Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Smooth Sailing, Please!

Vacations, summer break and down times are just around the corner. Packing light for your travels? Make sure to stuff in your luggage the Clarke Technical Studies. The book is great for getting into shape and maintaining it. No amount of slugging or blastathons will ever accomplish what a few spoonfuls of this medicine will do for your chops every day. Follow Dr. Clarke's instructions carefully. His book produces great trumpet players.

Test yourself on the etudes. If you need some reconstruction, do the preceding studies. Etudes I, II, III, and IV are favorites for daily testing. Play soft, smooth and clear. Think how easily the clarinet player makes this sound. We want to match that. No bumps, fogged notes, or decibel variance. We must be able to function as a legato machine. Our goal is comfort and a smooth legato slur in and out of all ranges.

After a couple of weeks at this daily work you will find the etudes are memorized. Great. Try to play Etude II up a fourth and then up a fifth and memorize. Use small horns on this material too. Stay in a doable range. Smooth is better than high. Increase range only if smooth and controlled.

Yes, you can certainly blow up a storm this summer, but be sure to compensate with wise easy Clarke work. Need more of a challenge? Try double-tonguing them.

Have a safe and smooth summer break!

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