Rules of Trumpeting (part 1)

  1. 10-times rule. Play a small, troublesome passage at least 10-times in a row, without mistakes, to ensure good quality control. This number changes depending on how long the passage is and how much control you want. In general, a smaller passage should get more perfect repetitions. The longer the passages, the less reps you will be able to do.
  2. Rest as much as you play. Or, “Work as hard as you can/rest as much as you can.” If you play an exercise for 1 minute, then rest a minute. If you have a practice session that lasts 15 minutes, then rest 15 minutes. But, overall, play small amounts spread out over the whole day. Then you are as practiced as you can be and as rested as can be. A rested embouchure sounds really good.
  3. Warm-up rule. Start your trumpet-playing day with a warm-up. It should be something soft and medium-to-low in range. This starts the lip muscles to activate without damaging them. Lip injury can be costly and take a lot of time to recover. Your tone will be better after a good, focused warm-up. Think Schlossberg, Clarke, Stamp, Cichowicz.
  4. Mahler/Mozart rule. The name of this rule comes from the orchestral realm. Basically, it means that if you have a heavy work week (like a Mahler symphony), then go light on your practice at home. But if you have a light work week (like a Mozart symphony), then you can put in more time, at a higher intensity, at home.
  5. Listen before you play. This rule orients you to where you need to begin: with listening to music. Listen to your teacher, better students than you, talented professionals, recording artist. Also listen to recordings of yourself. This helps you understand better what you are trying to accomplish as a trumpeter.





3 responses to “Rules of Trumpeting (part 1)”

  1. Stanley, I’m so glad you are posting more. Your blog is certainly one of the most thoughtful and practical trumpet blogs on the internet! I often send them to my students!

    1. Louie, your comment made my day. Thanks so much. Happy New Year to you and yours!

  2. Karl Hovey Avatar
    Karl Hovey

    Love all of these, and use similar ideas myself. When really prepping for a big something, I’ll use a modified Rule #2, by having three practice sessions a day: morning, afternoon, and night. I’m not as strict with the amount of playing/resting time, but generally play no more than 45 minutes followed by a 15 minute break. Sometimes I’ll go on to a second hour, but often the three single hours spread out over the day are enough.

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