Brass Chats Season 2, Episode 12: First Lesson with John Rommel

Brass Chats Lesson with John Rommel

From the desk of Tom Brown, 1/3rd of Monster Oil:

“It was 1998.  I had just finished up my undergraduate degree and was trying to figure out why I still had fundamental issues with the trumpet.

I had countless friends who went on and on about what Indiana University Professor John Rommel had done for their playing, so I gave him a call. That first hour I had with him was the most inspirational hour of my trumpet career.  

In this lesson he had the courage to tell me I was fundamentally playing the trumpet incorrectly, that there was an easier way, and then proceeded to tell me how it could be fixed. 

Fast forward to the summer of 2018.  I purchased a 2000 Lincoln Town Car station wagon (don't ask) that had a tape deck.  So I went into my garage and the first tape I pulled out of an old box (full of maybe 200 tapes) was THIS lesson.  So....this was meant to be.

I called Professor Rommel and asked him if he'd be ok with us releasing it as a Brass Chat.  He said sure (mostly).  So I spent a fair amount of time cleaning up the sound quality which was pretty bad.  And I must say the tape is as inspirational today as it was then.  

Thankfully for you, I don't do much playing in the lesson.  He talks most of the time, and the info is applicable to pretty much anybody who plays, not just me.  

Don't worry, this isn't a substitute for a proper Brass Chat with Mr. Rommel, but we thought you might find it interesting.”

There it is—fabulously inspiring raw trumpet content, rescued by pure serendipity from the bowels of an old stinky cardboard box. Your brain is like a stinky cardboard box right now; fill it with this tape to fix!




Brass Chats Season 2, Episode 11: Thomas Gansch

Brass Chats Interview with Thomas Gansch

Here is our prescribed method for watching this, our latest installment of Brass Chats, in FOUR easy steps:

  1. If you’ve never watched Thomas Gansch and Mnozil Brass perform before, find them on Youtube and watch them blow a couple tunes out of the water. If you’re already familiar with them, go watch your favorite one

  2. Search for your jaw on the floor, wipe your tears away, mend the shattered pieces of your broken heart, and pull yourself back together as you get ready for step 3

  3. Watch this interview with our new favorite human being, Thomas Gansch

  4. Go back, armed with what you now know about fearlessness, individuality, sound concepts, performing concepts, artistry, emotion, theater, Al Pacino, and much more, and repeat step 1 for a whole new experience

This method will be the best hour and a half you’ll spend all year on becoming a better artist. If we still haven’t sold you (which, why are you even on this page), within this Brass Chat you will find Thomas Gansch’s ruminations on:

  • the beginnings of Mnozil

  • the correct and incorrect pronunciations of Mnozil

  • the key to cosmic understanding

  • finding his own musical identity

  • falling in love with jazz

  • the best trumpet player that has ever walked this planet

  • how much he practices per day

  • who he wants to play at his funeral

  • the most important thing in life (spoiler alert: it may or may not be five hundred dubba C’s in a row)

  • the secret to his unstoppable endurance

  • his daily warm-up/routine

  • Mark Gould

  • his biggest vice

…and much more. Eat up, you savages!



PS: if you’ve never seen Mnozil, start looking for the next time they come to town. It is a different, much better experience than watching them online, and is worth missing your grandma’s birthday, or taco night, or church, or your kid’s recital, or your kid’s first steps, or your kid’s birth, or whatever you people do in your free time. Cheers!


Brass Chats Season 2, Episode 10: Chad Winkler

Brass Chats Interview with Chad Winkler

Chad Winkler is magical, on so many levels. Well…at least two: …okay, two and a half:

First level, obviously, would be his trumpet prowess. Second level, there’s this. …I know, right?! And the half-level? Chad tells us his favorite magician in the famous Monster Round.

Why on earth do you care about that? …You don’t, of course. But maybe you will care about:

  • What he learned from George Vosburgh

  • Chad playing the Posthorn solo at Mahler’s grave

  • Chad’s obsession with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

  • The best horns Chad’s ever played

  • The meanest thing he’s ever said to a student

  • How a warmup should never last more than ten minutes

  • and much more.

Intrigued? Tantalized? Invigorated? Motivated? Fumigated? CONSTIPATED?!?! US TOO!!!!!!!!

Enough poop jokes. Go get better at music! It’s BRASS CHATS. Hit it!

Love - Monsters.


Brass Chats Season 2, Episode 9: David Bilger

Brass Chats Season 2, Episode 9: David Bilger

David Bilger, Principal Trumpet of the Philadelphia Orchestra, spills his guts and tells you how he got so good.

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Brass Chats Season 2, Episode 8: Scott Laskey

Interview with Scott Laskey - Brass Chats

So, in December of 2017 we went on an epic adventure and filmed 10 episodes of Brass Chats around the country. Among these was Scott Laskey, who we caught up with at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago.

After the trip we had some planning to do, including the order in which these Brass Chats should be released. We based our decisions on a few criteria, and ended up deciding (back in December) to release Scott's chat in September, 2018. 

If you're here, you probably know by now: Scott passed away about a month ago. He will be dearly missed by the trumpet, brass, and music communities. We very much regret that he never got to see this Brass Chat, which is absolutely fantastic and will be appreciated and combed over for many years because of the wide array of topics he covers, and the wisdom he brought to the table.

In a first for Brass Chats, we have decided to release this Chat unedited. We don't want you to miss out on any part of this interview, which was among his last. It runs for about one hour and fifteen minutes, and as you'll see, could have gone muuuuch longer if time had permitted. If you need more motivation to watch, the following phrase might help: "Bud Herseth's mouthpiece."

There will be no coupon code this month. Don't buy Monster Oil... Instead:

1. Email with your best Scott story. This is something his family has set up, and we can't wait to see the final product, so don't delay.

2. Grab your favorite Laskey mouthpiece and play as loud as you're able for as long as possible in your next practice session.

We will miss you, Scott! Thanks for everything you did for the trumpet world, and thanks for hanging out with us. 



Brass Chats Season 2, Episode 7: Tage Larsen

Buckle up, it's Brass Chats time! This month's candidate is a real treat. If you want to know:

  • what it was like playing with Chris Martin
  • how many practice hours you should be putting in on your instrument
  • how to get an efficient warm up in twenty minutes
  • how to be a more consistent player

...look no further than Brass Chats, Season 2, Episode 7: Tage Larsen. He's the 4th/utility trumpet player with the legendary Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and if you listen to him chat with us for a bit, you just also might hear about:

  • his favorite new exercise craze
  • singing in a reggae band
  • just what in the heck he has to do with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

Join us! Thanks Tage!!!



Brass Chats Season 2, Episode 6: Tony Prisk

He practiced five hours a day for like ten straight years, keeping detailed logs the entire time, and he shares these logs with his students.

He played with a good handful of principal trumpets in Houston, informing his second-trumpet expertise more than nearly any other player—ever.

He almost stopped playing in Houston 'cause he couldn't figure trumpet out. 

He rides escalators in the wrong direction.

He changed his trumpet playing completely using a dental apparatus (could you do the same?'s like a get-good-quick scheme. People like that, right? You guys like that?).

It's been a "long time" since he cried himself to sleep. (sure, Tony.)

He has the inside scoop on what it's like to play with Dave Bilger.

And of course—he passed the Monster Round with flying colors.

He is.....the Most Interesting Second Trumpet Player in the World.

Monster Lesson: when your creative juices aren't flowing, steal and modify something someone else has created. This applies HEAVILY to trumpet. And jazz. And making blog posts. We'd like to thank Dos Equis Beer. Prost, Prisk, and enjoy this month's installment of Brass Chats!!!



Brass Chats Season 2, Episode 5: Neal Berntsen

What happens when you sit down with Neal Berntsen, second trumpet of the Pittsburgh Symphony, at Heinz Hall, and dig into trumpet nuts and bolts? Well....

You learn what you're not doing right in your morning ritual. You ask yourself about your own trumpet routine. You reconsider how to stay healthy. You realize that you're bad at articulation. You realize that your sound isn't quite what it should be (but Neal's is). You hear about Chris Martin getting punched in the face (???). You talk about trumpet legends, like Bud, George, and Manny.

Bach vs. Yamaha? Basketball? Favorite trumpet recording? MARK HUGHES' MUSTACHE?!?!?!?'s all here. Enough said—getcha some Neal! 




Brass Chats Season 2, Episode 4: Stephen Burns

Pierre Thibaud. Bill Vacchiano. Arnold Jacobs. Armando Ghitalla. Roger Voisin. Besides trumpet influence, what do these guys have in common? Well, if we're writing it here, you can probably guess: this month's Brass Chatter, Stephen Burns. Oh yeah: Mel Broiles. Håkan Hardenberger. Tom Stevens. Others. Stories abound and we get great stuff from each one. 

How much do you practice? it's not as much as Steve high school. Let alone later on in life. Want to hear about the kind of focus it takes to win the 1st Grand Prix in the Maurice André International Competition? Your clues lie within...

Perhaps most importantly is a question we should all be asking ourselves: what is the modern trumpet player? What is the modern musician? Just how the hell are we supposed to get audiences, make money, build a reputation, and create new music, assuming we can ever figure out how to play the damned instrument in the first place? It's all in there. The key is here.

He's a man who forged his own path. He's a thinker. He's a trumpet genius. He's Steve Burns. And now, he's a Brass Chatter! So get going. And make sure you watch all the way to the end. And thanks, Steve!!

Love, - Monsters




Brass Chats Season 2, Episode 3: Rex Richardson

International soloist and Yamaha performing artist Rex Richardson talks teachers, influences, idols, and anthropology. Wait, what?

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