The article that follows was something that was published in an International Trumpet Guild Journal a number of years ago.

Creating music on the trumpet can be a daunting proposition to the young and not-so-young student of music.  There are countless aspects to be considered and mastered when one thinks of the ‘simple’ act of turning a phrase.  To help us begin cutting through this fog, we can use principles in creative problem solving, namely, dissecting an area and focusing on a specific issue in that area.  If we consider playing the trumpet an area, we can dissect it into four general parts.  Sound, Strength-Flexibility, Technique, and Musicality.  Obviously there are a myriad of issues in each of these four categories, but I believe these issues have consistencies that allow us to separate them into these categories.

The Sport Metaphor

When working with younger trumpet students, I have found it beneficial at times, to relate the physical and technical aspects of playing the trumpet to sports.  After all, the two activities require good breathing, physical stamina a basic understanding of the muscles being utilized and most importantly, the coordination of the mind and muscle.

Divide and Conquer

A great tennis player probably didn’t become great by going out and just playing tennis matches every day.  He/she probably spent time focusing on just the backhand stroke, just forehand, first serve, second serve, net game, baseline… you get the idea.  Trumpet players can learn from this kind of systematic strategy.  It’s also advantageous for us to take the big concept of “Playing Music” and divide it up into manageable chunks.

Part I Sound

Playing long tones in an expanding succession is a great way to ease into the practice session while concentrating completely on ones’ sound.

(Observe the fermatti over the rests.  It’s important to rest as much as you play at this stage of the warm up.)  This is a good opportunity to get the breathing going, work on vibrato or expand your dynamic range.  Try this dynamic exercise while watching a tuner and try to keep the needle straight up through the whole dynamic range.

Because this can get to be somewhat meditative, if done with earnest concentration, this is also an opportunity to work on mental imagery.  Exercises in imagery could be; visualizing inhaling one color of air and exhaling another depending on the intensity of tone desired (or simply, changing tonal color); visualize projecting your sound to specific points in a room; visualize creating the buzz  on different points of the lead pipe (extending the mouthpiece).  These are just a few suggestions.  This whole process of warming up with long tones can be likened to the athlete stretching out before the game/workout, or a yoga session.

Other related posts

Warm-Up / Development Routines

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Maintain your Warm-up Mode