Trumpet Challenge Week 31

Trumpet Challenge Week 31 – Ups and Downs.

The week just gone has definitely been one of mixed results, some fantastic practices and some quite average ones. I have managed to keep an update on my progress throughout the previous week (see my Thursday post) so I will skip and focus solely on my Friday and Saturday sessions.

Friday 20th of October.

The session proved to be one of contrasts, some real positive developments and definitely some frustrations. The frustrations continue to revolve around my pitching of the higher notes in my current range (Bb, B, C, C#, D, Eb, E and F). This frustration in pitching is particularly noticeable when I am playing repertoire and the notes are occurring in the middle to the end of pieces…something that will definitely need my continued attention.

I did manage to commit to a twenty five minute session, lots of mistakes has not made as beneficial as some of my earlier ones.

Saturday 21st of October.

This session was quite short and very rushed. I did not get anywhere the amount of time that I would like to give towards my practice due to other events we had on in the afternoon and my need to rush home.

Hopefully the coming week’s practices can be more consistent and a better standard in quality to what this session was.

Sessions in Review

Whilst I am finding myself increasingly frustrated at not being able to develop and extend my range further, or get consistency in my pitching / tone for that matter, I am happy with the commitment to practice throughout the week. I have on a whole gotten on my instrument every day that I wanted to which is a huge positive.

I am looking forward to this coming week (Term Three of the School calendar) and my hope to continue to develop the good habits of effective trumpet practice.

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Positive Steps

Term Four Fitness Challenge Review – Week 2.

I am feeling a great sense of achievement from this last week’s fitness sessions. Not that I have broken any world records or even personal best, but rather that I have managed to complete a full five days work outs without having to shorten any of them. I honestly cannot remember the last time that this has occurred!

My sessions incorporated a range of cardio-vascular and free weights routines. I completed three cardio vascular routines over the days Monday, Wednesday and Friday with free weights session on the Tuesday and Thursday to break up the routine. I will try to give an overview of each session below and then a few additional reflections.

Monday – Cardio-Vascular.

This was my first cardio session since the slight hamstring strain I experienced last Monday at indoor soccer. I did not know how the session was going to go, I wanted to get the most out out of it but also not tear of pull anything – a fine balance to keep.

Arriving at the gym just before 6:00am, I was on the bike for 15 minutes to start this session. I didn’t push myself too hard with the resistance only on 5 and the rpm at approximately 90 rpm. Eventually I will aim to work this back up to the 100 rpm but I did manage to work up a sweat and become short of breath – I guess that this shows how unfit I really am!

After completing my cycle session I proceeded to the treadmill for a 1o minute run. I made the decision that this week I would not reintroduce the ergo until the end of the week to give my legs a little more time to recover. I proceeded with the treadmill on 10km/h for the first few minutes, this was causing me a little trouble beyond what I was comfortable with so, not wanting to cause an injury, I reduce the speed to 8km/h which I held for the remainder of the time.

I am happy with this effort for my first session back into cardio, it will give me a good base to build from over the coming weeks.

Tuesday – Free Weights.

I have continued to focus my free weights sessions on lighter weights with higher intensity / less rest the between sets. Today’s session saw me using the 10kg weights for my chest press, should press, shoulder fly and bicep curls. I then changed down to the 8kg weights for tricep curls. I am still conscious of the long standing injury I have to my right shoulder, this is particularly sore when moving the weight into place for the tricep curl.

I managed to complete all the exercises relatively well, I think that Thursday’s session will involve me increasing some of the weights.

Wednesday – Cardio-Vascular

My Wednesday session needs to be short and sweet due to my earlier start at school with a 7:00am ensemble rehearsal. I managed to mirror the session I did on Monday, again finding that it was the right balance between exerting without over exerting.

Thursday – Free Weights.

I kept the same routine as I did on Tuesday’s session. One problem I encountered were the weights that were available. I managed to get some 12.5kg weights for the chest and shoulder presses but could not get 10 kg dumb-bells for the biceps. I dropped the weight of the biceps to 9kg which I also used for the tricep curls and should fly.

The lat machine was free on this day, I added in three sets of twelve reps with a low weight resistance to my routine to start working my lats again.

Friday – Cardio Vascular.

The final session of the week. I am wrapped to be able dos ay that I have completed a full five days! This session saw me push myself a little harder on the bike, increasing the rpm to an average 95. I also added in the ego for the first time, boy did it hurt! I completed five minutes holding my stroke rate at 30 strokes per minute and an average 500m split of just over two minutes.

The session finished with my ten minute run on the treadmill. The speed of this was not increased due to me not wanting to overdo things after my ergo introduction.

Weekly Reflections.

The week has been a success overall. Five session is making me feel pretty good. Other positives is that I have continued to cut out the junk food, very little chocolate and chips have been consumed during this week!

One area that I will need to continue to focus on is my bedtime routine and getting to bed at a decent hour. By the end of the week I am finding myself feeling quite tired due to that bedtime curfew going out the window a little too often.

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Trumpet Challenge Week 30 Thursday

Trumpet Challenge Thursday Week 30 – A Challenging Week.

My midweek practice sessions this week have been incredibly difficult in every way. It’s been difficult to get up early enough to practice, when I do I have found my lips have been increasingly tired and I have struggled adapting my embouchure between saxophone & clarinet to the trumpet. Having said this, I have managed to spend time on the horn on both Tuesday (only briefly) and Thursday (a little longer).

Tuesday Review.

My Tuesday session only went for approximately ten minutes. It was difficult to get to school in the aftermath of the College Presentation Night at the Concert Hall the night before. I did, however, get to school with enough time to pull out the trumpet and work on long notes, lip slurs and scales. There was minimal repertoire work.

I found that I experienced a similar problem to Saturday, my embouchure was inconsistent. This lead to many problems on my higher notes both pitching and getting a full sound. I will need to spend some time researching ways I can continue too develop this and also move between instruments with greater ease.

Thursday Review.

Today’s session was a little better than the previous two although I still am struggling with the movement to my higher notes, especially in repertoire including “Pomp and Circumstance” (A to D) and “American Patrol”. I am pulling out the difficult phrases to work on them separately, which I can do, it is hard to get the accuracy when playing in the context of the piece as my lips are a little more fatigued by the time I reach the passage.

My practice started with the usual long notes, lip slurs and scales. These all went reasonably well. There were a few problems with my higher slurs (Bb – D; B – D#; C – E; C – Eb; C# – E; D – F) but they are slowly getting more fluent. The tone is still quite thin at the top, I need to stay focused on not using pressure when playing to get the high notes. I can tell when this is occurring as the notes sound strained and thin in their timbre.

I continued the session with scales, playing my Majors in all Twelve keys, one octave. There are still some errors with remembering fingerings for my notes but these are gradually improving. Some of my higher starting scales need a lot more attention including the F, E and Eb Major Scales. The arpeggios are a little less polished but slowly improving. I will continue with these scales for another week before introducing my Harmonic Minors.

I did manage to spend some time on repertoire, however, as previously mentioned, struggled with consistency in pitching. My main difficulty is having fatigued lips in the middle to end of phrases and having to play up high. I’ll keep working on developing and strengthening my embouchure further to hopefully overcome this.

I am looking forward to tomorrow’s practice. I managed to get a good half an hour in last week on the Friday, hopefully I can replicate that for a second week in a row!

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Starting Again

Term Four Fitness Challenge Review – Week 1.

The blogging about my fitness regime for the past few years has been about as consistent as the actual sessions, not at all. I have however decided that it is time to start again, but this time try to do both a little smarter as time seems to becoming increasingly precious as a get older and my commitments / lifestyle has continued to change. It’s basically time to start fresh and try to set some new and more achievable goals.

One of the things that I have learnt over the years with goal setting is that they need to challenge you but also be achievable. You need to have a definitive start and end date for the goal and be able to break it down into manageable sized actions to ensure that you actually have the procedures in place to give you the best chance of success. This is what I have decided to do regarding fitness:

Over the length of Term 4 (8 weeks) I will endeavour to exercise five days a week, week days by getting up out of bed between 5:15 and 5:30 every morning. This will allow me to get to the gym no later than 5:50am where I can do an intense workout for 30 – 40 minutes before showering, dressing and heading into school. My sessions will vary between cardio (three times a week) and free weights (two times a week).

For me to be successful in this I know that there’s a few actions important for me to commit to, the first being getting to bed at a decent hour to get enough sleep. I am going to try to commit to getting to bed between 10:30 and 11:00 each night so that at a minimum I’ll be getting 6 hours sleep, I know I can function off this amount quite easily. I also know that I have to get out of bed as soon as my alarm goes off in the morning, any hesitation and I’ll miss my session.

Part of my challenge will also be trying to control what I eat, especially the junk food. I have weakness for chocolate and chips (crisps) that I know are not having a positive effect on my waistline currently.

Posting wise, I’ll try to do a single review post outlining “the week that has been” which would include challenges and successes I have experienced throughout the week.

Week 1: Monday 9th – Friday 13th of October.

I have managed to have a great start to the Term Four Challenge with me getting to the gym on all five days and doing decent workouts.

I have already encounter see problems that have meant changing my routine. The first hindrance occurred as a result of filling in for an indoor soccer team on Monday night, all I can say is that I am so unfit!!! I felt my hamstring go quite weak towards the end of the game, this feeling continued throughout Monday evening. I have experienced this feeling before, usually during rehab. after tearing the same muscle but never without having actually pulled the muscle prior.

Knowing that my leg was in trouble, I made the call to continue with the gym but to lay off the cardio for the remainder of the week – it will be four weights sessions in a row for me!

My next hinderance occurred on Wednesday morning. I made the silly decision to stay out late on Tuesday night by going to a late movie – this meant I didn’t get into bed until after midnight…BAD MOVE! I managed to push through and get out of bed and completed the session.

My Thursday an Friday sessions were completed with minimal problems or disruptions.

Overall, I am happy with the start I have made to the challenge. I am cautious however, it takes three weeks to form a habit and this week will be vitally important in seeing me push through and set up a good routine for the remainder of the challenge.

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Trumpet Challenge Week 30

Trumpet Challenge Saturday, Week 30 – Finding the Balance.

It has been a fortnight since my last post on the current progress of my Trumpet Challenge, not due to a lack of practice but more due to trying to find the right balance between home, work and professional development…I think I’m slowly getting there.

Before moving onto this previous week I will recap on Week 29 briefly.

Week 29 was another productive week of practice despite a number of interruptions / priorities that were of greater importance than spending time on the trumpet. I managed practice sessions on the Saturday, Tuesday and Wednesday of the week all of which continued to show improvement in the strength and consistency of my higher notes and lip slurring abilities. I did not practice on Monday as it was my birthday and there were a number of celebrations planned. My practice took a hit in the latter part of the week due to me being called for a fill-in sax gig last Friday night with a band that I hadn’t played with before. I had to learn by memory 50 songs in three days, this took priority being a paid professional gig. As a side point, I managed to learn all 50 songs and the gig went really well. I will try to write a post about it separate to this one at a later date.

Moving onto the week that has just finished, I am happy with the progress that I have made. I have finished the first week back at school, in the past this has resulted in my practice quality and quantity taking a significant hit due to the amount of tasks that I have to get completed. I had, however, made a concours decision to be at school early enough to get practice completed before the rigours of the everyday life of a Music educator began. I managed to achieve this on three separate days (Tuesday, Thursday and Friday) with all sessions being quite productive. My overall time on the horn also increased with the Friday session coming in at just under 25 minutes, this is something that I am quite proud of. Throughout these weekly sessions I have continued to see improvement in my ability to pitch notes and the range is gradually increasing sometimes being able to hit “F” on the top line of the staff. I have started incorporating scales and arpeggios into the regime, playing my Majors in all 12 keys around the Cycle of 5ths. I am still making some errors with the valve positions, especially on the scales that use the same valve in close succession on the higher notes. I am sure that this will be overcome with continued practice.

Today’s Practice Session – Saturday 14th October.

Today’s practice was quite frustrating, I felt like it was a definite step back from where I had managed to get to over the last few weeks. In reflection I think that the quality of my practice has been effected by the time of day it was done. I have been practicing first thing in the morning while my its are fresh. Today’s session occurred after four and a half hours of private teaching over three different instruments (sax, flute and clarinet) and from the first long note everything felt tired and out of sorts.

Technical Work.

The session started with technical work which lasted for approximately 8 minutes. During his time I worked on my long notes and lips slurs. I had some problems today with some of the slurs from the note “F” upwards. I did managed to push through to eventually get up to the C – E slurs but it took a lot of work and there were a number of mis-pitched notes.

I continued with scales and arpeggios. This went reasonably well with me getting more comfortable with the scales in all twelve keys. Some more work is needed in the upper range with a number of errors in pitching / nothing able to hit notes and also valve positions.

Repertoire.

My repertoire today was a real struggle, this is disappointing after having such a strong day yesterday. I managed to play the warmup piece “Las Manzanitas” reasonably well but then I struggled with the next two pieces “Pomp and Circumstance” and “American Patrol”, particular the transition up to my “D” in the staff. I have been doing really well with this over the last week, I guess it shows that it is always possible to have a bad day.

I am hoping that I can continue to find a good balance in all aspects of my life as I head into this week. There are some big events on including my school’s Academic Awards Night which could throw a spanner in the works, it’s going to take discipline and a positive attitude to ensure I get the outcome I want.

Bring it on!!!

 

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Trumpet Challenge Week 28

Trumpet Challenge Saturday Week 28 – Signs of Improvement.

When I reflect back on the week that has just passed it has definitely been a roller coaster ride of successes and failures on the trumpet. Overall though, I do feel that significant progress has been made. My high notes are slowly becoming more consistent, as I experienced throughout today’s session.

I successfully have managed to complete five practices inside the week, a goal that I set for all my students from a practice perspective. I cannot remember the last week that I managed to reach this goal myself personally on the trumpet (yes, that is shameful).

I also had an amazing experience where I got to watch a symphony orchestra performer demonstrating buzzing to children as a part of a workshop. I noticed that his embouchure was slightly different to how I have been forming mine, particularly the top lip position. I have been working on trying to incorporate this into my playing since this experience and it seems to be showing some improvement, especially in my high notes.

Warmup / Technical Exercises.

I commenced today’s session in a similar manner to other sessions; long notes, lip slurs and scales. I worked on readjusting my embouchure to have more top lip overhanging / in the mouthpiece cup. This proved successful with being able to slightly adjust for the higher notes in the slurs and made for a more consistent tone. I also managed to push higher in my lip slurs than previously with me managing all lip slurs up to the C in the third space comfortable. The slur from the C to the E did work but there was significant breaking and mismatching, I could not manage the C# to E or D to F slurs, hopefully int he next week these will work a little better.


Today proved be a real good day for my scale exercises. I managed to complete my C Major, D Major, G Major, Bb Major, A Major without many problems. I had some difficulty with the Eb and E Major Scales (top few notes) and tried to be adventurous by playing the the F Major (this didn’t bode well at the top end). Hopefully I’ll be able to continue to stretch myself in this coming week and have an even better outcome by this time next week.

Accent on Achievement Repertoire.

I started at the same place that I have been throughout the week, Page 30. I was hesitant with how the first few pieces would go as I have had some difficulty with the high notes in both “Crossing the Break” and “Kum Ba Yah”. Interestingly, today was probably the best I have played these, there’s still some work to do but it was an improvement, especially “Crossing the Break”.

I played Trumpet Voluntary quite well, I think that this will be dropped from my routine during this week as will “Finlandia” as both of these are being performed nicely.

I continued with Page 31 with some good success on the first few songs. “Shepherd’s Hey”, “Botany Bay” and “Reuben and Rachel” were all performed well, this means that I will drop these during the coming week. Some additional work is going to be needed on “Amazing Grace”, particularly the movement between C and A at the start of the second line. I did not attempt the technical exercise at the end of the page. This is a really good exercise that I want to look at adopting into my practice routine, I will make a note of this for me to use during the coming week.

My session continued with Page 32 and the song “Syncopated Rhythms”. This was played well and will be dropped from the regular routine to allow time to focus on more difficult repertoire. The songs “Russian Sailor Dance” and “Ye Banks and Braes of Bonnie Doon” have both shown some improvement but a greater amount of time is needed on my higher notes, especially the transitions to and from the High D. “Tom Dooley” at the end of the page needs a lot of work, especially the movement to the High D and High C.

Unfortunately, my session was needed to be cur short at this point due to my next Saturday morning student arriving. This is just a reality of my life as a musician, I’m not phased by, rather grateful that I get to live the life I do teaching, playing and writing music.

The coming week should be an exciting time for me and the Trumpet Challenge. Hopefully I’ll get the remainder of the book completed and maybe have all five days under the belt again. I know that there will be some changes to schedule during this week, hopefully I can smash out another great and progressive week…bring it on!

 

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Trumpet Challenge Week 27 Tuesday

Tuesday 26th of September – Two Steps Forward, One Step Back.

I went into today’s session with a huge amount of hope and excitement at what would be possible off the back of some excellent sessions over the past few weeks. I really felt that I had started to see significant growth in my tuning, pitching and accuracy of high and low notes…silly me!

Today’s practice was nothing short of frustrating! The good work that had been present in all areas of my development felt like ti went out the window today, high notes were mismatched and broken, intonation was shocking and low notes wouldn’t come out – I had a terrible day to the extent it felt like a two steps forward one step backwards sort of day…actually more like one step forward and two steps backwards.

Warmup / Tecnical Exercises.

I commenced the practice in the same manner that I have for the past few weeks, lips slurs, longnotes and scale. The session started well enough with the lip slurs, I did start to run into problems a lot earlier and found it challenging to maintain the high notes cleanly and accurately. I just couldn’t get my embouchure right today for some reason!!!

The scales work was also a challenge, I managed to play C Major accurately, but after this had problems pitching the low notes (G, A and B) for the G Major scale and the high notes (C, C#, D and Eb) for the D and Eb Major scales.

Accent on Achievement Repertoire.

I had hoped to continue my progress in Accent on Achievement form yesterday’s great session and build on the concepts that I thought I had consolidated…this did not happen at all!

I started on Page 30 as I have been and struggled with the accuracy of notes for my High C and D throughout the entire page. I had made great progress with the song “Finlandia” over the last week but today the high D was just not there.

Page 31 continued this trend, high notes proved challenging and there seemed nothing I could do to improve my embouchure. One positive from the is page was the song “Reuben and Rachel” where I managed to play most of the low Bb notes (first valve) without many broken notes…if only I could put both he high and low note accuracy together!!!

I didn’t get past Page 32 in today’s practice, this page had some positive moments. The most positive was the song “Russian Sailor Dance” which I managed to play without any broken notes, including the high C and D. Unfortunately the song “Ye Banks and Braes of Bonnie Doon” didn’t have the same consistency, especially int he movement from the Bb to D on the first valve. The final song on the page, “Tom Dooley” has a significant number of errors in it, a lot more work and attention is to be needed.

I feel that a good goal for me to have after today’s practice would be to try and have the book completed prior to Term Four commencing. I do feel that this is possible although a significant amount of work will be needed consistently over the coming week and a half to achieve this.

This goal will allow me to start preparing for the next books, both another Accent on Achievement and a separate repertoire book. I am happy to take suggestions from Trumpeters out there as to what a good beginner repertoire book is. Feel free to give advice in the comments down below!

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Trumpet Challenge Week 27 Monday

Trumpet Challenge Monday, Week 27 – Feeling Blocked Up.

Well I have managed to get out and start off the holiday season in style with a good session on the first day, WooHoo! I honestly didn’t know how today’s session was going to go, I am still suffering from a cold and my sinuses are quite congested (ugh!!!).

Warm Up / Technical Exercises.

I managed to start the session with a good variety of long notes, lip slurs and scales. My lip slurs went well up to about the F – Bb (first valve) where I started to break the notes. I did managed to continue the lip slurs up to the Bb – D (first valve) where I returned to tonguing each note. My final position change was from the C – E (open valves).

The scales I worked on today included my majors in the keys of C, G, Bb, A and Eb. I had significant trouble with my G Major scale, the first notes (G, A and B) were very difficult to get out. I am going to have to keep focusing on my lower notes as well as the higher ones. I do find thesis particularly difficult after having played towards the top of my range, the repositioning off the embouchure is proving quite challenging!

 

Repertoire.

Today proved to be quite a fruitful day in the Accent on Achievement Book No 1 for Trumpet. I started on Page 30 with “Crossing the Break” which took some time to settle into, there were challenges with the high D being clear still.These problems continued with “Kum Ba Yah” before I settled into a good routine and tone for the final two songs on the page; “Trumpet Voluntary” and “Finlandia”. I managed to play “Finlandia”, including the High D half way through the piece, with great accuracy, just as I did on Saturday.


The session continued with Page 31. The first two pieces, “Shepherd’s Hey” and “Botany Bay” were both played with a good accuracy. I am particularly happy with “Botany Bay” as the high D in Bar 10 has always caused me some difficulty. I am still having difficulty with “Reuben and Rachel” in the pitching of the low Bb (first valve), the note continues to break and be difficult to pitch. If there is any advice Trumpeters could give me to improve this after having played up higher it would be greatly appreciated! The final piece on the page, “Amazing Grace” was played better than in previous sessions. I am still having some difficulty with the high C in Bar 9 but it is getting stronger.

Page 32 proved a little more challenging. Three of the songs “Russian Sailor’s Dance”, Ye Banks and Braes of Bonnie Doon” and ” Tom Dooley” all focus on movement to and from the high D (first valve). There were a lot of broken notes, this page is going to need a lot more work to master!

Rather than finishing there I continued with Page 33. This page introduces the note Eb (2nd and 3rd valve). The first song “Mixin’ It Up” was quite easy to complete due to not having a large range however, “On Top of Old Smokey” proved difficult towards the end. I, again, experienced difficulty with the low Bb towards the end of the piece. I played the phrase separately a few times before playing in context to try and master the slight nuances needed in embouchure. I will continue to work on this over the coming week.

The page continued with “March Slav” and “Las Mananitas” both of which I managed without much difficulty. The final song on the page, “Pomp and Circumstance” proved a little more challenging. The movement from an A to High D really stretched me and will need some focus to get the jump clean and accurate consistently.

My session finished with the song “American Patrol” which is the final song in the book. This will need a lot of additional work, I am under no illusions. Hopefully by the end of this week it will be done and dusted (if I get my sessions in).

I am happy with how the session went, I have managed to pack a lot in. Hopefully this trend will continue with another session tomorrow!

 

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Trumpet Challenge Week 27

Trumpet Challenge Saturday, Week 27 – One Less Practice.

I have to be honest, this week I didn’t get the same amount of sessions in, I had one less with no Thursday morning session. There were, however, good reasons behind this with me being away on a school retreat with my Year 11 Tutor group (Form Class) from Wednesday – Friday and I’m not confident enough to take my trumpet away with me and have others endure my beginner tones.

It is funny how even though I am a musician and teacher I still get self conscious when it comes to playing a new instrument in front of others. I guess it is a good dose of reality to how my students feel in the early years when I encourage them to perform in front of either their family or in Eisteddfods as soon as possible.

Saturday Session.

Today’s practice went really well, despite me having a terrible head cold. I managed to see improve in my overall range both lip slurs wise and in repertoire. I am looking forward to being on holidays for the next two weeks, hopefully some additional sessions will be possible meaning more growth and development (in theory).

Warmups / Technical Exercises.

My routine started with the usual long notes, lip slurs and scales. Today’s slurs went really well with me managing to be cleanly hit notes slurring up to my C in the third space before starting to break. I didn’t manage to hit many of the slurs above this with any accuracy but did continue to work on positions with tonguing and got as high as my E in the top space (open valve).

The warmup continued with scales, looking at my major scales int he keys of: C, Bb, G, D, E and Eb.

Accent on Achievement Repertoire.

I made the decision to move ahead int he book today, starting on Page 30 which introduces the D on the fourth line. There was a little trouble with “Crossing the Break” and “Kum Ba Yah” in getting an accurate pitching of the high D but this settled later with me playing “Finlandia” perfectly for the first time.

My session continued with “Shepherd’s Hey”, “Botany Bay”, “Reuben and Rachel” and “Amazing Grace”. My pitching was quite good for all except for Reuben and Rachel where moving back down to the Bb beneath the staff was troublesome, I couldn’t get the embouchure right from a support perspective. More time will need to be spent on long notes and moving from high to low notes to train my muscle memory. I finished page 31 with a technical exercise that moves between the F, B  and D on the first valve. Some issues were had with the D due to there not being any rests. It is quite a good exercise that I might look at adapting to start on various other notes, thus developing the elasticity in my lips to move fluently between positions.

I continued the session with Page 32. The first song, “Syncopated Rhythms” proved no difficulty so I will probably not do this again in my sessions in the coming week. The remainder of the page, “Russian Sailor Dance”, “Ye Banks and Braes of Bonnie Doon” and “Tom Dooley” all proved challenging, particularly the pitching of the High D consistently. These will be worked on over the coming week.

Reflection.

I am really satisfied with today’s session. Coming in at approximately 18 and a half minutes I feel that slowly the strength in my lips is being built up. The aims in the coming week will be to continue to develop the elasticity in my lips to move fluently between notes on the some valve position.

It will be a challenge being on  holidays to regularly practice, my hope is that I will get more done, however, with a change in routine it will need to be a conscious decision.

 

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Trumpet Challenge Week 26

Trumpet Challenge Week 26 – A Consistent Effort.

This week has really been another example of my recent consistency in practice. I yet again managed three sessions since last Saturday (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) which makes me quite satisfied that I finally seem to be getting some sort of routine together…

IT’S ONLY TAKEN ME HALF A YEAR!!!

All that aside, the practices themselves have been quite good, definitely more positives to come out of them then negatives. I have noticed that my overall pitching of notes and ability to move between notes not he same valve positioning is getting stronger. The consistency of my tone from the Bb beneath the staff to the C in the third space is also a lot more consistent. I am still having trouble with some of my higher notes (C, C#, D and D#) especially when they occur in the middle to the end of a phrase or piece. I am not sure if it’s just a matter of me continuing to persist or if there’s a technique issue that I need to address, this is a question I will pose to the brass specialists at school during this week…I’d be more than happy it there’s a trumpet teacher out there reading this post to comment and give me some advice in ways I can improve, the biggest technical issues I’m trying to avoid is using my pressure to get these higher notes.

One area of my technique that I have focused on a lot this week is my embouchure, particularly the positioning on my mouth. I had a conversation with one of my students in band, particularly about how I tended to play slightly off centre with my embouchure and that his teacher had told him “this effects tone” (apparently a problem he had when starting). I’ve gone back to being diligent with the positioning although I do find that I revert to the slight side as my lips fatigue.

Saturday 16th September Practice Review.

Warmup Exercises

Today’s practice began in the same manner as I have for the past few weeks, a combination of lip slurs, long notes and scales.

I felt quite tired today when it came to playing and this had an effect on my lip slurs. I have become stronger in getting out more of the higher notes over the past few sessions but today struggled with my slur from G# – C, A – C#, Bb – D. The notes above this a struggled to even play when tonguing up to them.

My scales practice went remarkably well, I managed to play the C, G, G, Bb, A, D and Eb scales relatively easily with only an occasional error. I am still tonguing all of the notes, I might try to introduce slurring some of these scales int eh coming weeks.

Accent on Achievement.

I continued with my work from Accent on Achievement. I started with the song “Rhythm Antics” and concluded with the song “Amazing Grace”. One the first page (Rhythm Antics – We Wish You A Merry Christmas” I noticed that my pitch is not staying consistent when I tongue (there’s a bit of a”wah” sound). I will aim to continue to be consistent in my embouchure position and use gentler tonguing in the coming week to see if this rectifies this problem.

The next two pages moved back into my work on the higher notes that I have continued to struggle with. My high D is continuing to be inconsistent in its tone and just getting it out without breaking. I am finding this to especially be the case in the latter part of a piece, the biggest examples on this page and the next one is Finlandia and Botany Bay which have the D’s towards the end of the piece. I have continued to isolate the phrases, playing them separately an then in context. I am sure that they continue to improve the more time i spend on the horn.

I really struggled with “Reuben and Rachel” today. This piece moves back into the lower register and I  had difficulty pitching the Bb accurately after having played up high for two pages. I need to continue to work on the elasticity of my lips to assist in accurate pitching.

This week will be an interesting one practice wise. I am on retreat with school for the last few days…to get my three days practice in I will have to do Monday and Tuesday of this week…let’s see if I can manage it!!!

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