The Perfect Lesson Plan #2- Junior High School level player

At this point in your advancement as a trumpet player you should now be able to play with a good tone, know all of the fingerings used on your instrument and have a decent range (a solid A to the C just above the staff) and a reasonable amount of endurance. At this point in your advancement, you will be performing regularly in a large ensemble (usually a concert/marching band) and will be starting to think about performing solos as well as small ensemble music. Within this post I will try to cover some of the more advanced expectations you will be facing and some suggestions as to the material and the implementation of that material in your regular practice sessions.

How much should I be practicing each week?

By now you should feel comfortable practicing an hour a day and again I suggest that you practice six days a week and rest one for the same reason I suggested it for a beginner in our earlier post.

What should I be practicing?

At the Junior High level, you should include the following areas to cover in your practice period-

Warm-up material
Lip flexibility exercises
Scale exercises
Range exercises
Melodic material
Finger exercises
Endurance material
Contest material

Each of these areas should be included in your hour of practicing. I will give some brief ideas as to what and how each of these categories should be implemented.

Warm-up (5 minutes)

Beginning to get your lips working is very important and should take at least five to ten minutes at the beginning of your practice session. Some players find benefit playing long tones, many players feel that slow lip flexibility exercises work the best for them and still others favor pedal tones. Whichever your choice, make sure that you start softly and with short exercises. Be sure to continue the “Rest As Much As You Play” method for this will assure you that your lips will continue to feel good at all times.

Lip Flexability Exercises (5 minutes)

The best book I have ever used for better lip flexibility is this one……. 27 Groups of Exercises by Earl Irons

Be sure to follow the suggested instructions offered in the book. Doing a couple of these exercises each day will help gain better tone as well as lip flexibility. Usually five minutes on these exercises would be enough in each of your practice sessions.

Scale exercises (5 minutes)

The very best book for studying scales would be the Arban Complete Conservatory Method for Trumpet

Every major scale is covered completely with many variations for each key.

Range exercises (5 minutes)

My favorite method would be without question..
Systematic Approach to Daily Practice – Trumpet

Follow the included instructions and be sure to read the opening statements for they are also important to your advancement.

Melodic material (10 minutes)

Included within the pages of the Arban method are many short melodies which will be helpful to develop tone, phrasing, intonation as well as the general control of your instrument.

Finger exercises (5 minutes)

Your development in finger coordination is vitally important for clean and effortless playing. There is no better method on the market than the Clarke Technical Studies

Endurance material (5 minutes)

Again, the Characteristic Studies at the end of the Arban method will be very helpful to increase your endurance. Remember to implement the “Rest as Much As You Play” routine otherwise you will actually decrease your endurance as you practice.

Contest material (10 minutes)

More progress will be made if you isolate one section (8-10 measures) and spend all of your time on that during this period of your practice than to try learning the complete material. Start with the most difficult section (usually it is the darkest area because of the faster note runs). Try to master short sections one at a time and eventually you will be able to put it all together before contest.
The best advice I can give you for truly learning your contest material would be to memorize it! If you dedicate your time in memorizing, you will be better prepared for your performance.
Spending 50 minutes a day adhering to this routine will make you a better player because, like an all inclusive daily vitamin, it has everything in it that you need to advance.

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.