Rotary Trumpet Is Not A Trumpet You Spin Around While Playing

New York Philharmonic trumpeter Ethan Bensdorf told me the story of the long and grueling process of winning the audition for the New York Philharmonic when he spoke with me about practice. Part of the process involved playing excerpts that required a rotary valve trumpet, introduced in the video below by Dr. Jack Burt. After he’d played for the NY Phil brass section, then-principal trumpeter Phil Smith told Ethan, “Your rotary playing stinks.” Ouch! For the audition Ethan had to use a rotary trumpet that had been left behind and perhaps “thrown against a wall at some point.” Not a great instrument. As one of two finalists, Ethan had a week to get his rotary chops together. Luckily, one of his teachers, Charles Geyer, loaned him a good instrument for the upcoming audition. He got the spot, but it certainly wasn’t easy. Ethan was one of many stellar musicians who spoke with me about practice and some of his approaches are included in The Practice of Practice. 

If you’re not sure what a rotary trumpet is, how it works, or how it sounds, check out the video below done by Dr. Jack Burt.

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The Practice of PracticeBasic Music Theory: How to Read, Write, and Understand Written Music, by Jonathan Harnum

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3 thoughts on “Rotary Trumpet Is Not A Trumpet You Spin Around While Playing

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