Polishing our playing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Alex Yates, Apr 21, 2007.

  1. Alex Yates

    Alex Yates Forte User

    Aug 11, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    For those who have a difficult time focusing on their trumpet studies during the summer months, I have a suggestion that has worked for me for years.

    If you're a "half-full" kind of person, list all of your abilities on the trumpet broken down into 15-20 categories, with the strongest being number one and the 20th being your weakest. Turn the list upside down. Take the first five and make them your list for the summer. Those five things will be what you focus on when choosing etudes and exercises. Don't worry, you won't lose your original top 5. They will always remain. You might have to blow some dust bunnies off, but fear not, they will be there when you need them.

    If you're a "half-empty" person, go straight for the jugular and pick your five weakest abilities. That is your list for the summer, so get to it! ;-)

    The point is that most of us practice in the same order every day, month after month and most times never make it to those last 5 or so things on "the list". Those are parts of our playing that are probably available, but could stand some polishing. This is a way to constantly polish our playing. Every summer the list will be a bit different as awareness shifts and different challenges arise. That is a good thing and keeps us from getting stale. It also allows us to check in with our playing more objectively.

    Just thought I'd share.
  2. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

    Nov 16, 2005
    Vidin, Bulgaria
    Very good suggestion, Alex. It brings some memory though...I had some solfeggio's issues at college (especially as far as singing exercices is concerned - I have never been much of a singer) and was saying to my music theory and sightreading that singing was an area in which I always had some problems to solve as opposite to my harmony and counterpoint skills that I thought I was strong in....His comment was that we are strong in some areas more that others cause we love doing certaing things and naturally do it more often and getting better. The things we don't feel strong at are the things we like to do the less...
  3. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    This is really great advice! I think we all (including myself of course!) fall into routines that focus more on stuff we like and sound good at. It's humbling to practice things that really need work.

    Hmmm, my A transposition is a little rusty...if only I had a big stack of the orchestral versions of Sousa marches for A trumpet...

  4. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    Brava to you, Alex... that's GREAT common sense advice!

    I love turning the list upside-down.

  5. bowman8719

    bowman8719 New Friend

    Apr 16, 2007
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    Thanks for the posting the summer help routine ! I will definately flip things upside down!
  6. bilboinsa

    bilboinsa Piano User

    Jan 24, 2006
    San Antonio, TX
    Great advice. But I wrote the list on my beer bottle label during a break, and now I'm all wet....
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Great idea, Alex! What also can help is a "license to suck." The stuff we're bad at, we don't like to play because we're not good at it. Instead of the "if a job's worth doing, it's worth doing well" philosophy, a philosophy of "if a job's worth doing, it's worth doing badly until we get good at it" can get us through the first few crucial days. During the summer, when no one is looking over our shoulders, we can rightly see "failure" as feedback.

    I guess I'll be working on my humility then -- any suggestions? (tee-hee!)
  8. Stile442

    Stile442 Piano User

    Mar 26, 2007
    Deland Fl
    This sounds like a great method to improving those nasty 'trouble spots' I'm definitly going to do this this summer. :)

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