Practice Routine

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trmptnegle, Aug 12, 2010.

  1. trmptnegle

    trmptnegle New Friend

    Aug 12, 2010
    Practice Routine help!

    Hey Guys,

    I've been playin trumpet for about 10 years now. Throughout jr high and high school, I relied a lot on natural talent never really practicing while still remaining the best trumpeter in school. Now in college, though, I'm a "big fish in a gigantic ocean" and my abilities have proved average at best. I'm ready/hoping to up my game to get to the top again. I was just wondering what good practice routines are as of right now kind of just: warm up, practice some pieces, play long tones, play some technical stuff then warm down (in thatorder). Also, what is the best way to maximize the use of the Arban's and Clarke Characteristic studies. As of right now I just slowly work my way through a few exercises at a time--should I take it an exercise a time per week?

    Last edited: Aug 12, 2010
  2. keehun

    keehun Piano User

    Feb 4, 2010
    First, maybe audition at the school of music and get lessons? (If the school has lessons?)

    Without some personal knowledge, I'm not sure if the forum can offer you any personal advise to improve your playing apart from some canned responses or personal opinions/favorites that may or may not help you at all... Just saying.

    I do a lot from Schlossberg book for warmups.
  3. trmptnegle

    trmptnegle New Friend

    Aug 12, 2010
    My tone sounds pretty good. My range is a bit iffy. I have a strong high G/A anything higher I can hit with a compromised tone up to an E. I hope to increase my tone in the upper register and as stated earlier find an effective way to use the methods book I have.
  4. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    As you have likely found out, Arbans is not designed to be played from front to back. Each section or set of exercises has its own set of levels from easy to hard.

    So, how is your double and triple-tonguing? How well can you lip-slur up as well as down? (over 3 partials in a jump?) How good are your scales, including all the way to C# and Gb? What about minor scales and arpeggios? Special effects like growling, half-valving or lip trills? What about sight-reading including phrases in 32nd notes and several accidentals? Tricky rhythms like ragtime, swing or even 7/8 time signatures?

    If you are going to be the consummate trumpet player, all of these skills need to be top notch. So, the practice regimen is not cut-and-dried - it needs to be tailored to the things that you most need work on. All of the technique books can help to a degree but in the end, you need to be able to make music that others want to listen to. So, regular, focused, measured practice in all of these areas is what will help you move forward. It is not for the faint of heart but it sounds like you have the resources to do it. You just need to concentrate on using them effectively.

    Good luck.
  5. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Tounging and slurring; add increasing intervals to that, and you'll find the secret to technique. Slurred arpeggios can add range that tounging and slurring can make effective.

    Forget the concept of a "warm-up" like it is going to increase your ability over time. If you hang around long enough you'll have those rehearsals/performances where you have to nail the first note (Bach's suite Nr. 3 in an ice-cold Gothic church for example: [been there, done that when the Sexton opened the doors a couple minutes before the rehearsal]) definitive enough for the conductor to accept.

    The important stuff lies between the warm-up and warm-down.

    The important stuff? Tounging and slurring over intervals.

    Making music is pretty importatnt too.
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I am not sure that the trumpet should be your first stop. What you are talking about is more like life in general. You got away with a lot and now you are average, that means that you were average before, but the surroundings were worse.

    The path away from average starts between the ears, not at the face. Without the brain tuned in, no practice routine is going to take you above average.

    I find that the best players are not the ones with the best chops. They are the ones that always come musically prepared. They play WITH the music instead of trying to conquer it. That means you too should NOT focus only on technique, rather a mix with music to holistically bring you forward.

    As far as a routine to become the best, you are barking up the wrong tree by looking at books. You first need to get your body use and breathing together. That is tough without professional help. AFTER that, we work out the basics of tone production to make sure that the lips are free to vibrate and resonance has a chance. AFTER that we add the tongue to articulate the superior sound, THEN we pick exercizes that focus on those things that we are weak on. We perfect each individual one before moving on. This perfection you will have to learn as it was not demanded from you before.

    Good luck
  7. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008
    Re: Practice Routine help!

    Are you a music major, or are you just playing in some bands for fun?

    If you're not majoring in music and you admittedly haven't built up a good foundation, then you're in for a LOT of work. College music majors spend lots of time playing, practicing, and receiving instruction. If you're not one of them and you want to be a top-dog, then you should consider finding a private instructor. In my opinion there's too much general information on the internet for you to accurately navigate your way to becoming a stronger lead player (increase tone in the "upper register").

    If you don't have the money for private instruction, there are some pro's who have created "walk-throughs' of Arbans. Not the same as having someone with you, but might help. For example, Eric Bolvin (who posts here) has an Arbans manual - ::: Eric Bolvin Music Studios - Publications ::: ARBAN MANUAL

    If you are majoring in music then sit down with one of your teachers and develop a game-plan. That's what they're there for.
  8. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    Re: Practice Routine help!

    Possibly the most important factor in doing exercises is to make sure the brain is engaged. I've heard 100's of people practice (myself included) when just mindless blowing was taking place.
    Once a person gets to a certain point, they usually develop their own routine. Here's a couple of sites and a good easy routine that will get you better than average "IF" you engage your brain.
    1) Watch Urban Agnes videos (free on line) about Flow and pay particular attention to what he says about posture, breathing and relaxation.
    2) Put the mouthpiece in the trumpet and remove the tuning slide. Now, as you put your lips on the mouthpiece, imagine the lips are "meat pillows" and you don't want to smash, crush or flatten the pillow. Just use enough pressure to create a seal.
    Next, blow(buzz) a soft easy tone through the lead pipe and make the tone as unquavering as possible. Yes it'll sound bad but that's ok.
    3)Now, while doing this, add a little mouthpiece pressure. Notice how just a little pressure caused the tone to go up?
    4)Next, blow(buzz) through the lead pipe again and this time use the corners of your lips to make the tone go up. These are the muscles you want to use to play different notes, not mouthpiece pressure.
    I would recommend not doing the leadpipe too long since in this situation it is used to check yourself to make sure you are not using too much mouthpiece pressure.
    5) Lip slurs using the 7 combos.
    Here they are:
    play each one, one at a time and go as high as possible (without sounding strained) and as low as possible. Basically do bugle calls. Make the slurs smooth and nice. Work on this 5 minutes a day and you will improve big time. Just a note. Will you be sore and tired from this exercise? Heck yes! But this type of exercise is what separates the big dogs from the little dogs.
    6) Take a small break and then work on single, double, triple tonguing.
    7) Open a music book to a random page and sight read for about 20 minutes.
    8)Take a small break and then play something you like. Fun stuff like a play along (Aebersold for jazz or Hal Leonard for classical) or jam with the xm or some friends.
    9)Never put your trumpet in the case. Leave it out so you can see it. The only time it should be in a case is on the way to a gig.
    As the old saying goes, "Out of sight, out of mind"
    10) watch Alison Balsom or Rafael Mendez on youtube. ask yourself, "how do they play and have such an effortless look on her face?"
    This is the look you want on your face when you play
    Good Luck
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2010
  9. The Kraken

    The Kraken Piano User

    Mar 28, 2007
    Gold Coast - 805
    As for the Arban Book, go to EBJazz website, and order "The Arban Manual"

    It's a step by step guide on how to approach Arbans.
    If I remember correctly it's a 69 lesson course.

  10. trmptnegle

    trmptnegle New Friend

    Aug 12, 2010
    Thanks for all the advice guys. I'm not a music major, in fact most of the people in my band arent music majors, that being said, though, I'm definitely in for a lot of work. Looking back, I wish I took my trumpeting more seriously when I was younger. My course load at college makes it a bit tough to find time to get a good practice session in, but my love for the trumpet will keep me driven to find the time :D. I'll keep your advice in mind next time I'm practicing. I'll keep you guys posted!

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