Review


Dominic Derasse, editor
Carmine Caruso – A Sequel to Musical Calisthenics for Brass:

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
Publisher: Hal Leonard
Date of Publication: 2017
Language: English

Method book. 52 pages.

Genre: STUDY MATERIALS

Internationally renowned trumpet player, Dominic Derasse was born in France and graduated from the Paris National Conservatory with a First Prize in 1979. Since moving to New York, he has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, New York Pops, American Symphony and many others. He is also been extremely active in the popular music fields having recorded over 70 movie soundtracks, numerous TV themes, commercials for over 100 products as well as live performances with Sting, Elton John, Tony Bennett and Chaka Kahn. He took private lessons, often twice a week, with Carmine Caruso in 1979 and 1980, while going through his book Musical Calisthenics for Brass.

 

As he states:

“… it is extremely important to fully comprehend Carmine’s philosophy. One must therefore follow all of Caruso’s techniques, focusing on the physical aspects of playing an instrument… (he) showed me the way to develop the physical requirements necessary to playing my instrument and subsequently the technical requirements as well. All to better serve the music I wanted to play. The most important thing I learned from Carmine was how to teach myself. In studying his method, each pupil should seek the same goal.

 

The five principles based in Zen: Coordination, Synchronization, Conditioned Reflex, Second Nature, and the Instrument Becoming an Extension of the Body must be well understood and followed, as well as the four rules that apply to playing the exercises in Musical Calisthenics for Brass and in this book:
  • Tap your foot.
  • Keep the mouthpiece in contact with your lips throughout each exercise.
  • Breathe through the nose.
  • Keep the blow steady.
  I have been teaching Mr. Caruso’s method since 1980. Recently, when (colleagues) Hugo Moreno and Chris Scanlon finished Musical Calisthenics for Brass, we were discussing the extended exercises. This discussion resulted in the idea of putting these extended exercises into a book. This book is the result of our collaboration. This sequel is a continuation of Musical Calisthenics for Brass, and should be started only after the completion of Carmine’s original method.”   The set of studies included in the original book, Musical Calisthenics for Brass, have been a tremendous help to numerous brass players. The focus is on the physical aspects of brass playing, particularly embouchure development, conditioning, synchronization, accuracy of muscular movement and timing. These studies are not meant to be musical; in fact musical goals are to be ignored. The primary focus is developing correct physical habits that eventually lead to optimal musical performance. The workouts are helpful for brass players to train their bodies to operate at their peak efficiency. A Sequel to Musical Calisthenics for Brass takes the original exercises the next step in terms of physical challenges and heightened musical productivity. The requirements for each exercise are clearly marked in terms of dynamics, repetition, rest, time required, etc.   All practice is not music. It is physical workouts. If you don’t work out with the exercises you will not limber your muscles so that they become flexible. When playing an instrument, the musician is dealing with numerous body motions. It's the synchronization of these motions that produces the desired results. Synchronization requires perfect timing of all muscular movements. Therefore, timing is of the utmost importance. -Carmine Caruso   More detailed information on the Caruso Method can be gained from these sites:  

Reviewer: Karl Hinterbichler
Review Published January 31, 2019