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Thread: Practice regimen

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Vinton,VA
    Posts
    167

    Practice regimen

    My apologies for the length of my post. As an amateur, I'm always looking for tweaks/enhancements to my practice regimen. When our community band is active, I always have a folder of music for the bulk of my practice. But in the off season, it's daily routines, working through a combination of David Vining's books, Arban, the Brass Gym, and exercises of my own development. After a thorough warm up, I vary the order of exercises so that I'm working the different aspects of playing either early, mid, or late in my practice. My question is do any of you find it most effective to vary the work on each aspect of your playing? For example, working on flexibility sometimes early, sometimes in the middle and sometimes late in your workout. I find that anything worked on toward the end of my practice before my final cool-down suffers somewhat just due to fatigue. So I'll move things around so that no aspect of my playing is always worked early, mid or late. Do most of you vary the order of drills/exercises within each practice session? Hopefully, my question is clear.

  2. There is a world of solos out there. Why not assemble a large collection that is not only music, but demanding of all the skills you need? I've never understood maintaining a boring schedule of exercises.
    Richard

    1935 Conn 64I Baritone
    King 1130 Flugabone
    King 2280 Euphonium

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Summerfield, Florida
    Posts
    1,586
    Roger,

    I have the luxury of being retired, and I have my euphonium and tenor and bass trombones sitting in their stands in my music room, always "at the ready". So, the first playing I do on any day is a warmup routine. Long tones, slurs, scales and the like. If I am working on a solo or a gnarly piece of music, I go to that after warming up. Later in the day, I will usually come back to my horn(s), do a brief re-warmup, then work on some aspect of my playing I want to improve, increase, develop, etc. If I am not working on any particular piece of music, I will go to this directly after my first warmup routine.

    I have found that it is best to tackle the most difficult piece you are working on early in a practice session, rather than saving it for last when you might be getting tired. In working on just exercises and drills, I think this is also true. There is a sweet spot in my practice routine where I probably sound the best and am technically sharpest. For me, this happens after I am fully, fully warmed up and have been working on a piece of music or an exercise. It is usually 30 minutes or so from when I first pick up my horn. At this sweet spot I will play my toughest piece or most technical exercise.

    I don't necessarily vary the order of exercises each day, but rather focus on the harder things early or the things that I really, really want to improve on. I also don't wait until the very end of a session to work on my upper range. I am careful how I do upper range stuff in any session or on any given day in that I don't want to trash or wear out my chops before I get done with all the particular things I want to work on.

    If there is a very particular exercise or technique that I am working on, for instance, triple tonguing, I will put this early in any practice session, then probably repeat it later in the session. In fact, I am right now working on something where I want my triple tonguing to be as fast as possible, so I do exercises for this multiple times throughout my practice session. If I were to spend the whole session doing the tonguing, then after a while it would be, how do they say it on Star Trek, futile! Your tongue would just start shutting down. So, using the tonguing as an example, it seems you cannot spend a whole session in one area. Playing chromatic scales is another example. I play those every day at some point, and I will spend a few minutes doing various chromatic exercises. But when I play those very fast for a while, my fingers get tired and a little painful actually. So, I can only do those for so long. This is another example of where I might do some aspect multiple times in a session for a short time each occurrence.

    When I stop and really think about how I approach playing and practice over time, I am probably not as regimented as the above might suggest. I sometimes just do whatever the heck I feel like at any given moment on any given day. But if I am trying to be very serious about my practice time, then I do try to put some order and regimentation into my practice sessions.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Kingdom of the Sun Concert Band, Ocala, FL (Euphonium)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Vinton,VA
    Posts
    167
    Both responses are appreciated and helpful, thanks Richard and John. I understand one size doesn't fit all, so I need to work on what improves my playing and increases my enjoyment of this very special avocation of making beautiful sounds.

  5. #5
    Go to bandmusicpdf and pick out a few Sousa Marches or overtures or anything by Holst, Grainger, Vaughan Williams et al, print out the euphonium parts or the baritone parts and give ‘em a go!

    GUARANTEED to last through the winter and longer!

  6. I should have asked this before. If you read treble clef, there is a huge amount of turn of the century cornet music free.
    Richard

    1935 Conn 64I Baritone
    King 1130 Flugabone
    King 2280 Euphonium

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Location
    Yorktown, Virginia
    Posts
    121
    Quote Originally Posted by ann reid View Post
    Go to bandmusicpdf and pick out a few Sousa Marches or overtures or anything by Holst, Grainger, Vaughan Williams et al, print out the euphonium parts or the baritone parts and give ‘em a go!

    GUARANTEED to last through the winter and longer!
    I purchased some recordings of Sousa marches and now have them on my iPhone. The free sheet music is in the same key as the recordings so I can ‘virtually’ be in a band while listening to the songs on a pair of speakers connected to my iPhone via Bluetooth. This helped to add a lot of fun to my daily practices when the pandemic kept our concert band from rehearsing together!
    Last edited by Shinn; 01-19-2022 at 04:36 PM.
    David Shinn
    Peninsula Concert Band
    Yorktown, Virginia



    1971 Besson ‘New Standard’ 181 Euphonium (3+1 compensating) ~ Alliance DC3M
    1962 Besson ‘New Standard’ 176 Euphonium (3-valve compensating) ~ Alliance DC3M
    1979 Besson 'New Standard' 168 Baritone (3-valve compensating) ~ Alliance DC5S
    1927 Holton Double Bell Euphonium (5-valve compensating) ~ Alliance DC5S

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Varese,Italy
    Posts
    246
    Quote Originally Posted by Shinn View Post
    I purchased some recordings of Sousa marches and now have them on my iPhone. The free sheet music is in the same key as the recordings so I can ‘virtually’ be in a band while listening to the songs on a pair of speakers connected to my iPhone via Bluetooth. This helped to add a lot of fun to my daily practices when the pandemic kept our concert band from rehearsing together!
    From this link you can download for free the parts and audio of all the Sousa's marches: good practice and guaranteed fun.

    https://www.marineband.marines.mil/P...-27-092217-827
    Last edited by franz; 01-19-2022 at 07:46 PM.
    Besson Prestige 2052, 3D+ K&G mouthpiece; JP373 baritone,4B modified K&G mouthpiece; Bach 42GO trombone, T4C K&G mouthpiece; Besson New Standard 3 compensated valves 1974, 3D K&G modified mouthpiece; Wessex French C tuba 3D K&G modified mouthpiece.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Smoketown, Pa
    Posts
    231
    A good etude book that I use for practice is 40 Progressive Studies for Trombone (bass clef) by H.W. Terrell. Don't know if it's still in print but my euphonium teacher in college had me buy it. (It was $1.25 then). I got back to using it when I bought a compensator and had to rethink the 4th valve with the left hand. It's been over 50 years that I've had the book and there are still a few that I'm working on that I never played. As you said, the community bands aren't rehearsing now due to COVID so I guess we have to find motivation and material to practice.
    B&S 3046 Baritone/Euphonium
    Wessex Festivo
    B&S PT37-S
    Schilke ST20 Tenor Trombone
    Jupiter XO Double valve bass trombone

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    NYC metro area
    Posts
    449
    Quote Originally Posted by BDeisinger View Post
    A good etude book that I use for practice is 40 Progressive Studies for Trombone (bass clef) by H.W. Terrell. Don't know if it's still in print but my euphonium teacher in college had me buy it. (It was $1.25 then). I got back to using it when I bought a compensator and had to rethink the 4th valve with the left hand. It's been over 50 years that I've had the book and there are still a few that I'm working on that I never played. As you said, the community bands aren't rehearsing now due to COVID so I guess we have to find motivation and material to practice.
    The Tyrell book is still in print. My teacher had me start working on it just this past year. https://www.amazon.com/progressive-s.../dp/B0007IXI72
    Dean L. Surkin
    Mack Brass MACK-EU1150S, BB1 (DE 101XTG9 mouthpiece in the drawer)
    Bach 36B trombone; Bach 6.5AL mouthpiece (pBone on loan to granddaughter)
    Steinway 1902 Model A, restored by AC Pianocraft in 1988; Kawai MP8, Yamaha KX-76
    See my avatar: Jazz (the black cockapoo) and Delilah (the cavapoo) keep me company while practicing

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