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Consistency While Practicing

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Joined: 15 May 2020
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2020 2:08 pm    Post subject: Consistency While Practicing Reply with quote

I haven't done the Systematic Approach for that long, but I was wondering if I was doing well in terms of consistency since consistency is something I haven't though of much until now.

Normally when I practice, my pedal tones progressively get better, as I identify pitch better, and going from pedal tones to the normal register has gotten better, with some minor variation.

However, my biggest inconsistency is the upper note of the second part of the exercises, sometimes my best is a new note, like a high F or a clean Eb, while other times the best I can do sounds like a shaky D or a clean C.

Is this normal and will consistency develop over time? Or is there something I am doing wrong and should aim to fix?
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is this normal and will consistency develop over time?

There are CG students who post here; they can provide you with the "official" answer. In my experience, there will always be some inconsistency, though over time you may find that the inconsistency decreases.

I think that the kind of consistency you should be looking for in the Part 2 exercises is the highest note you can play with a big, full sound in that exercise day-to-day rather than the highest note you can squeak out occasionally in that exercise (though both should increase over time).

So, if the highest note you can play "every day" with a big, full sound in a Part 2 exercise is a high C, that's where the bar is at now. Measure consistency and progress from that point. If you don't see progress I'd say that is a sign to start looking for a teacher.

Good luck!
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2020 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I took lessons for a few years from an ex CG student and have found the inconsistency decreases like Dayton said.

The other benefit i have found is that as you get higher and say your stuck on a high E for whatever period of time the note immediately below becomes so much stronger and consistent over time.

good luck

CG Benge trumpet
Yamaha Xeno Cornet
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Location: Greenville, South Carolina

PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2020 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Obviously, consistency can deviate daily a little. Make sure you are resting about 10 seconds between each exercise in Systematic Approach. Rest even if you don’t feel you need it. You are resting to stay fresh as responsive. When you get to the top end of your range rest even a little longer.

Most people don’t realize they aren’t resting enough. Claude once made a point to me by having me put a wrist watch on my stand and taking the horn off for 10 seconds. Not even slightly on my lips. I told him I didn’t feel tired. I did that and in about two weeks things were way different. He asked how things felt and I said really good. Then, he said “you’re weren’t resting enough before.” We then stopped using the wrist watch and I knew what it should feel like and just rested to maintain that ease of playing.

That very likely could be an issue.

Another factor could be your posture and keeping your chest up and how you are using your tongue. Tongue Level and the KTM single tonguing are vital. They are not an option. Without single tonguing with KTM you can’t get the tongue to maintain the arch forward in the mouth. It’s not only the tongue though but the coordination with the wind power, which posture and “chest up” effects.

Your consistency in practice also matters. Many people practice inconsistently. Their practice routine is random without having all the right elements in it or not the right amount of things. Or, they pick and choose the order. Not missing days of practice is also a factor. I rarely miss a day and it just keeps getting easier and easier year after year.

When the above things are happening it usually makes it even easier to spot other possible causes quickly. For example, over a year ago I had the crown replace on my front left tooth. I was very concerned about not screwing-up my playing. I designed a practice routine and did it every single day before during and after the process. I didn’t change equipment or the routine. We removed about 2mm off the length of that tooth and thinned it by about 1.5mm. It was dramatically different and looks more normal now. We took molds at various stages and I actually played my trumpet in the dentist office to check things. The cosmetic dentist is a father of one of my students and also played trumpet through college. We actually had to redo the crown because I still wasn’t satisfied with the look enough.

After the final crown was one I starting feeling weird in my playing. I lost a little responsiveness and ease in the upper register. I of course thought it was the tooth. I wanted though but told the dentist. I had a cough and it went away and I stopped using the albuterol inhaler I use from time to time. In one or two days things were great again. I knew it was the albuterol. I rarely take any form of medicine unless I’m really bad off.

If I wouldn’t have had so many other factors consistent in my routine I might have gone off on some dumb equipment hunt like so many people do. Knowing how to practice can really accomplish so much more than anything else.

Take a listen to all the free CG audio on my site. I believe that will give you even more to think about. The list of 70+ audio files is here.


Create a free account. Click the link in your email and login and go to that page and pick one and then the audio player will be visible when you’re logged-in.

Jeff Purtle
Trumpet Lessons Online since 2004, teaching since 1983
MultiTouch book on Claude Gordon
+1 864-354-3223 iPhone w/ FaceTime
Skype: jeff_purtle
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