Comeback Practice Regimen

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by hohum, May 9, 2011.

  1. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

    May 7, 2011
    Earl D. Irons 27 Exercises
    Irons, Earl D. -- 27 Groups of Exercises for Trumpet at Thompson Music

    James Stamp Warmup + Studies
    Tulsa Band Instruments, Inc. :: Music :: Method Books :: Trumpet :: James Stamp Warm-ups and Studies for Trumpet

    I used to attend the college where Earl Irons was the director (UTA in Arlington Tx) and actually played his cornet which is in the library archives collection with all his papers. In Texas the Irons book was standard issue! Maybe not so much anymore??? I still have mine!
  2. craigph

    craigph Piano User

    Mar 12, 2010

    Play regularly. Every day, or a couple times a day (shorter periods perhaps)
    I spent part of my time playing scales and exercises from method books I had used in the past. But more than half of my time (or all of it if I only had a short time) I would play tunes. I think playing real music is far more important for re-learning how to make a satisfactory tone, dynamics, tonguing etc.
  3. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

    May 7, 2011
    I agree with Greg about practicing for shorter, but frequent intervals... this was one of Jake's (Don Jacoby) basic concepts. I do 15 minute sessions and 20-30 minute sessions depending on what I am working on and how I feel. I probably do 8-12 sessions a day on average, then any rehearsals or performances. At least once a week I have a very light day of about 3-4 sessions, and mostly all below middle C

    I work out of my house and am self employed so it is easy for me to structure my life like this... I am lucky.

    I do disagree somewhat, but not completely, with Greg about spending so much time on tunes. Here is why...

    Tunes are great, and you should spend SOME time on them (etudes, concertos, solos, realbook, etc) BUT... as a "comeback player" the most important thing you need to do it to build a foundation of strength and endurance as well as re-learning all your technical fundamentals.

    All those tunes are made up of technical things such as intervals, scale patterns, tonguing, lip slurs.... when I play a tune and struggle with a passage I break it down and figure out WHY I am struggling... is it the interval, the fingers, the slur?? Then I go to that fundamental in Arban or Clarke and drill it.

    Playing tunes is easier if your fundamentals are down cold... I'd spend 75% or more of my time on building my foundation.

    Even so, everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses...and also their goals. There is no right or wrong... just play! If you do it enough you will get better no matter what you practice.
  4. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    I always have attacked practice from the technical stand point as well but I think I have under estimated the value of just playing tunes ... some pretty knowledgable players here really recommended playing songs and hymns. I think I never put much weight into tunes because anything I played in school could be just about be sight read...
  5. BrotherBACH

    BrotherBACH Piano User

    Oct 5, 2010
    OK. I am speaking as a comeback player. I would highly recommend Rubank Elementary Method. Each lesson is perfectly self-contained working on all the necessary components. It works from long tones, lip slurs, rhythms, arpegios and scales AND is progresses step-by-step. I loved it. If you are beyond that. The next level up would be H.L. Clarke's Elementary Studies. Again, each lesson is self-contained of what you are supposed to do and it progresses naturally. The next step up, depending where you are at would Claude Gordon's Physical Approach to Elementary Brass Playing. Purchase all three your and let commen sense and/or teacher (preferably) tell you where you are at.

    Best Wishes,


    PS. I have spent just about two years working only on the physical/technical aspect playing. I have just started playing some music and all the foundation I have been laying is REALLY paying off. My teacher has it is more than time to start building a repitoire.

    PPS. Impatience is your worse enemy; it will make you develop bad habits in a rush to achieve your goals.

    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
  6. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    +1. That's really good advice. I had forgotten those books. They're great!
  7. Higgiq

    Higgiq New Friend

    Oct 12, 2009
    When I started playing again I was using the Rubank Advanced Method (I had that book). It worked really well for me for the same reasons listed for the Elementary Method. A friend suggested Charles Colins Advanced Lip Flexibilities and I feel that has been significant in getting back into shape. Those and trying to do some playing every day! (or at least not miss more than a couple)
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    All of my students start by getting "in the mood". First come long tones on the mouthpiece then horn, after that, lipslurs, then scales - single, double and triple tongued. That is followed by tunes - music - the reason that we are playing. After the tunes come technical studies. The time is divided up 1/3 preparation, 1/3 tunes, 1/3 technical studies.Anything over 2 hours is dedicated to tunes.
  9. jim trpt1

    jim trpt1 Pianissimo User

    Aug 7, 2010
    greensboro nc
    I have been coming back for a year now, after a long 7 yr layoff. Getting one's face muscles back in shape takes a whole lot longer than building body muscle. I do body building and I find that way easier than getting My chops back. I was a pretty decent player before the layoff. I am improving but, there is no magic bullet for this, just patience and practice. god, this is taking forever
  10. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    I have one exercise which is my absolute favorite... and I think you can appreciate it being a body builder. It's page 125 of the Arban's. I do the exercise a little different.
    I play it slow ... each 1/8th note at about 60 bpm. I attack each and every note .. and I mean attack it so I get a sizzle and I also play it staccatto a dotted 1/16 note. I play it as slow as I have to to nail each note and that means the lower notes need to sizzle too. I use quite a bit of tongue in this one. I rest in between each one.
    If you are doing it right you will feel winded and probably won't get through the entire exercise. You have to use both tongue and air support. You don't blast the notes either just play around mf.
    If you do this for a few weeks I think you will find a substantial improvement in your tone, tonguing and endurance. When you can nail it consistently then speed it up a little each week.

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