Musicians use etude books to sharpen their skills in a variety of ways. A few of my favorites were written by Charlier, Cafarelli, and, of course, Arban. In following with tradition, I am going to create a series of etudes that should help students develop certain aspects of their playing. If I can figure out how, I'll upload these short pieces online for anyone brave enough to tackle them ;)
We all have cracks in our musical veneers, and that's no secret. Trumpeters would do well to practice etudes daily, especially concentrating on common areas of difficulty. The plan is to write 12 or so etudes that highlight different challenges on the horn. You know, the ones that like to rear their ugly heads in modern music (soft playing, range, extended techniques, etc.). As an additional tool for teaching (and to make writing them a little easier), every etude will have a title inspired by a literary character. I am tentatively labeling them as "character"-istic etudes for the time being. They will also introduce and connect students to stories that have stirred composers in the past. I'm not quite sure how I will be choosing my characters, but I have started a list, and I would like to organize them in pairs. So far I have Puck (Midsummer Night's Dream) and Hero (Much Ado About Nothing) from Shakespeare, and Grendel from Beowulf. I am open to any suggestion of characters, so far as they are likely to provide an opportunity for students to learn something new (i.e. I probably won't be writing a Batman or Harry Potter etude).
Here is a painting that has nothing to do with the above post, but I saw it the other day and remembered that Charles Burchfield is not as well known as he damn well should be. It says August, but August lasts until November in Florida so yea.