Studying without playing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by just, Jun 3, 2015.

  1. just

    just Pianissimo User

    Dec 26, 2013
    Hello everyone!

    I was talking with a friend of mine, a brilliant trumpet student, who has told me that when he has to prepare auditions or hard studies he practises just by blowing into the horn, without buzzing his lips, while he fingers the piece and while he imagines the music. That way he claims that he can practise it a lot without getting tired. Does anyone do this in regularly? Does it help at all?

    Thank you!!

  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    During my first stint as an Army bandsman, especially in my first year, I did a lot of work off of the horn, working the valves through passages, sometimes just blowing air through the horn, and sometimes just holding the horn without blowing through it, during times in rehearsals when other sections were being worked with. This helped me to assimilate and learn music a bit more quickly - something that was essential to my survival in that situation. You didn't want to be the person they were waiting for when it came time to run the section as an ensemble.

    I never specifically practiced that way, but I can see how it might be beneficial because visualization is an important aspect of being a musician.
  3. gunshowtickets

    gunshowtickets Forte User

    Mar 11, 2015
    Tidewater, VA
    I think it might also help develop ear training. Most students hardly listen to themselves play and it's not until they are in an ensemble setting do they hear (or do not hear) how out-of-tune they have been practising.
    Maybe it's second nature to older players, but visualisation (or, aural cognition in this case) plays a large role in how cleanly and accurately we make entrances, play larger intervals, et c.
    If you have to sight- read something particularly daunting , your mind can psyche itself out. I like that Mr. Patrick brought up visualisation because it relates to powerlifting and many other forms of sport, art, and everyday life. If a lifter has a particularly hard lift coming up, I try to get him or her to imagine everything that's going to happen, from the smells, to colours, to what he or she is wearing, the feel of the knurling of the bar in the hands, the ammonia cap just sniffed, the weights themselves (this is a big factor because numbers scare people), the feeling of weight on/in hands or on the back, contraction of muscles and this is all what happens BEFORE the lift. Then he or she's got to think through the mechanics of the lift, the movement of the weights, et c., completing the lift. Lather, rinse, repeat. The psyche is incredibly powerful.
  4. Dennis78

    Dennis78 Fortissimo User

    Feb 1, 2015
    When ever I have a difficult passage to finger through I practice just fingerings on my thumb a few times and then apply it to the horn. I don't know where I picked it up or even if it helps any but now it's habit. I also do it just to practice at work, as it is not practical for a construction worker to have a horn on site, I just bring the music and read through fingering on my thumb of the same hand. I just figure whatever I do others are doing it to
  5. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    A few years ago a good friend gave me a book by Michael Talbot entitled The Holographic Universe. Here is an edited quote:

    "In one study a phalanx of world-class Soviet athletes was divided into four groups. The 1st group spent 100% of their training time in training. The 2nd spent 75% of their time training and 25% of their time visualizing the exact movements and accomplishments they wanted to achieve in their sport. The 3rd spent 50% of their time training and 50% visualizing and the 4th spent 25% training and 75% visualizing.
    At the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid, the 4th group showed the greatest improvement in performance, followed by groups 3,2 and 1, in that order."​

    I'm not suggesting we spend 75% of our "trumpet time" visualizing on a daily basis, but doing so on the day before the big concert might be a good idea.
    gunshowtickets likes this.
  6. gunshowtickets

    gunshowtickets Forte User

    Mar 11, 2015
    Tidewater, VA
    These frickin Russians, mang. Have you heard of "Whiskey and Deadlifts?"
  7. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    That's an interesting study. Of course, I would imagine that just going through the motions doesn't have a significant benefit, but it one concentrates on relaxation and miming it without error, I would think it would be quite effective. I've done this for so long, I can't remember when I started. I forget which one, but one of the world's great virtuoso (and musical) pianists describes his most efficient practicing as basically creative visualization.

    You can also just finger passages, scales etc. I probably spend most of my time while waiting in lines, practicing my scales with my fingers.

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