“The Sequel to... Carmine Caruso’s Musical Calisthenics For Brass”
I studied with Carmine between October 1979 and May 1980. For the duration of going through his book Musical Calisthenics for Brass (MCFB), I would see him once a week.
As we progressed, it turns out Carmine had many more exercises to share with me, and by February 1980, I decided I wanted to see him twice a week. I have been teaching Mr. Caruso’s method ever since 1980. Recently, when Hugo Moreno and Chris Scanlon finished MCFB, we were discussing the extended exercises. This discussion resulted in the idea of putting these extended exercises into a book. This book is the result of our collaboration.
This sequel is a continuation of MCFB, and should be started only after the completion of Carmine’s original method.
In approaching these exercises, whether this book or the original MCFB, it is extremely important to fully comprehend Carmine’s philosophy. One must therefore follow all remarks and rules outlined in Mr. Caruso’s original book. The most important thing I learned from Carmine was how to teach myself. In studying his method, each pupil should seek the same goal.
The five principles based in Zen: Coordination, Synchronization, Conditioned Reflex, Second Nature, and the Instrument Becoming an Extension of the Body must be well understood and followed, as well as the four rules that apply to playing the exercises in MCFB and in this book:
• Tap your foot.
• Keep the mouthpiece in contact with your lips throughout each exercise.
• Breathe through the nose.
• Keep the blow steady.
It is my intent with this book to continue Mr. Caruso’s legacy. I hope anyone undertaking the study of his method can benefit from it as much as I have. I continue to learn every day both in performance and in sharing with fellow musicians who come to me for input on Mr. Caruso’s philosophy and method.
MY TRIBUTE TO CARMINE
I have had a few mentors in my musical life, but the one I credit most is Carmine Caruso. When I had the privilege of studying with Mr. Caruso in 1979-80, I had no idea how my life would change. His teachings and philosophy not only enabled me to pursue the career I wanted as a musician playing the trumpet, but also transformed my life as a person.
The biggest lesson I learned from Carmine was how to teach myself. The “Five Steps” involved in his teachings, based in Zen, enabled me to understand how the body and mind function in a way I had never witnessed or even imagined before meeting him. I discovered that these Steps could be applied to anything one wants to accomplish in life – musical or otherwise.
It therefore made sense that even though Mr. Caruso played clarinet, saxophone, violin and piano (he was successful in teaching any instrumentalist), he became mostly known for helping brass players and, more specifically, trumpet players.
By the time I met Carmine, I had already graduated from the Paris Conservatory and was
considered an accomplished musician, but still felt I was far from having the physical attributes necessary to bring my trumpet playing to the high level I was seeking. Caruso’s techniques, focusing on the physical aspects of playing an instrument, showed me the way to develop the physical requirements necessary to playing my instrument and subsequently the technical requirements as well. All to better serve the music I wanted to play.
Not a day that goes by, 36 years later, without him being directly involved in my life, because I still use his routine daily. There also is no greater sense of purpose, 29 years after his passing, than to try to continue and perpetuate his legacy by sharing his teachings with new generations.
Forever grateful, Carmine!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Internationally renowned trumpet player, Dominic Derasse was born in France. After studying trumpet and conducting at the Nice (France) Conservatory and graduating in 1976, he was given charge of the Municipal Concert/Marching Band in St. Paul De Vence. The following year he won the competition to enter the Paris National Conservatory and graduated with First Prize in 1979.
Since moving to New York, he has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, New York Pops, American Symphony, Manhattan Philharmonic, Bronx Arts Ensemble, Colonial Symphony, Sainte Cecelia Orchestra, Naumberg Orchestra, Musica Sacra, Collegiate Chorale, New York Choral Society and the EOS Ensemble. He is in demand all over the world and has performed in Europe, South Africa, Asia, North and South America His many recordings include The Music of Peter Gunn and Sketches of Spain with Harmonie Ensemble NY, four recordings for EOS including the Grammy nominated Celluloid Copland, Philip Smith’s New York Legends, Music of John Corigliano and Music of Henryk Gorecki with I Fiamminghi, The Music of Ben Johnston with Music Amici, plus numerous Broadway cast recordings and performances including An American in Paris, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, South Pacific, Assassins, Into the Woods, Kiss Me Kate, and Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, to name a few. He has performed on the soundtracks for such films as Fargo and Beauty & the Beast (both Oscar-winning scores), featured soloist on Mission to Mars and the following blockbusters: Batman Forever, Interview with the Vampire, Ed Wood, Cobb, It Could Happen to You, Carlito’s Way, The Hudsucker Proxy, Age of Innocence, Sleepless in Seattle, Muppet’s Christmas Carol, Prelude to a Kiss, This Boy’s Life, Lethal Weapon III, Cape Fear, Shining Through, Billy Bathgate, Barton Fink, and many more.
Other notable solo appearances include being the guest soloist on piccolo trumpet with L’Orchestre de la Garde Republicaine for the world premiere of Trois Peintures du Musee D’Orsay by Eric Ewazen. Trumpet and Organ recitals at the Cathedral Saint Louis Des Invalides as well as many other venues, and Carnegie Hall’s Making Music Series: H.K. Gruber. “3 MOB pieces” for Trumpet and Ensemble. He has performed Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 on four continents, founded the Aramis Chamber Orchestra, and was featured in a 31- concerts tour of Japan. His CD Baroque Masterpieces for Trumpet and Organ is on the Roven Records label. He also founded the Filmharmonic Brass and produced their CD of the film music of John Williams, to be released on Roven Records in 2017.
Derasse is widely recognized in the popular music fields having recorded over 70 movie soundtracks, many TV themes including NBC Nightly News, commercials for over 100 products as well as live performances with Sting, Elton John, Tony Bennett, Chaka Kahn, and numerous others.
His teaching career includes a private studio, as well as master classes and clinics (based on the Carmine Caruso Technique). He recently started System D, a non-music-specific company.