Dr. Kurt Gorman
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UTM Trumpet Studio Handbook


This webpage is intended as a resource for students of the UTM trumpet studio.

Applied Lessons


Sheet music
International Trumpet Guild
Summer camps
Online resources

Applied trumpet lessons - registration and scheduling

What course number do I register for?

Bachelor of Music majoring in instrumental education major
lower division: MUAP 182 (four semesters required)
upper division: MUAP 382 (three semesters required)
junior recital: MUAP 395 (not required)
senior recital: MUAP 495 (one semester required)

Bachelor of Music majoring in performance
lower division: MUAP 184 (four semesters required)
upper division: MUAP 384 (two semesters required)
junior recital: MUAP 395 (one semester required)
senior recital: MUAP 495 (one semester required)

Bachelor of Arts in Music: MUAP 181 (six semesters required)
Any degree with music minor: MUAP 181 (four semesters required)
Non-majors: MUAP 181

“lower division” vs. “upper division”?

Incoming freshmen music education majors and performance majors are required 2 years (4 semesters) of lower division applied study after which they must audition to take upper division lessons (3 semester).  The audition is performed at the jury at the end of the student’s second year.

What if I don’t pass my upper division audition?

The student may retake the upper division audition up to three times.  (My advice is to pass it the first time.)


Junior recitals

Performance majors are required to perform a junior recital during their third year.  Music education majors are strongly encouraged to do so as a preparatory step toward the senior recital.  This recital is a half recital (2 to 3 pieces) and the program can be shared with another junior (from any studio.) Music education majors can take the junior recital course (MUAP 395) for credit.

Senior recitals

Performance majors and music education majors are required to perform a senior recital during their fourth year.  This recital is a full recital with intermission.

Recital hearings

The student must perform the recital program for the brass faculty prior to the recital date.  The purpose of this is for the faculty to assess whether the program is adequately prepared.


The “jury”, performed at the end of the semester for the brass faculty, serves as a final exam for applied trumpet lessons, and it is 50% of the final grade. At a minimum, the student will perform a solo piece (perhaps with piano see accompanists) and an etude.

Scale juries

The student will play scale jury at the end of the semester.  See the following chart for required scales.  As the student progresses through the program, he is responsible for all scales that have been assigned in the past. (i.e. a third year first semester student will be tested on
major and all forms of minor, chromatic, and whole-tone.)

First year


First semester

major and natural minor

Second semester

harmonic minor


Second year


First semester

melodic minor

Second semester

review major and all forms of minor


Third year


First semester

chromatic, whole tone,

Second semester

mixolydian and dorian


Fourth year


First semester

phrygian, Lydian

Second semester


Lesson schedules

I arrange my teaching schedule prior to the first day of classes by reviewing student schedules in Banner.  If there is an urgent need to change regular lesson times during the first two weeks of school, I will do my best to accommodate.  Moreover, I acknowledge that students have to work their way through school, however, work schedules will not be taken into account in the lesson schedule. On campus employers will be generally accommodating to students; off-campus employers will have to concede that your first job is school.

“Practice requirements”

The UTM Undergraduate Course Catalog outlines specific requirements of practice time by degree program (10 hours per week for music education majors, and 20 for performance majors.) These well-intended guidelines are an attempt to instill the discipline necessary to learn to play a musical instrument on a high level.

However, I can think of no other course of study or subject where it is written how much time a student is to spend studying the material or reading the text. Assignments are given, and the student completes the assignment with varying degrees of success. The success of the student is determined by the amount of time the student expends and the student’s efficiency in processing the information. Any decisions about how much to prepare are left up to the student.  

The decision is being left to you, and you may want to ask yourself some general questions.
What are my goals as a musician?  What can’t I do now as a performer that I would like to learn? What musicians do I like to listen to and how can I learn to emulate them? What pieces do I want to perform? Do I want to be a music educator or have a career as a performer? Do I want to attend graduate school?

While you practice you should ask yourself: What are my standards? What is “good enough”? If you don’t take ownership of the result and at least a little bit of pride in it, then you may have chosen wrong field of study.
The bottom line is that I will grade you on the results of your practicing. If you are well-prepared for your lesson, you will receive a good grade; if you are under prepared, you will not. That decision is up to you. 

Weekly practice records

Each week, the student is required to fill out a Practice Record Form, listing practice times and what material was covered.  (Go to forms page) If this in not completed, the weekly lesson grade will be lowered.

Recital class

Students enrolled in applied trumpet lessons are required to perform a solo during recital class once a semester; first semester freshmen are exempt, but not discouraged, from this requirement.   

Working with an accompanist

If you require an accompanist for your jury or for a recital performance, contact the staff accompanist Delana Easley (X7409).  She will need to know when you are performing and what you are playing, and you should give her the music, as early as possible. In scheduling rehearsals with Ms. Easley, please be flexible as her schedule is very full. If for some reason, Ms. Easley is unable to assist you, she may offer some suggestions for who might be able to play for you. 

Before the first rehearsal with a pianist, you should: 1) clear it with me, 2) listen to a recording with the piano score, and 3) play the piece with Smart Music.

If you are playing a recital, I strongly encourage you to buy a gift (amazon gift certificates are easy) for your pianist.  While they are compensated for their work, it is important that you express some gratitude for what they do.  


To be a music major at UT Martin, the following equipment is required:

  1. B-flat trumpet in working condition.  In other words, the valves stick less than once a week, all tuning slides function properly, and the instrument has no severe dents. Most importantly, it must produce a good sound.   I recommend the professional models of Bach and Yamaha, though other makes are acceptable.  I do not recommend the so-called “intermediate” horns. These are, in my opinion, marginally better than a scholastic model.

    I also recommend that you use a different (and cheaper) instrument in marching band. A $250 student horn off ebay may be worth protecting your concert instrument.
  2. A suitable mouthpiece (for more on mouthpieces, click here) in good condition, without scrapes or dents in the shank.  It should be comfortable to the player and facilitate good tone production. 
  3. Mutes
    1. Straight mutes – a metal straight mute allows for more projection. I recommend models by Jo-Ral, Bach or Denis Wick (from $25-35).  Bach sells a plastic straight mute($15?) that produces a somewhat less piercing tone.
    2. Cup mutes – the inexpensive (and unsightly) stonelined mute ($20) will suffice for most ensemble playing.  For solo work, the adjustable cup models by Denis Wick or Trumcor ($55-70) produce superior tone and intonation.
    3. Harmon – Another expensive one. The Jo-Ral  bubble mute has a good tone for around $45.  In my opinion, it is not worth the saving $20 on the cheaper “Harmon Wow-wow”.
    4. Plunger – You may need the business end of a plunger for playing in jazz ensemble.  They are cheap, so buy it new.
  4. Chromatic tuner with a pitch generator function.  The Korg CA30 model runs about $20 and is available from most vendors.
  5. Metronome.  A Dr. Beat is great if you have the dough.  The main qualification for a metronome is that you should be able to hear it while you are playing.
  6. Chromatic pitch pipe in the key of F.  (This is necessary for a set of exercises I will be assigning and for general buzzing practice. These are available on ebay for around $10.)

Studio equipment

The music department owns a piccolo trumpet, a C trumpet and two flugelhorns that are available for checkout by registered students. 

Recommended equipment:

I highly recommended that juniors and seniors consider purchasing of a piccolo trumpet and C trumpet.  These instruments are useful for any freelancing opportunities.   

Equipment vendors:
Amro Music  –  http://www.amromusic.com/  –  (901) 323-8888
Woodwind and Brasswind  – 800-348-5003 – http://www.wwbw.com/
Giardinelli  – http://www.giardinelli.com
Cascio Interstate Music – www.interstatemusic
Music Zone (Paducah, KY) – (270) 554-0964 or (270) 534-8131

Selecting a mouthpiece

Many of my colleagues in graduate school were playing on Bach 1’s and 1X’s.  The aim behind “bigger is better” is that it will produce a large, orchestral sound.  A larger mouthpiece allows a larger aperture which equals more air flow and thus more volume; I would be interested to see the physics on the measurable difference in decibels. 

Instead of this one-size fits all approach, selecting a mouthpiece is a choice based on the player’s individual characteristics and the type of performing that they do on a regular basis.

In my opinion, the two most important qualities in a mouthpiece are:

  1. Sound – I do not limit this term to the sound of long tones, but to all of the acoustical properties including articulation response, intonation, range and flexibility.  No serious compromises should be made. 
  2. Comfort – I know we are not supposed to play by feel, but I personally prefer equipment that I don’t have to fight with.

For example, a mouthpiece that sounds resonant in the middle register but limits the player’s range is of little value. A smaller mouthpiece with a thin sound in the middle and low register is equally worthless. 

I have had the most success with mouthpieces that are neither too big nor too small, in the Bach range of 2C, 3C, or 5B.  I have performed on a Monette C4 for approximately the last 4 years; it produces a good tone, even projection and facilitates consistency.  

Buying mouthpieces on a trial basis

Many mail order music stores allow mouthpiece purchases on a trial basis; they will probably charge a restocking fee if you do not ultimately purchase one. (If considering purchasing a Monette, be aware that they do not accept returns.)

Changing mouthpieces

In my experience, it takes from two weeks to a month to adjust to a new mouthpiece.  The change is facilitated of course by a lot of simple and repetitive practice, mouthpiece playing, flow studies, Irons, Clarke, and articulation exercises.  Listening is essential; a new mouthpiece will produce a sound that is subtly different.

If switching to a larger size, incremental change is probably best (ie. from a 5C - 3C - 2C - 1½C rather than 5C to 1½ C) and some short term loss of range and endurance is expected. 

Sheet music vendors

As future performers and educators, students should purchase their own music and begin building their own collection of resources.  I recommend the following vendors:

1) Robert King – http://rkingmusic.com

Robert King is the broadest and most up-to-date seller for brass sheet music.  I heartily recommend the purchase of Robert King’s Brass Player’s Guide for a mere $4.40 with your first order; this catalog lists solo literature and method books for all brass instruments, brass chamber music, mixed chamber music, and texts. 

2) Eble Music Company – (319) 338-0313

Eble Music is located in my hometown of Iowa City, and I spent many afternoons of my wayward youth perusing their holdings. The store has been in business for over 50 years, and they know their stuff.

3) Other online vendors

If you feel that you must, there are many other online vendors, though some of they may not be as reliable or prompt. Here are a couple websites.




The International Trumpet Guild (http://trumpetguild.org/) is an organization of which I have been a member on an off for over a decade; the student membership is cheap at $25.  The group publishes a quarterly journal containing CD and book reviews, articles on historical and pedagogical topic; periodically, members also receive CDs and sheet music released by ITG. The annual convention held each summer is a great mix of performances, competitions, and an exhibition for sheet music vendors and trumpet makers. 

Summer camps

Chosen Vale – http://www.chosenvalemusic.org/

Run by Prof. Ed Carroll, from California Institute of the Arts.  Mr. Carroll formerly was the director of the Lake Placid Institute Trumpet Seminar that I attended in the summer of 2002.  Chosen Vale has some of the same big name faculty and guest artists as LPI.  I can only assume that it is an equally inspiring artistic experience.

Online resources



Both of these sites have online chat, discussion forums, and classifieds. Some interesting stuff if you have time to kill.



Kurt Gorman, D.M.A.
Assistant Professor of Music
University of Tennesee at Martin
226 Fine Arts Building
Martin, Tennessee 38238
(731) 881-7404 phone
(731) 881-7415 FAX