MORE PRACTICING TIPS

What follows are some extra hints that Iíve found very useful over the years in either improvement or just making the process more fun! Kind of a ďtop tenĒ, but in no particular order..



1 - SPEND TIME PRACTICING IN FRONT OF THE MIRROR

Like recording yourself, it might not be the most fun thing to watch yourself play, but again, this can be a great way to monitor your posture. Proper posture (stand up/sit up straight, chest out, elbows out) is important in enabling the musician to have adequate airflow to produce all of the sounds required for superior performances.



2 - TRY THIS ANTI-BOREDOM TACTIC FOR LONG TONES

If you have a recording device (like on your computer), you can record yourself playing and holding other notes, so that you can create chords! It can be a lot of fun, making you feel like youíre playing a duet with an imaginary trumpeter. But why stop at a duet? With some mp3 editing software, you can record a few different parts and combine them and make your own trumpet section!



3 - PLAY EXERCISES MORE THAN ONCE!

As a kind of addendum to slowing down, itís taken me awhile to get it that the real practicing results come from playing exercises correctly more than once during a practice session. Most beginning students just play everything once (if even that much). It is the repetition, the ability to play a piece correctly multiple times in a row, that truly speeds up the improvement process.



4 - SLOW DOWN!

Weíve all been there Ė youíre practicing a difficult passage, it doesnít go well, and you try repeatedly, the same way, with the same results. I have learned the hard way to immediately slow down as much as needed in order to play the thing correctly. Itís humbling, yes, but in the long run, far more effective. I then gradually pick up the pace until (sometimes MUCH later) I can play the passage at the designated speed.



5 - TRY BUZZING!

Buzzing is something youíve likely already done Ė playing into just your mouthpiece! At first it was just something to do that made you sound like Donald Duck, but I use this as an effective warm up tool when Iím on my way to a job. Additionally, many teachers recommend buzzing as a way to improve your sound as well!



6 - RECORD YOURSELF PERIODICALLY

While it can be painful to listen back to yourself, itís very useful in identifying what in your playing is working and what could use more focus. Also a great way to chart your progress, this is of particular use for the beginner who feels like itís taking forever to see any improvement. Especially early on, itís cool to actually hear the difference from month to month!



7 - CREATE YOUR OWN ETUDES!

Who says you have to practice ONLY the exercises in the book? Bring out your creative side and write your own! I find itís also more fun practicing when you include etudes with you as the composer!



8 - PRACTICE DURING THE SUMMER TOO!

Want to pass the kid who sits ahead of you in the trumpet section of your band? Summertime is your best chance to leap past them! For so many grade school students, the horn goes into the closet in June and doesnít come back out until September (Iíve been thereÖ). It doesnít have to be much Ė even 20 minutes of efficient practicing daily during the summer (more would be better but, hey, itís summer!) will give you a big jump on the rest of the trumpet section! And donít be afraid to get creative! Itís always fun to make up your own tunes to learn to play!



9 - PRACTICE WITH FRIENDS!

Iíve found that playing the trumpet is just plain more fun when youíre playing with others, whether itís in the band, or just getting together with other like-minded trumpeters. And itís always interesting to see the kind of ideas you can come up with when playing as part of a group!



10 - TRY USING PLAY-A-LONG RECORDINGS

When you want some musical accompanyment but nobody is around, there are always play-a-long recordings! Play-a-long recordings have been available for many years. I have a bunch of them, including a couple that I I still have of them on LP! There are a variety of recordings available, for both classical and jazz, and they are not only helpful as a practice tool, but also lots of fun!

For more details on the types of play-a-longs available, take a look at my PLAY-A-LONGS page.





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