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“Jazz Trumpet Technique: Volume 4 – Articulation” is the fourth part of a series of books combining trumpet technique with jazz studies. This series emphasizes developing traditional trumpet techniques (i.e. articulation) while increasing harmonic knowledge related to Jazz improvisation.
How many hours do you spend working on the same mindless chromatic, flexibility, and tonguing exercises? By adding harmonic awareness to the exercises, you can exercise your ears, mind, and chops simultaneously. Imagine how productive you will become. Every trumpet player knows the importance of articulation. How you say something is as important as what you say. The exercises in this book should supplement, not replace, the amount of material practiced. I suggest that you start by spending 25% of the time you would normally spend on traditional articulation exercises on material in this book. Then increase the percentage (up to 75%) as your chops adjust to this new routine.
Most of the exercises in volume 4 are comprised of 24 scale types starting on the 12 notes on the horn. Each note has been doubled so that you must tongue the offbeat. When you have a nice off beat tongue, your lines pop out at the listener, are cleaner sounding, and can not be ignored. I suggest practicing with a very aggressive attack first and then with a lighter attack (for ballads etc.). One added benefit is that you learn or review the scales that an improviser should know. The “Contents” contains some thoughts on the scales. This should help when applying them to your solos. It is possible that off beat tonguing alone will not give you as clean a line as you would prefer. In that case, you will have to modify your tonguing pattern. For that reason I have included some of the more typical tonguing patterns (near the end of this book). I also highly recommend “The Art of Jazz Trumpet Volume Two” by John McNeil. This book has some more advanced ideas on articulation.