Master the Petrouchka Trumpet Excerpt with these drills – Part 1
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.
I had some fun writing this for Trumpet Magazine Online, a publication that has most of its following in Europe. I thank my students both in my T5 Mastercourse and the New England Conservatory and their hard work, which reminded me of these lessons – I often need to remind myself that they work for me too!.
What’s the biggest difference between a recorded audition and a live audition? You have the ABILITY (double edged sword here) to record it as many times as you want or have time to with a recorded audition. When it is live, you get one shot. Most of the recorded auditions now are being asked to be done straight-through, with no edits. This takes more planning and preparation than being able to record one selection at a time. It also gives us as the listeners a better overall idea of your playing.
You CAN teach an old dog new tricks. I am 46. I don’t think of that as old, but I have been working in full-time orchestras now for over 23 years. I left school in 1998 to start working and yet, in the last three years, I have learned more about how to play the trumpet (and thus, how to teach the same stuff) than at any other time in my life!