Connecting the Dots: The Warmup Guide for the 21st-Century Versatile Trombonist

By Dean Olah • December 13, 2023 • 3 min read

Effective Etudes for JazzConnecting the Dots: The Warmup Guide for the 21st-Century Versatile Trombonist by Altin Sencalar. Last Row Music, 2023.

Connecting the Dots: The Warmup Guide for the 21st-Century Versatile Trombonist authored by Altin Sencalar, is a thorough and informative resource that aims to revolutionize trombone teaching for learners in the modern era. As a seasoned performer, lecturer, and composer, Sencalar brings a plethora of experience and knowledge to the table, making this technique book a wonderful resource for both novice and advanced trombonists.

Sencalar's technique book is enhanced by the inclusion of a foreword written by Michael Dease, a highly regarded trombonist and educator of international renown. The recommendation provided by Dease contributes substantial value to the book, validating its pertinence and effectiveness within the realm of modern trombone pedagogy.

The book exhibits rigorous organization, commencing with an exploration of "first actions and thoughts" that establish a tone conducive to a focused approach to the instrument. This section aligns with Sencalar's core principles of pre-performance preparation, which include hydration, stretching, buzzing, long tones, and false tones. The theory of music instruction he espouses places significant emphasis on not just the acquisition of technical prowess but also the cultivation of a profound comprehension and rapport with both the physical self and the musical instrument.

The next chapters pertaining to 'flexibilities commencing in the 7th position,' 'scales tailored for trombone and slide technique,' 'multiple tonguing,' and 'long tones' have been meticulously crafted. While bearing some resemblance to previous method books, these exercises distinguish themselves from conventional approaches through their incorporation of diverse rhythmic patterns and a specialized methodology aimed at enhancing flexibility and facilitating seamless transitions across the entire range. They highlight Sencalar's command of the instrument, which has been cultivated via extensive and demanding training as well as numerous opportunities to perform alongside esteemed performers and ensembles.

When considering Sencalar's notable achievements, such as his accolades from Stereophile Magazine and the International Trombone Association, as well as his successful collaborations with esteemed artists like DeeDee Bridgewater, Rodney Whitaker, and Michael Bublé, it becomes apparent that his perspectives possess substantial practical significance. Altin studied at Texas State University and Michigan State University, and currently has two recordings with the "Sencalar/Glassman Quintet."

In general, Connecting the Dots proves to be a valuable resource catering to trombonists across various skill levels. The exercises provided inside the book are presented in a manner that is both succinct and unambiguous. One distinguishing feature of this book is the incorporation of QR codes that facilitate access to audio files for the purposes of listening, demonstration, and interactive engagement. Additionally, Sencalar admirably acknowledges and attributes credit to the artists who have influenced and contributed to the development of these exercises.

In summary, Connecting the Dots: The Warmup Guide for the 21st-Century Versatile Trombonist most notable attribute resides in its emphasis on the preparation and integration of the cognitive, physical, and instrumental aspects of trombone performance. It transcends its classification as a mere instructional manual, serving as a tribute to the unwavering commitment of Altin Sencalar to his artistic pursuit. The book is sure to help players enhance their technique and musicality while serving as an invitation to engage on a voyage of musical inquiry with an emerging voice in contemporary trombone pedagogy.