Hey Trumpet Nerds!
Today we’re doing a review of the new Book
of Arias for trumpet, by Price & Co Publishing,
and edited by Micah Wilkinson, Principal Trumpet
of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
The Book of Arias, brought to you by the creators
of Book of Solos, is a collection of 33 famous
opera arias, arranged for the trumpet!
As Micah says in his editor’s notes, the
purpose of this book is to teach you to find
your own voice on the trumpet by learning
to “sing” on your instrument.
The thing that strikes me the most about this
book during my first look at it is that everything
is in one place – when you open to a certain
aria, the first thing you see are the editor’s
notes from Micah, which give you the context
for the Aria including the character, setting,
time period, emotional implications, as well
as some suggestions for performance.
Then immediately after that, you have the
full libretto for the aria right next to a
complete English translation.
Then immediately under this is a funny looking
box pattern, which is called a QR code.
In case you’ve never used one of these before,
you just take out your smart phone, open the
Your smart phone will immediately prompt you
to open a web page with the reference recordings,
as well as a link to the piano score.
This is actually a genius inclusion – you
can go from studying the libretto to listening
to a recording of it in probably less than
The music itself is beautifully engraved and
has all of the lyrics and syllables perfectly
placed below the notes, which allows you to
easily place the emphasis on natural words
in the phrase.
Micah went above and beyond editing this music
– there is even a distinction between recommended
slurs and phrase markings, as well as a distinction
between the instructions in the original part,
and some commonly performed embellishments
One consideration with playing vocal arias
on the trumpet is the stamina required to
actually play it all the way through.
Micah’s even got you covered there – he
marks certain sections of the longer arias
as being optional, where the melody is covered
in the piano part, to give you a rest if you
were to perform it in a recital.
Many of the arias are actually in the original
key as well, which is excellent for playing
along with the recommended recordings to really
internalize the style.
Since the piano accompaniments for these are
actually available on their website, these
can easily be performed as recital pieces.
Like their Book of Solos, the Book of Arias
is built to last with high quality paper and
a very practical spiral binding.
I sort of think of this book as the natural
successor to the Bordogni Vocalises, the famous
etude book of vocal exercises that are used
all the time in brass pedagogy to help brass
players learn to play in a vocal style.
This book takes that to the next level, allowing
you to play actual famous opera arias on the
I also think of this as an excellent companion
to their other trumpet book, Book of Solos
(which I discussed in my first ever youtube
It’s sort of yin and yang really – one book
which features some of the best music written
idiomatically and characteristically for the
trumpet, and one which is some of the best
music NOT written for the trumpet, but rather
for the unlimited possibilities of the human
If you think about it, when many of these
famous composers were alive, the trumpet was
not really an instrument well suited for melodic
playing – but the most satisfying thing about
this book is that it allows us to easily perform
some of the greatest melodies written by Mozart,
Puccini, Rossini, Saint-Saëns, Verdi, and
others, on the trumpet.
Personally, I’ve never made so much progress
on my instrument as when I was closely studying
singers and playing music intended for singers.
One of my favorites is an album of Schubert
Lieder by Ian Bostridge, which I listened
to on repeat for almost a year while I was
preparing for my graduate school auditions,
and even played some of those lieder on a
There’s just something about taking yourself
completely out of the trumpet and internalizing
the musicianship possible with the unlimited
nuance of the human voice – and this book
helps you do just that.
Thanks so much to Price & Co.
Publishing for sending me this book to share
with my audience.
I’ve been excited to see it ever since they
told me they were working on this project!
I think they also have this book available
for other instruments as well – the trumpet
version is available for $33 plus shipping
through their website, which is linked in
the description below.
Thanks for joining me for this episode of
Jon Talks Trumpet, and I’ll see you on my
next nerdy trumpet adventure.