AN OPEN LETTER TO TRUMPET PLAYERS WHO AREN’T PROGRESSING AS QUICKLY AS THEY WANT TO
Start playing better trumpet in 30 days … Guaranteed!
We’ve all heard the old adage that “practice makes perfect”. While this statement may be true in many situations, when it comes to playing the trumpet, this statement is unequivocally false.
You can practice the “wrong” way until you’re blue in the face and only see minor results. You can spend hours and hours playing etudes and scales and never improve a single bit. These disappointing results leave you frustrated and uninspired to continue to put practice time in.
The key to fast improvement is knowing HOW and WHAT to practice. This little piece of commonly known but vastly misunderstood information is, by far, more important than the length of time that you practice.
When you sit in a practice room for hours and at the end of your lengthy practice session you feel like you have not accomplished much, you are most likely right. A great majority of middle school, high school, college and adult trumpet players fail to plan out their practice and, more importantly, practice the exact opposite of what they should be practicing.
Your Practice Time Could Be Counter Productive
The biggest problem with doing this is that not only are you failing to achieve your musical objective, but there is a good chance what you are doing is actually counter-productive! That’s right! You could be doing more damage than good.
When a student enters my trumpet studio for the first time, I ask them what their typical one-hour practice session entails. Here is a typical example of an answer to this question:
1. Some memorized warm-ups they picked up from a random place – 5 mins.
2. Playing through etudes without actually taking time to rehearse and fix errors – 10 mins.
3. Rehearsing music you are preparing in an ensemble – 20 mins.
4. Playing jazz or improvisation – 15 mins.
5. Playing through some other memorized music you learned in previous years – 10 mins.
6. Screaming the highest notes you can play – periodically throughout the session (especially at the end)
Does this sound similar to what you do? If it does, I have some news for you. You are wasting your time, accomplishing little in regards to improving your trumpet performance skills and are risking serious and irreparable damage to your embouchure.
Remember, this is just one example. I have encountered many other routines that are equally as shocking and unproductive. You may have read the above statements and said “No, I don’t do that.” There are many problems with the example above and each bullet point, when analyzed on its own merits, contains gross problems which are negating any of the good effort you might be making.
To help explain this phenomenon, let me paint this picture. Two men plan to enter a body building competition. The goal is to be strong and lean. Right? Let's say that both men are in pretty good shape and have 12 weeks to get into the best shape of their life. They know you need to make a commitment to working out and lifting weights everyday if they want to even have a shot at winning the competition. So they begin to train for an hour a day.
The only difference between the two men is that the second one hired a trainer to design a routine he could use during his workout time.
Here’s how the whole thing shakes out.
At the end of the 12 weeks the first man had some minor improvements in strength and physique. The second man on the other hand, has reached a lower body fat percentage than he has ever attained, he’s stronger and his muscles are well defined. In fact, he won the competition.
What’s the difference? They both put in the same about of time and they both worked at the same gym with the same equipment.
The real results came not from the time they put in but how they leveraged the time they spent.
The second man had a proper plan for getting the results he was working toward. The first man just did what he thought was best.
If your goal is to achieve day-long endurance, stratospheric range, extraordinary technique and do it in the shortest amount of time possible you need a sure-fire plan for your practice time.
Not All Method Books Are Not Created Equal
How many trumpet method books do you own that are chock full of exercises that you have no clue on how to use? Building on my previous example, I will liken this to being in a gymnasium full of weights with no guidance on what to lift and how much to lift. But, with the proper assistance, you can use the weights to achieve your maximum potential. Without assistance, you will find yourself over-worked and under-productive.
With Trumpet 101: A Resource Manual For Trumpet Players on your music stand, you have a combination of motivation, education and inspiration designed with specifically with rapid achievement in mind.
• The 5 Foot High Trumpet Guy’s exclusive 5 octave fingering chart!
• Private lessons on every page. It’s like having your own private instructor coaching you to success!
• The big secret from Bill Chase that will have you mashing higher notes in minutes!
• Discover the most important note in any piece of music and why missing it could spell disaster!
• My proven two-step performance formula which will make you a better trumpet player … guaranteed!
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