Anton Slama’s 66 Etudes in all Major and Minor Keys (originally for Trombone, Tuba, Bassoon, String Bass) is at face value, like most major & minor key-based etude books: a variety of etudes progressively arranged by key from easier to more difficult. There certainly is no shortage of similar etude books: Leonid Chumov’s 24 Etudes for Trumpet, Andrew Glowaty’s 24 Etudes In All Major And Minor Keys For The Progressing Trumpet Player, Georg Donderer’s Little Studies in All Major & Minor Keys for Trumpet (Petites Études Kleine Etüden) and Oskar Böhme’s 24 Melodic Studies in all Tonalities, Op. 20. Correspondingly, most trumpet method / scale books take a similar approach in taking the student through a variety of exercises, often repeating the same pattern throughout all the key signatures with occasional adjustments made to allow for the range of the instrument. So why then should this 100-year-old trombone method book be adapted for trumpet when so many books have seemingly already covered this?
Slama’s 66 Etudes is distinctive for several reasons. First, each key signature is covered not just in a single etude but multiple times. This allows for greater depth of study within each key. Secondly, all of these etudes are quite brief. As an instructor and a performer, I have found this to be a welcome change from other tonality studies. So often endurance impacts our sense of accomplishment when it isn’t the technical difficulty of the study, but physical stamina that holds us back. By having extremely short etudes, daily progress is much more evident. This brevity also permits multiple keys to be assigned without overwhelming a student. Additionally, this book makes a point of including uncommon keys (C# Major and A# minor) Lastly, these etudes have a strong sense of tonality. While some may find the circle of fifths or arpeggiated chord figures to be lacking in musical interest, I have found them to be extremely valuable in teaching students the tonality of a given key signature. I also believe it to be useful in explaining beginning music theory to students.
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