Practicing In Front of a Computer Screen

Practice on screenMore trumpet players are beginning to read their music off computer screens and this new trend has advantages as well as disadvantages as we will address.

More players are beginning to take advantage of on line lessons through Skype as well as other programs and many times their material is sent to them as PDF files. Some may choose to download and print this material so that they are able to practice in the conventional manner, using their music stand to display their material. Some, on the other hand have begun to read their material off the computer screen, thereby avoiding costly paper and ink issues. Although this seems to be an economical advantage, it does bring up unanticipated consequences and I will list those in the material below.

Advantages of on screen practicing;

1. You can enlarge your notes- As a member of the advanced years club, this is a big advantage for even the smallest 1/64th note can be read more easily.

2. Page turns are as easy as pushing PgUp or PgDn on the keyboard.

3. Material in a Midi (as in Finale file) form can be regulated to any speed you need to practice.

4. Midi file exercises can be adjusted to any octave you want to play.

5. Seldom will you have to search filing cabinets to find your material for everything can be stored on your hard drive.

6. On line reading costs nothing to print.

Disadvantages of on screen practicing;

1. Due to the closeness of the monitor to your bell, you will have a tendency to back off on your volume.

2. Your tone quality will tend to be much brighter as your sound is reflected back from the monitor.

3. Most computer desk chairs are too comfortable for a good playing posture.

4. Extended periods in front of a computer monitor tend to limit your eyes focusing flexibility.

5. Extended periods in front of a computer screen will increase bad habits in physical movement.

Here are some possible ideas which may help those practicing in front of a monitor-

• Take frequent breaks to walk around the room which will help with stiff backs as well as forcing you to focus on short as well as distant objects.

• Adjust material size as well as the distance from the screen.

• Change chairs from a computer desk chair to a folding chair from time to time.

To help improve disadvantages #1 & #2, try this alternative-

The Official “In front of the Monitor” practice mute.
Over bell

The amount of filler you decide to use in this bag will determine the amount of volume and tone quality change.
Off bell

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.

4 thoughts on “Practicing In Front of a Computer Screen

  1. Al Gotlieb

    What about the Mike Vax trumpet/flugel case?

    It’s the best one for the money, check it out. It’s made by ProTec.

    • Bruce Chidester


      That one slipped through the cracks.

      Thanks for pointing that out.

      Great case, great price.

  2. Robert Winter

    That’s why we produce a range of trumpet practice Apps from Adavanced to Jazz for schools and beginners..

    • Bruce Chidester

      Great ideas and everyone should check them out.

      Thanks for visiting.

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