A warm up is what we do physically to recover from the abuse our chops took yesterday.
On a busy day we could have a couple of gigs plus a practice and easily spend 6-8 hours playing.
By contrast; a body builder doing 3 sets of 20 reps only
spends 6 minutes actually contracting a specific muscle
during the workout.
Really they only contract muscles while the weight is moving up or down and not when they rest between reps or sets. 3 seconds up and 3 seconds down 3+3=6 X 60 (3sets of 20) 6X60= 360 divided by 60 seconds = 6 minutes.
So you see we really use our facial muscles.
So our warm up has to get rid of muscle stiffness, swelling and even overuse.
Players try buzzing pedals and double pedals (elephant farts), playing low brass, buzzing a tuba mouthpiece, playing didgeridoo, playing pedals and other things to help recover from a hard day.
They all help (some better than others) but the KEY is to prevent the stiffness and overuse.
Strangely enough; prevention could come from doing MORE of
these things both before and after we play and not waiting
until we had lip damage, to do them.
A really good warm up helps us to start relaxed and then we can play longer before problems arise.
Doing a good warm down after a hard session can lessen the stiffness we have the next day. We all know this but we get out of the habit.
Relaxing during the warm up can help us to stop overdoing
facial tension or compression.
We work on range and get caught up, in getting tighter than we have to be.
I like to remind players that 1st space F to 2nd line g is a major second and we can not feel the change we make. However; High F to high G is still a major second and many of us do contortions to make the change.
We use a little more tension or compression than we need because it FEELS secure. BUT it also wastes strength.
Part of the relaxing element of the warm up, should also include finding the minimum amount of tension needed to play a good solid High C, D, E.
Not only will establishing the minimum everyday help with endurance, but the notes vibrate better and are stronger, plus tomorrow you do not wake up as stiff as you used to.
What is the PLAN?
Every second that you practice is valuable time. We are given a limited amount of time and its value is tremendous.
We can not replace time.
Practicing by auto pilot is very little better than doing nothing. In many cases it is worse than doing nothing. Often this kind of mindless practice leads to bad habits.
I hear from players all of the time that do long tones or scales while watching TV. They slouch in a bad chair and this hinders their breathing and support.
The lessened support, makes the embouchure work harder to play the same notes. In a few days they have a couple of new bad habits. Besides the possibility of creating bad habits, we have the other side of no plan or not thinking. Doing the same exact routine day after day is NOT planning your practice to meet your current needs.
I ask every person who comes for lessons WHY they have this warm up. They tell me they needed to work on ____. I ask when that was a problem and half will say oh about 10-15 years ago.
Those people spent years of practice time simply redoing 1 lesson over and over.
Some people have 20 years of experience. They add to it and
build new experiences weekly for 20 years.
Other people have 1 year of experience that they Relive 20 times. They become really experienced beginners.
Current needs change almost daily. Practice should too or it is not nearly as efficient as it could be.
What was the worst thing that you did yesterday?
Well that should be what you concentrate on today. Always working on the most undeveloped parts of your playing, provides for the quickest advancements.
That is what I meant by Do you have a plan today.
Do you have a plan for today?
Do you already have a plan for tomorrow?
Yes, you will get off the plan, but having NO plan can waste a day and days are irreplaceable.
Also always have your head in the game. Never practice by auto pilot.
My teacher Jake (Don Jacoby) used to always ask us:
Where is your head?
The correct answer was:
Right where it is supposed to be. In the music and minding the horn.
Learning to play the trumpet involves many things.
Listen to Rafael Mendez tongue.
To practice tonguing, he started by just singing the tonguing syllables.
Everybody needs a fast single tongue because it has an affect on the sound.
Many exercises used to improve trumpet playing are best used off the trumpet.
If you stop your air, everything has to restart (and that is totally inefficient.)
Using the tip of your tongue is okay, but it will restrict range.
Ideally, the tip of your tongue will be used to focus the air, and the top of the tongue will be used for articulation.
Try these tonguing exercises:
Tooh tooh tooh (Low c to middle c)
Teeh teeh teeh (right on the gums above middle c. This creates a higher arch. Use this for middle e and up!)
Tisss Tisss Tisss
When you tighten up as you move up the notes, your aperture tunnel (a word I got from Pops McLaughlin) and your tongue won’t necessarily match.
Kind of whistle to make the inside of your mouth match pitch with the rest of the embouchure.
Important vocabulary distinction:
Did not is a one time word.
Can not is a forever word.
If you tell yourself you can not do something, your brain hangs onto that and you start to believe it.
Talking about the proper order to use embouchure techniques.