Your viewport: About For trumpeters


I hold seminars entitled “Creative Trumpet Playing”. The emphasis is on interpretation, improvisation, intuitive playing, trumpet technique and breathing technique as well as Yoga and silence exercises; in other words all aspects of the trumpet and the necessary musical, physical and spiritual preparation. The next course will be once again held in Burg Fürsteneck in summer 2016.

You can read about the collaboration with my father in the section “With Karlheinz Stockhausen”. There I have also listed the works that he composed for me.
Other composers have also written works for me, for example “Preisungen” by Hans-Martin Lonquich for trumpet and organ, “Jet Stream” by Peter Eötvös that was premiered with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London in 2002 or “Other Presences” by Jonathan Harvey for trumpet and live electronic with its premiere at the Cheltenham Music Festival in 2006.

Questions by a young trumpeter:

Markus, how do you become a better musician?
Also, how do you become a better trumpet player?

My answers:

Listen to music that you love, that inspires you. 
Listen with headphones, intensely, so you really absorb the music.
Play with other good musicians, and be in an open position of constant learning.
Read inspiring literature to widen the mind. 

Breath well to play good and release stress while playing. 
Improve your equipment if necessary to match your personal sound and physical constitution, since we all are different.
If possible have two studying sessions per day, one in the morning, one in the afternoon /evening.
Don’t force, but challenge yourself, look for areas of improvement. 
Take a lesson with a good player once in a while.
Dont’play music you don’t like, it may harm your feelings. Avoid stressful situations if possible, so that the music making stays pleasant for you.
Express your deep feelings in the music, and create situations, in which you can do this.

My innovations:

1. Leather belt for six different mutes, developed for performing the compositions of my father Karlheinz Stockhausen, in particular “Michael’s Journey round the World”, composed in 1978 as part of the opera cycle LIGHT.

from left to right seen from the player:
plunger – harmon – wawa – whisper mute – cup – mel-o-wah

PDF with instructions for the mutes to download .

2. A second smaller bell for piccolo trumpet (Schilke P5-4) that is inserted into the 4. Valve and with which the g’’’ is more easily reached. The sound is amazingly good. This I developed for the highest note of the second Brandenburg Concerto by J.S. Bach and can be heard on my recording with the Detmold Chamber Orchestra: New Colours of Piccolo Trumpet (EMI Classics 1993).

3. The ¼-note flugelhorn. I chose an old Beson flugelhorn with a fine sound and had four-valve mechanics made by the company Bauerfeind, at that time still in existence. The fourth valve can be played with the small finger of the right hand. The company Monka in Cologne or to be more exact, the legendary Master Helmich, to whom I owe much gratitude, was responsible for the modification of the flugelhorn.
The reason for building this instrument arose from a suggestion that I made to my father to compose a piece for the flugelhorn. We envisaged something special and so the idea for the modified instrument was born. The result was the composition “Pietà” by Karlheinz Stockhausen, a part of the opera “Tuesday from Light”. There are four versions of the piece: a solo piece, a solo with electronic music, a duo for flugelhorn and soprano and the same version with electronic music. I recorded the duo “Pietà” for flugelhorn and soprano for the CD “Stockhausen spielt Stockhausen” for EMI Classics and also released by Stockhausen-Verlag.

4. The e-flat trumpet with a specially designed valve to lower the trumpet by a fourth. I chose an instrument made by the Bach company (large bore, long bell 239) and commissioned the company Gärtner and Thul in Düren to construct a valve to lower the trumpet by a fourth. This was inserted instead of the short tuning slide and could be controlled using the left index finger. This instrument enabled me to play the premiere of my father’s work “In Friendship” and later to record it for EMI Classics to commemorate his 70th birthday in 1998. “In Friendship” is an extremely demanding piece and was probably one of the most difficult regarding its mental and musical demands on me.

My mouthpieces

one-off production with bending by Norbert Böpple from the JBS-series approx 1982, Warburton backbores no. 10

I have had all my mouthpieces bent. This goes back to when I was about 17 and wanted to hold the trumpet higher in the big band. I thought it was cool. I kept this arrangement later because it appealed to me and I felt I could “speak” better to the audience – especially in the dramatic musical works of my father.
The angle of the bend, which is carried out without heating, can be seen on the photo. For the piccolo trumpet and for the flugelhorn the bend is less pronounced.


I was once given this recipe by a pediatrician to treat eczema in the face. I tried it on the lips and was so impressed that I have used it since then on a daily basis. It keeps the lips supple, is not too greasy and helps you play longer as the lips are not put under so much strain. The balsam has no other effect, for example on the muscles of the lips.


Extractum Propulis spisum sicatum 1,4 Adeps lanae (lanolin) 6,7 Cetaceum Ersatz (sperm whale oil) 2,1 Cera flava 5,2 Cetyl. Alcohol 3,1 Avocado Öl 4,0 Oleum amygdalarum dolces (sweet almond oil) 15,0 Oleum olivium virgin 18,3 Aqua destillatum 43,6

If your local chemist can’t make the balsam then you can order it by phone from the Burg-Apotheke in Erfstadt-Friesheim, tel 02235 71412. I always order 5 × 10 or 10 × 10 grammes and store the little jars in the freezer. They keep for years. I wish you much success playing the trumpet!

Master Course: Creative Trumpet Playing

A new generation of trumpeters is appearing. For these musicians, the crossing of stilistic borders as well as achieving the best possible expression of their creativity through their instrument is something to be taken for granted. This demands a wide knowledge and ability, a trained ear as well as considerable experience, both in the interpretation of musical literature and in improvisation.

Information about the master course.

Caruso exercises

In January of 1978 I was lucky enough to spend an intensive month with Carmine Caruso in New York. Carmine Caruso was not a trumpeter himself, but through observation and intuition he had developed a system of exercises that helped brass players to achieve more power, higher range and stamina. Numerous trumpeters around the world – myself included – owe him gratitude. In addition to my classical exercises, I practised according to his system for many years nearly everyday for 30-40 minutes. This gave me the condition I needed to play the demanding pieces my father composed for me. Carmine Caruso was in this respect my salvation. My musical posture improved and my range and stamina were consolidated.
As several trumpeters, among them my wonderful teacher Pierre Thibaud in Paris, asked me for information about the Caruso exercises, I summarised the essence of the exercises and called it “The Basic Caruso”. This is the warming-up and training system that can be employed parallel to other studies on a daily basis or every second day without danger. It takes about 25 minutes. I am making a free English download available to all here and wish you much success while training. Please bear in mind that the guiding principle is active breathing and recommend the threefold yoga breathing as described in the legendary book “Sport and Yoga” by Sveljaran Yesudian.
Caruso exercise

Five Pieces for Trumpet and Vibrafone

On invitation by the “International Trumpet Guild” in 2010 I composed the Five Pieces for Trumpet and Vibrafone. I am offering a free download here and would be grateful for feedback and information about any possible performance to music. I wish you enjoyment in playing these five pieces.
Trumpet in Bb
Trumpet in C

Works for trumpet by Karlheinz Stockhausen