The power of small reviews

As artists, we trumpeters want to play the best we can on a particular program at a particular time. As we get better and better on that music, we may notice that it seems very hard to make any more noticeable improvements.

When we feel overwhelmed by this feeling of diminishing returns for the investment of practice that we give to our music that we intend to perform, it may pay to diversify.

I’m not talking about money management: by “diversify” I mean that you should practice something different. A great choice for this would be music that you have already played and learned well. A little review every week or so can go a long way to getting nearly all of the benefits from this piece of music that you got when it was your primary focus.

For example, when I am working on a piece with a challenging double tongue passage, I may feel stuck when I try to improve on this piece: maybe I’m only getting a fraction of a percent better everyday! But, if I get out the double tongue studies and etudes that I worked on when I was younger, it only takes a single reading to jolt my mind and body into good double tongue technique. Within a few minutes, my general ability to do double tonguing will improve perhaps 15% or maybe even 30%! But this works with other technical walls that you run into. Try the power of small reviews next time you feel stuck!


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