Practice strategy using classic method books for self-learning return player?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by den2042, Jan 3, 2016.

  1. den2042

    den2042 Pianissimo User

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    Hello I am 34 years old returning player. 2 hours per day is an absolute limit I can spend on practicing. One hour per day would be actually much better for my schedule. And that should include playing favorite pieces, because this is actually the main reason for return in the first place.
    I have bunch of questions about practice strategy using classic method books.
    After month of daily practicing with Vizzutti warm up and technical studies from his method book 1 I am able to reach high C. However, those notes which are close to C require too much much pressure on the lips. It did not feel right. So, I've switched to Clarke technical studies for 30 minutes daily practicing like 10 days ago. Now I can play G (below high C) in much more relaxed way without pressure. Generally speaking what should I do to gradually increase "comfort zone" range above G?
    There are other questions as well.
    It is not entirely clear how to use Clarke technical studies?
    Should I maybe try Arban, Embouchure builder, anything else?
    Whatever I try, how to squeeze practicing in the available time limit?
    How long breaks should be within one practice session?
    Do you recommend to use mouthpiece buzzing for warm-up?

    Denis

    PS Private tutor is not an option for a time being due to financial and time constraints
     
  2. Dennis78

    Dennis78 Fortissimo User

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    Only thing I can say about range is to start on the middle staff G and play that scale. Play it till it's comfortable then start on A and move up. My only problem up too is how close together the notes are
     
  3. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

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    Members/moderators Rowuk and Vulgano Brother have written much over the years that you may find helpful. A search for their posts may be worth your time.

    I have been on my comeback for nearly five years. A few things I have learned that may be helpful for you follow:
    - Avoid obsessing over gear, which you do not appear to be doing. Your Yamaha YTR-2320ES should probably serve you well for some time.
    - Do not get too wrapped up with devotion to any particular method book, though many of us use Arban's a lot. The important thing is to spend your precious practice time engaged in playing material that helps you gradually increase your mastery of the instrument.
    - Rather than focusing on range, focus on music-making. Working to emulate trumpeters or other musicians you admire can be very helpful. This requires listening to good musicians and good music.
    - Remember that becoming a trumpeter is a process that never ends. Incremental progress can be measured many different ways. Embouchure, body mechanics, breathing, relaxation, phrasing, and perhaps most importantly sound quality are all concerns that are more important than range.

    Jim
     
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  4. gwood66

    gwood66 Piano User

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    I am also currently at a similar point in my return to trumpet playing. There are couple of articles out on the web by some prominent players on the topic of practice routines. Each of the articles discusses which methods to use for different fundamental areas. Here they are:

    Chris Gekker - https://rowantrumpetprof.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/summer-practice-2002.pdf
    Ray Mase - http://blogs.uoregon.edu/trumpet/files/2012/09/How-To-Practice-Mase-2c58len.pdf
    David Bilger - http://www.stewmuse.com/BilgerTrumpet.pdf
    Brian Shook - http://www.brianshook.com/resources/Clinics/Shook---Maximizing-Daily-Practice.pdf

    OJs trumpet page also has good information on how to divide practice time to cover fundamentals areas. I am using the Mase maintenance chart concept and information in the other articles to develop a foundation building routine so that I am progressing in all areas over the next year.
     
  5. den2042

    den2042 Pianissimo User

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    @Dennis
    Thanks for the tip. Actually already doing something similar, playing Clarke technical study 1.
    @Jim
    These are sound points. Totally agree. Thank you for pointing out body mechanics and relaxation parts. Didn't think about it
    @gwood66,
    Thank you very much indeed.
    Great stuff!
     
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Pressure is a normal part of a trumpet players development. We use it because it works! The problem is that it doesn't work long enough. Tissue gets trashed, muscles tired and our playing caves.

    Good playing starts with good body use. A low tension/energy stance, the ability to take in a big breath in a relaxed way and the ability to switch from in- to exhale without holding air in. Yoga can be very good for this!

    Once the body and air are OK, we start on our face. Our lips function like a switch, letting "puffs" of air into the horn. This starts a resonance in the horn that then "controls" the lips until we want to change the note that we are playing. If we apply mouthpiece pressure to increase lip tension, we have to blow harder to get the lips to open and close. A more intelligent way is to balance embouchure tension and our blow. This requires extensive longtones to get the "feel" of our lips floating on air as well as lipslurs to use evolution to change the way that we use our chops. At this stage, I recommend NOT tonguing at all. A simple exhale is the best way. The reasoning: articulation raises the air pressure to our lips. We become dependent on that pressure to get the lips to fire. With an exhale we train ourselves to let air and embouchure tension work holistically. We can play more softly and the lips ignite with tone more easily.

    Once this part of playing works, we add articulation very carefully, only using as little as possible for the expressive playing desired. The lipslurs work by changing embouchure tension based on our airflow. We train contraction and expansion of the embouchure muscles as well as the amount of air pressure behind the lips. These slurs allow our body use, breathing and embouchure to develop together, ultimately giving us better control and expression for the extremes of our playing (high and low).

    We do not need a six pack in our face or a 200PSI compressor for lungs to play high notes beautifully and cleanly. We need to remove the physical bottlenecks that prevent us from playing efficiently. This demands a process.
     
  7. den2042

    den2042 Pianissimo User

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    1) Got your advice, thank you. Indeed, at this stage I can play high notes only with tonguing. So, I'll try Dennis' suggestion without tonguing
    2) Thank you very much for explanation! Always hated long tones without fully understanding the reason for such a boring exercise:)
     
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    If you think longtones are boring, change the way that you play them. We can hold them out, we can make them grow and shrink, we can increase and decrease energy, we can give them life and take it away. They are one of the basic building blocks of music, not just trumpet playing.

    Lipslurs give us the high notes without articulation. I use the Earl Irons Lip Flexibility book.

     
  9. den2042

    den2042 Pianissimo User

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    Do you mean 27 Groups of Exercises book?
     
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes! Basically lots of boring but special lipslurs - they are the core of my teaching and my personal success. I play them like I described the long tones.
     

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