Review


Roger Harvey
BrassWorkBook for Trombone Book 1:: Technique and Exercises

Crowborough, E. Sussex, , United Kingdom
Publisher: BrassWorks
Date of Publication: 2007
Language: English

Method book.

Genre: STUDY MATERIALS

Published by his own company, Roger Harvey brings his training and experience to this three volume series. He indicates these books are not intended for the beginner, and the main focus will be on the particular technical requirements of the instrument or performance environment. He further states: “…BrassWorkBook 1 in which all the basic technical matters are explained and some sample exercises are given to help develop a good set-up. In book 2 there are a series of practice routines which can be used to establish a sensible regular pattern of work. The third book in this group will present a series of studies of various levels of difficulty…”

 

Lengthy narratives begin each chapter of book 1, with careful language indicating Harvey’s method is not the only way to approach each subject. The first book is divided into 11 chapters – Breathing, Embouchure, Production, Legato, Flexibility, Slide technique, Low register, High register, Other techniques, Tuning, and Practice, with some musical examples for practice and concept demonstration. The chapter regarding practice discusses motivation, what to practice, and how to practice; and might be more beneficial as the first chapter. The musical examples are clear and easy to read, and some are in tenor clef. At times the paragraph and text layouts are inconsistent making the narrative somewhat difficult to read.

 

Book 2 is divided into five 25-minute sessions: embouchure response, flexibility, production/legato, upper register, and lower register. Again, there is sound pedagogical advice with the understanding that this is not the only way to pursue these skills sets, and with the recommendation that exercises can be supplemented. Two condensed 30-minute sessions cover each topic of the five original sessions. The musical exercises are progressively difficult and the second 30-minute session is more melodically based. Some examples are in tenor clef. In an effort to place the musical examples with decent page formatting, some have been reduced making them difficult to read. There are numerous grammar, spelling, and format issues that also make the text somewhat difficult to read.

 

Book 3 presents a series of studies at various levels of difficulty that can be used to help consolidate aspects of technique and develop confidence and consistency. Divided into three stages, each becomes progressively more difficult. There are creative etudes that use scales and arpeggios, and others that isolate technical issues in a musical context. Some are in tenor clef. The third stage contains extended techniques and some very difficult exercises.

 

Harvey suggests that these workbooks can be useful to teachers and students as a reference and as a basic course of study. Recognizing there is more than one way to develop these skills and that appropriate repertoire should supplement, the topics and presentation make for excellent pedagogy. If you are looking for a foundation for a teaching studio, this is a good and accessible resource.

Reviewer: David Stern
Review Published January 31, 2019