Master the Petrouchka Trumpet Excerpt with these drills – Part 1

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Written by Ben Wright

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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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