Welcome to Weekly Trumpet Tips:
Please always feel free to respond / comment on any of the tips listed in these weekly posts. Your input may help clarify details for someone else!
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Tip #1 – Practice in the Moment!
What? What does that mean? Well, quite simply if you’re practicing but not conscious of what you’re doing or constantly asking “when am I going to get better?” your mind will be cluttered with unnecessary information making it harder to stick the new stuff in! This leads to frustration and can even cause you to stop practicing.
Remember something – when we play our instruments, we’re trading our human voice for a musical one. Imagine having to speak in a foreign language in front of hundreds of people that did not understand your native language. Learning to use your musical voice is no different than learning a new language… words and their meaning, voice inflection, sentence construction, etc. Whether we’re learning how to play more musically while reading, improvising, or just learning how to play more freely throughout registers with good sound – it’s all the same.
Now put this “language” concept in terms of having to practice it. When you first start learning how to say what you’re going to say, etc. it will be slow going. The SECOND you start thinking “I’ll never get this,” you’ll be exactly right. Because now your mind will shut down out of frustration and it will become more difficult to learn the material.
Here’s a couple of suggestions –
A) Don’t worry about time! I had a teacher answer me (to a question of “how many years will this take”), “Why? How long did the Doctor give you to live?” It will take as long as it takes… so enjoy the journey and stop thinking about the destination – cause there really isn’t one!
B) Reward yourself! Instead of trying to cram 10 things into your brain, scale it back to 2 or 3. You’ll absorb it faster anyway… and then put your new knowledge to the test! This will be your reward once you start being able to do it daily with ease… and time then becomes less of an issue.
Tip #2 – Flexibility Exercises in Your Warm-Up
I’ve tried just about everything from “not really warming up consistently” to playing long soft tones for hours as my warm up. And yes, I even wrote myself a flexibility exercise based off of the “Colin Flexibility” exercises.
While flexibility is important for us to have and should be addressed, I’m not convinced that they should be done as a warm up – at least not early on into your warm up. Here’s why (before I get lynched), I feel that a warm up should be designed to help “loosen” up the tissue that is to vibrate on your lips, and help you find the balance between the air and lips that we need to create good focussed sound. If a player incorporates “flexibility” exercises too soon (at least for me), it can cause more tension – creating more problems than they solve.
I promised this weeks ago, and WILL get to it – but I am going to put together a video on warm ups for next weeks tips. I think warming up properly with things in a constructive order will help prevent frustration and possible physical harm!
More on this next week!
“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”
1932-2012, Educator, Author, and Speaker
Have a GREAT week!