I went over there for a one-hour lesson, but instead he gave me more than an hour could possibly hold.
Vacchiano’s professional teaching and playing careers began simultaneously when he joined the New York Philharmonic as third trumpet (and assistant principal) at the age of twenty-three in 1935. Due to the declining health of his former teacher, Max Schlossberg, Vacchiano was appointed to the faculty of The Juilliard School that same year.
The teaching style Vacchiano employed during his career was strikingly similar to the style learned during his studies with Max Schlossberg, focusing mainly on orchestral style, transposition, and the rudiments of playing the trumpet. Weekly lessons were primarily comprised of studies from three method books: Arban’s Complete Conservatory Method for Trumpet, Saint-Jacome’s Grand Method for Trumpet, and Sachse’s 100 Studies for Trumpet. In addition to these materials, Vacchiano frequently composed exercises specifically addressing the student’s weaknesses. He eventually compiled these exercises into various étude books (see below).
The general approach in Vacchiano’s teaching was very simple: build the strongest and most complete foundation possible to prepare the student for any and every situation. This foundation was developed by drilling the student on the basics of arpeggios, scales, transposition, articulation, and style. Malcolm McNab, a foremost Los Angeles studio musician, commented, “If you mastered everything he assigned you, you would be an incredible technician!”
Vacchiano’s Etude and Method Books Advanced Etudes for Trumpet, for Ear Training and Accuracy. (Balquhidder Music) Bugle Calls. (Tromba Publications) The Art of Bel Canto (singing style) for Trumpet. (Manduca Music) The Art of Double Tonguing. (C. F. Peters) The Art of Reading Ahead & The Mastery of Intervals (Wiltshire Music) The Art of Solo Playing for Trumpet. (Tromba Publications) The Art of Triple Tonguing. (C. F. Peters) Comprehensive Trumpet Studies. (Vacch Press) Etudes for Trumpet (Orchestra Etudes and Last Etudes). By Vassily Brandt, ed. William Vacchiano. (Universal) Graduate Studies for Trumpet, as Taught at The Juilliard School. (Tromba Publications) Improvisations Based on Nursery Rhythms and The Marine’s Hymn for Trumpet or Cornet. (Manduca Music) Melodic Studies for B-flat Trumpet (Wiltshire Music) Miniature Variations on “The Carnival of Venice” for Piccolo or E-flat Trumpet. (C. F. Peters) Miniature Variations on “The Carnival of Venice” for Solo Trumpet. (C. F. Peters) Moving Transposition. (C. F. Peters) Necessary Technique for B-flat Trumpet. (Manduca Music) Orchestral Rhythms for B-flat Trumpet. (Balquhidder Music) Trumpet Routines. (Charles Colin) Suppli-Bilities, Advanced Technical Drills for Suppleness and Agility. (Vacch Press) Studies in Waltz Tempo. (Vacch Press) A Study of Intervals for Trumpet. (Manduca Music) Bach, Johann Sebastian, Concerto in A Minor (BWV 1056). Arr. William Vacchiano. (Charles Colin) _____. Concerto in C Major (BWV 1053). Arr. William Vacchiano. (Charles Colin) _____. Concerto in C Major (BWV 1054). Arr. William Vacchiano. (Charles Colin) _____. Concerto in D Minor (BWV 1052). Arr. William Vacchiano. (Charles Colin) _____. Concerto in E Minor (BWV 1058). Arr. William Vacchiano. (Charles Colin) _____. Concerto in F Major (BWV 1055). Arr. William Vacchiano. (Charles Colin)
As a tribute to Vacchiano’s teaching legacy and his dedication to his students, The Juilliard School established the William Vacchiano Award in Trumpet in 1991. This award grants scholarships to talented young trumpet players studying at Juilliard. Contributions can be sent to Ms. Tori Brand, Manager of Scholarship Development, The Juilliard School, 60 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY USA 10023, or call (212) 799-5000, ext. 692.