Feb 9, 2021

Clarke Routine


Written by Ben Wright


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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