Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Fine Arts



First Advisor

David Elliott

Second Advisor

Dr. Jason Dovel


For decades, many brass teachers have relied heavily upon speech as a means of conveying pedagogical concepts. Additionally, a significant number of teachers in the brass community continue to use speech sounds to teach specific kinesthetic responses (i.e. using specific vowels for tone production, particular consonants for articulation, and variations of vowels for different pitch registers). These teaching concepts have been perpetuated over time, though many intricate aspects of human anatomy were yet to be understood at the inception of these methods, including the physiological processes used during speech. As technology has evolved, researchers in the field of linguistics have made significant discoveries regarding the production and perception of speech. As a result of these innovations, researchers now understand more about individual languages than ever before. This document aims to critique popular beliefs regarding speech directives often utilized in trumpet pedagogy, such as guiding a student by saying “tah,” “too,” “tee,” etc. to produce a desired sound concept.

A significant portion of this document also outlines an ultrasound experiment conducted by the author in the Phonetics Laboratory at the University of Kentucky, in which exercises were designed to determine if speech vowels are in fact used during trumpet playing. During this study, subjects wore a lightweight headset with an ultrasound probe placed under the chin. The ultrasound probe allowed the researcher a midsaggital (side) view of the subject’s oral cavity, displaying vowel placements and articulatory phenomena. While using the ultrasound imaging technology, subjects played a short selection of musical exercises on B-flat trumpet and then read aloud a pre-selected list of English words, designed to display multiple combinations of vowel and consonant pairings. Both the trumpet exercises and reading of the word list were audio recorded and simultaneously paired with the corresponding ultrasound video data. After playing the selected exercises, subjects completed a brief written questionnaire of personal language history to ascertain possible influences upon dialect. The ultrasound videos were then analyzed with the audio recordings to map each individual’s tongue placements during speech as compared to the placements utilized during trumpet playing. The author concluded that a majority of participants did not use the specific placements of speech vowels while playing the trumpet, although some participant data displayed a slightly stronger correlation than others. While many conclusions could be drawn from this research study, the corresponding data is intended for a purely observational understanding of the influence of linguistics upon trumpet performance and pedagogy. This document is presented in two parts: Part I contains introductory research material, as well as the process, analysis, and conclusions from the experiment outlined above. Part II contains recital programs and corresponding program notes in fulfillment of the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts in Trumpet Performance, as well as a personal vita.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)