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Fine Arts Brass tips for trombone players everywhere

Simon Hogg's Practice Plan

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Athletes have to train to become fit and musicians have to practice.

It is important to practice with a purpose.

Make a list of things you want to improve. This gives whatever time you can afford a focus and prevents aimless 'clock watching'.

Devote a limited time (say five minutes) to each topic and vary the regime to fit your own playing commitments. eg. exam, audition, recital etc.

Here are some suggested topics to practice.

Warm-Up Relax the arms, shoulders and neck. Check posture. Play gently in the middle register without straining or forcing.
Long Notes Use a metronome.
Lip Slurs Smooth & even. Slowly for strength, faster for flexibility.
Scales Major & minor ALL KEYS. Use the circle of fifths. First one and then two octaves.
Breath Attacks Good for diaphragm awareness.
Arpeggios Tongued & slurred.
Single Tonguing With metronome.
Double Tonguing With metronome.
Triple Tonguing With metronome.
Crescendo & Diminuendo Good for sound and breath control.
Intervals Running scales repeating the tonic
Studies See repertoire list
Pieces For concert, exam etc
Sight Reading Something new every day
Pedals For relaxation & open sound

All the above could be described as technical practice. Denis Wick says you need to be a trombone machine. In addition to learning the mechanics of brass playing it is even more important to be able to communicate through music to the listener. This is the most important aspect of all. Don't spend too long playing studies, look for interesting trombone repertoire and if you can't find it steal music from other instruments.

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