Ilan Morgenstern
Trombone Exercise Library Project: with .mp3 accompaniment

No place, , United States
Publisher: Ilan Morgenstern
Date of Publication: 2020

108 page online document. Accompaniment files in .mps format. Also available in print.

Primary Genre: Study Material - etude
Secondary Genre: Study Material - method

Ilan Morgenstern has an impressive pedigree ( and offers his take on the trombonist's daily routine with this project undertaken during the down time forced by the covid pandemic. Available in print or as a download, when the document is opened on your device, clear instructions are given for downloading the application (app) and opening the document in the app. The downloaded format is reviewed here. This project is designed to provide variety to the daily routine for tenor and/or bass trombonists, while still addressing fundamentals in the warm-up. It is not a comprehensive pedagogical text; however there are good practical tips for approaching this series. Perhaps most important is “Playing trombone should not hurt!” This advice is embedded with different language throughout – quite helpful! Because this is a digital experience, getting to specific pages is easy.

Perhaps its most attractive aspect are the recorded accompaniments that the app will play. Some of these have three tempos and some only one. My tablet (iPad) could not play these loud enough so you might need an external speaker or headphones. When the accompaniment icon is tapped a small controller appears. This can be moved on the screen, and will have to be moved as you get to the bottom line of the page. I found that sometimes I had to listen first to the accompaniment to get a sense of how the two go together before I could play along. After exploring the tools at the bottom I discovered it is possible to write on the pages. Other editing options are available.

Stated on page 42: “The only purpose for the order I am providing is to organize materials so that YOU can access what you (or your teacher) think you need most efficiently and effectively.” There are five sections in order: Warm-up, Lip Slurs, Tonguing, Facility, and BassBone Corner. The BassBone Corner is not specifically for bass trombonists. Tenor players should venture to this part of the book and work not only on the register, but also the challenges of navigating in and out of the valve(s). Exercises in each section appropriately progress with difficulty. Clever titles such as “Dance, Muldur, Dance!,” “liquid air,” and “Creepy splits” will help to stay engaged.

There are page turns which will require an external device if you try to play along with the accompaniment. Each exercise begins with the standard Finale indention of the first line, which appears awkward juxtaposed to the subsequent lines that are even, down and across the page. There are some minor engraving collisions. In the articulation section some exercises are only given in first position. Furthermore, several do not have any articulation indicated. Perhaps an instruction to vary articulations would be helpful. None of these issues detract from the benefits of this project and hopefully they will be worked out in subsequent editions.

Having the accompaniments in the document (literally on the page) is extremely helpful and can be fun! While this is a new twist on standard practices, it is certainly worth considering to provide interest and keep the necessary routines fresh and engaging. Recommended.

Reviewer: David Stern
Review Published June 24, 2023