Why Practise?!


I have just had a very valuable lesson where the main topic of our connversation was "efficiency of playing" - getting the basics right.

To cut a long story short - if the basic set up isn't right (for that individual), i.e breathing, the use of the breath, lip position, pressure etc etc is there anypoint in practising? What is too gain from practising a couple of hours a day incorrectly? Surely the benifits will be limited and unsustainable.

Speaking from past experience i know that it is pretty much pointless. During university i would practise a couple of hours a day - but my playing didn't really improve (over 4 years). A very slight stamina increase but nothing to write home about.

I'm pretty sure the same results could be achieved by only practising 2 to 3 weeks prior to a contest.

I have heard of and know people who practise hours a day - but they aren't world beaters - why?

Just wondering what other peoples views are on this subject? :D


Active Member
It depends what you practice... Just getting out a bunch of solos and blowing through them will do you very little good, as you say. However, working on the basics in practice (Breathing, sound control, flexibility, facility) through the use of lots of studies (Arban, Kopprasch (trombones), etc...) followed by a short time on pieces can bear massive rewards.


I suppose my point is all about technique (the basics).

One could practise the "right stuff" - lip flexibilities - studies - long notes etc. Again the results will be limited - eventually hit a brick wall.

The stuff that the teacher was talking about was so basic and easy to demonstrate. His practise routine is very simple - not many excercises.

Lip slurring is a good way to demonstrate my piont. Lots of lip slur practise will no doubt create improvement - but one would not be able to reach the comfortable "lip trill" stage without having the basis set up correct

Okiedokie of Oz

Active Member
As a kid (what I am saying, I still do!!) I had trouble practising, so much so it got me into trouble on a very serious level. My teacher devised a practise routine for my of a length of 40 - 80 mins in length. In it was some solo work, and fun playing, but the bulk consisted of Arban exercises, long notes and so forth.


The problem is you don't know what you don't know - which is why it is important to get some lessons from someone who knows what they are doing.

If you are (honestly) practicing for a couple of hours a day concentrating on the basics and you don't notice an improvement over a period of say 3 months (never mind 4 years) then the alarm bells should ring and you should go for at least a couple of lessons with a professional teacher.

Lip slurring is a good way to demonstrate my piont. Lots of lip slur practise will no doubt create improvement - but one would not be able to reach the comfortable "lip trill" stage without having the basis set up correct

You might well find that lip flexibilities correct minor embouchure problems automatically, however major embouchure flaws need proper diagnosis and could well involve a change of embouchure or even instrument. (i.e. with my chops I would make a very poor cornet player but a half decent trombonist)

Good luck :D


As i expected a few good points have been made. Also It is quite difficult to put my point accross via email :roll: + i don't know enough about playing and teaching to offer any kind of authority. :?:

I can only comment on my own experiences both personal and observing others play/progress.

I don't practise at all (except band) and i am in better condition than i was when i was practising every day :?: Still crap but i'm only benchmarking against myself!!!

The only difference is i am more aware when i play now. What i am hoping is after yesterday's lesson i have a 3 weeks spell of practise (using better technique - what i was shown) and see a marked improvement - over coming the wall!!

If it does then practise will make a huge difference.

It would be good to get feedback from anyone who has been in a similar position. If they met a teacher who made a big difference and what/how they made the difference. If it involved major change or minor tweaking etc etc.

hope this makes sense :shock: :shock: :shock:
The whole point of practise is to develop the lip muscles further, to provide a better playing ability. The ARBEN is the best for any brass player. However, if you have a bad embochure and build the muscles up in the wrong places, then it can be quite damaging to your playing. It is VERY important you think about how you are playing, and practise correctly doing the RIGHT warm ups and techniqes. If you practise correctly there is no dout you will become a better player. Aswell as all this, it is important to develop your reading ability of music to its full potential.


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