focus??

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by babb9520, May 15, 2008.

  1. babb9520

    babb9520 New Friend

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    May 15, 2008
    Andrew,
    A question on practicing... The past few months I've found myself way too antsy when practicing. There's a lack of concentration, the breath doesn't seem to be there, and I feel kind of discouraged about having trouble sitting down and really focusing on what's going on. Schools over now, so I'm in the process of catching up on sleep and going out on runs more. Am I answering my own question with that? Any ideas that would help? Thanks,
    Charlie
     
  2. screamingmorris

    screamingmorris Mezzo Forte User

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    Apr 4, 2007
    First, going outside and getting fresh air and exercise is good for both physical and mental health, so go ahead and do it.
    Same with getting plenty of sleep, good for both physical and mental health, so do it.

    Second, what music are you using for practice?
    If the material is boring for you, you won't want to practice.

    I keep myself interested by practicing material I like.

    For example, I might warm up with a very low, very slow "Danny Boy" and "Amazing Grace", pleasing myself with the rich tone I can get in that lower register.

    After I am warmed up I play higher, more difficult material, such as "Bridge Over Troubled Water" or "MacArthur Park" with a Maynard Ferguson record (but I dump out when he goes above High F#).

    I used to think that playing 2-octave scales up to High F and back down many times in a row would give me iron chops.
    It does indeed help a lot.
    But I discovered that playing ballads an octave higher is much more challenging and builds my chops beyond what the scales were doing, even though they are both topping out at the same high notes.
    (I do both the scales and the high ballads).

    Admittedly, my practice is not as conventional as using Arbans or whatever, but it serves my amateur needs very well.

    - Morris
     
  3. babb9520

    babb9520 New Friend

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    May 15, 2008
    :-) I am fairly set on a classical major in school... of course I'm open to new ideas. To be honest, when I find myself in a ditch, I tend to not practice as much music... thanks
     
  4. screamingmorris

    screamingmorris Mezzo Forte User

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    Apr 4, 2007
    Well, there's your problem right there!
    No wonder you have a lack of enthusiasm!

    You should move to Nashville and start playing cow bells with the Hank Williams, Jr. band, then you'll be *full* of enthusiasm! :D

    - Morris
     
  5. et_mike

    et_mike Mezzo Forte User

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    Just to throw my two cents worth in, before Andrew gets his chance.

    You might try looking into some meditation techniques. Try taking a few yoga classes. I start every practice session with ten minutes of breathing exercises. During this ten minutes, I think of nothing but playing the trumpet, the sound I want to hear when I play the trumpet, the trumpet, more trumpet and trumpet one more time! ;) After that, I find it exceedingly easy to stay focused.

    Good luck, hope it works out well for you.
     
  6. amtrpt

    amtrpt Pianissimo User

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    Hi Charlie,
    It sounds like you are getting a little frustrated and I can understand why. It's very hard to get out of a rut once you are in it. One of the things that I include in every practice or warm up session I do is to play something that I love to play and that I love the way I sound on it. If it has a helpful side benefit that's fine, if not that's fine too.
    You might also try to set out specific small goals so that you can feel that you are always moving forward. I find that success helps me a lot with staying focussed.
    I hope that this helps and I'm very sorry for the long delay in getting back to you.
    Best,
    Andrew
     
  7. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

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    Lads and Lassies, I too enjoy playing ballads an octave higher. I also like to include the My Way 1st Trumpet solo as it takes me through most of my normal range. I warm up with Rich Willey FocalPoint Warmups (recently acquired) and Candle on the Water. I have used Danny Boy as my reference - I couldn't play the range of it when I cameback to the trumpet some years ago, now I use it to check my phrasing and tone, particularly when I'm in a slump. MacArthur Park has also snuck under my belt somehow and I have recently introduced it to the local band as a performance piece. Try and not make you practice all work - a little play is absolutely necessary too. Play, after all, also means practice - in fact, when teaching kids, I refer to their "practice" by asking them to play - we rarely use the word practice, and I think it helps.
     
  8. Brass crusader

    Brass crusader Mezzo Piano User

    Hi all,
    I have a set warm-up that I use, it takes me about 20 minutes.
    I warm up using the Zorn-Stamp range studies, the loosen the tongue on some Arbans double tonguing. Then I find a passage in the lower pages of Arbans, do that, then play some orchestral excerpts. If all else fails, just doing this and play some Arbans studys in the morning serves as a good little practice session. By breaking my practicing up, and staying somewhat warmed up, I cut down on the "boring" stuff later on. I'm able to jump right into etudes, assignments, and repetoire almost immediately, as opposed to getting tired of Arbans, Clark, and the other technical stuff prior to the other things that need concentrated practicing as well.

    In the midst of my confusing post, I'm trying to make one point. Marathon practicing doesn't work for me. 1/2 hour to 45 minutes in the morning, and, now that school's out, afternoon and evening works best for me. By varying what I do in each of these segments, I don't get tired of repitition.
    Btw, I just got my 1935 Conn 22B NY Symphony Special back from the tech. So I'm playing around with that. It's really great, I've yet to fully acclimate to it, however. I'm used to my large-bore Xeno.

    Good Luck
     
  9. R.A.S.

    R.A.S. Pianissimo User

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    Rich Willey's Focus book came today, and...
    I've only played a little while out of it, but...
    I have two degrees (and had pursued a third) in trumpet, and 28 years pro experience...

    ...but I feel like I just started really playing for the first time with these exercises!

    This is going to be a major turn-around in a rather stagnant career!!

    Get it!

    Ray
     
  10. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

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    Ray, I too bought Rich's book - fine piece of work, useful outcomes if you remain focussed (pardon the pun).
     

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