If you were anything like me during this long Thanksgiving weekend, you probably took a little time off of the trumpet.
Or maybe most of your time on the horn involved short practice sessions with a practice mute.
The first day after break, you probably realized that everything you worked on prior to your little hiatus, is now not soundin’ too hot. Don't fret though!
I didn’t sweat being a little rusty on Monday. I’ve been rusty before, and I knew exactly what I needed to do to in order to get my chops back into shape.
By the end of the day, I’m back to my old self…not better…just not worse. Sometimes that is all we can hope for as trumpet players. Though it's definitely NOT the goal on a consistent basis.
Here are the 3 exercises I did yesterday to get my chops back into shape after a holiday hiatus (free pdf download below):
1. Carmine Caruso’s Six Notes
I start with this long tone exercise to focus on good air flow and a centered tone.
I pay close attention to activating my sound with efficient wind-movement; first without my tongue then with my tongue.
This is also good for me because I changed my embouchure a couple of years ago.
However, once in a blue moon, I revert back to that old embouchure.
This exercise helps to reinforce my new habit even after the few years of working on it.
2. Variations of Clark Study #1
By playing this variation of Clark Study #1, I work on connecting the low register to just above the staff with a smooth-consistent sound and accurate fingers.
I work on my internal pulse, I usually play this in one instead of having clicks on all three beats.
I like the variation that I developed because I helps me work out the kinks throughout the registers in small increments. Check it out for yourself to see if you feel the same way.
3. Major Six Arpeggios
I was introduced to this exercise during my undergraduate studies at Illinois State.
With so many trumpet books out there I’m sure this exercise is included in one of them. I just call it “Major 6 Arpeggios” for simplicity but if you know the source of the exercise please let me know in the comment section below!
But I love this exercise to work on flexibility and range very early in my day when I’m fresh. By the time I get to this part of the routine, I’m all warmed up and can practice extending my range.
I could’ve easily used the Clark study to extend my range but I like the challenge with the larger intervals.
It makes me focus on how I move my air and it lets me know if/when I have tension in my chops and/or body.
This routine works for me. Maybe it’ll work for you the next time you take a little break for family, food and fun.
With Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza AND New Years Eve being around the corner, you just might need a similar routine if you don’t have one of your own…yet.
Happy Holidays and Happy Practicing!
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