Daily Routine?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by BaroquePlaya, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. BaroquePlaya

    BaroquePlaya New Friend

    Dec 12, 2005
    Figure I'll get the ball rolling here. What's your daily practice routine/warm-up like? Also, if you'd like to share the equipment you play on I am sure we'd all like to know.
  2. amtrpt

    amtrpt Pianissimo User

    Feb 17, 2008
    Hi Baroque,
    Great question! I'm really glad that you asked it because it was one of the threads that I wanted to start.

    One of the things that I should say right off the top is that I have always believed the best teachers are the ones who give people lots of information and then help them figure out what will work best for them. I don't believe in a my way or the highway approach. I always say this at the start of first lessons because I want people to feel free to learn in their own way and at there own pace. Now that that's out of the way this is what you HAVE to do to have any chance at sounding good! (just kidding)

    Warm up routines are very individual. I always try to think of warming up as two main things. First and most important for me is to get my air moving. I'm always trying to get the air moving in a positive direction while staying as relaxed as possible. The second thing I focus on is getting the blood circulating in the lips. Just like any athlete it's important to stretch and create friction within the muscles. I'll give you some specific examples of how I like to do that.

    I usually think of warming up as setting up my lips for the rest of the day. With that in mind I don't usually do anything that is too stressful. Here is a loose idea of what I do in the moring before a regular day of work with the TSO.

    Breathing and stretching. I actually stretch my chest muscles and neck some before I start. Breathing is just in for eight and out for eight. Mostly I get it from the Stamp book. I do this for about ten minutes.

    Mouth piece buzzing. I find this to be a great way to start because there is less resistance than with the trumpet. I try to buzz specific notes and avoid the temptation to do wide slurring. Sometimes it can be a simple song like My Funny Valentine or Simple Gifts. I do this also for about ten minutes.

    Flexibilities. I really like to Colin lip flexibilities book. I like to do these also for about ten minutes. I try to make sure that I am really releasing the air and not stressing my lips too much.

    The last thing I usually do is some pedal tone work. Again for about ten minutes. You can use any book that you like. I can find some specific books if anyone is interested or better yet anyone with ideas please post them.

    Sorry this is so long. I'm sure that I will get better at making these shorter. In the meantime please stay with me.

    I will follow this up later with a different look at warm up routines in the near future. In the meantime I hope that this is helpful.


    ps. I play a Bach 1 1/4 C Mouthpiece. I have had the same one for about fifteen years. I'll list my other eqiupment in a separate thread.
  3. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    I'll take a quick guess that you play a Yamaha trumpet.

    Glad your here
  4. tatakata

    tatakata Mezzo Forte User

    May 29, 2007
    Andrew, do you fit tonguing in there anywhere. Or as you mentioned are you just trying to get the lips going.

    Im going to try the breathing 8 in 8 out tomorrow morning. along with some stretching.

  5. amtrpt

    amtrpt Pianissimo User

    Feb 17, 2008
    Hi tatakata,
    I will post a link to the kind of pectoral stretching I was takling about just to give a reference point. When you are doing the stretching try doing the breathing at the same time. It will help you keep track of the timing of the stretch and also give you some information for how much the stretching is helping your breathing.

    As far as tounging goes I believe that good tounging is simply an interuption of great air flow. I do put it in my warm up, but it largely depends on what I am playing at any given time. When I do add tounging to my warm up I try to do it later in the warm up so that the air is really moving well.

    I hope that helps a little.

    Here is the stretching link.
    Pectoral Muscle Stretch

  6. tatakata

    tatakata Mezzo Forte User

    May 29, 2007
    thanks for that link!
  7. nplotts1

    nplotts1 Fortissimo User

    Aug 5, 2007
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Breathing Gym also has some good exercises in it. My old high school started using it this year during marching band season, and it really helped to open everyones throats and get the air really moving. I only hope they continued doing these exercises for the concert season as well. I have also noticed that a few of the college professors at the state school back home, and here at Georgia Southern have also started including BG exercises into lessons.

    For buzzing, my instructor started using a book from Sachs (as mentioned by Mark Hughes and Chris Martin in a master class.) It starts with doing a free buzz so that you can develop the tone in your ear and lips before placing your embature on the mpc, and finally on the trumpet. Just a side note, my practice session is about 150% more effective (and in tune) when I start with this.
  8. amtrpt

    amtrpt Pianissimo User

    Feb 17, 2008
    The breathing gym is a great idea. It's not something that I have personally tried, although I keep meaning to do it, but some of my students have and they really like it. Thanks for the reminder!
  9. Trumpeterswain

    Trumpeterswain New Friend

    Jan 22, 2007
    Four members of the Seattle Symphony Brass Section (Chris Olka, Jeff Fair, Ko-Ichiro Yamamoto and David Gordon) recently presented a clinic on "Fundamentals of Brass Playing" and discussed their daily routines and warm-ups (and cool-downs). From the handout, by Chris Olka (tuba) -

    The Fundamentals of Brass Playing

    Before anyone can make a sound on any brass instrument they must first take air into their body so that they may blow a vibrating airstream into the instrument. While it may seem simple enough at first, the act of breathing while playing a brass instrument is the cause of at least 75% of all problems that brass players of all levels encounter. The best policy for any player to keep in mind is to always strive for as natural and relaxed a breath as possible. Adhering to this concept will ensure that the player will always have a sufficient and relaxed supply of air with which to make sound on their horn.

    Forming an embouchure
    Air traveling through the horn does not make sound by itself. It must be vibrating before a pitch is sounded. As every beginner quickly discovers, this is accomplished by buzzing the lips. However, in order for the lips to buzz clearly and efficiently, special care must be taken to form a good embouchure. This relatively easy step is often overlooked by many beginners and advanced amateurs but, if a brass player is ever to become truly proficient on their horn they must address this important aspect of playing. While there are as many different embouchures as there are brass players a generalization can be made. An ideal embouchure is one formed by saying the letter 'M'. This places the lips together with an ever-so-slight amount of tension at the comers of your mouth. Each brass instrument requires a fine tuning of this approach but in general, all players should avoid puffing their cheeks, excess tightness of the lips as in smiling, and bunching of the chin.

    Buzzing of the lips
    Once an embouchure is formed the brass player may easily buzz the lips. Tins buzzing creates a vibrating airstream that the horn may then amplify through the bell of the instrument. There are many complex physical actions that must occur in order for the lips to buzz the pitch desired by the player. However, it is best that all brass players equate the function of the lips with the control they have of their vocal chords. This simply means that in order to get their lips to buzz a desired note they must first hear the note they want to buzz, then take a breath, form an embouchure, and buzz the note. Many of the problems brass players encounter with missed notes and soft entrances are directly related to simply not hearing the note in their head before playing.

    Articulation is often a very misunderstood concept among brass players in general. Articulation, simply put, is the use or not of the tongue to give definition to the beginning of a note. This can involve many different methods but generally utilizes some form of the consonant 'T'. For the higher brass instruments it is usually 'T' followed by the vowel sounds 'eee' or 'aaah'. An example would be 'Teeee' or 'Taaah'. For the lower brass instruments it is usually 'T' followed by the vowel sounds 'aaah' or 'oooh'. Examples would be 'Taaah' or 'Toe'. While it is necessary for brass players to use the tongue to give definition to the beginnings of notes it must be stressed that over-use of the tongue is a major problem amongst most brass players. When the tongue is used it should always be to gently interrupt the airstream and not to stop it. When the tongue completely stops the air it keeps the lips from buzzing thus getting in the way of making sound on the horn.

    The act of playing any brass instrument is not natural. For some it may come easier than others but if the basic concepts outlined above are adhered to it is reasonable to expect that with diligent practice anyone can attain a high level of skill on their chosen horn. The love of the sounds they produce along with a love of music is what made all of us want to become brass players and this should always be kept foremost in our minds when pursuing this most rewarding endeavor.

    Warming up

    While there are many different ways to warm up before playing on a brass instrument a few simple points should be made concerning warm-ups.

    The act of playing any brass instrument involves the use of many different muscles in the body. In the same way that an Olympic track star would not just lace up their shoes and then launch into a dead run expecting to perform at their best, it is just as unreasonable to expect that we as brass players can just pick up our horn and begin playing at our best. Each person is different with regard to how much or little they need to warm up but rest assured that in order to play our best and make our best sound we must give the muscles of the embouchure sufficient time to warm up.

    While it is important to warm up the muscles of the embouchure, it is equally important to make sure that we are giving proper attention to our breathing. Because air is of vital importance to tone production we must always make sure that we focus on good breathing habits at the beginning of each playing session. Remember to stay relaxed and keep the breathing process as natural as possible.

    Finally, making music while playing a brass instrument involves intense concentration. It is therefore of utmost importance to warm-up the mind as well as the body when beginning your playing or practice session. Each person must experiment to find what works for them best, but in general, avoid distractions and stay focused on making a beautiful sound while concentrating on good brass playing basics.
    Schwab likes this.
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    There is some debatable stuff in here for sure!

    A deep relaxed breath is not "normal". There is no human state that has a relaxed BIG breath. Big breaths are natural in panic situations where they are all but relaxed. In sports, we also take a big breath, but very forcefully. One needs to fill up to get a big sound in any case.

    It may be commonplace in America to articulate without stopping the air, but there is plenty of repertory that requires something other than legato. I prefer many pieces of orchestral music played by europeans because they are not afraid to clearly articulate! High brass player that want a big sound use Tooh not Teeh or Taah.

    The buzz in a mouthpiece does not get "amplified" by the horn. The buzz gets the trumpet resonating and that is amplified. Listen to the sound of your buzz and imagine that amplified - pretty big difference to what should come out of a trumpet.

    Playing efficiently means adjusting breathing, embouchure and articulation to let the horn do most of the work. the more relaxed our approach, the better the results.

    The concept of a warm up is also subject to great contention. I have a daily routine for all of my students, but NO warm up. Sometimes we jump right in to playing tunes, sometimes we start with long tones and lip slurs. They have to be able to survive in both worlds. No artificial dependencies for my kids!

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