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Module: Pioneer Major Scale Expansion


Module: Major Scale Expansion Studies

Trumpet Pioneer Level

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Major Scale Expansion

Trumpet Pioneer Level

First Steps

If you were my student, as a beginner, these would be some of the very first exercises I ever assign to you. These are prerequisites to the Tonalization Studies and the Tonalization Studies are part of the daily routine I teach every student.

I believe that the best way to learn the notes of any instrument is through a series of expansions. The expansion concept works so well with so many different subjects, and learning the notes is definitely one of them. It’s a simple concept which starts with what you know and expands, one step at a time, to what you don’t know.

Once you know the notes, you have your foot in the door for working on the other things that are also very important for beginners to learn.

Before You Begin

There are three things I will have an absolute beginner do for me before I assign these expansion exercises.

1)     Air Exercises

2)     Solfeggio Expansion exercises – which are very similar the exercises in this module, but for singing.

3)     Lip Buzz – which is buzzing with your lips only – no mouthpiece

4)     Mouthpiece Buzz – buzzing notes on the mouthpiece only – no trumpet.

Hitting these points in this order encourages the students to gradually step into the trumpet. It’s basically more expansion on a bigger level.


First of all, if you are not doing these exercises with a teacher, it is very important that you use a fingering chart. If you can’t find a fingering chart, we offer one for free at our online music store at It is very important that you be extra careful to play the right notes while you work on this exercise. As a famous 19th century piano teacher, Theodore Leschtitisky, used to say, “Think ten times, play once.” He also encouraged his students to be extremely careful about playing the right notes.

The reason it is so important is because using a proven practice system like this one has one major drawback. The system is so powerful that, if you learn something wrong the first time, it because almost impossible to now learn it correctly. So please, please, please, look before you leap!

Now here are the steps for using these exercises.

1)     Play these exercises slowly and calmly.

2)     Each section ||: within the repeats :|| is to be played correctly at least ten times before moving on to the next section.

3)     Each section is to be slurred, which means to not start each note with your tongue.

4)     The new note of each section has a fermata on it. This means to play that note longer than the others.

5)     It does not say so, but please rest between each repetition.

6)     Only practice the expansion that corresponds with the new scale you are learning. Do not try to learn all of them in one week. You will come back to the other keys when you need them.

7)     These exercises are for preparatory work only. Once you have completed them and done them correctly, you never have to do them again. You can revisit them if you want to, but it is not required for you to progress.

What Next?  

After you have finished the Major Scale Expansion study for the scale you are working on, then the next step is to begin practicing the Tonalization Studies for that scale on a regular basis. These exercises are an introduction to the scales so that you can use them on the more beneficial Tonalization Studies without struggling from the start.

Here’s how I do it with my students. I first have them learn do the Major Scale Expansion study for me in C. As I said earlier, that’s one of the very first things a beginner student will do in my lessons. Usually I have them drill the exercises in the lesson so I can be certain that they are playing the correct notes.

When they have successfully completed the Major Scale Expansion study for C, I then assign the Trumpet Pioneer Tonalization Studies in C, same key as the expansion. The student is to practice the Tonalization Studies at least three times per week for at least two weeks before we move on to the next key.

When I feel they are ready, I have the students do the Major Scale Expansion Study in F in the next lesson. After they do this to my satisfaction, I assign to them the Trumpet Pioneer Tonalization Studies in F, same as the expansion they had just done in the lesson. The students practice the F Tonalization Studies for at least two weeks before we move on to G.

Then we do the same thing for the key of G, first the expansion, then the Tonalization.

After the Trumpet Pioneer student has all three keys, I instruct them to alternate the keys on a daily basis. This is to be done BECAUSE they can play the exercises, not UNTIL they can play them. Some students get that part wrong. I have to explain to them:

Some exercises give us benefits when we can do them. We work and work until someday we acquire an ability to play the exercises correctly. Other exercise only benefit us when we continue to do them, long after we have already acquired the ability to play them correctly. Tonalization Studies fall into this second category.


But it gets tricky with the Tonalization Studies because there are so many of them. One of the biggest mistakes students make with the tonalization studies is that they spend the time doing them, but out of laziness, they just play them in the key of C. It is very important to alternate the keys each day, and to do so in an organized manner so that you never favor one key over another.

At the Trumpet Pioneer Level, this means rotating through the three keys you will learn as a Trumpet Pioneer student: the keys of C, F and G.


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Module: Pioneer Major Scale Expansion

Module: Pioneer Major Scale Expansion

Module: Major Scale Expansion Studies

Trumpet Pioneer Level

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