You can find other articles by me tagged "trumpet" here, or cornet here.
About meIn the 1990's I did quite a lot of freelance/semi pro player but these days I spend my time working for a charity and playing the trumpet and cornet on an amateur basis. Before moving to Edinburgh I played the trumpet with the Open Orchestra for seven years until 2010. After moving to Edinburgh I spent a year playing principal cornet with Penicuik Silver Band and then solo cornet with Kingdom Brass B until it's demise. At the moment I am playing repiano cornet with the Bathgate Band (First Section). I also play a bit of traditional jazz, and do occasional orchestra concerts or big band gigs.
My experience of Edinburgh is that there are not a lot of playing opportunities here. The same people seem to do all the gigs and there is a general preference by amateur groups for people who have been to music college. As a result, since moving to Edinburgh, most of my playing has been outside Edinburgh and mainly in the brass band world.
I started playing at the age of 10 (french horn) switched to euphonium at 14 (because I really wanted to play in a brass band) and then trumpet and cornet at around the age of 19 (although I still doubled on euphonium for a couple of years).
My brass band experience includes Stirling Public Band, Alloa Band (1st and 2nd section) and Alva Band (championship section), Livingston Brass Band, Newlands Concert Brass, principal cornet with Penicuik and solo cornet with Kingdom Brass B. I have played Bb cornet and Eb soprano cornet.
As an orchestral player I have performed a wide range of repertoire from baroque to modern works including concertos and other solos. This includes a lot of piccolo trumpet playing in baroque music.
In addition to playing trumpet, cornet and piccolo trumpet I play french horn to a level good enough for second or third horn.
Favourite players: Maurice Andre, Phillip McCann, Chet Baker, Bix Beiderbecke and, of course, Louis Armstrong.
EquipmentI have a range of instruments for different types of playing:
Bb Trumpet - Bach Stradivarius 43
I used to play on Monette equipment, but switched to this a couple of years ago. It has a larger bell than the standard 37 Bach trumpet that most players use but it is still a medium large bore. It works well for orchestra and big band playing.
Mouthpieces: Schilke 20 for classical; Jet-Tone MF for big band (one of the later ones, similar to the old style Jet-Tone MF3).
Bb Trumpet - Selmer 19A Balanced
|Selmer Paris 19A Balanced Trumpet|
Mouthpieces: Interesting and ongoing due to the unusual receiver! I own a Selmer Special identical to the one Louis was using in the 50's. It has the widest, flattest, rim I have ever seen on a trumpet mouthpiece and it has a double cup.
Eb/D Trumpet - Schilke E3L-4
|Schilke E3L-4 with Eb bell and slides|
|Schilke E3L-4 with D bell and slides|
This was built as a four valve Eb trumpet with an extra large bell, but I sent it to Schilke to have the smaller D bell and slides made. In Eb it is capable of playing most Bb or C orchestral trumpet parts. In D it really sings and is great int he upper register.
Mouthpieces: Schilke 20
Piccolo Trumpet - Hybrid Rotary
This is a four valve rotary trumpet made in China but modified with a Blackburn leadpipe for A. Although it looks like a Scherzer the bell is bigger. It seems to be a copy of the "Melton" rotary trumpet which was made by Scherzer in the 1980's. It plays very well in A and is the best piccolo trumpet I have ever owned in that key. In Bb it plays OK, but its not quite as good as it is in A.
Mouthpieces: Josef Klier 7DW (similar to a Bach 7DW but with a bigger backbore)
Flugel Horn - Boosey and Hawkes Imperial
|Boosey & Hawkes Imperial Flugel Horn|
This instrument is from the early 70's and is of the narrow bore style of flugel. It has the added advantage of using a cornet shank mouthpiece.
Mouthpieces: Denis Wick 2
Cornet - Yamaha Maestro
|Yamaha Maestro Cornet|
This is one of the earlier Maestro's without "UK" after the model number and with no engraving on the bell. I bought it second hand and had it overhauled to bring it back into new condition.
Mouthpieces: Lewington McCann custom, Lewington McCann standard.
Cornet - Blessing Artist
|Blessing Artist Cornet|
Mouthpieces: Wick 3 trumpet top, threaded and coupled to the backbore from a Bach 6 cornet mouthpiece.
Cornet - Douglas & Sons
This is a collectors item , made in the late 19th century in Glasgow.
Mouthpieces: Lewington McCann custom; original 1890's narrow mouthpiece
I play on two currently. One is a Lewington McCann standard mouthpiece and the other is a "skeletonised" version with mass removed from around the rim. This makes it feel a bit freer blowing and a bit more agile, but it does make the sound a little bit brighter.
This gives you some idea of the types of music I have performed in concerts over the years.
- Trumpet Concerto in Eb - J Haydn
- Trumpet Concerto in D - Telemann
- Trumpet Concerto in D - Fasch
- Carnival of Venice - Arban (Cornet)
- Trumpet Sonata - Purcell
- Suite in D - Jeremiah Clarke
- Most of the standard classical and romantic repertoire.
- Bach Mass in B Minor and Christmas Oratorio.
- Verdi Requiem.
- Vaughan Williams Symphony no 2 (London) (Trumpet and Cornet parts).
- Played with a 10 piece brass ensemble (using London Brass / PJBE arrangements).
- Marriage of Figaro - Mozart
- The Mikado - Gilbert and Sullivan
- West Side Story
- My Fair Lady
- Kiss me Kate
- Christmas Oratorio - Bach
- Messiah - Handel
- Played trumpet with Forth Dimension big band in the late 80's.
- Occasional recent playing in local bands.
Solo cornet or soprano cornet with:
- Alloa Town Band (1st Section)
- The Alva Band (Championship Section)
- Newland Concert Brass
- Penicuik Silver Band (principal cornet)
- Kingdom Brass B (second solo cornet)
ClipsHere are some clips of me playing (NB: variable quality recording qualities)
Ye Servants of God (hymn tune: Laudate Dominum):
Bring Him Home:
Goose Pimples (Bix Beiderbecke):
Vivaldi Concerto in D Minor (1st and Second Movements):
(normally performed on piccolo trumpet, this is a real test of control in the upper register on the cornet.)
Telemann La Majeste, from 12 Heroic Marches:
Neruda Trumpet Concerto in Eb - 1st Movement (excerpt):
Neruda Trumpet Concerto in Eb - 2nd Movement (excerpt):
Neruda Trumpet Concerto in Eb - 3rd Movement (excerpt):
A bit of fun
Four octaves on a cornet: