Advanced Practice Routines

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Advanced practice techinques will vary widely from player to player. Routines will also be refined based on the kind of music that will be played. A trumpet player who is in a drum and bugle choir is going to have a different practice routine than a trumpet player who is playing C trumpet in an orchestra.

Below are a list of advanced exercises that trumpet players may wish to incorporate into their practice routine. Just like when making a basic practice routine, an advanced practice routine should contain a variety of exercises.

  • Lip Buzzing

    The basic premise of lip buzzing is using your lips to make a buzzing sound. The buzz should be concentrated at the very center where the lips come together. Begin with long tones and make sure you have plenty of rest in between attempts. One advantage of lip buzzing is you don't need your trumpet or even your mouthpiece to do this exercise. This exercise can also be good as a warmup. Just make sure that you rest and flutter your lips between attempts. After a bit of practice it can be possible to flutter and lip buzz to the point that with just a minute or two on the mouthpiece you can be warmed up and ready to play.

  • Pedal Tones

    Pedal tones are the notes below low F#. These notes require practice and are not really natural notes on the instrumet. Pedal tones give balance to the embouchure and are very valuable for players that wish to build their high register. Pedal tones help center the tone and increase confidence if they are practiced regularly. These exercises are also very valuable for trumpet players that are using smaller mouthpieces. Getting a great sound on small equipment can be a challenge. Pedal tones are one of the secrets to building an awesome sound on mouthpieces of all sizes.

  • Lip Vibrato

    Lip vibrato is one of the most under appreciated exercises. To get an idea of lip vibrato and how it can sound listen to a few clips of Louis Armstrong. Physically, lip vibrato is moving your lips slightly to vary the pitch. Vibrato can be done in a number of ways. Some people use hand vibrato. Some people use their tonuge. In fact a good trumpet player can use any or all of these methods at will. The advantage of lip vibrato however is that it helps ease pressure and increases confidence throughout the range of the horn. The best way to practice this is the most fun. Simply get some Armstrong playing and try to match his wide vibrato using only your lips. The results over time will be amazing.

  • Lip Trills

    After the lip vibrato is mastered it's time to widen that vibrato into a lip trill. Lip trills are great exercises for building range as you are making many pitches changes. Some people advocate using the tongue and saying Ah-Ee-Ah-ee, to achieve the effect. In future articles we will discuss why this is not necessairly the best approach. Instead use an ah sound and simply increase the lip vibrato until the trill is achieved. Typically a could range to start practicing lip trills is the A just above the staff.

  • Double and Triple Tonguing

    Building solid technique requires learning how to double and triple tongue. This skill is not required for all musical styles but knowing how to double and triple tongue effectively can make a big difference in overall trumpet playing skills. Jazz players will perhaps want to use a softer tongue style but for many of the double time passages, having the ability to incorporate double tonguing can widen the choices available.