The Summerglen Files

Music, Creativity, and Everyday Life at Summerglen Music in Raleigh, NC

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Practice Tips of the Day

March 20th, 2009 · No Comments

It’s getting to be that time of year when band directors hold auditions for next year’s groups, and several young trombonists have come by Summerglen asking what they can do to make that top band. Here a couple of tips to help!

1. Get lessons as soon as possible! Often, we hear ourselves play and think, “Yeah, I’m doing well!” but when we play our audition material for a more experienced trombonist, we realize that we have some problems. Some of these problems might be pretty big ones, too! The best solution–sign up for lessons LONG before the audition, so you’ll have time to grow as a trombonist and work out any bugs in your audition music.

2. Practice the second page first. It’s a trend I’ve seen for as long as I’ve been teaching–the first page of the audition piece sounds great, but the second page is, um, much less great. Two pages of music is a lot for a young musician to tackle, so it’s common to pour all one’s energy into the first page, and then be too tired to work page 2. The solution–every other day, play page 2 first!

3. Air, Air, Air Trombones are fueled by AIR. And I’ll bet you young trombonists two bucks that you’re not using enough of it when you play! So in your practice today, see if you can breathe 10% deeper. How far is the air going into your lungs? Can you make it go further? Do you feel enormously fat when you inhale? If you don’t, take in more air until you do. And blow that air out in a strong, steady stream. Remember, lots of air = a great sound.

So, go practice, and nail that audition piece! Also, if you have any other great practice tips, please feel free to share them here.

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