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The Trombone ForumTeaching & LearningPractice Room(Moderator: blast) What is the most strategically effective way to organize practice time?
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trb420
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« on: Jun 18, 2017, 07:57PM »

I hardly practice fundamentals anymore, and I don't have a routine, but I just sort of play whatever etudes or solos I'm working on. Obviously, it's working for me because I'm getting better, but I want to work some fundamentals in daily. Is there any superior way to divide my practice time into fundamentals/actual music?
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goldentone
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« Reply #1 on: Jun 18, 2017, 08:07PM »

If you're a serious player I'd strongly recommend taking 30 minutes to an hour in the morning and working on fundamentals before you practice any repertoire. I think you would get even better if you did that. Don't take the daily routine for granted. You want to isolate every facet of trombone playing on a daily basis so you can continue to improve over the long term. That being said, I'm not the most organized when it comes to practicing either, so I'd like to hear what others say on the subject.
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Burgerbob

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« Reply #2 on: Jun 18, 2017, 08:52PM »

I have an Arban's routine I like to use. I'll play the numbers ending in the current date- say it's the 13th. I'll play 3, 13, 23, 33, etc in the first 2 or 3 sections of the book. That covers a lot of fundamentals bases. Then I take a break and do my other practice.
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« Reply #3 on: Jun 18, 2017, 09:03PM »

Caruso "six tones" and besides that invent your own etudes for slurs, scales and arpeggios. You can pick them from books or make them up. Play with a meteronome. Add to this your own single, doodle, double and triple tunge studies, multiphonics, fake tones and circular breathing. These things takes time to master so best do a bit of it every day. Practice sound. It could be long tones with focus on a rich sound. I use Sam's ideas from his video where he explains how to enhance overtones with the mouth cavity. Play one or two challanging etudes from some of the books you own to practice your reading skills. Be sure it is a new one if you want to practice sight reading. Use your meteronome and choose a demanding speed so you barely make it. Play a couple of songs or etudes you know without notes, and/or practice some music with a play along record to make sure you are not just doing exercises. If you can't play them without the sheet music then have as a goal to learn them. Play a few of your other trombones if you've got more than one. Record yourself. This is how i organize my sessions if I have that much time.

/Tom
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« Reply #4 on: Jun 18, 2017, 10:05PM »

I try to do at least 1/2 hour to 45 minutes of fundamentals a day, but if I'm feeling burnt out musically, I will make my fundamental practice as musical as I can.  Usually this involves improvisation that hits some form of long tones (including breath control/dynamic range), slurs, tonguing, buzzing, and stretching the extremes of my range.  I do part (or all) of this with a drone and metronome, and usually incorporate scales/arpeggios/interval jumps in it.  Listen to what you and your chops need to get to the place where the music flows freely!  Sometimes that can be going out for a run or doing some stretches/yoga, or even meditating. 

Ed Neumeister talks a lot about this very thing, and it might be helpful to check out his book!

http://www.edneumeister.com/products/trombone-books.html
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Geezerhorn

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« Reply #5 on: Jun 19, 2017, 04:30AM »

In the morning, after a brief "pre-warm up", I launch directly into my morning daily maintenance routines until completed. Then and only then - I proceed on to whatever music I wish to work on for my own advancement.

In the evening, after a brief "pre-warm up", I launch directly into my evening daily maintenance routines until completed. Then and only then - I proceed on to whatever music I wish to work on that I perform in public.

I very, very seldom deviate from the above. The only time I do is when I have a rehearsal in the evening. And all that does is to replace my evening routine. My morning routine stays the same - unless I have a performance in the morning and then it replaces my morning routine. My evening routine will then stay the same.

I believe in consistency and I hold myself to my routine whether I want to do it or not on any given session.

...Geezer
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harrison.t.reed
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« Reply #6 on: Jun 19, 2017, 05:01AM »

There will come a time when almost all your practice will be fundamentals. You can become so strict about fundamentals that actual parts, excerpts, and solos seem like easier fundamentals themselves.

Think about it: If you spend all your time in the practice room making sure that your lip slurs encompass any interval that might come up in a piece, AND that they sound perfect and in tune, whatever shows up in rehearsal will be easy.

Now do the same thing with articulations, dynamics, and every kind of scale and arpeggio ... there won't really be anything that could possibly surprise you. If somehow a piece of music does throw you a curveball, it's probably just one passage that you'd need to woodshed.

If you spent the amount of time it took to completely master the "fundamentals", you'd have very little time left to even worry about parts outside of rehearsal, but you wouldn't need to worry about those parts other than how to blend in rehearsal. And that's something you can't do in the practice room anyway.
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« Reply #7 on: Jun 19, 2017, 05:44AM »

There will come a time when almost all your practice will be fundamentals. You can become so strict about fundamentals that actual parts, excerpts, and solos seem like easier fundamentals themselves.

Think about it: If you spend all your time in the practice room making sure that your lip slurs encompass any interval that might come up in a piece, AND that they sound perfect and in tune, whatever shows up in rehearsal will be easy.

Now do the same thing with articulations, dynamics, and every kind of scale and arpeggio ... there won't really be anything that could possibly surprise you. If somehow a piece of music does throw you a curveball, it's probably just one passage that you'd need to woodshed.

If you spent the amount of time it took to completely master the "fundamentals", you'd have very little time left to even worry about parts outside of rehearsal, but you wouldn't need to worry about those parts other than how to blend in rehearsal. And that's something you can't do in the practice room anyway.

I believe you have a good point. However, I also believe if we follow your pattern, extreme care should be taken to approach all technical - or fundamental - studies from a standpoint of musicality. That stated, how do we make fundamental studies swing? So, from a practical standpoint, nothing trains us for increased musicality than to play music. That is why I concentrate on my fundamentals for 1/2 the time per session - up front, and then play actual music for the remainder of the time, with a brief "cool down" (if you will) where I re-center my tone in the lower/middle range.

...Geezer
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harrison.t.reed
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« Reply #8 on: Jun 19, 2017, 06:57AM »

Right Geezer. At least to me, rehearsals are where you make the music. Practice time is used to develop the best tone, the best intonation, and the best technique.

Rehearsals are where you get to play with others and be musical. Nothing gets in the way of the music because your fundamentals are as good as they can be. Call me crazy, but it is very difficult to be very musical locked in a practice room. It's easy to be musical when you know what you want to sound like, know what the style of music feels like, and are rehearsing with people who are musical.

This is why jazz combos that perform together a lot sound better, and also why it's important to do your excerpt rehearsals with the rest of the brass section.
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« Reply #9 on: Jun 19, 2017, 07:04AM »

Right Geezer. At least to me, rehearsals are where you make the music. Practice time is used to develop the best tone, the best intonation, and the best technique.

Rehearsals are where you get to play with others and be musical. Nothing gets in the way of the music because your fundamentals are as good as they can be. Call me crazy, but it is very difficult to be very musical locked in a practice room. It's easy to be musical when you know what you want to sound like, know what the style of music feels like, and are rehearsing with people who are musical.

This is why jazz combos that perform together a lot sound better, and also why it's important to do your excerpt rehearsals with the rest of the brass section.

Hey Craze,

Lol. You told me to.

Anyway, Harrison. That's also a good point. Unfortunately, I don't have rehearsals often enough and even when I do, they aren't comprised of certain styles of music I wish to promote. So I do it locked in my little music studio with various accompaniments pushed through my stereo system. But I think we are thinking along the same lines.

...Geezer
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harrison.t.reed
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« Reply #10 on: Jun 19, 2017, 07:16AM »

There's another thing. I feel like small practice spaces and accoustically dead studios also work against us musically. To me, practice spent in a space that is accoustically similar to where I'll rehearse or perform is much better for me musically than in the chamber of sorrows. Sure, mixing it up and playing specific skills in a dead space will point out flaws in my playing that crop up, so I do some of my practice in a Wenger module -- especially when it comes to how notes are connected. But a good part of making music is learning to play the room.
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"My technique is as good as Initial D"
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88HTCL - Griego 1C
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3B/F Silversonic - Griego 1A ss
pBone (with Yellow bell for bright tone)
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« Reply #11 on: Jun 19, 2017, 08:01AM »

There's another thing. I feel like small practice spaces and accoustically dead studios also work against us musically. To me, practice spent in a space that is accoustically similar to where I'll rehearse or perform is much better for me musically than in the chamber of sorrows. Sure, mixing it up and playing specific skills in a dead space will point out flaws in my playing that crop up, so I do some of my practice in a Wenger module -- especially when it comes to how notes are connected. But a good part of making music is learning to play the room.

Okay. I feel the same way and yet - like you - I can see value in practicing inside a mattress. If we can make a beautiful sound that is musical, think how good we will sound in a cathedral of sound! Along those lines, there is probably merit in practicing both with a mute and outside - for the same reason of learning how to blow straight through the horn. Not necessarily loud, just blowing through
the end of the mute or over to a fairly close tree line, or even better yet, trying to fill up the atmosphere; again not loudly - just with density of sound.

Something else I train with is a very small mouthpiece on a small-bore horn. Totally unforgiving; both. Learning how to play accurately, relaxed and clearly on that equipment makes me sound even better on a much more forgiving large-bore, with a larger mouthpiece. And oddly enough, I can play a lot more softly on the larger equipment.

...Geezer
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« Reply #12 on: Jun 19, 2017, 08:18AM »

... a good part of making music is learning to play the room.

Yes to that!

I remember I felt very awkward with some certain rooms we had for practice at the academy when I studied in the 80-ies. I remember I liked to practice in a church or a larger room. My flaws were hidden in those environments. Today I like small rooms with dry accustics and find the large churches and cathedrals more difficult. It's important to adopt to every room. Some music does not work in those environments.

/Tom
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Visit my page at https://sites.google.com/site/brazzmusic/

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