The Advancing Trombone Player – Quick Start Guide

Advancing Trombone Player-cover-shadowThe Advancing Trombone Player – Quick Start Guide

First of all…

Congratulations on your purchase of The Advancing Trombone Player book!

You’re embarking on a great journey complete with challenges and rewards… frustrations and fun too!

Here’s a few tips on getting starting using the ATP book:

1. Read the written materials in the front of the book during your rest time within your practice sessions, let the information there really sink in (read it many, many times).

2. When you first start using the ATP book, in the first session (the Warmup Routine), just play exercises 1-4 and 17 the first week. Then the second week add one more exercise (ie 1-5 and 17), then the third week add one more exercise (ie 1-6 and 17) and continue in this pattern until you are playing exercises 1-17 of the Warmup Routine daily. If at any time the additional added exercise is not to your liking (still difficult) at the end of the practice week, then stay with that routine for another week or so until you it becomes easier for you.

3. Always rest as much as you play DURING your practice sessions, not just between your practice sessions. You should still feel fresh at the end of the practice sessions, if not then rest more during the session. You don’t get better by playing incorrectly on beat up chops. Always strive to practice correctly. When you perform or rehearse with others, just play (your correct practice habits will be with you).

4. It’s really okay to play the tonality studies S-L-O-W-L-Y. Go for air flow (think of each exercise as one continuous long tone of air), resonant sound on every note (fill the room with your sound, no matter the length of the note), clean attack and articulations, etc. What you are wanting to do with slow practice is to give your body a chance to learn to coordinate all of the “moving parts” of trombone playing so that it becomes second nature (subconscious reflexes) and carries forward into the study when you incrementally speed it up to quicker tempo.

5. Practice all of the articulations notated (ie S, T, K, TK, TTK, TKT, Breath). This will get your embouchure learning to play each note in every which way and whatever direction.

6. When playing from the tonalities section, or the Arban’s studies section, or any other thing you practice… it’s okay to practice one measure at a time, or even two beats at a time, or whatever. You can always string things back together and play longer stretches of music as you get better. It’s more important to play correctly for short periods, than incorrectly for long periods of time.

7. In the fourth session of the lessons, play as musically as you can. Those short little songs in the Arban book are full of twists and turns that really can give your chops a good workout and get you playing with finesse, and if you do them as I prescribe, your chops will feel fresh at the end of that session. Follow the instructions in the fourth session on how to alternate in the full range studies a few days a week also.

8. Always strive to play with the best tone possible. That’s what people hear, so why not be aware of it all the time when you practice. If you really sound great, chances are you are playing correctly. Always be thinking to resonate the room, not just the horn. This is not loudness volume, this is resonance. You will hear the room “feed back” the sound to your ears when you get it right. This is not echo. It is more of a thickness of your sound in the air that resonates while you play.

9. Always strive to make your practicing sound musical – make music, that’s the ultimate end game, so do it all along the way too.

10. Consider taking some lessons, either locally with a good instructor, or with me via Skype (yes, it really does work well, and I am very, very good at coaching you along your ATP trail).

11. Contact some local ensembles and get going on playing with others (see this page for ideas).

12. Have fun and enjoy the ride!

You’ll find some other ATP tips here.

As always, my best to you —

Mark Hendricks

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