Practice regimes

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by bardsandwarriors, Jul 3, 2006.

  1. I'm getting back into banding and I'm trying to improve superfast. I would like to be a very very good player :cool: - better than I was when I gave it up - 17 years ago.

    So far I have -
    - chromatics
    - scales and arpeggios
    - rangy slurs etc, arban-style.
    - fast tonguing, single, double and triple.
    - tricky bits from the band folder.
    - silent trills, to speed up difficult valve combinations (like -1- to 1-1).
    - long slow melodies (for the tone building), very loud and very quiet.
    - expressive, jazzy tricks

    I'm spending an hour or two a day on that lot. But one thing I'm not getting yet is pitching. The first note in any given piece is usually a bit rough, because I'm not able to mentally pitch it before I play it. How should I practice to fix that?

    Would you add anything else?

    Do you have a practice regime, and if so, what's in it?
  2. PS. My musicality is very good, which I why I feel able to answer questions here - all of that has survived, and even improved considerably with age. It is my physical technique that needs work. Right now, what sounds good in my head exceeds what comes out of the instrument. I'm working on closing the gap :)
  3. jingleram

    jingleram Active Member

    I reckon that only comes with time, as you get more used to your instrument, the angle at which you blow, and other things like that.
    For example, you should be able to narrow down mentally where to place the first note. This could be done by picking a not, then singing (if possible) an octave below and above, and deciding whereabouts within that range your opening note comes. From there, you should be able to ascertain which octave range in which it is found, and take it from there!

    Hope that helps! :rolleyes:

    Another thing is to try and sing the first note before every single piece, which should show improvements after a while!
  4. DrNo

    DrNo New Member

    A simple thing to remeber is practice what you find difficult or hard to do and you will move forward with your playing. Please remember you will not move forward in big chunks it will just be steady progress
  5. Charmed

    Charmed Active Member

    Haha, this comment reminded me of when I used to have lessons! My tutor would often look at me in exasparation and say "You know, I'd love to be a fly on the wall when you practice"! I'd proclaim "but I have practised, honest" and he'd reply "Oh I can tell, but I it's no good just practising the bits you can play!"

    That's always been my problem. If I find something difficult, I get really frustrated and so move on to something that I can do, which, in the short term, always made me feel better, but not in the long term!

    But without a tutor I wouldn't have improved at all, however, you seem to me to have a really structured practice routine and as long as you practice ALL areas, the pitching should eventually come naturally to you.
  6. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    If you are serious about improving your playing you might consider the option of taking some lessons. A good teacher will be able to help you focus on what is most important for you to work on (rather than the generalities you will receive from people who haven't actually heard you).
    You are most certainly not the first "comeback" player and I am sure you will not be the last - I know a great many players who have been through this and all would agree that it is worth it.

    As for how to improve pitching - singing is a very good suggestion. If you can sing the intervals you are having to play you stand a better chance of being able to pitch accurately.
    Something I have observed a great deal is that when playing scales everyone always starts at the bottom. Try starting at the top - it sounds simple, but it will help upper register pitching a great deal.
    Arban - The Bible - Best used with a teacher who knows how to work from it, but it is a vital source of studies that everyone should know about.
    Herbert L. Clarke - Technical Studies - another book people swear by (and at). The finest edition of this I have come across is that published by - Dave Hickman (trumpet guru - incredible player, teacher and musician) not only includes the Technical Studies but also the other Clarke study books. He also has a few performance guidelines as to how to make the most of the exercises.

    If you can play both of these books cover to cover, there is very little wrong with your playing
  7. starperformer

    starperformer Member

    arban pp128-129. tongued, slurs up, slurs down, all slurred, double tongued (both ways). starting on the middle stave and working towards top and bottom alternately.
    great lip builders and also excellent for both pitching and intonation.

    long notes.
  8. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    Seeing as you want to be able to pitch correctly, why not try playing hymn tunes by ear, but with a twist. Start off reading from the book, and then when it's ingrained raise the starting note by a semitone each time you repeat. This exercise will strengthen your sense of interval. After a while, once you're playing a note you'll know how to get to any second note almost without thinking, as you'll have practised the interval lots of time before. Also, maybe get hold of some atonal studies. They sound very angular and strange but as you have to consider every single interval, it's good mental practice.
  9. ian perks

    ian perks Active Member

    I always make sure i play at least 4 Hymn Tunes to listen for tuning&tone build my stamina/maintain it,play first verse as quiet a s possible and 2nd one start quiet and then gradually get louder:clap:
  10. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    Learn breath tones so that you can silently play the first note before a piece starts.

    It will come back in time, fear not!
  11. Emb_Enh

    Emb_Enh Member

    To make the most of your practice progress, it's first a good idea to identify exactly what your possible problems are.

    Anyone recommending their practice routine for you hasn't got the same physiology to start with, let alone the same mpc/instrument and way of blowing.

    It is with this in mind I wrote self analysis diagnosis books. For all the guys to swear by a certain exercise as THE golden way forward there is always someone else who will disagree.

    So... you have to find the right way forward for you ...BEFORE you put in the time and effort. This reflective/analytical period will pay off dividends in the long run.

    Embouchure Enhancement materials ...
    Cornet Canon [Bach Invention duet book] ...

    click here...

    BEST regards....

    Rod o-iii<O
  12. That is all excellent advice, thank you! I already practice what I find difficult, but it is nice sometimes to play what I enjoy aswell - to keep the balance right, and keep it fun. I've altered my practice to include scales etc starting at the top; and some hymns from memory.

    I vaguely recall doing this once. Can you explain it more?

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