Chris Cigolea | Creator of The Staccator
The majority of Chris Cigolea’s professional experience has revolved around education, performance and conducting. A resident of the wonderful city of Guelph, Canada, he is the Artistic Director and Conductor of Guelph Youth Symphony Orchestra, Principal Trumpet for the Guelph Symphony Orchestra, Trumpet instructor at the University of Guelph and Music Director at SJK High School. He has a bachelor degree in music performance from the Bucharest National University of Music and a Master of Music degree from the University of Toronto where he is also completing his last year of Doctorate in Music Performance.
Chris was employed as a trumpet performer with Radio and Television Orchestra of Bucharest, The Representative Music of the Army, Brasov Symphony Orchestra and he served as a Teacher Assistant and Brass Chamber Music instructor at the University of Toronto assisting the Canadian Brass. He has taught as a private studio instructor for the past fifteen years and most of his students have been placed highly in honor bands, solo competitions, and scholarship auditions. His teaching is based on a wealth of information gathered from various artists and professors as James Thompson, Arturo Sandoval, Sergiu Celibidache and many others. Chris also served as a Trumpet Recording artist for numerous recordings and broadcasting events, festival adjudicator, guest soloist and conductor with numerous orchestras and wind ensembles in Europe and North America .
“When creating the Staccator I was very inspired of the idea of having a tool that would help practicing and mastering different playing techniques without an instrument. Playing an instrument is a very physical activity. Same as in sports, we have to understand that we can exercise the different muscles that we use for playing the instrument not only by practicing the instrument but also using different tools and techniques that would help improve our playing. The Staccator helps with exercising the tongue muscles that are crucial in playing every wind and brass instrument. The tongue controls the attack of the note, the speed of air through the mouthpiece, the tone quality of the instrument, the intonation and also the endurance. By using the Staccator regularly you will see a great transformation in your attack and the sound production while playing the instrument. It also helps with increasing the speed of your double and triple tonguing techniques that will allow you to play more challenging repertoire.”
The Staccator is being used and experimented by numerous wind and brass teachers and performers across North America for the last four years and it was made public at the 2013 ITG Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where it had an incredible success.
Click here to see a video about The Staccator presented by Chase Sanborn and Chris Cigolea!
In order to play in a staccato style, brass and woodwind players have to be able to play fast and clear notes that are not only initiated by the finger technique of the player, but that are also initiated by the tonguing technique of the player. In this respect, in order to play fast and clear notes initiated by the tonguing technique, a player must be able to blow the air out of his mouth using the tongue. To blow the air accurately, the player needs to strengthen his/her tongue muscle and learn to control his/her tongue so as to blow the air with different speeds and at different frequencies.
Presently, brass and wind players have to practice the staccato technique using their musical instruments. In this respect, particular tongue exercises have been designed specifically for bras and wood wind instrumentalists for practicing this technique.
However, practicing the staccato technique using a brass or a woodwind instrument is difficult as the instrument’s mouthpiece exerts pressure on the lips of the player, and this pressure causes the player to flex multiple mouth muscles, which are unnecessary for practicing the tonguing technique used for staccato style of playing. Consequently, when these multiple mouth muscles are flexed, the player has a difficulty perfecting his/her staccato technique.
The Staccator works by concentrating solely on isolating the tongue muscle, in order to build its strength and so the player may learn to control their tongue muscle better.