Famous Trumpet player Allen Vizzutti of Seattle, Washington was taught trumpet by his father while growing up in Montana. Trumpet player Allen Vizzutti's father was a self-taught musician and trumpet player himself who also owned a musical instrument store!. Allen eventually left home to attend the Eastman School of Music on a full scholarship. There, Allen earned the Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees, a Performer's Certificate, a chair in the Eastman Brass Quintet Faculty Ensemble, and the only Artist's Diploma ever awarded to a wind player in Eastman's 85 year history.
Equally at home in a multitude of musical idioms, Allen Vizzutti has visited 40 countries and every state in the union to perform with a rainbow of artists and ensembles including Chick Corea, 'Doc' Severinsen, the NBC Tonight Show Band, the USAF Airmen Of Note, the Army Blues and Army Symphony Orchestra, Chuck Mangione, Woody Herman, Japan's NHK Orchestra and the New Tokyo Philharmonic, the Budapest Radio Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Leipzig Wind Symphony and the Kosie Wind Orchestra. Performing as a classical and a jazz artist, often in the same evening, he has appeared as guest soloist with symphony orchestras in Tokyo, Germany, St. Louis, Seattle, Rochester N.Y., Syracuse, Milwaukee, Buffalo, Phoenix, Croatia, Slovenia, Edmonton, Vancouver and Winnipeg to name a few. Music lovers in Germany, Poland, England, Sweden, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Australia and the United States have heard his brilliant sound over the airwaves of national television. Allen's status as an artist has led to solo performances at the Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall, Newport Jazz Festival, Banff Center for the Performing Arts, the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Teton, Vail, Aspen and Brechenridge Music Festivals, the Charles Ives Center and Lincoln Center in New York City. As Artist in Residence, Allen has taught at the Eastman School of Music, the Banff Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas State University, Ohio State University, West Texas State University, the Skidmore Jazz Institute, and the Trompeten Akademie of Bremen Germany. He is currently Artist in Residence at the University of South Carolina.
Allen's love of expression through composition has led to premier performances by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Budapest Radio Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic of London, the Nuremberg Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Syracuse Symphony, London Symphony, the renowned Summit Brass and others. After the world premier of his "Emerald Concerto" with the Syracuse Symphony Allen's writing was described in review: "The Emerald Concerto sparkles! ... a vivacious treatment which speaks well for both his dramatic instinct and technical prowess as a composer."
From his home in Seattle Washington, Allen's current career activities embody an impressive schedule of recitals, concerts, recording and composing. His continued commitment to music education and the value of music in everyday life results in an extensive schedule of guest appearances at universities throughout North America, Europe, Japan and Australia
Allen's Dad encouraged organized and literally laid out practice plans for him. They had frequent short lessons and a weekly long lesson. Allen and his Dad had fun playing duets and Allen had lots of band and orchestra ... and eventually solo commitments to help motivate him to excel. At one point, before Allen finished high school, they worked through the entire Arban's Complete Conservatory Trumpet Method - page by page - not once but twice. Allen eventually had other challenging and melodic literature and trumpet method books his Dad researched, found and brought home. Their understanding was that Allen would practice daily without fail which he did missing only one week on a family trip until he was 17.
Snapshots of memory from that period include starting "advanced" techniques such as multiple tonguing at an early age; always having an organized warm up; struggling with range over high C; processing performance anxiety with some success as it turns out; not understanding piccolo trumpet or Baroque literature; (he was in Montana!); having good endurance; thinking even then about using minimal pressure and learning that a huge mouthpiece was NOT for him. Allen frequently practiced out of the
Consistent high quality daily practice will absolutely determine your performance level both mentally and physically. It makes sense to find concrete ways to make your practice time enjoyable, efficient and productive. The amount of time you spend in the practice room is very personal. Realizing improvement in technical skills, musicality, range and endurance in a relatively short amount of practice time is feasible as long as your playing fundamentals are in order and your mental focus is good. Trumpet is an instrument that demands regular "chop time" (wood shedding) in order to insure quality tone production, good response and flexibility. There will never be a substitute for practice in the trumpet world. Daily practice time for as little as an hour can yield acceptable results. Many trumpet players desire to practice much longer and do. Improvement can prove to be illusive. Frustration may well up. Sometimes you need motivation and guidance in getting organized.
Divide your practice session into three parts: 1) Warm-up, 2) Technical Studies and 3) Music. All of your playing during each section must be approached with deep, relaxed breathing, the best sound you can produce and musical phrasing. The more beautiful your sound and the better your musical phrasing, the more quickly you will develop consistency, technique, range and endurance. Each improved facet of instrumental study contributes to the quality and success of the whole.
Part 1 - Warm Up - Warming up must be a fundamental part of a daily trumpet practice routine. Establishing mental focus, muscle and lip flexibility, and deep breathing are crucial to successful performance. These four elements included in the "Allen Vizzutti Trumpet Method" books yield wonderful results when used on a daily basis. The main components of the warm-up are: 1) mouthpiece playing, 2) articulations patterns, 3) smooth long tones, and 4) scale and pattern studies. It is not necessary to play all of the studies each day but you should warm up using part of each section daily. Eventually you may vary this warm up using your own ideas or using similar materials as illustrated in my trumpet method books.
Part 2 - Technical Studies - Conceptualize the technical studies section as music for flow and smoothness. The studies are also intended to improve finger flexibility and familiarity with all keys. Steady airflow is paramount. Even though the name implies repetitious technical study, endeavor to play them as musically as possible. Remember most music is literally composed of scales and arpeggios. The more you study scales and arpeggios the better off you will be. Much more material like these studies is available in other books such as Herbert L. Clarke's Technical Studies for the Cornet and the Allen Vizzutti Trumpet Method.
Part 3 - Music - Always spend part of your practice time playing musical compositions. Keep beauty of sound and phrasing foremost in your mind. Play music you wish to play or that which you have to play for school, solo performance, ensembles or lessons. Play any style of music. Enjoy your trumpet. Be creative. Allow your personality to emerge and your uniqueness to shine.
Use this Practice Template as an organizational tool to motivate regular trumpet practice and promote efficiency. Imagine warming up with a beautiful sound, performing technical studies with imaginative phrasing and approaching your music with confidence and consistency. Think of this approach as musical cross training. You may vary the length of time in each of the three sections to suit your needs (but don't short change the warm up; think 15 - 20 minutes). Change the order of the smooth / long tone exercises and the technical studies if you wish. Utilize the studies that seem to work best for YOU. Keep in mind the concept of staying fresh and flexible while you practice. Use these ideas to be efficient and constantly improving.
Allen always had nice instruments as his Dad owned a music store. Allen began playing trumpet with the line of Conn cornets & trumpets, all in Bb, culminating with the Conn Constellation trumpet. Doc Severinsen heard Allen play when he was 15 years old and gave Allen his Getzen Eterna Trumpet. While at The Eastman School of Music, Allen bought a Bach C trumpet and a Benge 3X-plus Bb model trumpet.
After he first toured Japan with Chick Corea, Yamaha approached him about trying out, evaluating and becoming involved with their professional trumpet line and the rest is history. Now he plays the Yamaha YTR-9335VS Allen Vizzutti Artist Model Xeno Bb Trumpet and all the other Yamaha trumpets as needed. Allen states that the Yamaha Trumpets are "world class instruments." The Yamaha YTR-9335VS Allen Vizzutti Artist Model Xeno Bb Trumpet is a collaboration between Allen Vizzutti and Bob Malone. The 9335VS features a .459-inch bore with a 4.9-inch yellow brass bell with variable wall thickness for an impressive response. Yamaha YTR-9335VS Allen Vizzutti Artist Model Xeno Bb Trumpet also features brass valve stems, grey pearl finger buttons and a third valve slide stop screw with a solid screw head to add to the overall feel and response of the trumpet.
The only older horns Allen has kept have been his Getzen Eterna that Doc Severinsen gave him; his Dad's original Martin Committee Model and a French Besson Flugelhorn he bought in the 70's. In Allen's opinion, modern horns and mouthpieces are far superior to the old stuff even though some vintage horns have endearing qualities.
Allen's first trumpet mouthpiece was a Bach 7C or 3C. He ended up on a Bach 10.5 C which he used for a long time. Allen used a Schilke 14a4 (with a Symphonic back-bore) for years on his C and Bb trumpets though he kept it quiet due to the negative stigma attached with using such a mouthpiece. This had come about by mistake as Allen had ordered a Schilke 14a4a and had received this piece by mistake. He played 1st on Mahler 5 on it, the Jolivet and Tomasi Concerti on it, big band lead on it and many other styles on this one mouthpiece. He also won an orchestral audition on it!
Having eventually made the choice of going with Woody Herman's Big Band over the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra right out of Eastman, Allen wanted to raise his volume and intensity levels. Allen had tried a Schilke 13a4c and had found it to be too stuffy, too small and too narrow; so, he had Schilke make him a custom mouthpiece splitting the difference between the two sizes (14a4c and 13a4c). His best description of that mouthpiece would be a Bach 4E (which they do not make). After that, as he toured, various mouthpiece makers would offer to make him mouthpieces so he would ask that his Schilke mouthpiece be duplicated. They always turned out different from his Schilke. He used a Giardinelli trumpet mouthpiece for a long time, then a Joe Marcinkiewicz Vizzutti Signature Model and finally the Yamaha Vizzutti Design Mouthpiece developed for him by Yamaha in Japan.
At this writing, he is using a Pickett Brass mouthpiece developed for him by Peter Pickett (in 2012). He also uses a Pickett Brass custom mouthpiece for Piccolo (with matched rim a slightly deeper cup and large back-bore); a Pickett Brass custom mouthpiece for flugelhorn with Peter's flugel cup and a matched rim; for C trumpet, (and a more classical sound on Bb trumpet) Allen uses his Yamaha version of the original Allen Vizzutti mouthpiece with a slightly deeper cup.