Alison Balsom's Classic FM Instagram masterclass
7 April 2015, 17:01 | Updated: 15 December 2021, 20:45
The star trumpeter joined us to offer advice, tips and and a few wise words for trumpeters around the world!
Alison Balsom is one of the world's best trumpet players – she's a three-time Classic Brits winner, was crowned 2013 Gramophone Artist of the Year and has won a host of awards for her recordings.
This spring she's touring with the LPO to perform an evening of American-inspired music in Manchester, Stoke-on-Trent, Leeds and Leicester.
But before she heads around the country, Alison found a moment to pop into Classic FM towers to answer all your brass-playing questions. You sent in your questions - and here's what she had to say!
Dealing with performance nerves
Graeme Geminder asks "How do you/did you go about tackling nerves before performing? I'm sure as a trumpet player you will agree how important it is to be relaxed when performing, I tend to get stage fright no matter how well I have prepared...Could you give any hints with this?"
All-too elusive trumpet repertoire
Tabitha Lowe says "Dear Alison, I have my music college auditions in October and I'm really struggling to find an appropriate classical contrasting piece to Légende by Enescu, if you could give me some ideas of some pieces it would be brilliant. Thank you very much!"
...and good luck with those auditions, Tabitha!
A lapsed player? How do you get back into it?
David Casasola says "I am trying to get back into playing the trumpet after many years of not playing. My question is, what would be some good repertoire for me to get back into playing shape and build up my embouchure?"
The super-speedy warm up
Ellie Fitzgerald asks "If you only have 5 minutes to warm up, what do you do?"
The secret to great trumpet tone
We had lots of people get in touch asking about how Alison produces such great tone. Here's what she had to say:
A video posted by Classic FM (@classicfm) onApr 9, 2015 at 5:23am PDT
A big question about equality in music
Our morning presenter John Suchet is a big fan and had this poser for Alison. He asked "When I was learning the trombone as a teenager, girls were expressly forbidden to take up a brass instrument – not suitable for them. You’ve helped change that. Has it gone far enough? Is there equality now, or are girls still sometimes told brass instruments are not for them?"
A video posted by Classic FM (@classicfm) onApr 9, 2015 at 4:36am PDT
How to get that perfect lip trill going
Robert Buttigieg aks Alison "Any hints on how to do the lip trill please?"
A video posted by Classic FM (@classicfm) onApr 9, 2015 at 5:27am PDT
Some top lip buzzing tips
Isabella Thomas was in touch and asks "could you please share some tips for buzzing without the mouthpiece?"
Dealing with those pesky octave leaps
Sam Gustavson from Michigan writes in: "For lessons I have to prepare etudes from Brandts orchestral etudes book. What is stumping me is trying to keep a single setting for an etude like number 6 in the book where it has octave jumps and goes quickly from the lower register to the high register, it seems that whenever I play it my setting changes for the lower register and then getting back to the upper register takes more effort than I think it should. Do you recommend any techniques or methods?"
The art of the quick practice-session
Simon Richards says "Hi Alison. Do you have any tips and advice for maintaining range, stamina, tone and technique when practice time is limited (in my case by a busy day job and two young children)?"
So many questions poured in for the star virtuoso – and she was very sorry we didn't have time to get to them all. Here's a message for all trumpeters out there!