Smart Practice

by Mark Van Cleave

One of the biggest problems with developing trumpet players is the way they neglect to use all of the tools they have to accomplish their goals.

The mind is the most powerful resource for learning or developing skills that any trumpet player has. Yet most players practice by playing through a prescribed set of exercises. When they are finished, they are done practicing for the day. No thought went into how or what they were trying to improve.

Once programed with the correct information, the brain can not only calculate how to best perform the desired task, but also has the ability to control the body and make necessary physical adjustments without having to consciously. It is important to remember that the brain is a very powerful computer, and is capable of tremendous feats. Although, the greatest computer is only as good as the software that you are running and is completely dependent upon the quantity and the quality of information programmed into it. Without this quantity and quality of information, even the most powerful computer is rendered completely useless. All the information in the world cannot help you if you are unable to recognize when you are producing the correct end results.

Without the necessary information (how the trumpet works), your brain has no idea how to make the correct calculations or physical adjustments in order to help you. You would be playing a game of trial and error. Just aimless blowing. Not the most efficient way to develop a skill. Without a clear idea of the end result, if you were to achieve it, you might not even recognize it. And then, back to the drawing board.

One of the most important aspects of developing as a trumpet player is to have a very clear idea of exactly how you want to sound. For this, you must listen very carefully to great players that you admire. Without a goal, it is impossible to reach one.

&copy:2004 MVC. Republished by permission.