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Selected Striederisms

Compiled for the Marching 100 Trumpets 2017-2018 Season

Joshua Stegall
Whether auditioning for the Chicago Symphony or UIL competitions, Sound wins the day.
Sound is absolutely what separates the great from the good; the men from the boys; the sheep from
the goats. A section that plays with a superior sound is a superior section. The first and largest goal
of mine is to improve the sound of the individual players as well as the section. A huge portion of
a trumpet players very identity is the result of his sound, and as a result, everything trumpet
players do should be with the aim of playing with a beautiful sound. I realize that the amount of
time that I will have with the students is not necessarily conducive to drastic, fundamental, night-
and-day transformations in their playing. Immediate improvement will be of the utmost
importance, but perhaps even more important is showing students the tools that they can utilize to
better themselves on a long-term basis.

The Three Commandments:

Centeredness of Pitch
Playing in the center of pitch is of the utmost importance. Players sometimes are tempted
to think very little of playing out of tune. Players think (wrongly) that playing out of tune only
affects how sharp or flat they are, but players who play out of tune have sound problems, range
difficulties, endurance problems, flexibility challenges and accuracy issues. Generally speaking,
the trumpet is a forgiving or self-correcting instrument. Players can play outside of the targets
of the horn but can still get through their music more or less due to the nature of the instrument.
When players do this, however, they are essentially fighting the instrument, and the instrument is
in control of the player rather than vice versa. Mr. Strieder uses the analogy of a Funnel wherein
when you play outside of the center, the instrument brings you back (albeit in a way that is not
pleasant for the audience). When a player plays in the center of the funnel however, they can
access levels of tone production, resonance, volume, and projection in a healthy way.
Correct Usage of Air
The Trumpet is, alas, a wind instrument and the player must use air well in order to play
well. Using the air is extremely important, but people (especially in the realm of marching band)
often approach air incorrectly. Correct posture is a must, and a healthy inhalation is important. The
focus, however, should be on the exhalation. You do not make any sound with the inhalation.
Focusing on expanding lung capacity are largely fruitless. The breathing gym approach is not
efficient, and generally results in excess tension and little progress on a players instrumental
playing. Tools like the candle and straw-and-pinwheel (explained below) encourage players to use
the air in a way that translates to healthy trumpet playing. The idea that a Bigger breath is better
is largely unsubstantiated. In fact, Christopher Martin, principal trumpet of the Chicago Symphony
from 2004-2016 and recently appointed principal of the New York Philharmonic says that even at
his loudest fortissimo, he only thinks of breathing in to a Solid 3/4 of lung capacity. As long as
the inhalation is healthy (which a short, shallow, sippy breath is not) all will be well, for it is all
about the exhalation.
Suppleness of Lips
Trumpet players, especially younger players, largely play with inordinate amounts of
tension and pressure. The sound of the trumpet is made through the creation of a standing wave
generated by healthy vibrations in the players lips. The unfortunate reality is that for the vast
majority of young trumpet players, the lips do not actually vibrate, and the player is forced to rely
on tension and pressure to generate a (suboptimal) sound. Playing in this unhealthy manner puts a
cap on how much a player can improve, and virtually every aspect of a trumpeters playing
suffers. Buzzing (Free buzzing, the rim, the mouthpiece, the leadpipe, Dallas buzzing, Baritone
Buzzing, etc) all improve the vibration tremendously and will pay amazing dividends in students
playing if used regularly, methodically, and intentionally. Being conscious about the pressure and
tension that players use is vital, for the path of healthy trumpet playing is never-ending, and it is
critical to get students onto that path and away from the slippery slope of unhealthy playing that
leads to an unpleasant sound and hampered facility.

Everything we do as trumpet players MUST obey the three commandments!

The Prime Directive
The Prime Directive is Fixed Pitch. Playing with a fixed pitch is of the utmost
importance, and playing with fixed pitch allows the player to improve their centeredness,
accuracy, and overall level of security. People often debate whether it is better to practice with a
drone or tuner, but fixed pitch is vastly superior to either. To play with fixed pitch, one must
transcribe music into finale music notation software and then import into smartmusic. The
Smartmusic program will then play the music back for the student at any selected tempo or cut.
Smart music then plays the music in perfect time and in perfect pitch. Practicing with fixed pitch
is tremendously beneficial for learning new repertoire, refining music, fundamentals, and daily
routine. Additionally, Smartmusic assesses students which allows students to quantify their
progress in a tangible way. Smartmusic is brutally honest, and will call you out on any and every
mistake. Practicing with Smart music sets our ear up to the Gold Standard of mechanically
perfect music. When we practice with smart music, we bring our own playing closer and closer
to perfection. Having an OCD approach to the horn coupled with fixed pitch can allow for
rapid and substantial improvement. A key theme to all of Mr. Strieders teachings is practicing
efficiently. You have to work smarter AND harder. For the vast majority of young players,
practice time is spent in a way that the player is essentially spinning their wheels instead of
moving forward. Fixed pitch is a tool than can be used in combination with almost any other
Strieder teaching technique.
Sing-Buzz-Play should not be a foreign concept to any students. Nearly all trumpet
students have been told to sing their part and buzz their mouthpiece, but the sad reality is that
almost no young players actually do this. In Sing-Buzz-Play, a player (along with fixed pitch)
will chose a passage of music and Sing through it, then buzz through it, then play itin that
order. At an introductory level, a student will sing, then buzz, then play through a passage and
repeat the cycle until they meet a certain standard (given through the smart music assessment
score). At a more advanced level, A student will sing through a passage until he meets a certain
standard (repeating until he has met the standard), then buzz the passage until he meets the same
standard (repeating as needed), then finally play the piece until he can meet the standard. For
example, when Im practicing orchestral excerpts I sing the excerpt until I score a 100% on smart
music. Sometimes that takes a while, but once I can do that, I generally get the 100 Buzzing
sooner, and I usually get it on the first try when I finally play it. Another benefit of this approach
to practicing is that it forces the player to be extremely attentive to detail, to channel their
perfectionist attitudes and forces the player to be OCD about his playing, which is absolutely
essential. For the purposes of High School, a more appropriate threshold would be 90% or 95%
depending on difficulty and length of the passage. (Note: As a player begins using this method, a
the bar should constantly be raised. An A score can be acceptable early in the learning curve,
but there will come a point where it is insufficientafter all, scoring a 90% means that youre
missing one note every ten notes, and that will get you the dreaded Thank you, Next. at any
PSP, which stands for Play-Sing-Play, is similar to Sing-Buzz-Play but whereas Sing-
Buzz-Play involves a rotating cycle comprised of a passage of music, PSP is an alternating cycle
of notes. A player will chose a passage of music to work on and will play the first note, sing the
next note, play the following note, and continue the pattern for the duration of the passage. PSP
is most effective with fixed pitch (but the tempo must be set considerably slower). To properly
do PSP, students will hold their horn near their face for the duration of the exercise even when
singing. Students will likely feel more comfortable singing through the corners of their mouth
keeping the mouthpiece set. They will, however, find that as they progress, taking the
mouthpiece off of the face is not problematic at all. When students first begin to practice with
PSP, the results are usually very bad but that should not discourage players or teachers! It is to
be expected that students will frack the notes they play and miss the notes they sing during PSP,
but this merely exposes whats going on under the hood when they play so to speak. PSP
reveals what the students is audiating in their head while they play. If used correctly, PSP allows
the player to have a continuous and conscious auditation. It also marries the singing and
playing, greatly improves accuracy and security, and even helps relieve excess tension (that is
detrimental to all aspects of playing) because PSP will cause players to produce grunting
sounds between the singing and playing if they are not playing in a healthy way (which most
young players are not playing in a healthy way). PSP is truly nothing short of a magical practice
The Magic Three
The Magic Three (that is not the same as the Three Commandments) is a cycle that
players go through to enhance the fullness, suppleness, and connectedness of sound at all
articulations. First a player plays a passage slurred, then with slurred air and light articulation
and finally with written articulation. This exercise can pay great dividends in a players playing,
if and only if done properly. It is absolutely necessary for the player to slur properlyand a slur
is so much more than just the absence of tongue. A true and proper slur involves moving FROM
one note to the next and not moving TO the next note. Players must move from the center of a
note to the center of the next and not fish around for pitches. Each note must be totally and
completely full and truly lead to the next. Paying close attention to these details can pay great
dividends in players playing.
Hoo-Poo-Too is an exercise that is largely self-explanatory. Hoo-Poo-Too is used best
with Long Tones, and it is a three-step process that involves the player first doing a Breath attack
(Hoo). The breath attack should get good response Avoid the Sputtering or sliding that can
accompany the breath attack. Next is what is known as a lip-attack wherein a player plays by
voicing the sound Poo (still with no tongue) The response should be slightly better than the
breath attack, but the definition of the articulation should be significantly improved. A player
will then play with the tongue (the too part of hoo-poo-too). By practicing long tones this
way, a player gains improved response, clarity of articulation, and security. Security is a hugely
beneficial quality for a trumpet player to have, for once he is able to experience a remarkable
freedom when playing by no longer being worried about fracking notes. The two greatest
American orchestral trumpet players, Chris Martin and Tom Hooten, both swear by Hoo-Poo-
Every single day, the very first thing I do is the Strieder Morning Routine (at 7am), which
consists of Free Buzzing, Cichowicz Long Tones, Clark Studies, and Williams Scales moving
through all keys. The routine begins every day with solid fundamentals, and ensures that the day
will be a good day Ill discuss the elements of morning routine, many of which are
transferrable for use by young players. For Routine, we play everyday with gunphones and fixed
Free Buzzing
Free buzzing involves a player buzzing with only their lips, the very first thing our studio
does every morning is our buzzing songs that we free buzz to while we set up. Free buzzing is
extremely effective at waking up a players lips and reinforcing the ideas of strength and
vibration. It can also be an effective ice-breaker, because players can dance and have a little fun
while they free buzz, and the songs that are free buzzed to can be chosen to be lighthearted and
fun. (the 2 songs we buzz to every day are Buenos Aires by Madonna and Maria from West
Side Story.
Buzzing the Rim
Buzzing the rim, which is done either on a screw-rim mouthpiece rim, a trumpet
mouthpiece cut-out visualizer, or (most economically) a pvc screw (There is a particular size of
PVC screw that has a male end that approximates a trumpet rim and female end that
approximates a baritone rim) Buzzing the rim is an intermediary step between free buzzing and
buzzing the mouthpiece. There is next-to no resistance when buzzing the rim, and as a result
players can refine the purity of their buzz. Double Buzzing or other dirt in the sound (dirt
being broadly defined as any unhealthy vibration) can be identified and corrected through
Buzzing the rim. Buzzing the rim can improve the purity of a players buzz.
Buzzing the Mouthpiece
Buzzing the mouthpiece is extremely important, for it allows players to develop solid
fundamental vibrations and create a stronger and more stable standing wave (which is the
physical basis of the instrument). Buzzing with a good sound usually leads to playing with a
good sound, and it is often the case that if a player plays with a bad sound on his instrument, he
has a very poor sound on the mouthpiece. Buzzing with a very rich, vibrant, energized sound on
the mouthpiece is critical to playing with a good sound. Note that using a B.E.R.P. or
BrassBuzzer (better) are very, very beneficial when buzzing the mouthpiece to ensure direct
transfer of skills. After all, you want to buzz better so that you can play better. These tools are,
after all, a means to and end (the end being good trumpet playing)
Dallas Buzzing
Dallas Buzzing is where a player places his mouthpiece in his horn and Plays it, but
without any pressure at all. No sound really comes from the bell, and the only sound (which is
very minimal) is more squeak-like than anything. The Dallas Buzz helps to eliminate excess
tension in the player and helps strengthen the aperture. Dallas Buzzing is great for range and
endurance, and improves these skills in a way that isnt the Grip it and rip it play as loud and
high as I can method employed by most young players.
The fourth step in the Routine Sequence is Playing the Instrument.
Playing baritone (a technique used by the likes of Bud Herseth, Maurice Murphy, Vince
Cichowicz, and Will Strieder among many other legendary players) pays great dividends, for it
enforces the concepts of vibration in similar ways to all of the above (you can (and we do) do
Rim Buzzing, Mpc Buzzing, Dallas Buzzing, and playing on baritone equipment). The Baritone
also helps to relax the muscles of the lips and alleviate tension and stiffness.
The Sequence
For Cichowicz Long Tones and Clarke Studies during routine, we use a sequence where
we will move from one type of playing to the next, singing or whistling between each exercise.
Each day we begin with a different starting place but the sequence is unaltered. For example,
for the Cicowicz long tones and Clarke studies, it may look as follows
Tpt Rim Sing Tpt Mpc Sing Tpt Dal Buzz Sing Tpt Play Bar Rim Whist Bar Mpc Whist Bar Dal Whist Bar Play

A great benefit of the sequence is the Muscle Confusion that comes along with it. The muscles
do not fatigue in the sequence, and the wide variety of different Buzzes results in a trumpet
buzz that is exponentially improved.
Cichowicz Long Tones
The Cichowicz Long Tones (commonly referred to as Flow Studies) are the long tones
devised by Vincent Cichowicz, who was the Second Trumpet of the Chicago Symphony for
many years and the longtime trumpet teacher at Northwestern University (where Mr. Strieder
studied for his Masters degree). The long tones all start in the middle register and work upwards
(to various degrees, each series ascending higher) before descending to the lowest partial in the
particular harmonic series. The long tones are Moving Long Tones that encourage good use of
air and a healthy, supple embouchure (which are 2 pillars of the 3 commandments). These long
tones greatly improve players overall sound, range, and control over his instrument (if and only
if played correctly and attentively, of course). In addition to improving aspects of a players
physical facility, the long tones are firmly anchored in a tonal center that helps improve players
ear, which covers the third pillar of the 3 commandments. Additionally, these long tones engage
a player in a way that the Remington long tones do not. The Remington long tones can also
encourage tension in the embouchure that can limit facility and sound production. While I do not
argue that Remington long tones are detrimental, I do argue that the Cichowicz long tones are
superior to them.
Clarke Studies
During Routine, following Cichowicz long tones (and continuing in the same sequence),
we then move on to Clarkes second, third, fourth, and seventh studies (From H.L. Clarkes
Technical Studies for the Cornet). We single tongue, slur, double tongue, and triple tongue
each (respectively for each study), and the studies are split into Day I Day II and Day III
such that every three days weve moved through all 12 major keys in a compact and efficient
way. The Clarke studies are vital to building and maintain technical facility and control of the
Williams Scales
Williams Scales, the final component of Morning Routine, is a series of exercises that
progressively pick up speed with each exercise. Each key has a set of exercises, and every day
we do a different key. During the Williams Scales, we rotate each exercise between playing
trumpet and playing baritone.
Cups and Gunphones
These are two practice tools that are a hallmark of Mr. Strieders Pedagogy. The Cups are
a contraption made by wire and two 16oz starbucks coffee cups that are worn over the players
ears. This allows the player to hear what he sounds like to others (which is often an unpleasant
surprise to young players). Additionally, the cups (which are made of plastic coated paper) allow
players to hear the Ring or resonance they are playing with, for they can hear the cup resonate
(or not) as they play. The gunphones are a tool that is worn over the ears, but for a different
purpose. The gunphones block out all sound (including the sound coming out of the instrument)
such that players isolate the feelings and sensations of what they are putting into the instrument
(which creates a greatly heightened sense of awareness for what their lips are actually doing. The
gunphones also can play the fixed pitch into the players ears that allow the player to lock in to
the pitch.
Straw and Straw-and-Pinwheel
The Straw is a chick-fil-a straw that can be used as a practice tool to improve the
efficiency of the air. A player holds the straw (which mustnt be bent or damaged) about a finger
tips width away from the aperture and then blows a focused burst of air into the straw (where his
other hand is held to feel the air that comes out of the straw). Various auxiliary exercises can be
done with the straw to hone the skills of correct usage of air. The Straw-and-Pinwheel (which is
different from the straw) velcroes on to the crook of the horn and the straw end goes into the
players mouth. At the other end of the straw is a pinwheel that will move in proportion to a
players air (or lack thereof). This is very eye opening for a player and creates a sensation that
demonstrates what proper air use should be.

The above is but a snapshot of what Ive learned so far from Mr. Strieder, but outlined are the
broad concepts that can greatly benefit your section.

Looking forward to working for you and with your trumpet players,

Joshua Parker Stegall