Carmine Caruso - Musical Calisthenics for Brass

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This is not clear to me. I am to breath in through the nose only. But do I have to keep my corners firm throughout the entire exercise. I can relax my corners while keeping the mpc in contact and breath in through my nose. Somebody was talking a bit about the volumne level that should be played. Suppose you can play the exercise softly. Should it be played softly?

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Should it be played loud? Thanks for the insights. He said some people play them louder or softer. The important thing is to focus on the timing and keep the blow going at whatever volume. On the SLS or LSL exercises the soft end should be ppp so soft you almost lose the note and the loud end should be fff so loud the sound begins to distort. The exercise is the six notes with one repeat. You should read and follow the instructions exactly, absolutely as written. In this particular example a repeat is marked instead of physically rewriting the six notes and therefore having an additional eleven bars on the page.

One student told Carmine he had done 25 repeats. Carmine's response was that it wasn't necessary. He didn't tell him NOT to do it; just that it wasn't necessary. In its entirety one complete playing The Six Notes exercise is actually a 12 note exercise. Do not be concerned with sound or pitch. If you could exhale somehow for minutes then nose breathing would be an unnecessary part of the modus operandi my term, not Carmine's.

Because breathing IS necessary, Carmine made nose breathing a part of his method to keep the original setting in place throughout a given exercise and to maintain the lip tension and mouthpiece pressure throughout the exercise. The reason for this is to reduce the moving parts in sound production for calisthenic practise purposes to a minimum of one, the blow. Tension is not movement, but going from a relaxed state to a tensed state is. A lot of people mistakenly think that Carmine Caruso was preoccupied with the lips.

His whole teaching method was aimed at isolating the air stream, which he called the blow, and developing it. In the grand scheme of sound production, the blow came second only to timing. In private lessons, Carmine had a great deal to say about the lips and what they should be doing. He had extensive lip building exercises and routines to develop the lips to be efficient in sound production. None of this is in his book, but will be presented, over time, in this forum by me and the other knowledgeable posters like Pat Harbison and Wayne Trager.

Both teachers should be applauded for taking the time to share their knowledge and experiences and I, for one, am grateful that they are willing to post in this forum. I'm also happy to be gaining new insights from their posts.

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But for all others, play at YOUR comfort level. This will likely be different than someone else's and so different students may have different absolute volume levels. It is unnecessary to introduce any kind of dynamics into the exercises. So a good point has been raised. If this is an oversight by Carmine then hopefully this thread has clarified that shortcoming.

Caruso's philosophies. I see many parallels to the sport of powerlifting. You can actually develop a strong deadlift or squat never actually doing those particular exercises. I have no problem understanding the concept that these exercises are pure "isometric" exercises and not necessarily supposed to be "musical.

The embochure is a set of muscles that need to be worked and developed. I am going to begin following the advice here and trying to use my Caruso method book.


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One question Bugle Boy Maybe Caruso twice per day with some Clarke Technical Studies thrown in? You can't do much better than the Clarke book, but you would want to work in some scale and chord studies and some kind of etude book. If you're not playing a gig, you need to have some music oriented stuff like etudes to let your chops get a chance to start using what they will be learning by doing the Caruso calisthenics. My father and I were at that lesson. Victor told Carmine that he had played the 6 notes 50 times in a row with the 6 notes being repeated that would amount to playing the exercise 25 times.

Carmine smiled and said, "That's not neccessary", and then stared in my direction, knowing full well that I would go home and try doing this same routine.

Caruso-Musical Calisthenics for Brass

I have been doing the six notes exercise and I am seeing results. It seems logical to me that as one strengthens the lips that he should expand the six notes exercise upwards. So why didn't Caruso suggest this. You need to get a copy of "Musical Calisthenics For Brass. Also, my upper range before the beginning is way more solid now. I have never experienced results like this using other methods!


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  6. My question - I'm adding the D3 to the harmonic scale exercise. Should I finger that set as ? The fingering would be kept the same as the C3, open. Did I miss the meaning of the question? You say to add the D3. There are currently 7 play measures. After adding the D3, are there still 7 play measures? Are you taking the first one and turning the ending C3 into a quarter note and adding the D3 as a whole note for the new ending?

    Hope I have asked better this time. The high C becomes a quarter note and the D that you add is a whole note. The number of measures with notes stays at seven. The next harmonic scale, the one played with second valve, has last note become a high C , and it is held for four beats, the same as the High D.

    Each harmonic scale has the next harmonic in that scale added as whole note. Anyway, today I added the thirds. When doing the thirds, should I do the 6 note study, then seconds, then thirds, then wait 15 minutes and repeat the seconds and thirds again? I am a bit confused on exactly what order and how close together they should be practiced.

    Musical Calisthenics for Brass

    You will remove the mouthpiece and start each exercise as a separate exercise. At this time proceed with your normal practice schedule. If you want to do the Caruso stuff again in the same day, wait a few hours. It would be unnecessary to do it more than twice a day. Using your routine, I'd read it as: do the Six Notes, do the Seconds, wait 10 seconds and pick up where you left off in the Seconds, wait fifteen minutes, do the Seconds without the 10 second break and resumption , do the Thirds, proceed.

    During the second week, I started using it as my warmup instead of my second session of the day. It was hard at first to accept the idea of disregarding sound and feel, but when I saw Jeff Smiley's method discussed here on TH as also using exercises that don't necessarily sound or feel good but have corrective effects, I decided to give the Caruso routine a try. Because you don't have to change your regular routine, it has a low entry cost. I hope this will be clearer. My original practice routine as given to me by Carmine Caruso.

    Six Notes Seconds this exercise will have a second blow as part of the exercise After playing for 20 minutes, rest 20 minutes and continue with Caruso material that has not been played yet for another 20 minutes.

    Musical Calisthenics for Brass:

    Proceed in this manner until all Caruso material has been played once. At this time practice non Caruso material: Arban, Clarke, etudes, scales, etc. It is not necessary to do the Caruso exercises more than once a day. If you choose to do them more than once, it would probably be more in your interest to have a long period of rest several hours between repetitions. Caruso had an approach to the Clarke, Baermann and Schlossberg books. Your points will be added to your account once your order is shipped.

    Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book! This new edition compiled by Caruso's student Dominic Derasse should be approached only after the completion of the original method. Derasse writes "the most important thing I learned from Carmine was how to teach myself. In studying his method, each pupil should seek the same goal.

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