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Trumpet Exam Tips

March 4th, 2024 | 2 min read

By Adam McCulloch

Trumpet Exam Tips

Embarking on a musical journey with the trumpet can be one of the most exhilarating experiences for any musician. However, when it comes to trumpet exams, even the most confident players might find themselves battling nerves.

Grant Golding, renowned educator and pBone Music ambassador offers a lifeline in his latest video, promising to transform trumpet trepidation into triumph. In this article, we delve into Grant's top tips for acing your trumpet exams, ensuring your performance hits all the right notes. You can also head straight to the video of trumpet exam hacks.

Trumpet Exam Tip #1: Understanding the Exam Blueprint

First and foremost, Grant emphasises the importance of knowing exactly what examiners are looking for. It's not just about playing notes; it's about demonstrating a comprehensive grasp of the piece, including dynamics, rhythm, and articulation. He likens this to fulfilling a "job spec" with precision and confidence (exams really can feel like hard work!)

Trumpet Exam Tip #2: The Triangle of Musical Elements

Grant introduces a conceptual triangle with notes, rhythm, and details as its vertices. He argues that while notes and rhythm are fundamental, the "details" – dynamics, articulation, phrasing – are what truly elevate a performance. Achieving a balance among these elements is crucial for a convincing rendition.

Trumpet Exam Tip #3: Demonstrating Details Beyond Doubt

A fascinating insight Grant offers is the notion of 'demonstrating' musical details, not just audibly but visually. He suggests that physical movements aligned with the dynamics and expression of the piece can effectively communicate your understanding and execution of these details to the examiner. Strut your stuff in exams and turn those nerves into a real performance!

Trumpet Exam Tip #4: Perfecting the Performance

In his video, Grant walks through the piece "Slinky" from Easy Jazzy Tudes, highlighting the significance of mastering dynamics, rhythm, and intonation. He stresses the necessity of playing with accuracy and assurance, ensuring that each note and nuance is delivered with intent.

Trumpet Exam Tip #5: The Power of Preparation

Preparation is key, according to Grant. He suggests listening to various renditions of the exam piece, recording and critiquing your own performances, and even playing from memory. This level of preparation ensures familiarity and confidence that can withstand the pressures of the exam environment.

Trumpet Exam Tip #6: Hacking the Exam

One of Grant's most intriguing tips involves 'hacking the examiner's brain' by making your understanding of the music's dynamics visually apparent. This psychological strategy can reinforce your musical message, ensuring that the examiner perceives your performance as nuanced and detailed. Walk the walk!

Trumpet Exam Tip #7: The Day of the Exam

Gulp, the moment you've been waiting for! Grant provides practical advice for the exam day, including physical and mental preparation, professional appearance, and managing nerves. He emphasises the importance of a post-exam debrief, reflecting on what went well and areas for improvement.

Watch Grant's Trumpet Exam Tips video for the best advice for trumpeter players:

Grant Golding's guidance can help trumpet players of all ages and abilities who are preparing for trumpet exams. And remember, the trumpet can be testing...but it's all about enjoying your music!

Adam McCulloch

Adam is the Content Manager at pBone Music. This should mean that he’s the ideal person to write about himself, but he finds boasting in the third person a little awkward. He honed his word wizardry with a degree in English Language and Literature at the University of Leeds. He has since written copy for clients and businesses across the land, from awards to something beginning with “z”. He also spent a number of years as a musician. He has written pop songs and even jingles for kids, performed more first dances at weddings than you could shake a pBuzz at, and once played a gig for a pie company at The Etihad Stadium in Manchester. When he’s not reminiscing about those good old days, you might find Adam enjoying the football (although as an Everton fan, that can be difficult). He also loves spending time with his partner, Jen, and his family and friends, and sincerely hopes they feel the same way.