Rehearsal day morning session

So, a reason there haven’t been tons of practice logs this week, I have been busy in rehearsals for a show with Timepoint next week in Edmonton, as well as preparing for giving a masterclass. This all leads to this post. I have a few short routines I like to do really early in the morning, we are talking around 6 or 7am on rehearsal days.

Leave a comment, hit like, or share, enjoy the session below.

The Session

Done best with some caffeine

  • Stretch and breath.

    • The goal here is to jump start in to the day. Focus on air.

  • Adams Simple long tones (you may notice I really like these…)

  • Teuber 7a and 7b

  • Remington sluts, starting at T0 and work down

    • Slurred and tongued

  • Scales (use dice, or another random way to pick scales) About 5 minutes worth.

    • Do lots of different patterns, throw in arpeggios, etc.

    • Lots of different scales, the random choice can be the starting note for pentatonic, limited transpositions, etc.

  • Some kind of power work/loud playing for a few minutes.

    • Stamp Power exercise or Schlossberg no. 17 (in a bunch of diff. articulations) are some of my go to choices.

That’s it, short and sweet, but it gets me locked in. I vary this a bunch, but the elements remain the same.

Happy Horning

A mixed bag session

This session is another one I hit every so often, or version of it. Details below

If you haven’t seen I have started a project related to this one called “practice logs”, it is a project where I am aiming to upload one of my sessions a day. I am trying to make sure those sessions are similar to these. For days like yesterday when I was in rehearsal all day, there may end up not having an upload since no one wants to read a list of rep I worked on with measure numbers. The button below will take you there.

The Session

  • Breathing and light stretching, incorporate breathing exercises into stretching.

  • Bodet Daily Exercises no.1 - Follow instructions, go only as far as is controlled plenty of time to work on the high range.

  • Bodet Daily Exercises no.3 - Follow instructions, max 15 minutes, same thing with range, go only as far as necessary. (I recommend transposing the exercise down a fourth. Or play as written, your call.)

  • Break (5 - 10 minutes)

    • Stretch, setup practice logs for the day, goals, etc. Make the time active.

  • Clarke Setting up drills Group 1

  • Laurie Frink - An Integrated Warm-up - Part I

  • Break (5 minutes)

  • Brass Gym - Lip Flips

  • Brophy - Technical Studies for solving… - Low register exercises 1 - 4

  • Etudes

  • Lead sheet work (couple tunes)

Another short and sweet one. I usually use this one in the morning (or one similar looking) I find it nice and straight forward, and it works well for me.

Happy Horning.

First session of the day with Plog

Today I am going to share my session out of the Plog books, it was how I started my day and thought it was a good candidate for the blog today.

There is a bit more writing today, since certain aspects need to be explained (exercise no.4b as an example)

About the books, they are broken into sections. For example in Book 1 you will see more than one no.1, BUT it will in a diff grouping of warm up I, or II, etc. I tried to make it clear below, when you see a section show up stay in that section until a new one is mentioned in bold.

The Session

  • Constructive rest (Alexander Technique) (Learn about it here if you haven’t studied Alexander)

  • Breathing Exercises- I did the following ones

    • 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10

    • Inhale therapy - sips - Exhale therapy x 2

      • First time with a total seal, second time with a leak.

  • Bill Adams long tones (not the advanced set) Start on a G in the staff, one tone at a time work your way outwards (G,F#,Ab,F,A,etc..) until G.

  • Plog Bk.1 -Warm up exercises I - 1a/c/e/g

    • Variation - do cells on the B horn only, the f horn only, and normal.

    • Buzz some (On a BERP if you have one)

  • Plog Bk.1 - 2b/d

    • Extend these patterns by repeating the last two notes down the octave

  • Take a short rest, stretch something that is tight.

  • Plog Bk.1 - 4a/b

    • 4a - first 3 notes are lip slurs, start F0 go all the way down through the B horn.

    • 4b - first 5 notes are lip slurs, as are the final 7 (only 1 not isn’t) on the F horn versions. The B horn harmonics don’t work for the same patter once you hit the written F so lip slur what you can but do those all on the B horn.

  • Plog Bk.1 - Warm up exercises II - 1a/b/d

    • All normal fingerings.

  • Plog Bk.1 - Warm up exercises III - 2b/c/d

  • Plog Bk.1 - Warm up Etude no.1

  • Take another short rest, stretch something out.

  • Plog Bk.5 - No.1

    • Use your own judgment how much of this one you do., there are TONS OF PATTERNS, don’t forget about the B horn, transpose some down the octave, they still work. Some of these can get wicked high with the B horn.

      • My usuall approach is play as written startign on 123 and working up and through the B horn all the way to T0. THEN do it down the octave SLOWLY on the F horn.

  • Plog Bk.5 - no.8

    • The third line only.

  • Plog Bk.5 - no.9

    • First line only.

  • Rest

  • Plog Bk.5 - no.9

    • Third line

  • Plog Bk.5 - Flexibility Etude no.4

    • After you get through it, if you don’t need to work on parts of it, repeat the first phrase down the octave

That is it, that is all.

Happy horning.

3 horn duets inspired by Concone and Bordogni

A Schlossberg Session for Flexibility

Coming off of last week, my sharing of sessions continues. I don’t do “routines” I have lots of sessions I like, etc. As well, when I come back to these sessions they may not be exact I may expand on things, swap thing out, etc. Up next is based around Schlossberg, another one of my favourites.

Usual things, metronomes, tuners, etc.

The Session

  • Clarke no.2 - starting on F sharp and expanding outwards (same approach as in the Arbans Session)

  • Schlossberg no.6 - Expand the range down to Low C, and reverse the hair pins so it Cresc - Dim

  • Schlossberg 11 and 11a

For the next chunk use natural harmonics

  • Schlossberg no.31

  • Schlossberg no.14

  • Schlossberg no.21

  • Schlossberg no.23 - Use the B horn for the top note ex. written A On T0 in ms.1. This way we stay on the harmonic series and throw the valve for 1 note)

  • Schlossberg no.25 - Same as no.23 for top notes. Start these below the staff and extend the pattern e-c-e, g-e-g, c-g-c, e-c-e, g-e-g, a-g-e-c-g-e-c-g-c.. etc through the valves.

Go back to normal fingerings.

  • Schlossberg no.45

  • Schlossberg no.52 - Slur in 2 measure groups all Forte.

  • Schlossberg no.71 or 72 pick either A or B

  • Schlossberg no.76

  • Then some etudes.

Happy horning!

3 horn duets inspired by Concone and Bordogni

An Arbans Session

Like many horn players, I love me some Arbans, nothing feels quite so good as just grinding away with that book. Over the years I have collected a bunch of different Arbans routines, usually from trumpet players. Going off of the last post of getting back into shape, below is one I like to use myself. It is mostly from Arbans, but there is some Clarke thrown in there for good measures.

It is Arbans, it isn’t the most fun, but does it ever work. So grab a tuner, metronome, recording device, mirror, whatever your favourite accessories for success are and get down to it.

note: The page numbers are based on the printed book. There is a version on IMSLP, I am not sure if those page numbers line up, so I have exercise nos and section names to help.

The Session

  • Clarke no.1 start on F# in the staff and expand outwards (F#, G, F, Ab, E… etc) until you reach an octave each way.

  • Chromatic octaves: Start on a G below the staff, go up two octaves, down three, up two, down one to the starting note. I find for me this helps work over my “breaks”, this does mean planning your breathing. Example: If you have a “break” around a D, don’t breath around that pitch force yourself over the range around it.. If you breath, you will reset, work the shift.

    • Repeat this Starting on an Ab, A, Bb, B, C.

    • Take some rest between reps.

  • Arbans pg.39/40 (Slurring and Legato) nos. 3,4,7,8. REALLY SLOW… like set your slow tempo, and knock a bunch off it. I usually go in the 38 - 44 bpm to the quarter, no subdivision on the metronome, force YOURSELF to subdivide.

    • Make sure you don’t physically move your body to subdivide, no toe tapping, dancing, etc… Keep it loud and internal.

  • Arbans pg.80/81 Chromatic Triplets nos. 10-16

  • Arbans pg.125 Intervals

    • Pick a couple lines. Do all the articulations, as well, move the emphasis around. Do it with the emphasis on the lower note, and the upper note. Do both ways as you work through the articulations.

    • It isn’t written, BUT, do this with 3 note slurs as well.

    • Take the repeats every time.

  • Arbans Pg.137-140 16th note pattern

    • Pick one or two, these need to be absolutely clean, clarity over speed. When you need to breath, just add a few beats for a great breath, then pick up where you left off.

  • Arbans Double Tonguing pg 175- 182

    • Do an assortment with a sense of progression. Example: Nos, 77,78,80,81,84,86,87,90.

      • Clarity over speed. The objective is a perfectly even double tongue the speed will come.

  • Arbans The Art of Phrasing pg 191+

    • Pick several of these, make the beautiful. Transpose them into the lower register as well.

That is it. It is a meaty session, short, sweet, and to the point. I also get there aren’t any lip slurs in there, so if that is a deal breaker for you… sorry? It should take you under an hour, or around an hour depending how many melodies you pick, and such. Long isn’t always better. One of the advantages to short and dense sessions to me is that it allows you to really dig into specifics, that is why there isn’t anything that hard in here it allows you to be very specific in your approach.

Getting back in shape after the break

Here we are, full of cheese and confused. Perhaps there is a light layer of dust on the horn from the holidays. WELL it is time to brush it off and get back at it.

The slow methodical build

This one is my favourites when I have time on my side. The idea behind it is to start in slow digestible chunks and focus on efficiency and the basics of sound production. It breaks down like this:

  • First session:

    • Buzzing with the mouthpiece, simple melodies, or the Jacobs exercises. (Use a tuner/drone, etc)

    • Easy long tones. 6 note exercise from Caruso is great here. (I like to use tonal energy with the pitch visualizer for stability)

    • Simple lip slurs, harmonics 4-5-6 in various configurations, but always adjacent. Do these with a BERP and on the horn. (did someone say metronome?)

    • Kopprasch no.2

    • Concone lyrical studies no.1

  • Second Session (we are only doing two today.)

    • Teuber no.1

    • Teuber 3a

    • Kopprasch - Pick a couple

    • Concone lyrical studies - Pick a couple

    • Improvise something, work off a lead sheet, etc.

  • Third Session (for after the first day, be aware how you feel don’t push to far to soon)

    • Long tones- Start on a G below treble clef, ascend with diminished arp. (G, Bb, Dd, E, etc.) Up until it stops being easy. Then descend with the same pattern all the way to the pedal range. (Same as session 1, drone/tuner/pitch visualizer etc)

      • Change the starting note each day, or do multiple reps changing the starting pitch.

    • Scales - be creative… if you need a systematic approach, set a timer for 20 minutes, grab the Schantl Scale book and start going, leave a bookmark, pick up from where you left off. (Great option for drone work). Another great option is the Modern Jazz Trumpet by Eric Bolvin.

    • Arbans - no. 16 - 27. Work up to playing them all twice, once tongued once slurred, various dynamics, do them in various registers as well.

    • Improvise something, work off a lead sheet, etc.

  • General note

    • This is sort of day one and a third session. Expand on the concepts working back to your regular approach/routines.

    • Start off with a practice mute for a few minutes, this can really help stay open and get the chops working.

    • BUZZ often, use a BERP, etc.

    • Focus on the basic mechanics, process over product.

    • Make sure to make use of practice tools, drones, etc. We want to get our ears back in the game as well.

Just some ideas. I think personally the important part is to get your feet back under you and not get out of the gate too soon. Read… don’t injure yourself.

3 horn duets inspired by Concone and Bordogni

A peek at a new project - Drone studies

This is a quick post but I wanted to share an example of something I am working on called… Drone studies. I encourage my students often to practice with drones. Which can manifest in many ways, this is an idea I have been thinking about for a while and have finally started.

Here is a peek at the first half of exercise no.1 - 2nds.

Open the pdf, grab a drone and get to work.


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Patterns patterns patterns

I have been working on a "manual" of sorts. One of the sections that is the most fun for me, and I enjoy working on myself is that of "patterns and scales". I often find students being pushed to do 2 octave scales as a necessary evil to band method, when in fact most music we encounter uses small sections of scales and collections of patterns. Scales are great, don't get me wrong, but variety is the spice of life, and 5 notes are pretty powerful (especially when you link them into other groupings.) 

Here is a link to one of the exercises coming out of the manual I am working on.


A breif about that manual, it is being designed around "marching" instruments. Which is mainly to say, which I need to note as a horn player, that the books harmonic and range content is based around instruments one find in marching bands. Look for that soon.

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