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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Practice Log in the General forums; Hi Andrew, You mentioned that you use (or have used) a practice log. Can you talk a bit about how ...
  1. #1
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    Mar 2008

    Practice Log

    Hi Andrew,

    You mentioned that you use (or have used) a practice log. Can you talk a bit about how you've used it to improve your playing?


  2. #2
    Pianissimo User amtrpt's Avatar
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    Feb 2008

    Re: Practice Log

    I use a practice journal to this day. I find that it helps keep me organized in my practicing. It also helps to motivate me because I hate to see blank days in there, unless of course I have planned to take time off. Mostly though it's how I teach myself. I write down what I am working on, why I am working on it, and how long I have worked on it that day. I also take notes on how I am trying to fix things. Are the things I'm trying working or not. If they aren't working, why? If they are working, why? I also write what kind of stories I'm trying to tell with the music I am playing. Basically it helps me stay involved and in touch with my playing and performing.
    ps. This is what it would look like on a day like today.

    Tuesday March 25, 2008
    Release Air!!! (these are general reminders that I write every
    Balance!!! day. They change every few weeks.)
    Relax Tounge!!!
    Air Forward!!!
    10:00 warm up
    mp buzz* 10 minutes
    lyric* 10 minutes Bb tpt
    colin* 10 minutes Bb tpt (lip flexibilites)
    sachs* 10 minutes Bb tpt (i think it's page 11 or 12?)

    1:30 tso reh.
    4:00 Brahms

    8:00 practice
    mp buzz* 10 minutes
    stamp 3* 10 minutes Bb tpt {relax, move air fully through the slurs}
    arutunian* 30 minutes {memory work, don't rush fast section. keep 16ths in time and not pushed forward. You can get excitement through clean aggressive playing without rushing. Don't get too loud in first lyric section, still have a long way to go. remember the bull fighter!} (you get the point.)
    first attacks* 10 minutes C tpt {timing important. everything working together makes the best sound}
    lyrical playing* 10 mintues (for endurance and transposing)
    power scales* 10 minutes C tpt {don't force, keep air relaxed and forward, let lips really vibrate.} (exactly what it sounds like)
    rommel* 10 minutes Bb tpt (these are some pedal exercises John Rommel gave me years ago. I think he took them from a book, but I'm not sure which one. Anyway I attibute them to him.)

    *{} are used to show what I would write in the journal to myself.
    *() are notes to you explaining the journal.

    Let me know if that makes sense. Please feel free to ask more questions about this.

  3. #3
    Pianissimo User Jeff23's Avatar
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    May 2004
    Brewerton, NY

    Re: Practice Log

    This is such an excellent idea! I love it. I'm not trying to put words in your mouth Andrew, but here's my impression. Keeping the log forces you to analyze your own playing, rather than just finishing with an exercise and saying to yourself "well that wasn't bad." It gives you a reference to go back to and see what you did and what you need to improve. It forces you to be honest with yourself when you don't have a teacher you meet with regularly (i.e. you can look and see all the blank pages and feel guilty and you can see what you need to work on and what you are avoiding). It also makes sure you have an organized and balanced routine for the day, week, month, year. Thank you!
    "You've always told me that trumpet players are 90% mental, 9% hot air, and 1% lips." -- Wife of a trumpet player.
    Bach Stad 37 #137xxx
    Curry 3C - Lead/Solo
    Schilke 15 - Orchestra

  4. #4
    Mezzo Forte User
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Re: Practice Log

    Cool log. Thank's for posting that. I'd like to know more about what you do in that "first attack" section. This has always been one of the most challenging things for me! Do you use a metronome, play one note only or part of a phrase, practice a specific attack (like the first note or Mahler 5 or whatever) or just random notes, etc etc...


  5. #5
    Pianissimo User amtrpt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Re: Practice Log

    Hi Jeff,
    You aren't putting words in my mouth, that's exactly how I use it. I just find that I have so much more confidence in my playing when I know that I have prepared myself to perform and I have evidence of that fact right in front of me.

    Funny you should mention Mahler 5 because we start rehearsals for it this morning. I do use a metronome when I am practicing first attacks. Using the opening to Mahler 5 as an example this is what I do. First I will start with just the mouthpiece and a metronome. I will find the C# pitch and start the metronome at 60 to the quarter note in 4/4 time. Play the C# for a whole note length, then a measure of rest. Then C natural for one measure and a measure of rest. I will repeat this chromatically down to F#. A few things to keep in mind. First, always remove the mouthpiece from your lips during the measure of rest. By doing this you aren't just re-articulationg a note, but you are getting more of a first attack feeling. Secondly try to be strict with yourself. If you miss an attack, don't accept it. Start over from the beginning of the exercise. Thirdly always remember to try an play balanced and coordinated. The air, tounge, and lips have to work together to get a clean, clear and precise articulation. After you have completed this on the mouthpiece you should do the same exercise on the trumpet. It doesn't matter which horn you use. Also you should feel free to mix it up. Play the exercise going up instead of down. Instead of whole notes, play repeated quarters or eighths. This can be done in the upper register or middle. Where ever you think it could help.
    I hope this is clear. As always if you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch.

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