were have been a mainstay of my practice and remain so today.

Being comfortable playing in every key is important to becoming flexible. Of course, when I was 10 and Mr. Bursen told me to memorize the first five studies, my jaw dropped open. In reality, once you know the patterns, the fingerings for different keys can be learned when you are not playing the trumpet. For me that often meant when I was bored, sitting in church or class – I’d just sing through them in my head and hope that nobody saw me twiddling my fingers! By the time I hit conservatory, I had a pretty exhaustive routine with varied articulations and multiple tonguing patterns. I THOUGHT I had it all figured out – then Michael Sachs threw some more stuff at me. Between that early inspiration, my teachers’ input, and what I have learned since this simple book that has been around for over 100 years gets a lot done when practiced regularly. 

Every student who takes lessons with me will eventually jump through the Clarke hoops. These simple exercises with the variations I demonstrate in this video, form a foundation for technique: dexterity, dynamics, flexibility, breath control, and more.

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