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“I Took Lessons With as Many Different Teachers as Possible and Often With Teachers of Different Instruments”

Today we have the pleasure of speaking with Charles Lazarus, a member of the Minnesota Orchestra since the year 2000, and also an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota and a Yamaha Artist.
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Where do you come from? That is, we would like to know 1) where you grew up as a trumpeter, 2) who were your most important teachers, and 3) what your professional and pedagogical trajectory has been until today.

I grew up in North Carolina. I studied with Ray Mase at the North Carolina School of the Arts for high school, and Juilliard for college. I took lessons with as many different teachers as possible and often with teachers of different instruments and made my way forward with what I saw common threads between the ideas that worked for me.

Every trumpeter has his methodological preferences. What type of exercises or methods do you emphasize when practicing and teaching, and why?

I love the Allen Vizzutti books because they cover everything like Clarke and Arban but in a more modern context. Scott Belck’s Modern Flexibilities for Brass because one can gain flexibility without getting worn out, and John McNeil’s The Art of Jazz Trumpet for articulation, legato, air flow, and style.

Could you tell us what your daily trumpet routine consists of?

I practice several short sessions daily. I try to cover all the bases. High, low, loud, soft, fast, slow, slurring, and all forms of tonguing. Then I spend more most time on whichever of these has the most need. I cover whatever music I have to learn, then I work on memorizing music and playing phrases or patterns in multiple keys without using music for the purpose of ear training.

What brands of trumpets and mouthpieces do you use? Do you use them for any particular reason?

Yamaha and Pickett/Blackburn because I like the sound and ease of play.

Do you use any equipment that is beyond what we would consider normal? (E.G. a Delrin top, bent mouthpiece, bent trumpet receiver, different bell configuration, etc.)

I don’t use anything unusual.

Where can a student, that would like to study with you, find you? Where do you teach?

I teach privately, for various masterclasses around the country a couple times a year, and adjunct at the University of Minnesota.

What can a student expect from you? And what do you expect from the student?

I teach to the needs of the student. I expect a solid work ethic and a positive attitude.

In your experience, what is the one common problem young players have today?

The habit of listening.

Do you have any exercise you would like to share with the members of Trumpet Magazine?

My YouTube channel has trumpet tips and many music videos.

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