Review by: Mark Curry (Curry mouthpieces)
The new Arban's-based book by Clint 'Pops' McLaughlin
This E-book (PDF form) takes the Arban original edition (pub. late 1800's) into the 2000's with respect to the modern-day requirements for range and technique. There are over 700 pages of variations on original Arban exercises and 200 more pages focused on 'Pops' Stuff.
The layout of this e-book is very similar to the original, with exercises chosen as the representative for that section. Pops expands the chosen exercise to include range expansion well above the high C's found in the original book, even venturing up to the Dubba C on many occasions.
Don't get the impression that this is merely Arbans up an octave. It's much more than that. Prefaces to each section have Pops; tips on how to execute correctly, with efficiency, while paying attention to our trumpet machine, our chops. It's like he's sitting right next to us on the couch, giving advice in person. Pops incorporates many of the ideas and tips he learned as a student of the late Don 'Jake' Jacoby into this book. His focus while studying with Jake was not only to become a better player, but a better trumpet teacher. As a result, the feel of this book is very familiar to those of us brought up in the UNT/ North Texas style of teaching. My own instructors include Ray Sasaki, Larry Engstom (both UNT alums via Ritchie-Clendenin at Fresno State) and a summer with Dave Hickman while at Champaign (U of I).
Of particular interest to me is the 'Pops' Stuff section. This is where the magic occurs. Many of Pops/Jakes fundamentals come into play here. For instance, keeping the top space G set as your benchmark embouchure set- relaxing to descend, contracting to ascend. Using Air Kicks properly to execute leaps and intervals. Tips on tongue arch and hiss applicable to the given exercise. Tricky scale studies that test our sight-reading abilities. These are all in there and, yes, the dreaded Sensation Studies (my personal peccadillo). I still have Ray Sasaki's handwritten version from a 1975 lesson. It made me sweat then, and it still give me the chills.
At the end of the book there's a great section on expanded range melodies and songs. These are particularly helpful to help increase our usable range. If you can play these with a beautiful singing quality you are making good progress (and maybe the neighbors will stop humming Finlandia LOL).
Evident throughout, Pop's teaching style of not micro-managing our trumpet machine but rather focusing on playing the exercises is an almost indirect method that releases our conscious thought process from the endless minutiae we so often get caught up in. We learn by doing. When we run into problems, Pops methods lead us to the answer behind the door. All we have to do is open it.
In short, there's no shortcut to great trumpet playing. If you can manage one exercise out of each section of this book every day you will progress beyond far beyond your expectations. Congrats on a job well done!P.S.