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Trumpet Discussion Discuss 57, started playing again, need practice plan in the General forums; Hi. A little background - I used to be decent, 1st chair all through school, but gave it up after ...
  1. #1
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    Aug 2009

    57, started playing again, need practice plan

    A little background - I used to be decent, 1st chair all through school, but
    gave it up after high school. Oh, I'd pick it up and run through my last solo
    every once in a while, but basically haven't really played since high school.
    I recently turned 57 and have started playing again.
    I just joined the local community orchestra. After a couple of weeks I am probably
    playing well enough for the orchestra but am not satisfied, knowing I used to be
    pretty good.

    Back in high school I probably could have been much better if I'd spent more time practicing
    technique, etc, but I enjoyed playing "music", spent most of my time on the music.
    My high register is not bad, even now after a little warmup I can almost get the high C, but
    my chops still don't last very long and I'm sure my embouchure has never been totally correct,
    but I think it's kind of late to try to change that!

    I would like to start practicing to get better, but am a bit overwhelmed at all the material
    I have and what would be an effective practice plan.

    Orchestra practice is basically 1 1/2 hours, once a week. I've been practicing the music we're
    playing almost every day, but that doesn't take very long and I'd love some suggestions as
    to what my practice plan should be. Naturally I could use improvement in technique (fingering), lip
    flexibility, etc.

    Here's all the books I (still) have from long ago. As you can see, I have too much, don't
    know where to start. Obviously I can't practice for hours a day! Neither my chops nor my job
    will allow that, lol.
    I know Arban is the Trumpet Bible, but I've never really known what to do with it - just start at
    the beginning? is there some kind of plan to follow? Is the Prescott System what I should follow?

    Oh, I also have a BERP and bought the Chop-Sticks Embouchure Strengthening System - anyone have
    experience with those?

    Any suggestions, etc. will be GREATLY appreciated!


    Arban's Complete Convservatory Method
    Prescott Technic System I & II - Lesson Plans for Arban
    Clarke's Characteristic Studies for the Cornet - Herbert L. Clarke
    Clarke's Techincal Studies for the Cornet - Herbert L. Clarke
    Daily Drills and Technical Studies for Trumpet - Max Schlossberg
    Lip Flexibility on the Cornet or Trumpet - Walter Smith
    The Professional's Key to Double, Triple, Fan-Fare Tonguing - Carl Fischer
    Trumpet Today: A Planned Program for Building the High Register - Bud Brisbois
    A Manual for the Stage or Dance Band Trumpet Player - Frank "Porky" Panico
    Selected Studies for Cornet or Trumpet - H Voxman
    Harry James Trumpet Method
    A Textbook for Trumpet - Daryl J Gibson
    Pechin Double & Triple Tongue Course
    Double High C in 37 Weeks - Roger Spaulding
    Difficult Passages for Trumpet or Cornet in Bb I & II - Ernest Hall

  2. #2
    Forte User Bob Grier's Avatar
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    May 2007
    Greensboro, NC

    Re: 57, started playing again, need practice plan

    The best thing you can do is find a good trumpet teacher who can help you get back into playing with good playing habits. It doesn't have to be every week. I say this because what you are asking is a little like asking someome over the net "how to become a better basketball player". While reading how/what can offer some help, It is neccessary to hear and see how it's done. Good luck.
    Bob Grier, An Old Pro
    Web Cam trumpet & jazz improvisation lessons

  3. #3
    Fortissimo User veery715's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    Ithaca NY

    Re: 57, started playing again, need practice plan

    Wow, that is quite a list of books to have hung on to for 40 years! From my senior year in HS I still have: my teeth and hair!


  4. #4
    Forte User
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Indianapolis, In

    Re: 57, started playing again, need practice plan

    I am here to second what Bob Grier told you. Get a good teacher and go to work it's never too late.

  5. #5
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    Aug 2009

    Re: 57, started playing again, need practice plan

    I thought about getting a teacher, but currently I don't really have the time or money, Had to come with money to join the community orchestra.
    I'm not dismissing the idea, but would like to get started with some kind
    or planned, regular practice until I can sort out time, money, finding the right teacher, etc.

    Any suggestions on how to find a good local teacher?

    I could start at the beginning of Arban, but don't know how much, how long, etc.

    As for having all those books still - says 2 things - I've always and still do have a thing about books! and I never really accepted that I had given up on
    the trumpet, just hadn't found the time to fit it in again!

    And I WISH I still had my hair! Would gladly trade a couple of those books for it! lol


  6. #6
    Pianissimo User
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    May 2009

    Re: 57, started playing again, need practice plan

    The RealDan, your story could be my story, I'm just 10 years younger. When I started my comeback I bought the Arban book and started at page 1 and tried to go cover to cover. That wasn't to bright. Then I took advice from this forum and did it the right way. Play long tones everyday, followed by slur practice. Be faithful to playing daily even if it's tuff to fit it in. I too work long hours and it can be a real struggle. It seemed to take forever to build my chops up and get endurance until I got on the right path of long tones and slurs. Things acclerated fast after that. I break up the monotony of practice by playing some songs I like in between excercises. You have all the material you'll ever need already in your library. Good Luck.

  7. #7
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    Oct 2008

    Re: 57, started playing again, need practice plan

    A good teacher is always the best way to give you a proper start. A basic routine could be something like:

    - 10 minutes of long tones (5 with the mouthpiece only and 5 with the horn). Then 10 minutes rest

    - 20 minutes of lip flexibilities, scales, tonguing, etc. I used Arban and Charles Colin books for these. Not sure of the pages but start with exercises you can play easily and then gradually challenge yourself. Then rest.

    - 30 minutes of songs/music. One of the mods here recommends using a hymn book and I strongly agree. Great way to practice lots of different things at once. Transpose the songs for added fun and feel free to use a metronome to keep you honest. Then rest

    - 10 minutes of Clarke. I only like 1 and 2 but knock yourself out. Then rest.

    The times I provided are just an estimate. I did that breakdown yesterday. I had a community band rehearsal at night and my lip was fine. Lots of people recommend resting as much as you play and it seems to make sense and works for me. Also, many recommend playing your long tones and technical exercises very softly. Play the hymns a little louder but this is practice so don't blow your face off. I have a day job so I break things up into morning, noon, and evening sessions.

    If your lip is shot at any point stop playing. You'll hurt yourself in the long run if you try to build yourself up on broken chops.

    Again, that's just an example of a practice routine and should not be taken as gospel. I'm a hack so try to find a good teacher/player who can look at you and listen to you play.

    Good luck.

  8. #8
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    Mar 2008

    Re: 57, started playing again, need practice plan

    Hi Dan, I read your post and I thought I would add my 2 cents worth. I also did not really establish a basic foundation when I started as a kid and although I have been , over many years , a pretty good player, especially jazz, I never could really compete.Almost two years ago I started to play after several years off and went back to Arbans and then got all the books you mentioned. I wanted to literally start over and learn what I had neglected in the beginning. I came across Eric Bolvins Arban Manual in which he takes you lesson by lesson ( 69 in all) through the whole book. I have started it and I think this will do the trick for me.It is actually the closest I have come to having a teacher and I think it helps to "master" the book. P.S. I am almost 80 and I practice at least 1-2 hours a day and have a pretty good small group gig Sats. I can tell from the gig that even the small bit I have done so far makes a difference.

    I hope this testimonial helps. Try the book.
    He also has one called a Modern Jazz Trumpet Method which is the best I have seen of this genre.

  9. #9
    Fortissimo User trumpetnick's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
    Tekirova, Antalya, Turkey

    Re: 57, started playing again, need practice plan

    A bit of googling goes a long way - Google lots of ressources to get you going until you find a teacher

    Here goes also some tips from Wynton Marsalis that you can use just as a general guidance:

      1. Seek out the best private instruction you can afford.

      2. Write/work out a regular practice schedule.

      3. Set realistic goals.

      4. Concentrate when practicing

      5. Relax and practice slowly

      6. Practice what you can't play. - (The hard parts.)

      7. Always play with maximum expression.

      8. Don't be too hard on yourself.

      9. Don't show off.

      10. Think for yourself. - (Don't rely on methods.)

      11. Be optimistic. - "Music washes away the dust of everyday life."

      12. Look for connections between your music and other things.
    • 2. Wynton Marsalis practice routine & tips
      Three hours will allow you to cover all aspects of playing, but 45-60 minutes is enough for one sitting. The quality of the practice is more important than the length of time it takes.

      Practice has several basic objectives: sound, slurring, tonguing (single, double, triple), phrasing. The Arban book [Arban's Complete Conservatory Method for Trumpet (Cornet), published by Carl Fischer, 192.] is set up that way.

      Try to get as rich and pure a sound as you can -- an "unbrassy" sound, the kind with no metal in it. Louis Armstrong is a good example. His sound is really bright, but not brassy. It has a core that is warm. During the first 15-20 minutes play long tones, soft, from second line G down to low G. For the next 30-45 minutes work with pages 5 and 6 in the Max Schlossberg book [M. Baron, publisher], varying the dynamics and the tempos. Try to play through every slur, getting an even, round sound on every note, and getting over the breaks in the instrument. Also, exercises 59 and 60 in the Schlossberg book are good to strengthen your lips.

      Take a break.

      Use the Second Study (page 8) in the Herbert L. Clarke Technical Studies [Carl Fischer]. Work on velocity, with a metronome, in major and minor keys. Slur some, tongue some, and double tongue some. Also work on the "kah" syllable. Go straight up the scale, starting with the middle C (exercise 32). In the Arban book there is a series of exercises to work on your single tongue attack. Number 19 on 28 is especially good. Try to get a nice round attack with some "pop" in it.

      Then you can open an etude book. Theo Charlier: Etudes Transcendantes [Leduc] is good for advanced players, or the Arban book for others. Do some double/triple tonguing exercises. That's another hour on tonguing.

      Take a break.

      Now deal a little more with slurring, but not too much; you don't want to kill yourself. Work out of a book like Advanced Lip Flexibilities [Charles Colin, author and publisher]. Then do some phrasing exercises out of the Arban book.

      Finally, play some characteristic studies from Arban, or etudes from Charlier or Schlossberg. When you play these etudes, or any exercise, always go straight through without a stop the first time. Then go back and practice the places you had difficulty. Play everything -- no matter how trivial or trite it might be -- with dynamics and sound and musical expression.

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