My goal is developing students’ skills at a high level so they may pursue a career in trumpet performance or trumpet/brass pedagogy. I am experienced teaching a wide range of ages and skill levels, fifth grade through college. “One-size-fits-all” is not my approach to teaching or learning. As such, I focus my teaching to the individual student and their resultant individual needs. Although I strongly emphasize the fundamentals of trumpet playing (mouthpiece buzzing, tone production, finger technique, breathing and musicality) as a necessary component of my instruction, I ensure that all genres of music are explored and performed.
I believe many attributes make up a great musician. It’s not always about the ability to play the instrument, but about commitment, a strong work ethic, a good attitude and being able to work with others. I teach my students that practice is very important and that it doesn’t just consist of practicing their trumpet. It can consist of playing the instrument, listening to other artists perform pieces they are learning, listening to recordings of all genres, going to live concerts whenever possible of all styles and genres, and reading materials pertaining to their areas of interest.
Quoting from Mark Gould, principal trumpet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, on the question of the process of practicing: “...There are no pat answers. Grappling with the fascinating complexities inherent in practicing a musical instrument is a life-long struggle, which requires patience, ingenuity, stealth, determination, and even a sense of humor. Learning to play an instrument is not a mechanical process but rather continuously artistic one. Improvement is made by careful conscious practice of the basic skills that over time build a solid reliable technique.”
Masterclass, University of Minnesota
“I believe many attributes make up a great musician. It’s not always about the ability to play the instrument, but about commitment, a strong work ethic, a good attitude and being able to work with others.”
— MARISSA BENEDICT
University of Minnesota trumpet studio
“Never play out of fear or frustration.”
— BOYDE HOOD
“Fear makes us hesitate before producing a sound. It also can create tension. Frustration can make us tense and to do things that may (or may not) feel good at the moment but are not helpful in the long run. Neither fear nor frustration allows us to take a long, relaxed breath.”
— MARISSA BENEDICT
• Private lessons in Marissa’s home studio (Twin Cities, Minnesota). Please send Marissa a note via the CONTACT page.
Please send Marissa a note via the CONTACT page about scheduling a Masterclass for your school.
James Stamp Warm-Up/Schlossberg Daily Drills and Technical Studies:
I use both of these methods as a warm up and to get basic sound production and lip flexibility — for air flow and lip vibration.
Clarke Technical Studies:
While many trumpet players only know the first 3 or 4 of these technical studies, I use all 10 studies for many areas of playing: agility of the fingers, air speed and control, consistency of air, tonguing, multiple tonguing (double and triple), articulation (slurring, slurring and tonguing combined).
I use Charlier or any other French Etude book. There are many books, but Charlier is my main staple to teach musicality and make every note sing.
Boyde Hood, my teacher from USC and afterwards, emphasized, “Never play out of fear or frustration.” I integrate this in my lessons, particularly when students are nervous or playing with lots of tension. Fear makes us hesitate before producing a sound. It also can create tension. Frustration can make us tense and to do things that may (or may not) feel good at the moment but are not helpful in the long run. Neither fear nor frustration allows us to take a long, relaxed breath.
Beyond Lip Service: A Phrasebook for Brass Fundamentals by Marissa Benedict. Purchase from Carl Fischer Publishing here.
Former L.A. Philharmonic trumpeter Boyde Hood with University of Minnesota students