Testing the Water?

After having my brass lesson yesterday i was thinking about what my teacher had said about my playing. He had told me 'To stop testing the water' meaning that when I play scales I repeat the bottom not before playing the scale.

Ive just been listening to other players and noticed that many of them also do this and they all have different teachers and go to different schools. My teacher is trying to make me 'kick the habit' but how do you prevent people from starting doing it?

Is it just people in this area that 'test the water' or is it something that we just do like a habit and if so where does it start and how do we stop it?

Many Thanks


Active Member
i think it's to do with making sure you get that first note right, because if you try and whack through a scale and you've started a harmonic too high it's going to sound a bit wrong... if you can get the note in your head (singing helps, although people might look at you strangely...) then you should have the confidence to get it first time and just go for it... well, i think so anyway...


It's a confidence thing, not being sure if you're hitting the right note.

Decide not to do it anymore, and then don't! :D


Active Member
Every time you do it, stab yourself in the eye with a large knitting neddle, you'll ever do it twice more!!


Try this.

When you're playing with a band, you tend to breathe in time with the music (i.e. 4/4, playing on the downbeat, you would go 1...2...3...breathe...play).

Try doing the same with scales.. Work out how fast you're going to go. Count yourself in mentally, then breathe and play in time.


Yeah I do that too. It's easy to say- just don't do it, but it's a lot harder to acutally stop doing it. But I agree with the point made about singing. It's hearing the note in your head before you start and singing will help with that. Beofre you "come in" take a few seconds to try and hear the note before you start and then try and blow it with confidence. Keep practicing that and it should help. I could do with listening to my own advice too!!

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