Getting Some “Chops” and Keeping Them! - Community Band Musicians www.rodherbertbigsoundmusic.com
Updated: Dec 7, 2022
Getting Some “Chops” and Keeping Them! - Brass and Woodwind Skill Development Ideas For Busy Part Time Community Band Musicians.
So many of us horn players love music making and all the associated positive rewards including socially, psychologically, and communally, when we are actively performing in community concert bands, brass bands and choirs.
Switch off from the everyday and immerse yourself for a few hours of rare musical induced focus!
So many of us are involved are part time musicians, not performing full time, working day jobs, running the crazy logistic game of families (I have four beautiful kids!) and trying to keep our musical performance skills at “peak fitness” like “back in the day”!
Who has time to practice?
How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, Practice, Practice!
Well..............try some of these helpful ideas and routines.
IDEAS FOR CHOPS. AIR CONTROL and SOUND PRODUCTION.
· Leave your instrument out of its case! Just make sure the kids don’t trips over it or use it for a football!
Every time you walk past pick it up and play SOMETHING!
· Get a good practice mute or spend some money on a Yamaha Silent Brass System. Essential for “Apartmental Cohabitation” both families and nosey neighbors.
· Lock yourself away for twenty minutes and get some chops! The ultimate “me time”.
· Get some balloons and get into some “Breathing Gym” style exercises before and during your practice session.
· My air capacity is the first thing to disappear when my bass trombone gets neglected.
· BREATH, BREATH LIKE YOU ARE DIVING UNDER THE WATER!
Get a slow 60 bpm tempo in you big toe……
Great walking slowly from the bus stop!
Repeat Breath in 4 beats and blow out 4 breaths….
Breath in 1 beats and blow out 4 beats.(normal style)
Breath in 4 beats and blow out 1 beat….
Breath in 8 beats and blow out 1 beat….
Breath in 4 beats and blow out 16 beats….
Breath in 8 beats and blow out 24 beats….
Feel your lungs burning. Get them moving!
What does it feel like when we play our instrument or sing after doing breathing exercises?
GET READY FACE….. PLAY!
Here is my brass warm that up before I start ANY gig or rehearsal.
Takes five minutes.
· Lip buzzing “Horse Face”. Get this embouchure warm. Blood rushing to your face ASAP!
· Looooong………. Sofffffft………..Middle Register chromatic notes.
· STRETCHED LONG AIR.
· PLAY AS SOFTLY AS YOU CAN!
· Play long chromatic notes.
· Start playing High C, B, Bb, A, Ab, G, F#, F, E,
Eb, D, C# (pull out the 3rd ring finger slide) ……..
· Continue playing low C, B, Bb, A, Ab, G, F#.
· Concentrate on the SOUND and how it FEELS!
CARUSO STYLE CALISTHANICS FOR SOUND, ENDURANCE, REGISTER DEVELOPMENT and BREATH CAPACITY
Keeps my brass endurance comfortable and working on demand. Works for both woodwind and brass embouchure endurance.
Caruso magic six notes – 2 Beats, 2 beats then 4 beats then breath 4 beats long
E, F, G, A, B, C
Great also for beginner Brass Students.
1- Tap Your Big Toe. Slow tempo.
2- DON’T MOVE YOUR MOUTHPIECE FROM YOUR ENGAGED EMBOUCHURE
3- BREATH THROUGH YOUR NOSE BREATHING SLOWLY AND GRADUALLY.
FOUR BEATS BREATHING LENGTH. FILL THE LUNGS.
4- Only breath through your nose when doing these Caruso style exercises.
Snap breaths through your mouth at all other times.
My Caruso Variation
BREATH FOUR BEATS. 188.8.131.52.
PLAY 3 BEATS….
BREATH FOUR BEATS SLOWLY. 184.108.40.206.
Low chromatic notes ascending as high as you can get a sound.
Low A A A________ BREATH 1,2,3,4,
Bb Bb Bb_______ BREATH 1,2,3,4,
B B B________ BREATH 1,2,3,4,
C C C_________BREATH 1,2,3,4,
C# C# C#________BREATH 1,2,3,4,
D D D_________BREATH 1,2,3,4,
Eb Eb Eb_______ BREATH 1,2,3,4,
E E E ________ BREATH 1,2,3,4,
F F F_________BREATH 1,2,3,4,
F# F# F#_______ BREATH 1,2,3,4,
G G G________BREATH 1,2,3,4,
Ab Ab Ab_______ BREATH 1,2,3,4,
KEEP GOING HIGHER until No SOUND
Concentrate on the SOUND and how it FEELS!
Learn to play low register PEDAL NOTES and play these often.
Remember: All tall skyscraper buildings have very low basement levels.
DO TRY THESE STUNTS AT HOME
Keep an eye open for my upcoming
“ Brass Practice Buddies” available on my website.
Relax and stay cool!
Please join my mailing list to receive your complimentary set up useful band warm up exercises!