Is it best to alternate "heavy" and "light" days, rather than have stagnant routine?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Vstern, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. Vstern

    Vstern New Friend

    Jul 25, 2010
    When exercising, it's advised to follow a day of exercise with a day of rest or lighter exercise, to allow recovery. That's how I've been practicing for the past few months, but last week I decided to do the same thing everyday.

    What I did before:

    Heavy day:
    -warm up with long tones (below staff to above), 5 min
    -two long tone exercises in a book, 10 min
    -legato etude, 5 min
    -technical etude, 5 min
    -lip slur exercise, 10+ min (colin's lip flexibilities, vol 1, #7)
    -band music, 10+ min
    -cool down

    Light day:
    -all of the above without the lip slur exercise

    I practice for about an hour either day with rest between each objective.

    What I do now:
    -heavy day everyday

    This is all based on a packet I got from a guest's critique on the school's jazz band. It suggested following a structured routine every day. I practically follow the thing word-for-word, although it suggests buzzing without a mouthpiece for less than a minute, then again with a mouthpiece, then long tones.

    Also, what do the terms technical and melodic mean? I do an articulation exercise for technical etude and a legato exercise for melodic.
  2. ltg_trumpet

    ltg_trumpet Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 21, 2009
    Re: Is it best to alternate "heavy" and "light" days, rather than have stagnant rout

    5 minutes on an etude? make that more like 10-20 minutes at leassst man. Technical means a thing that will work your fingers and range possibly and you will want a metronome on. Melodic can still be a medium tempo, but you're expected to practice the melodic without a metronome, (still good to have a tuner out). You could find an articulation study as well, make yourself have three etudes. you'll want to think about some sight reading a couple times a week and I am surprised a jazz critique missed the most important fundamental of improvisation, listening? no, the next most importan, scales (arpeggios and different interval studies) man, you lump those long tones into one category, take your time with them and tune them. It's lesson on patience and life. Real quiet, tuning tones. You'll want your lip slurs to come after the long tones. Those are to help get you flexible to play the etudes and other music. Using intuition, the light day would make sense, but those flexibilities are crucial to a liquid firm embouchure. You know, I am happy for you though, most hs students wouldn't even put in the time you are putting in
  3. Vstern

    Vstern New Friend

    Jul 25, 2010
    Re: Is it best to alternate "heavy" and "light" days, rather than have stagnant rout

    Based on what you said, I'm doing two technical etudes: one for articulation, another for my fingers (I can't explain it, but it's based on a Bb scale, for a Bb trumpet, but I chose it because I knew I would have to work). I use a metronome for both of them. What should I do for melodic?

    I don't have a lot of material to sight read. I borrowed two of my teacher's books over the summer, and never got around to actually asking (don't worry I'll give them back!), but I have looked through the pages a lot. Should I buy that Arban's book, instead and give the others back? was intending to copy some pages of the others.

    I used to work on scales and related things up until a few weeks ago, but just stopped since I already knew some, but I will start again.

    I have a tuner out all the time (a metronome and tuner combo) but don't use it except for long tones or unless I hold out a note at the end of an exercise.

    I have to mention this: I wasn't in jazz band, just concert band at the time of that critique. The instructor gave the packet to me while I was practicing in a room, suggesting that I practice an exercise (which the critic supplied in the packet) called "seconds" to improve range. I have not done that exercise for a long time. It starts at second line G and goes up: GAG,ABA BCB, and so on up to double octave G.

    Last Thursday was a jazz band practice. We worked "Cycle" by Steve Spiegl. It's not difficult and only goes up to a double D. I say "only" because it's a common note in high school jazz. But not only did I overlook articulating in that range (other than a "ta" attack, no accents and staccatos), but I was merely trying to get double Cs and Ds out, which led to my pressing, making it nearly impossible to play anything higher than an A above the staff. The instructor mentioned this and the lacking dynamics to the band, and I was surprised because I had been practicing playing softly so I could play higher notes with less difficulty. I only see one dynamic, a crescendo, but playing softly would help because I was my lips were very tired.

    However, there is some good to that day. About half of the notes are G above staff or lower, and my articulations in that range were okay. Despite this, I didn't warm down after practice that day, and perhaps due to pressing as well, my playing the next day (no band practice, just on my own) was awful in my opinion. The instructor mentioned that I need to practice in upper range because when he hears me in a practice room, I'm often in mid range (G above staff or lower). A recent graduate said that I should do long tones about 5 minutes a day, starting at A above the staff.

    Back on topic, what should I do for a melodic etude, and is it best to alternate heavy and light days again? Also, what should I do for light days, since you suggest keeping lip slurs?
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2011
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Re: Is it best to alternate "heavy" and "light" days, rather than have stagnant rout

    My chops work best when I have a heavy playing schedule. Then I just take a day off every once in a while to chill.

    I have ALWAYS practiced according to how I felt on a particular day. If I felt good (that is the case most of the time) I just kept going. After my daily routine, the rest was up to me.

    As chop building is not weightlifting, I see no need or advantage to reglement practice time. I consider it FAR more important to emphasize lower impact practice with many repetitions. If the "waste our face" exercizes are toned down, we practice more - definitely a good thing!
  5. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    Re: Is it best to alternate "heavy" and "light" days, rather than have stagnant rout

    It is great you practice an hour every day. I am with Robin on this one ... When I was playing alot of performances I might take the long practice day off... I would do warm ups and maybe 30 minutes to keep the chops from tightening up.
    There isn't anything I saw in your schedule that I would consider heavy. The range exercises will probably tighten your lips up so make sure you always warm-up and down when start them. My typical range exercise is just an arpeggio up an octave and then one more second. I find it easier on the chops (i.e C-E-G-C-----D-----) when I get to the one I can't play I try it 3x's and then end on a warm down.
    Are you resting in between each of your exercises?
  6. Vstern

    Vstern New Friend

    Jul 25, 2010
    Re: Is it best to alternate "heavy" and "light" days, rather than have stagnant rout

    Okay, since you consider nothing in my routine "heavy," I will keep to the same thing more or less. I like your suggestion of what you do on performance days because don't feel right just doing nothing, even before practice. Yes, I rest between exercises.

    @rowuk: I concentrate on playing everything around mezzo-piano if that's what you mean by toning down the "waster our face" exercises. I practice in a small room, so even mezzo-forte is loud.
  7. ltg_trumpet

    ltg_trumpet Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 21, 2009
    Re: Is it best to alternate "heavy" and "light" days, rather than have stagnant rout

    I totally agree with Robin. The stuff I am saying, is pretty much stuff I have picked up on through lessons with a technical hard a** and various groups and camps I've done. Ha, man, I am only 18, I still am trying to figure out the best way for me to play.
    Personally, I have been focusing on playing through each and every exercise, even if I am changing keys. What I mean is if I am practicing lip slurs slur between low c and high c, then between b and b, and then a and a, I am going to keep the piece to my face the entire time, between each slur, to help build a real endurance. The corners might "ache" but that is part of building the device. As it aches, we begin to realize the importance of air from the core diaphragm flowing quickly into the cup of the piece, filling it through the center.
    My instructor told me once as we were free buzzing the piece, "the more tone you hear from the end of the mouth piece, the less tone you will hear from the horn. The more air you hear from the end of the mp, the more tone from the horn." I think this concept is essential to good efficient practice, and it really is true, try it yourself. It's confusing, but to get more *air* at the end of the mp, you have to shoot through the middle of it with your air, it isn't a fact of more air or less air, just how you are blowing it through the piece.
    When to stop then? I have to stop when I am slurring and the piece becomes unresponsive and it's just air coming out. I *could* push the horn a little harder and achieve the result, but we aren't trying to develop the arm strength, that's what the weight bench is for ;) hahaha. (low pressure playing is sweet love brother.) For your lyrical etudes, I would highly recommend the Charlier (like charlie-ey... charlie! ey get off my car!) 36 etudes, they are really sweet sounding, and really riveting to play off the met.

    ‪Theo Charlier Transcendental Etude No.2 'Du Style' - Matt Burke‬‏ - YouTube

    that is one I have been working on for a little bit, and it's tough man. Especially the way my instructor demands such... contrast. It's really tough. We can play through a piece easy, and plenty of people on youtube do just that. They play through it like it is a tech piece. But it's not, it is meant to make you cry. It is meant to flow and contrast. This recording is the closest to how I would like to play it.
    as for the arban? yeah, get it, there are lots of sight reading etudes in there. Personally? I can't stand it. Is that gonna bite me in the butt someday? Probably hahahaha. To each his own though. I do most of my sight reading out of the Bb real book. Tunes I don't know, I will read em, listen to em and then move on. The difficult part about that is that real books don't give you much style to work off, so you have to think about the composer and the tempo listed. A different kind of sight reading I guess. I just really don't enjoy concert music that much. It's so much competition and so little love for your fellow musician. You get on a jazz jam and your cats are sittin around, talking about the good music, talkin bout their girls. all that stuff. You get on a concert camp or something, rocky balboa, you're room mate, "pahdon me, I ned to practice." And then everyone plays the song and all the audience claps and whoo hoo. Hahaha (my views on concert players are very, very jaded, I just have a bad track history with any thing concerning straight eighth notes!) But in reality, those concert etudes are very musical, and they allow for a different level of musicianship. Im just not an adept to the history and culture of the music. So in short... yes, the arban has a free flow of sight reading.

    Also, last thing, you said your playing was awful the day after that hard practice? Some of that may be attributed to the pressure, but I may be willing to say that if you had done some quiet long tones and lip slurs, some lower register scales and engaged yourself for a long period of time with easy, air filled, quiet practice, if you had left the horn for a couple hours and come back, I think you would've found that you could play just fine :) I have been there before, I had a long day of personal practice, woke up the next day, played and played, didn't feel good about tone and range, came back to the horn a couple hours later and I felt a lot better about the thing. Don't out think yourself, I did that all through high school and it was a bummer.

    Also, take everything I say as a grain of salt. I am by no means a true instructor, nor do I know your progression with the horn, all of those things are simply suggestions, as any body on here would say, call up your local college, ask who their adjunct teachers for trumpet are (an adjunct is basically someone who is employed by the college, but they aren't a professor) You may think you are too young for it, I sure did. Wish I had been in line with an instructor at a younger age now! call em up, if money is tight for the family, don't worry about it too much, my instructor was more then willing to cut his price in half because of how difficult the economy is being right now. I am so grateful for that!

    truth is, I warmed up for today and at 1030 I am starting my concert work. Oh boy. That Is why I wrote a freakin book on here. I really have nothing better to do. I dont watch tv, I will get sick if I start facebooking too much. Can't get a freaking job anywhere. So I just get on here and talk a wholeeee bunch lol
  8. Steve Hollahan

    Steve Hollahan Pianissimo User

    May 31, 2011
    Charlotte, NC
    Re: Is it best to alternate "heavy" and "light" days, rather than have stagnant rout

    Buy the Arban book. Get one that has spiral binding. Also, Clarke exercises books. Do a variety of exercises-technical, scales melodic, etc. Challenge yourself to do a little more every day. Also, select a few solos- concerti-Haydn, Hummel, Neruda- Chamber music- lots of good piano & trumpet- and orchestral repertory. Do some every day.
    And enjoy your practice.
  9. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Re: Is it best to alternate "heavy" and "light" days, rather than have stagnant rout

    "Stagnant" and "routine" don't mean the same thing. For me, "stagnant" would involve (for example) eating nothing but Ramen everyday, "routine" would involve getting all my vitamins.

    Get your vitamins!
    ltg_trumpet likes this.
  10. ltg_trumpet

    ltg_trumpet Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 21, 2009
    Re: Is it best to alternate "heavy" and "light" days, rather than have stagnant rout

    What a beautifully concise way to put it! Rep points must be given here.

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