“Getting in Shape, Staying in Shape”
Advice from Steven Mead
Sort out a daily routine on which you can build.
Be determined and focused, your personal confidence will grow from this.
Everything you do must have as reason.
Don’t waste a minute
Always think musically
Here are a selection of exercises I know work.
Use them , as much as possible.
- First things first, get the air moving, relax the body.
- Get the lips to vibrate freely
- Think positive
- Support the air all the time
Controlled long tone playing is the secret of the complete player.
Work on controlled pitch, beautiful sound quality and reliable tone production. Don’t mistake good production for accenting notes. It’s the air that makes the notes work.
Use a metronome and tuning machine often with these exercises. They may simple but don’t be deceived.
Listen particularly to ends of notes. Don’t move on until you are completely satisfied.
Open up for low tones, don’t pinch. Think vocally
Here is an example of a range building warm up;
The code is as follows:
H8 = hold for 8 beats
R4 = rest for four beats
Continue the patterns as shown. Try using the exact metronome markings.
for ex.4,5,6,7 start them very slowly and speed them up as they become smoother and easier over weeks.
Keep dynamics constant. No louder than mf and try often to play them p with a good full sound. Think about getting maximum response from the lips.
These exercises really work, but you must do them as written. Don’t pick at them, either do them or don’t bother.
A favourite flexibility exercise of mine.
Initially very slow ensure all the notes speak evenly, BEFORE you try to speed them up. A good mf dynamic if fine.
Reduce facial movement as much as possible.
Keep the head still
Good quality long notes.
Make sure the low notes are always as clear as the others
SLOW and ACCURATE first. You’ll be wasting time if its not all perfect
Clear precise tonguing is essential, there are many exercises you can do before attempting this one, look at the Remington studies elsewhere in this little book.
Then use a metronome….NO faster than 100, its easier faster.
Keep the fingers positive and relaxed all the time
No fuzzy low tones
Practice all the difficult bars separately
Reduce facial movement in the extreme bars
Lip Slurs – sit ups for your face, but don’t force them. Be patient , aggressive practice defeats the reason you’re doing them in the first place. Think !!!
More air for the high tones – support with the diaphragm all the time and particularly in the high register. Preserve aperture shape. Allow small tongue position flexibility , AW, AH OO
Tonguing Pt. 2 – Just one example here of a variety of approaches that are needed
Practice some of the bars separately KKKKKKKK etc
Make the transitions smooth. Start with a metronome mark of about 72
Take a huge breath before you start so that air flow does not become a problem and confuse the issue still further. Separate the notes
Repeat the exercise about 5 times for maximum effect , at slightly increasing speeds
1000’s of exercises for this, here is just one
4 bar phrasing, tempo about 72.
Good tuning is absolutely essential, use a tuning machine often
Make breaths feel easy not gasped !!
Keep the throat open all the time
No accents, even when playing f and ff. OK?
Sometimes use no vib at all , at other times try a nice warm lyrical approach. Be flexible with your application/use of vib. One sound all the time is so dull.