Adam Routine.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by dbacon, Feb 1, 2004.

  1. dbacon

    dbacon Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Scottsdale, AZ.
    The Adam Routine
    Well, here it is: Bill Adam's daily maintenance routine (or at least my version of it). Use caution and common sense in adding these exercises to your pracice routine. If you really want to understand the routine and Adam's approach to the trumpet, you really should study with Bill Adam or one of his students. Adam's approach is very individualized and can't be adequately described in such a public forum. Again, to get an understanding of the routine, get together with Adam or his students and learn first hand.


    First, there is no such thing as a single routine that Bill Adam merely hands out to his students. These exercises are assigned and modified as necessary to aid in the development of the individual student. My routine combines exercises assigned by Bill Adam and from my previous teachers (Richard Winslow and Dan Keberle, both Adam students).

    Most Adam students have made their own subtle variations on the routine so that it works best for them. If you are truly interested in the Adam approach to trumpet playing, you really should take some lessons from either Bill Adam or one of his many students teaching across the country. Remember what Bill Adam used to tell me: "If this exercise works, then fine. If it doesn't, DO SOMETHING ELSE." As with all exercises, use common sense while practicing.


    In Bill Adam's article about trumpet pedagogy, Bill Adam states "I know there has to be a certain amount of mouthpiece buzzing to warm up the resilience that we have to have here. But if we can set the mouthpiece and tube in vibration, the embouchure is much more relaxed. What we're trying to do is to get the air through that horn with the least amount of tension and the least amount of muscle."

    To buzz the leadpipe, remove the tuning slide. On a Bb trumpet, the mouthpiece/leadpipe should resonate at approximately an F (Eb concert) at the bottom space on the staff. Cornets and higher keyed trumpets will resonate at different pitches as the pitch is determined by the length of the tube. Hear the pitch in your mind (can you sing the pitch?), take a full, relaxed breath, place the mouthpiece to your lips and blow. Think about accelerating the air through the leadpipe and of letting the air blow the embouchure into place. The sound should be a resonant, reedy buzz. Focus on creating a resonant buzz, not an airy sound. I typically will buzz the leadpipe about a dozen times, or until I feel my embouchure responding to the breath in a relaxed manner.


    These are sustained tones starting on 2nd line G and expanding higher and lower. Hold each pitch as long as comfortable at a volume of mf to f. Hear the sound you desire in your mind before you play. Take a full relaxed breath and blow, accelerating the air through the horn. Keep your mind focused on the sound you desire and let your body adapt as it attempts to achieve your goal. Rest after each tone. The tones follow the pattern: G, F#, G#, F, A, E, Bb, Eb, etc. The exercise ends on high G and low F#. For advanced players, start on 3rd place C and expand chromatically in the same manner. This pattern will end on low F# and high F#.


    CHROMATICS (Clarke's Technical Studies, First Study)
    Start with exercise 13 and expand into the higher and lower registers. The pattern is 13, 12, 14, 11, 15, 10, etc. Play the exercises at mf to f and repeat as many times as comfortable. REST after each exercise. Don't extend any of these exercises to the point where you are running out of air and tension creeps into your chest. If you are a developing trumpet player, do not play so high that you have to strain for the notes. Always play with the most beautiful, full tone possible. To again quote Bill Adam, "Any time we play Herbert L. Clarke exercises, it's a good idea to think of the acceleration of the air. Play the first note with a fermata, accelerate the air through the trumpet, and when you start to use the valves, continue to accelerate the air so the tone stays free. Go slow enough so the notes themselves are being blown and so that there is no muscle restriction that will diminish the sound: keep the sound good and full!"


    Crescendo into the 2nd note, continue to accelerate the air as you articulate the 3rd note and diminuendo into the 4th note. Rest. Repeat one half step lower. Rest. continue down to low G-F#-F #-G. Use regular fingerings throughout.

    Use the first half of each exercise (G-C-C, C-E-E, E-G-G, G-C-C) going through all seven valve combinations. Let the acceleration of the air take care of the vibration of the lips. Think of accelerating the air to the point where the next pitch falls free. All notes should feel like they are on the same level.

    All exercises should be extended down to the 1st harmonic (low C, B, Bb etc.) as is done in the first exercise. On the exercises starting on higher harmonics, continue slurring down to the 1st harmonic. If the high G is comfortable, try the study 8va (starting on high C) and slurring down to the first harmonic. Remember to REST AT LEAST AS MUCH AS YOU PLAY!!!

    Play at comfortable mf-f. If the high G does not pose any problems, continue, 8va.

    Play at comfortable mf-f. Start each exercise on the 1st harmonic, slurring through successively higher harmonics. This exercise is written out in Mark VanCleave's first text, available through Charles Colin publications. Remember To REST, REST, REST!!!

    Single tongue as written. Then repeat as 8th notes (EE, CC, GG, etc.), triplets (EEE, CCC,GGG, etc.), and 16th notes (EEEE, CCCC, GGGG, etc.). Remember to take a full, relaxed breath and think of accelerating the air through the horn.

    I sometimes supplement my routine with Schlossbergs 23, 25, 27, 95, 97,99 and 100.


    This is a range extension exercise. It starts simply and expands into the high and low registers. Only go as far as comfortable. Never strain for high notes. Remember to think of accelerating the air through the horn as you play. REST AT LEAST AS MUCH AS YOU PLAY!!!

    Play a G Major scale starting on 2nd line G and ascending to 4th space E and back to G. Slur the entire scale.
    Play a one octave F# Major Scale from F# to F# and back.
    Play an F Major Scale from F to high G and back.
    Play an E Major Scale from E to high G# and back.
    Play an Eb Ma jor Scale from Eb to high Bb and back.
    Play a D Major Scale from D to High C (yes, C natural) and back.
    Play a 2 octave Db Major Scale up and back.
    Play a C Major Scale from low C to high D and back.
    Play a B Major Scale from low B to high D# and back.
    Play a Bb Major Scale from low Bb to high Eb and back.
    Play an A Major Scale from low A to high E and back.
    Play an Ab Major Scale from low Ab to high F and back.
    Play a G Major Scale from low G to high F# and back.
    Play a three octave F# Major Scale up and back.


    Arban Complete Conservatory Method, First Studies. Pages 13-16. Exercises 11 through 27.
    Sing, slur then tongue each exercise. Sing each exercise to prove you truly hear the melody. Pay close attention to intonation. Really nail each pitch.

    Whether you slur or tongue, the air moves the same. Slur the exercise to develop your sense of follow-through of the air stream. Finally tongue the exercise, blowing as you did when slurring.


    Sing and then play each exercise. When you have worked through the entire book, start over, but this time do it in C transposition. Each time you finish the book, start over on a higher transposition. Remember to sing then play each exercise. Really hear the pitches!! Think sound, not names on notes, transposition intervals, keys, or fingerings.

    Mr. Adam had me sing EVERYTHING I played for him. I still follow this procedure as an ongoing challenge to improve my ability to truly hear the music in my mind before, or as I play it . Ultimately, one should be able to look at any piece of music and hear it in one's mind at sight.


    Well, that's the basic routine. It will typically take about 2 hours to play. Remember to rest and take frequent breaks so that you are mentally and physically rested each time you pick up the horn.

    All the best,

    Mark Minasian
  2. bigaggietrumpet

    bigaggietrumpet Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 23, 2004
    Nazareth, PA
    Thanks a lot for posting this. I'm sure a lot of us can use at least some portion of the method described.
  3. Nonsense Eliminator

    Nonsense Eliminator New Friend

    Nov 2, 2003
    It bears repeating that there is no single definitive version of the Routine, because Mr. Adam would tailor it for the individual student. Also, it would seem that over the years he has favoured different kinds of exercises, and that he does not necessarily introduce all of the exercises right at the beginning.

    Just for contrast, I'll explain what Mr. Adam had me do. I studied with him on the side while I was at IU; I've probably had about fifteen lessons over the past five years, so I wouldn't consider this in any way definitive. However, it might be a better example of how he is introducing students to the routine these days, as it corresponds closely with what he has been doing with other new students in that time frame.

    1.) Leadpipe. Approximately as above.

    2.) Long tones. As above, except he has always had me start on G in the staff. Whether this is because of a change in opinion or because he doesn't feel I'm ready for the higher version I do not know. (In either case, this strongly suggests that "casual" users of the routine might seriously consider sticking to starting on G.)

    3.) Clarke. As above. To save going to the book, these start on first space F# and expand chromatically from there (F#, F, G, E, G#, etc.)

    4a.) Chromatic scales. Starting on first space F#, play a chromatic scale up one octave, down two octaves, then back up to the starting note. The same instructions apply as for Clarkes. The top note can be sustained somewhat. Move up chromatically as high as can be comfortably done with good habits.

    * OR *

    4b.) Another version of chromatic scales. Mr. Adam has never done them like this with me, but this is how they appear in John Rommel's printed version of the routine that his students use. Play a two octave chromatic scale (up and down) starting on low C. Expand chromatically (C, B, C#, A#, D, etc.) as far as can be comfortably done with good habits. Some people will sustain each occurence of the starting note.

    5.) Schlossberg #6. In my first few lessons, Mr. Adam would often have me do this immediately after the long tones. Another thing he will sometimes do is have me play it with my eyes closed while he works the valves, to demonstrate a completely uninterrupted flow.

    The remainder of the Schlossberg exercises I have never done with Mr. Adam, although they do appear in Mr. Rommel's book and I have done some of them with him. Again, I don't know the reasoning for this but it does suggest that either he no longer uses them, or reserves them for more advanced students. (I am certainly an "advanced" player, but compared to those who studied with him weekly for four years or more, I am something of a neophyte.) This is also true of the expanding scales.

    6.) Harry Glantz studies. This will be completely meaningless unless you have the book. I have created a Finale version of these exercises, and would be willing to upload it or email it if there is interest. Studies #1-3, 18-26. Once they are mastered in the original key (G), they can be played in higher keys. For those who don't have the book, these are scale and arpeggio studies that are mostly tongued, and mostly start on middle G and expand outwards.

    7.) William Thiecke studies. This book is published by Charles Colin as "The Art of Trumpet Playing". I also have a Finale version of these. They are mostly flexibility studies. Studies #1-3, 7, 9, 11-13, 16 (later), 34.

    8.) Ernest S. Williams studies. I don't even have this book, but the exercise is fairly simple. Here it is in solfege. D = eighth note; D. = quarter note; D... = half note; D....... = whole notes; | = bar line. The exercise is in cut time. All notes are in the same octave, with the lowest note Ti and the highest note La. Measures 7-8 are a repeat of measures 3-4.


    Start in G major and expand outwards from there, as in long tones. These shouldn't be overdone. Mr. Adam always says to stop when you feel burn in the muscles.

    That is basically what Mr. Adam has had me do regularly. I do at least up to and including the chromatic scales every day, and do the whole thing when I have the time, sometimes including some non-Adam exercises. At IU, it was very common for people to play Routine in pairs, which forces you to rest as much as you play. (Both people would play all exercises.) Hope this helps!
  4. dbacon

    dbacon Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Scottsdale, AZ.
    Thank you, NE, this is a valuable addition to the Adam information!

    Much appreciated.
  5. Anonymous

    Anonymous Forte User

    Oct 21, 2003
    Thank you NE for that post. I'm not sure how we could get that finale file up on the site but if anyone has suggestions I would love to put it up!
  6. bugler16

    bugler16 Pianissimo User

    Dec 14, 2003
    I also use an Adam routine.

    1)blow pipe
    2)long tones start on G in the staff and expend chromaticaly. When I reach C I play a long tone and then play the major scale from that pitch up an octave and hold the top note in the manner of a long tone. I leave the low ones as is (a simple long tone)
    3)Clarke one I also expand these starting on A (Play as written then up an octave chromatically to High A down 2 octaves chromatically to low A and back up an octave chromatically to the starting pitch).
    4)Schlossberg #6
    5)Glantz Progressive studies #1 and #2 in G,Ab,A,Bb,B,C
    6)Schlossberg #31
    7)Scholssberg #13
    8)Thiecke exercises as mentioned above
    9)Ernest Williams tonguing.
    10) sometimes I do expanding scales here but I usually leave them until later in the day.
  7. pjtpt

    pjtpt New Friend

    Jan 17, 2004
    I know some people add additional pitches with the leadpipe:
    -Concert F on top of the staff (G on top of staff)
    -Concert C above that (High D)
    -Concert F above that (High G)
    -Concert Bb above that (not me!)

    Along with starting long tones on C, start Clarke #1 on B in staff to stretch it out even more. (Although I can't imagine doing them starting on high F!)

    I've also heard of folks adding a whole tone study after the Clarke #1 (one octave same number of notes as Clarke #1).
  8. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    A suggestion on Finale....if you can save to a midi file with Finale, those with Finale, PrintMusic, Noteworthy Composer, or (I'm sure) a slew of other programs can "read it in" and then print it out.
  9. Nonsense Eliminator

    Nonsense Eliminator New Friend

    Nov 2, 2003
    Regarding the leadpipe...

    Mr. Adam has a leadpipe with another cut-down leadpipe soldered onto it. The short leadpipe is cut to length so that the fundamental is one octave higher that the E flat on the regular leadpipe. I have one of these, too. (It seems to me that somebody was selling something like this in ITG journals, but your repairman can probably make one out of parts for much less.) The only notes Mr. Adam has ever had me play are the fundamentals of the respective pipes, although I do know some people who do other things.
  10. bugler16

    bugler16 Pianissimo User

    Dec 14, 2003
    I play more pitches on the pipe. I start on Concert Eb (the fundamental) and stay there until everything falls into place. I then proceed to Concert F,C,F. I slur from the fundamental up to these pitches and "pick out" each pitch. I have heard a Concert Bb above that played but not me.

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