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Skill level: Advanced

Flexus, a great book by Laurie Frink and John McNeil can be purchased HERE. It’s billed as as method for the modern improviser, but that’s misleading. This book could be very useful for any trumpet player of any style.

I’ve created a routine for myself. There’s still a lot left for me to explore in Flexus, but I’ve combined different exercises that can be really helpful, especially after taking two or three days off. The recovery is much quicker for me if I use this routine, in this order, and it takes a little less than an hour to do. I follow all the book’s instructions as far as breathing, resetting, and foot tapping to the letter, unless otherwise indicated. I do my mouthpiece practice with the Brass Buzzer.

Pg. 13, nº 1. First try with no repeat, mouthpiece only, then trumpet. Then play as written the same way: mouthpiece>trumpet.

Pg. 14, nº 2. Play as written: mouthpiece>trumpet.

Pg. 15: Pick another group of pitches if time allows: mouthpiece>trumpet.

Pg. 40-41: I do this, as well as the rest of the routine, on the trumpet only. Practice a group of three or four exercises for several days. Use the order suggested in the book (shame that they aren’t printed this way in the first place): One, Seven, Two, Eight, etc. You can take Seven through Ten down a perfect fourth at first (start on G) if they prove difficult. After you’ve done the routine for some time, try starting on Fourteen.

Pg. 24, nº 1. Don’t get hung up on the highest note of each group, play from the first note through to the last note. Try nº 2 after a couple of weeks.

Pg. 45, nº 2, Pg. 44, nº 1: I think it’s easier to start on page 45.

Pg. 98, nº 1: Spend several days on this one before substituting it for Two, Three…up till Six on pg. 101.

Pg. 90-101, nº 1-10. Spend a couple of days on groups of two or three exercises until mastering them all.

Pg. 106, nº 1-2. Follow the instructions. Spend at least a week on these before moving on.

I sometimes finish with the Caruso exercise in diatonic seconds (C major, start on second-line G), followed by a short break after which I play the Caruso exercise again. If you’re not familiar with the Caruso method you can get it HERE. Use with care.

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