Welcome to Weekly Trumpet Tips:
(1) Make Practicing Easier
(2) Build A Subconscious Scale Base
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Tip #1 – Make Practicing Easier!
One of the simplest ways to make the actual physical practice time easier is to leave your horn out of its case (in a safe setting). I have personally found that when I have to unpack and repack my horns into a case, it’s simple for me to talk myself out of it. Kind of like going to the gym… being there isn’t as hard getting there.
The other simple tool you can use is stop using time as a meter for good practice / bad practice. Base that on what you accomplish. I have spent 8 hours in one day completely wasting my time playing high notes and things I knew I could already play… making no progress! Conversely, I have spent as little as 45 minutes working on digesting material and focussing in, and ended up surprised as to how much I accomplished.
Tip #2 – Build A Subconscious Scale Base
Any time you are told “practice scales” it probably takes you back to being a young student who shuts down emotionally because of how absolutely BORING it is to play them… let alone work on them. So I learned to transition away from “practicing” and do a warm up using scales and arpeggio’s that I need to work on to help me improve my improvisational knowledge base. Here’s my approach:
I learn the first scale in C… so if I’m working on say – a diminished scale pattern, I will play it in that key until I have it memorized. Then I start working my way up chromatically – C# / Db, D, Eb, etc. If my time is limited then I will work on 4 the first day, and add 2 or 3 the next session. The first 2 weeks or so are EXTREMELY clunky and take a bit of time to get through the scale in all 12 keys. But then – you start seeing a speeding up and a memorization of that particular scale. BUT – Do NOT write them out… you are simply reading at that point. Force your brain and ears to do the work… this alone will strengthen your abilities long term!
Have a GREAT week!