Joshua MacCluer

Trumpeter, Producer, Educator and Performance Coach


10 Techniques for Better Fast Playing

Posted by on Mar 28, 2014 in Classical Trumpet, Solo, Trumpet Coaching | 3 comments

A staple of the trumpet/cornet repertoire is the arrangement by Herbert L. Clarke of The Carnival of Venice. While impressive sounding, it’s not too difficult to play if it is well practiced. However, it’s very difficult to play if poorly practiced like the vast majority of students I hear practice it (and also by a good share of professionals, surprisingly). I have heard many poorly prepared performances of the Carnival of Venice in my life, and not just the Clarke arrangement- the Arban version is more difficult and is more frequently disasterous, and the Vizzutti...

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Everyone Loves Sumi Jo

Posted by on Feb 17, 2014 in Classical Trumpet, Other Great Music, Solo, Videos | 0 comments

In early February I made my debut as a soloist with the Hong Kong Philharmonic in a performance of Handel’s Let the Bright Seraphim partnered with the terrific soprano Sumi Jo. It was a very enjoyable musical experience for me and I learned a lot from working with her. Sumi Jo is a fabulous performer. Her voice is beautiful, clear, bright, and extremely agile. She has very high artistic standards as she has worked with the biggest names in classical music for the last 30 years. Her communication and connection with the audience is remarkable. She is also beautiful and wears striking...

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The Charlier Challenge

Posted by on Jan 31, 2014 in Charlier, Classical Trumpet, Solo, Trumpet Coaching | 5 comments

The “36 Etudes Transcedentes” is a classic book of 36 difficult etudes by the Belgian trumpet teacher Theo Charlier. Most trumpet students work out of this book in music school, but usually they don’t get past the first dozen of them. The etudes get quite difficult as they go on and almost everyone gives up eventually and goes back to practicing Pictures at an Exhibition and the Haydn Trumpet Concerto instead. In 2012-2013 we resolved to work through the book with the added incentive of a friendly competition. The Charlier Challenge was born. There were five of us: Justin...

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Let the Sound Be Your Teacher

Posted by on Jan 24, 2014 in Classical Trumpet, Solo, Trumpet Coaching, Videos | 1 comment

Sound is the single most important quality of any singer or instrumentalist. It is the first thing people hear when a musician plays, and it is the most identifiable quality of any great musician. Opera aficionados know the huge animal tenor sound of Pavarotti’s after the first Figaro, trumpet players know Wynton’s Marsalis’ smoky Monette after one half-valve, soul fans know Aretha Franklin’s heart-on-her-sleeve church voice after one “Think”, and jazz fans know it’s Thelonious Monk on the piano after the first clunky chord. A musician’s sound...

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The Importance of Piano and Singing Practice and Schubert’s An Silvia (Video)

Posted by on Dec 24, 2013 in Classical Trumpet, Trumpet Coaching, Videos | 1 comment

For Christmas I am happy to share this video of Schubert’s An Silvia. A very nice art song from the master of the genre, the original words were in English by Shakespeare. As a big fan of both Schubert and the Bard I quite enjoy playing this song. Joining me on piano is my (trumpet) student from the HKAPA, John Shum. He is a talented guy who plays trumpet and piano and also sings. In my opinion this kind of all-around musicianship can only help one succeed in music. Let me ruminate on the benefits of playing other instruments. First the piano. Young trumpeters, if you have any...

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