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Thread: Practicing without Instrument

  1. Practicing without Instrument

    Hi all I had a question regarding practicing without an instrument. I have a job that requires a lot of travel with extended stays away from home. Unfortunately, this makes bringing my euphonium along rather inconvenient. Naturally, when I come back home to practice with my instrument my playing has deteriorated a little bit. I wanted to ask if anyone had any advice on practicing without a euphonium.

    I have started taking my mouthpiece and buzzing long-tones but that is about all. Would it be practical to do Arban tonging exercising with buzzing to keep my embouchure among other things or is that not practical? Any other advice on practicing without an instrument would be appreciated as well.

    As an aside I have picked up the mandolin as it is a lot more travel friendly and still lets me to get my music fix but I really enjoy euphonium as it is the first instrument I've learned and I don't want all the practice time I've put in to go to waste.

    Thank you for any advice.

  2. #2
    Mouthpiece practice might be your best bet for your chops. A horn is better, of course, but not very packable. A couple companies make attachments for the mouthpiece that make buzzing a little more "real." I don't own one, though, so I can't speak from experience.

    And FWIW, for someone wanting to play a packagable instrument, I'd go with a recorder! I did that for a while to relax on band trips. It doesn't help your embouchure any more than a mandolin would, but the finger action is a bit more similar for your muscles.
    Last edited by davewerden; 11-07-2021 at 04:42 PM.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  3. #3
    Oh, and tonguing should be useful. Just listen for a pure tone and clean attacks.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  4. I saw a feature about a guy who plays flugabone. Apparently Josh Landress makes one with a screw bell. Very compact. Your fix is there. Right? I love my King Flugabone. A blast to play.
    Richard

    1935 Conn 64I Baritone
    King 1130 Flugabone
    King 2280 Euphonium

  5. Maybe a Wessex Maly euphonium?

    I have a barely-placed Wessex Turista Maly euphonium, which weighs about 6 pounds and fits in the overhead compartment of a plane. Mine is for sale and would be easy to take on trips. I live in a Philadelphia suburb and would be happy tp show you the horn!

    LittleJimmy
    Last edited by LittleJimmy; 11-07-2021 at 08:28 PM. Reason: left out a word

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    And FWIW, for someone wanting to play a packagable instrument, I'd go with a recorder!
    As an alternative to a recorder, one might consider a Mountain Inline Ocarina. Advantages: smaller than a recorder, much more durable, and less sensitive to breath pressure. Drawback: they can't do the second octave like a recorder can. I have two, one in G and one in C.
    David Bjornstad

    1923 Conn New Wonder 86I, Bach 6 1/2 AL
    2018 Wessex EP100 Dolce, Denis Wick 4ABL
    2013 Jinbao JBEP-1111L, Denis Wick 4AM
    2015 Jinbao JBBR-1240, Denis Wick clone mouthpiece of unknown designation
    Cullman (AL) Community Band (Euph Section Leader)
    Brass Band of Huntsville (2nd Bari)

  7. Two things: I use an Olds compact valve trombone for travel. It fits right in my suitcase with the clothes around it. If you have a trombone Yamaha Silent Brass mute, that works great with it, stores in the bell, and no one will ever know you are playing a brass instrument in your hotel room. It's a great option.

    Second, I like to just buzz my lips sometimes. This is a good way to warm up, and it actually improves your high range a lot. Don't do it more than a couple of minutes at a time, it wears you out fast, and might cause other problems if you do it too much. Buzzing the mouthpiece without the horn doesn't do much for me, but buzzing the lips without anything helps firm up the embouchure.

  8. #8
    I also find myself traveling occasionally for work. I often bring a mouthpiece and will just play melodies that I like or exercises that I'm working on. I also sometimes like to do Caruso Method stuff both free buzzing and mouthpiece buzzing. If you search YouTube for Julie Landsman and Caruso Method you will find a lot. The one I follow along with most often is called lips, mouthpiece, horn.

    I also sometimes travel with a pBone and a cheap Humes and Berg practice mute. It obviously won't help with your valve work, but it is good for playing when on the road and if you don't already play trombone it might be something fun to pick up. The horn itself is fairly inexpensive, very light, doesn't take up a lot of room, you don't have to worry about it getting dinged up, and with the practice mute is very quiet.
    Last edited by aroberts781; 11-08-2021 at 01:27 PM. Reason: typo

  9. #9
    Nothing that hasn't already been covered. I don't travel often, but because a flute is quite compact, I take that with me. It doesn't really help the euphonium (except for the part about reading music*), but it's an instrument I'd like to get better in none of the less.


    * Specifically, some sight reading, rhythms, how to recognize and read notes with 2 to 5 ledger lines above the staff (I primarily read treble clef, but do dabble with bass clef to gradually improve that skill. That, and some of the sheet music I come across is in BC)

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