How I Practice- Playing Etudes

PracticeI try to allot time each day for playing new material and because of the unlimited amount of etudes available today, we will never need to be without material.

The internet is one source of quality etude material and no one can use the excuse that they can’t afford to purchase study material. An example of this great resource is this- visit 200 fabulous etudes€- AND THEY ARE FREE.

One of my favorite etude books was written by Vincent Cichowicz and is called Trumpet Flow Studies.

“The material is not as important as the habit of reading new material every day€.

Many players approach etude playing in nonproductive manner as they open their book and play continuously until their lip is exhausted. In this way very little is accomplished other than trashing your lip.

I have been a strong supporter of the Rest As Much As You Play
routine and because of that, I have gotten into the productive habit of recording my material in this manner. I have a great many hours of recorded material I can choose from when practicing etudes each day. Playing along with pre-recorded etudes is an easy way to pass the time practicing.

“One thing to remember when setting up your etude playing routine is the proven fact that humans are only capable of concentrating on any one subject for twenty minutes at a time€. Plan your etude practice with this in mind. I remember practicing at North Texas State for four to five hours a day. This may sound like a productive and honorable routine but in fact, more progress could have been made by practicing several half hours segments throughout the day.

Practicing new etudes will help you to improve the following-

1. Sight reading
2. All areas of your playing technique
3. Concentration
4. Endurance
5. Musicality
6. Flexibility
7. Musicianship
8. Breathing
9. Range
10. Attitude toward playing.

Too often we forget the true reason we practice our instrument. We are not put on this planet to show everyone how fast we can play Exercise #31 on page 8 of the Clarke Technical Studies book. We are all given the gift to play MUSIC.

Etudes give us the material to put our technical abilities into practice€.

For those who do not have etude material to start with, I have recorded the scale exercises from the Arban which you can use as a substitute until you acquire more melodic etudes. These exercises begin on page 59 and you need to “alternate lines with the recording”.

Bruce was a member of the faculty at the University of Northern Iowa, School of Music in Cedar Falls from 1969 until his retirement in 1999. He has performed with many well-known entertainers such as Bob Hope, Jim Nabors, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Anita Bryant, Carman Cavalara, Victor Borgie, the Four Freshman, Blackstone the Magician, Bobby Vinton and John Davidson.