Repetition of scales, arps, patterns, etc.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by DiaxII, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. DiaxII

    DiaxII Pianissimo User

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    This is something I've never learned to do properly. I know I do it wrong but I'd like to begin practicing simple elements of music correctly to make the most out of it.
    Please educate me!

    A simple example: You have 8 measures of some scale-wise movement, maybe arpeggios, some pattern, whatever but it's a complete unit. It begins ||: at measure 1 and stops at measure 8 :||

    What do you think is the most efficient way to practice this short unit? (...on trumpet, because this is a trumpet forum).

    For intstance, provided you've memorised the whole unit well and know the fingerings would you play it like this: play 8 repetitions of the unit non-stop, then rest for as long as you played it before moving on to the next unit? Or maybe, you'd play it 4 times non-stop and then rest just for 8 measures, then play it again 4 times, then rest, and then how many times more if any?

    I know there are probably as many correct ways in terms of repetition as there are players on this forum but I think there is some general recommendation for doing this properly based on the past teaching experience.
     
  2. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    There is no one correct way. But I would play it through as one unit. Sit back. Analyze it, and if not to goal, play it again... and again the same way. Once I reach goal, I will take it a half step up, and repeat the same process.
     
  3. Satchmo Brecker

    Satchmo Brecker Piano User

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    Not sure what your dilemma is. Assuming the music is new to you, simply repeating over and over is pretty much the worst way to go about it. Instead, play it through once or twice, warts and all. Then pick out measures, or even parts of measures that give you trouble. Repeat those little chunks over and over as slow as you need to. Then increase speed until it's at tempo, and even a little faster. Then maybe incorporate a few notes BEFORE the chunk and few AFTER the chunk, again working slow to fast. My general rule is, if you can play it three times without a single error, you've got it. Move onto a new chunk, then repeat, then string things together more and more until you're doing the whole thing at speed or a little faster.

    I guess it goes without saying, you don't do this all at once and drill yourself into the ground. Rest as usual, where amount of playing equals amount of rest.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013
  4. DiaxII

    DiaxII Pianissimo User

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    Judging by the first replies I suspect I didn't clearly present my question.
    I'm talking about scale drills if it makes it easier to understand. When you play scales, say a 1 octave major scale up and then down, how many times you would repeat the whole up-down scale cycle on one scale if you consider this particular scale a unit?
    I mean it probably doesn't make much sense to play it through 1 time, then rest for a minute and then repeat?

    For instance when you play 12 major scales in a cycle of fourths would you play them in a row non-stop? It probably makes sense to do it that way to get fluid at key changes without thinking. But when you practice only one scale as I outlined above how many repetitions would you do before moving on to the next scale?

    I've seen in some instructional books: 'Play four times through', for instance but I'd like to get some more recommendations.
     
  5. arlington

    arlington Pianissimo User

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    You need to listen to the music you want to play. If you want to play jazz, listen to jazz. You don't even need to know the notes. Pay attention to how the instrumentalist phrases and articluates a passage. That stuff assimilates into your brain and it will just come out of your horn. Or you will have to practice to make it come out of your horn.
     
  6. arlington

    arlington Pianissimo User

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    Obviously didn't understand the question, sorry.
     
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    For the scales that are "easy," (not many sharps or flats in the key signature and the ones we play the most) we'll need fewer repetitions because the muscle memory is already in place. Once everything is equally easy, then reps in the following pattern can add quite a bit: Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-Ti-do-re; Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-Ti-re-mi; etc. For arpeggios I'd suggest multiple repetitions slurred, single-tongued and double tongued at a tempo a bit below our top single-tonguing speed so that the single and double-tongue overlap and to also practice them really slowly going up, and real fast going down.

    Have fun!
     
  8. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

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    Try to do it in small batches, Sergeij. To really build up muscle memory, do groups of eight or four notes, repeat; then do the next four, (overlapping).
     
  9. Satchmo Brecker

    Satchmo Brecker Piano User

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    Ok I see what you're saying. A piece of my previous reply I think still applies. If you can repeat a unit 3 times flawlessly to the point of not having to think about it, I consider that as being "under your fingers". I've gotten similar advice from others and have found it to be true for myself.
     
  10. mush-mouth

    mush-mouth Pianissimo User

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    IMO the number of repetitions for a given drill depends on one's personal and specific goals. You mention that going through the cycle can help one get more fluid at key changes, so there's a specific goal (i.e. "get more fluid at key changes") and a nice, obvious way to accomplish it (i.e. play all Major scales through the cycle nonstop)! Playing through a scale one time then taking a rest doesn't seem to address any specific goals and is IMO a waste of time. However, if a person doesn't have much experience with that particular scale then perhaps getting through the scale one time through before a short break is a nice and worthwhile goal.

    As for how to divide time between playing and resting, again it probably depends on your specific goals for that particular practice session. If for instance you have a specific goal to work on lip endurance then you probably want to play more repetitions at a time with longer breaks in between because that will get the lips more used to playing longer periods at a time. However, if you want to move through a lot of material and you don't have a lot of time to practice then you might want to do fewer repetitions of each drill with shorter breaks in between.

    I think 'Play four times through' is generally understood to mean four times PERFECTLY in a row at a given tempo before clicking the metronome up one notch. Four times is a good number: one time perfectly through can be a fluke and does not necessarily mean you got the thing down, and ten times perfectly is just wasting valuable time on something easy.

    When in doubt, 4 is good. 3 is good like Satchmo Brecker said.. 3 or 4, unless you have a specific reason to do more (or less)
     

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