Review


Per Brevig
Reflections on the Art of the Trombone: Exercises:

Vancouver, BC, , Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2017
URL: http://www.cherryclassics.com
Language: English

Digital format method book. 29 pages.

Genre: STUDY MATERIALS

This PDF file of exercises is a companion to Brevig’s text of the same name. My page count does not include the alternating blank pages intended for note-taking. There are 17 examples in all, two of which are not actual exercises; one is a chart comparing just and equal temperament, the other a useful rhythmic subdivision table that cleanly lays out not only quarter note triplets but harder rhythms such as three against five.

 

The remaining 15 exercises focus on various fundamentals, including a number of thoughtfully-designed lip slurs. Some of these slurs are combined with glissandi to help develop high range. Others focus on trill-development or rapid across-the-grain figuration. I especially appreciate the inclusion of some gliss-slur exercises descending from high to low. The first articulation exercise uses feathered beaming (accelerando/ritardando) for developing articulation speed. Brevig advises using this technique with “single, double, triple and doodle tongue in a legato style.” I would have liked to have seen a more basic tonguing exercise preceding this example. Interestingly, one exercise focuses entirely on the high-range fugue excerpt from Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra. In a manner similar to other approaches, Brevig presents this subject in successively higher keys, starting below the actual key and ending above it. In a slide-technique exercise, Brevig advocates deliberately placing the slide in position well before the arrival of the note. This seems to contradict recent educational materials by Ian Bousfield. However, this apparent contradiction fades if one accepts the key point of having clear awareness of exactly when the slide moves.

 

At the end of the day, the true genius lies not so much in the exercise itself but in how it is taught and practiced. A diligent trombone student will likely benefit from the tried-and-true material in this collection. A 2017 price of $10 feels a bit pricey for 13 useful pages of information but ultimately that is for the buyer to decide. There is no doubt that these exercises have been used to great impact over the years and perhaps that will be the case for the purchaser as well. Given Per Brevig’s well-deserved preeminence both as performer and teacher, insights into his thinking are useful.

Reviewer: Bradley Edwards
Review Published January 31, 2019