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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Charles Lazarus Master Class Quotes (Part 3 of 3)

Andrew Hitz

Here is the final installment of the wonderful Charles Lazarus trumpet master class at the National Trumpet Competition at George Mason University this past March.  I always love going to the NTC master classes and this was one of the best I've ever seen.

In case you missed them, here are Part 1 and Part 2 of the quotes from his class.  So many nuggets of wisdom!


  • Minnesota Timberwolves physical trainer: "It takes 10,000 repetitions for someone to learn how to swing a golf club or shoot a basketball. But if you are trying to relearn something the right way, double that."
  • "Slow, methodical practice. You can slow things down. You can add a note at a time. You can play an entire phrase and slowly take one note away at a time. You can change the rhythm."
  • "There are eight aspects of practicing: high, low, loud, soft, fast, slow, articulate, slur."
  • "There are three ways to play them: through the range, interal studies, isolate the ranges."

  •  "I’ve started writing a practice book 20 times but then realize that everyone’s needs are going to be different.  It’s just important that you touch all the bases every day."
  • "I’m a big fan of short practice sessions, often."
  • "Adolph Herseth told me he never practices more than 30 minutes at a time."
  • "It is better to practice 15 minutes, 4 times a day than playing for one hour straight. Then you have to wait 23 hours until you play again and there is a lot of muscle memory."
  • "Joey Tartell can play quadruple high Q’s but still get a great sound on the Haydn."
  • "I recommend that you practice with straight tone.  Add vibrato later for musical reasons."
  • "If you’re phrasing, you can’t really fail. You can miss a note but people won’t really care."
  • "You can tell by how I’m playing that E that it’s going to go somewhere."
  • "You don’t need to open up so much to play the low notes. I think of my embouchure as adjusting to stay the same."
  • (After playing call and response with student on one lick in time) "That one was statement/statement. The first ones were statement/question statement/question."
  • "For most of my range, I try to stay set. I don’t stay completely set but I don’t over adjust."
  • "I like to sometimes think of the (previous) note as the beginning of the inhale."
  • "You played the G like you were testing the note. There’s no testing."
  • "(Instead of a metronome) I like to practice with the shakers on Garage Band."
  • "Internalizing the rhythm is the hardest thing for playing orchestral excerpts by yourself."
  • "In soft lyrical playing, people frequently don’t articulate enough."
  • "Playing trumpet you want to be fluid and sometimes we can get position oriented."