Saturday, November 27, 2010

Some Healthy Choices

O.K. the eating frenzy is over. You're thinking, no more sweets, no junk, no more sugar-induced colds. Help! If you are now more convinced than ever to get healthy, you may want to apply that obsession to trumpet practice. Consider good intakes of some items that are sure to improve rather than tear down your playing? Here are a couple of healthy suggestions for your practice menu. Get a head start today on your '11 resolutions.

How about a good helping of daily sweet starts? You need to be able to guarantee a great-sounding first note. Imagine being able to win an audition with just the amazing quality of the first note of every one of your excerpts! Wouldn't that be sweet?

Next, you may partake of some of those very expensive specialty starts, the high and the soft. Don't try to gulp them down. Approach each with calm care. Then let them melt in your mouth. Savor that ability to pick them off slowly, one by one, to the amazement of all who listen and watch!

No slurping at the table. Why are the upward slurs usually played better than the downward, especially in the low register? We tend to slur up and slurp down. Your job is to make legato intervals the clean, the pure, and the in-tune every time. Be sure to keep corners from sagging and relaxing so much that you can't recover your firm setting.

Great players have learned how to be successful with the simplest of tasks. Now open up Arbans and Schossberg (or the like). Confine your work to the beginner section at the front. Simple and boring is what you're looking for. No expressive shoulder-lifting, just precision. Goal: cold-blooded, deadpan control and accuracy - the mindset you'd expect from your heart surgeon!

See earlier posts on this subject:
  • Playing the 10-Second Game, 4/18/09
  • What a Way to Start, 4/11/08
  • Garbage-Free Zone!, 4/21/07
  • Playing the Dim Game, 2/6/07
  • Five Seconds Only!, 5/13/06
  • The Tip of the Brush, 5/1/06

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