Joshua MacCluer

Trumpeter, Producer, Educator and Performance Coach


The Essential Role of Modeling for Mastery and Rafael Mendez

Posted by on Jul 7, 2014 in Classical Trumpet, Solo, Videos | 0 comments

One of the most effective and time tested methods of getting better at something is modeling. I highly recommend the power of modeling for the development of any skill in any area of performance or life. What is modeling exactly? It is a simple three step process: 1) First find someone (or something) who does well what you want to improve. 2) Study your model carefully, over and over. Notice, learn and internalize every detail you can. 3) Finally, do your best imitation of your model, compare the results, and then repeat the process of 2 and 3. For musicians I highly recommend the...

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The Rite of Spring for Two Trumpets

Posted by on May 29, 2014 in Chamber Music, Classical Trumpet, Music Production | 1 comment

Today I am excited to share a fun recording of Edward Hoffman’s arrangement of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring For Two Trumpets. Seriously! Normally the Rite of Spring is performed by a huge orchestra, but this is the Cliff’s Notes for two trumpets. It takes special talent to make an effective miniature of such an enormous work, and Ed succeeded admirably in this 15 minute arrangement. William Day and I put in long hours rehearsing this in Bali last summer and we recorded a few months ago in KL. Trumpet dorks, Stravinsky fans, and those who like to cut to the essence of...

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Developing Long Term Relationships with Music

Posted by on May 21, 2014 in Classical Trumpet, Solo | 0 comments

Today I’d like to write a little about the value of developing long term relationships with music. Relationships with music are no different than relationships with people, and just as truly meaningful friendships develop over time, a special performance of a piece of music comes after a long term musical relationship. To connect deeply with a piece of music takes time. To bring depth to any relationship whether musical or personal it’s important to spend time together at different times and places and in different emotional moods. In music this brings solidity to the...

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10 Techniques for Better Fast Playing

Posted by on Mar 28, 2014 in Classical Trumpet, Solo, Trumpet Coaching | 4 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 | 7 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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