How can I improve my practice routine?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Vstern, Apr 30, 2011.

  1. Vstern

    Vstern New Friend

    Jul 25, 2010
    I practice about 30-45 minutes total.

    5-10 min warm up
    -5 min long tones (second-line G down to F# below staff; second-line G to third space C)
    -5 min Bach Chorale (I play 3-5 hymns which are about 3 bars each)

    20 min of band music (jazz/symphonic)
    -run through each piece/ work on specific passages (I know all the notes and rhythms but I can't play them all [Bb above staff- High D])

    10 min cool down
    -Hold second-line G as long as I can (5 min)
    -Play G, F#, F, F#, G; whole notes @ 50 bpm (5 min)

    What must I do to extend range to at least High D, and increase endurance?

    I will play the following songs in an upcoming concert: Harlem Nocturne (arr. Mike Tomaro); Cool School Dropout (Les Hooper); 500 Miles High (arr. Victor Lopez) each is 1st trumpet. I doubt that I will be able to hit all the notes because I also play first for 2 of 5 songs in symphonic band's concert ( that same night and before jazz band).

    What must I do to improve range and endurance for after the concert? I've been practicing consistently but have not seen improvement yet. I try to play at mf or less when I practice.

    How free-blowing should it feel when I play or practice? I don't use much pressure or jam the mouthpiece in my face when tired, yet I feel a discomfort in my throat, like a "gentle burning." How do I improve that?

    Finally, concerning air, how do I move it faster? This isn't a concern until after thirty minutes or so of playing, when my lips are tired.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2011
  2. BrotherBACH

    BrotherBACH Piano User

    Oct 5, 2010
    I strongly urge you to get the following book by Don E. Johnson. It will tell you excatly how to construct a practice routine to cover the essential basis. I have included a link so you can read more about it. It will change the way you play.

    Best Wishes,

  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    In my opinion you are confusing daily routine with daily practice.

    The daily routine is a basic collection of things that do not change much. Long tones, breathing exercizes, scales, lipsturs, perhaps some easy tunes from memory.

    That DAILY routine is there to insure consistency, not build new techniques. I have always started with my daily routine - essentially every day for the last 40 years. It is like the daily shower and shave (there is also another "S" in there) of my trumpet playing day.
  4. Haste2

    Haste2 Piano User

    Jun 16, 2010
    This, in conjunction with a "practice pyramid" (mostly easy stuff, some medium stuff, and little bit of hard stuff) that one of my previous teachers brought up to me.... suddenly, a light-bulb turned on in my head. Thanks!

    Vstern, it's great your are practicing those chorales. Always make sure you really mean it when you play them!

    Be careful not to over-practice, yes, even in a 30-minute session. I would NOT suggest running through each piece... doing that for 5 pieces will really wear you out. I would focus on just little sections that you are uncomfortable with, one at a time. Maybe focus on one band piece each day.

    You are asking how to extend your range to a high D... question is, how are your notes below high D? Before worrying about that high D, you should find your highest note that you can play consistently with good sound. Make sure your entire range of notes is solid from low to high, then make a goal to extend your range just by one half-step at a time.
  5. hichez

    hichez Pianissimo User

    Jul 13, 2009
    From everything I heard and expirence cool down time diesn't really need to last 10 minutes. Some argue that you don't need it then again some trumpet players argue that you don't need warm-up time so if it mentally helps keep cooling down.
  6. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    My first recommendation is not to hold your second-line G for 5 minutes. God, I hope you are using circular breathing when you do this; otherwise, this WILL rob your brain of vital oxygen and will effect your cognitive skills, such as... being able to read the notes on the page... and even more importantly... LIVING!

    With this brief introduction, I particularly can't stress enough what rowuk is stating. The routine (three S's approach - I think I figured out that third S) keeps the skills you already have, and yes, then set up some committed time at least 15 minutes to learning something new, like whole note scales (with only 2 to learn this will go fast), practicing site reading skills... etc.

    Good luck and do breath often.
  7. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    I think long soft tones will definitely help with range and endurance. Like that 2nd line G, and some higher notes, A, B, C, etc.
    RANGE takes time -- literally think months and years instead of days or a week or two.
    Practicing consistently -- I don't know your age or endurance, but I think you need to work up to more than hour a day as the immediate (in a month or two goal) -
    it seems like your playing softly and intelligently -- might want to check out your protein intake, or physical health -- your lips/face are muscles and need protein and proper hydration to grow.
    NOT everyones body is the same -- some people take time to grow, develop, and strengthen muscles -- but I still think you need more face time on the horn -- with rest in between of course to get blood flowing back into your lips/face muscles

    JNINWI Piano User

    Apr 26, 2011
    Rowuk is exactly right. Your routine is important for consistency and needs to happen daily. What will improve your playing is practicing proper “Trumpet Mechanics” (my term). Trumpet mechanics is simply what you need your full body to do for EVERY BREATH to play the trumpet correctly. Stance, muscle control, proper compression, breathing, proper relaxation of specific muscle groups, oral cavity formation, toungue placement, throat attitude. I use any technical studies book for this. But it takes a clear mind with no distractions so I can think about my “Mechanics” with every breath I put into the horn. After months of this, your body will retain the proper muscle memory to do this without thinking about it. When you get to this stage, NOW your on a forward roll and it only gets better from there ! Remember it doesn’t matter what you practice, it’s ALL about HOW you practice it.

    Practice does NOT make perfect…….PERFECT practice makes perfect !!!! Don’t practice bad habits….
  9. Myszolow

    Myszolow Pianissimo User

    Apr 23, 2011
    You make it sound so hard and unappealing. ROFL
    You must have a very powerful brain to be able to process all that and still leave a space to think about playing the right notes. :-)


    Apr 1, 2011
    I have been playing seriously for the past 12 years, and a high D is still a high D. The keys to range that I have found are consistent daily practice, with some work on building range in both directions (deep into pedal range and up to the limit in my upper range) has had good results. I can play from double pedal F to a double B on good days, however, performance range is between pedal C and G above high C. Range is not the end all be all of trumpet playing, my main focus is playing with a good sound, musically throughout my range, and increased range has been the result.

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