Are you looking for a good book that covers piccolo foundations? I can’t recommend The Mazzanti Method enough!
I got this book a few years ago, and I’ve used a lot of the exercises to improve my playing overall. Read on to learn if this book has the kind of exercises you’re looking for.
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What Is The Mazzanti Method?
The Mazzanti Method is a piccolo method book by Nicola Mazzanti full of exercises for your daily practice routine. I love how the book features spiral binding, so it’s easy to make it stay open as you read through the exercises.
It features three main parts: sound; scales and arpeggios; and melodies, opera, and lieder. The section on sound has exercises for three checkpoints, including support, the larynx, and the embouchure.
You can work on tone and intonation within this section, and there are some famous melodies to help as well. Mazzanti included some exercises for all octaves of the piccolo.
The section on scales and arpeggios includes chromatic, major, and minor scales. It also has three- and four-note arpeggios and broken arpeggios.
Finally, the section with melodies features works by J.S. Bach, Mozart, Puccini, Verdi, and more. The book has a lot of great materials that you can use when practicing on your own or in piccolo lessons.
- Comprehensive method book
- Spiral binding for easy page turns
- Exercises in various keys
- Covers a lot of ground
- Not for absolute beginners
- Somewhat expensive
Why Use The Mazzanti Method
The Mazzanti Method is an excellent book for any piccolo player to have in their library. But if you have yet to purchase it, you may wonder if it’s worth it.
If the book is already in your library, you might wonder if it’s worth using this book over other piccolo books. Here are a few of the best reasons why you should use this piccolo method.
By a Piccolo Specialist
Since Mazzanti is a piccolo player rather than a flutist who plays the piccolo, he’s an expert. A lot of piccolo books are by piccolo specialists, and that’s great.
If you want to give yourself the best chance of learning to play the piccolo well, you need to learn from a specialist. But we can’t all take lessons from professionals.
Using a method book that a piccolo specialist created or helped create is the next best thing. Then, you can use real exercises that have been tested on the instrument.
Covers the Fundamentals
This book isn’t for people who are totally new to the flute and piccolo world. But if you’re just starting to learn the piccolo and have flute experience or need to brush up on the fundamentals, I’d recommend this book.
A huge portion of the pages are dedicated to tone and technique exercises. When there are melodies from real pieces of music, they’re suitable to the goal of the section of the book.
You can use the book as a relatively new piccolo player but also as you advance. There’s always something new to learn, and you can revisit some of your favorite exercises from the book.
Another thing I like about the Mazzanti book is that it features different sections. I especially love the section with scales and arpeggios because they’re written for the piccolo.
If you usually use a flute scale book, you have to adapt. Unless your piccolo has a low C, you have to leave low C and low C# out or play them up and octave, and you may have to leave out notes in the fourth octave.
However, since this method was written for the piccolo, there are no issues like that. So you can play your piccolo as you normally would and produce all of the notes in the exercises.
Other Piccolo Books
Before you grab a copy of The Mazzanti Method, consider if it’s the best book for your current practice session. As a piccolo nerd, I have tons of books in my library.
Every book is a bit different, so I’ll rotate through them as necessary. Whether you get this book or not, consider a few other fantastic piccolo music books to add to your collection.
Rubank Elementary Method
If you’ve never played the piccolo before, I’d recommend using the Rubank Elementary Method. The book doesn’t include any low Cs or C#s, so you can read it on the piccolo or flute.
This is an especially good option if you first learned the flute using this book. You probably still have your copy, and you can start working on the beginner exercises.
Of course, you know music theory now, so you can probably go through some of the lessons more quickly. But it’s a good resource to brush up on your skills and bring your piccolo playing to an intermediate level.
Also, the newer edition of the Rubank Intermediate Method works on the piccolo as well. So if you have that book or want to move past the beginner level, it’s a good choice.
The Piccolo Study Book
If you’re looking for more of an etude book, I’d suggest using The Piccolo Study Book by Patricia Morris. She’s also a piccolo player, like Mazzanti, and she includes a couple of short basic exercises.
However, most of the book is of one- or two-page etudes. A lot of the etudes were originally for the flute or some other instrument, so they’ve been adapted to meet the piccolo’s range.
The book is broken up into sections, so you can decide on the etude to play based on what you want to work on. Of course, you can also go in order so that you don’t miss any of them.
Trevor Wye Practice Book for the Piccolo
Another excellent piccolo book to use is Trevor Wye’s Practice Book for the Piccolo. The name is a bit misleading since there are only a few exercises in it.
Most of the book features popular and less popular piccolo orchestral excerpts. They’re all printed nicely, though, so that can make it easier to learn the parts than if you used the authentic piccolo part.
This book is pretty thick, and the newer copies are all spiral-bound, which is great. I’ve used my copy quite a bit, and you can use it to learn orchestral music or to practice more practical exercises.
Orchestral Excerpts for Piccolo
Orchestral Excerpts for Piccolo is by Jack Wellbaum, a former orchestral piccolo player. This book doesn’t have as many excerpts as the Wye book, but it covers a lot of the standards.
It also uses authentic printing, which can help you if you decide to audition for a professional orchestra. You’ll be used to any printing errors, page turns, and other issues.
Wellbaum includes some commentary on the different excerpts as well. Plus, there’s a coordinating piano book with accompaniment for all of the excerpts.
Who Should Buy The Mazzanti Method?
I love The Mazzanti Method, and it’s a great book for many piccolo and flute players. If you’re still unsure if the book is for you, there are a few types of musicians I’d recommend this book to.
Consider if you fall into any of the following categories.
Serious Piccolo Players
If you’ve been playing the piccolo for a while, you may now be getting serious about it. In that case, you need to start building your library of piccolo books and music.
The Mazzanti Method is the best place to start since it covers a lot of ground. It’s almost like the piccolo equivalent of the Trevor Wye Practice Books for the Flute.
You get to work on your tone and technique, and you can apply what you learn to melodies from real songs and pieces. That way, you’ll know how to apply the fundamentals to longer solos and parts you need to learn.
Flute and Piccolo Teachers
Maybe you’re not that serious about the piccolo, but you teach a lot of budding flute players. If you teach enough students, you’re bound to eventually come across at least a few who are more interested in the piccolo.
When that happens, it’s nice to have a good method book in your library. You can show the book to your student, and you can even play through a few of the exercises within the lesson.
Then, you’ll be able to assign more exercises to that student. They can purchase a copy of the book so that they can work on the music at home, and they can add any of their own markings.
If you’re a woodwind doubler, you may eventually need to play the piccolo. While you can sort of treat it like a small flute, there are more differences than you may expect.
Ideally, you’d take a few lessons with a piccolo specialist. But I was a doubler for a while, and I never had enough time or money to take lessons on all of my instruments.
Using a piccolo book by a specialist is an excellent alternative. You can work through the exercises, and you can refer back to this book whenever you have a gig that will involve the piccolo.
Where Can You Buy The Mazzanti Method?
You can buy The Mazzanti Method from a variety of places. I believe I got my copy from Amazon, but it’s also available at most major flute shops.
The Mazzanti Method is one of the best piccolo method books out there. Whether you’re looking to improve your playing or work on your fundamentals, add this book to your library.
Then, you can apply what you learn to your solos or orchestral piccolo parts. Just don’t forget to use earplugs so that you don’t lose your valuable hearing!