I have had a few readers ask what they need to practice to be a better player. Without hearing or visiting with these people, it would be impossible to suggesting what might work best for them. The best I can do is to share a typical hour practice session which I go through each day.
I will be the first to say that what I do “might” improve your playing and with that said, let me explain how and what I run through each day. I am a strong believer that practicing the same material every day becomes boring and for that reason I have three routines I alternated with when boredom begins to set in. The material below is one of three routines I use.
Practice routine #1.
The use of a chromatic exercise to warm up on is very important in my practice and if you do not use a regular warm-up, this might be of help to you. The reason I use a chromatic warm-up is because moving upward by half steps is the best way to reach high notes. The use of a chromatic scale gives the embouchure only slightly more work load at a time. Making wide skips such as octaves or fifths force the embouchure to make sudden and exaggerated adjustments which I feel are not productive in a warm-up exercise.
After the embouchure muscles have been gradually warmed-up, adding lip flexibility exercises gradually increase the work load on your embouchure. Improving lip flexibility is vitally important for a complete embouchure development and for that reason I strongly recommend some flexibility exercises in your practice routine. As you increase strength in your embouchure it is important to maintain good flexibility for strength without flexibility is not helpful in the improving of your playing.
The ability to move your fingers quickly and be able to perform in all fingering combinations is also important and for that reason I have included at least one finger exercise from the Clarke Technical Studies book each day. If you don’t have this book, be sure to pick one up for it is the best finger exercise material available.
The best way to improve in a melodic and musical fashion is to regularly practice melodic etudes. More often than not, students think that the best way to practice is to keep the mouthpiece on the lip and play until there is nothing left. To guard against this in my own playing, I practice a “rest as much as you play” routine. I use this system in all of my practicing and it has been proven to be the most productive routine of practicing for at the end of your practice session, you lip should feel “used” and never “abused”.
In the following posts I will be offering practice material in the form of downloadable PDF files as well as an accompanying MP3 recording which you can download to your desktop and use in your own practice sessions.
Some may find this material too advanced for their current level of playing and to those players I suggest that you use these recordings as examples of how you could set up your own practice material. And for those who find the material less than challenging, I suggest that you record yourself in the same manner on more advanced material.
If you do not have access to a recording device or software for your recordings, read my post which will help you in that area…………… Using Technology To Improve Your Trumpet Playing- Using An Audio Recorder
In my next post I will cover the warm-up section of my practice routine and I will also include printed exercises as well as an accompanying recording which will get you started.
When practicing this material you will begin to understand the reason I have recorded my own practice exercises. Once you begin the recording, you tend to continue through to the end. You will also realize that practicing with a recording seems to make the time pass much faster. This “Play/Rest” routine is gaining popularity and I wonder what took the trumpet world so long to get on to the concept. I have used this routine most of my playing career and to explain that more fully, check out my post at …………… Rest As Much As You Play.
Welcome aboard and to those who asked for help on how and what to practice, I hope this gives you some helpful ideas as to how you can adapt this to your own practice routine.