The only way to get where you want to be is to practice. Consistently. And have a reason to practice. I like to listen to players with great sound: Bill Watrous, Chris Botti, Maurice Andre, Bobby Shew (and hundreds more). I also love ballads. To me they are the most difficult to play. And I also like technical virtuoso’s and firey playing like Maynard Ferguson and Wayne Bergeron as well.
When practiced daily, for ALL brass players, the Cichowicz Flow Studies, Caruso Isometric exercises and the Lip Flexibility Drills, (especially the Frank Brown Lip Slurs) have helped me and my students develop characteristic sounds, range and endurance. My students do all of these in each lesson. We also sing our parts as close to in tune as possible. And we whistle our parts.
The most important thing that we do in lessons is
to listen to our sound and to play music.
I ask my students what they like and then we play. No matter if it is pop, movie themes, video game themes or whatever. The point is that you have to play and love what you play. We llose that as band directors in school because we are faced with preparation for performances and competition. But it is importan that we remember that making music and more importantly making music together with others is one of the most important things we can do. Playing music we love drives us to learn the techniques to play it well.
I firmly believe this:
Have a Plan and a Grateful Heart
- “Every time we have the opportunity to sit down and practice, you know what’s my best recommendation? Take three seconds, only… three seconds. As soon as you are ready you put your book (out), you get your horn, get a glass of water, sit down, and then take three seconds, look up, and say “Thank God.” Three seconds. The frame of mind that’s gonna create because you’re so grateful; you’re so glad that instead of doing something else, you’re about to start practicing. You take it as a gift from God.”
- Arturo Sandoval (Arturo Sandoval interview May 2013). Watch video.
Below are free copies of fundamental sound development studies that I use with all my brass students.
With my students and in my personal practice, I use:
Vincent Chicowicz Flow Studies, Arban, Clarke Technical Studies, Clarke Characteristic Studies, Phillip Farkas French Horn Method, Lip Drills – Schlossberg, Carmine Caruso, Arnold Jacobs, Greg Spence, and Arban St. Jacome. These materials cover scales, arpeggios, intervals, tonguing, etc.in addition to this there are scales and arpeggios, interval studies, articulation studies and others .
My favorite book for young students is the old Arban St. Jacome. It has a little of everything in it to really develop your playing.
The etude books I use are usually associated with the All State auditions. I use Clarke Technical Studies, Clarke Characteristic Studies, Arban, Schlossberg,
You must memorize and practice the major scales in scale rhythm, multiple octaves, chromatic scales-slurred, intervals, arpeggios-major, minor at least.
Use a metronome. Get a free app online for your device or buy one. I like a tuner/metronome combination. I have a Korg that has been used and abused for years.
Use a Tuner – Either buy one like my Korg Tuner/Metronome that I use in lessons. Or get an app for your phone. There are free apps. But get one and then use it.
Carmine Caruso – The Six Notes Use this to start your warm-up. Carmine_Caruso_and__The_Six_Notes_PDF
Vincent Cichowicz – Trumpet Flow Studies Expansion Drills.mscz
Here are some Frank Brown drill I found. Frank was an amazing trumpet player teacher in Cincinnati. He started the jazz studies program at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Here are some jpegs of his drills. They are pretty advanced.
Brass Trainer- learn fingerings/ slide positions for any brass instrument. A fun, free, web based computer game. Click here for Brass Trainer
French HornFrench Horn
Hornmatters.org – Great website full of solos, orchestral excerpts, technical drills & exercises
Arban-Alessi, Rochu-t Melodious Etudes for Trombone
I really like to follow what Arnold Jacobs taught. So much of his teaching applies to all brass instruments.