Practice Tips

What I Learned in Music School about How to Practice
Notes By Steve Wigler (credit given to my teachers at Towson University)

  • Always take a Big Wide Breath
  • Always use the Same Embouchure for all notes (smallest possible embouchure for cornet)
  • Practice using all of your air (this is needed to perform long phrases)
  • Breath in time (don’t hold your breath)
  • Always use a Steady Flow of Air (don’t push for high notes)
  • Play higher notes through lip compression, tongue to accelerate air
  • Always keep throat and teeth open, jaw and shoulders relaxed (this reduces resistance); have good body position when playing.
  • Practice pedal tones (helps to relax and improve embouchure)
  • Always have firm embouchure (especially low notes). Minimize embouchure movement. Look in a mirror. Your bell shouldn’t be moving.
  • Know where the notes are (hear them in your head, embouchure should know where there are automatically)
  • Practicing scales, arpeggios, and intervals helps us know where the notes are
  • Put tuning slides in normal position and Practice lip slurs to find the point of resonance; practice hearing the good resonant sound. Can use a tuning meter to see if you are on pitch.
  • Play in the middle of the slot (the point of resonance)
  • Practice the difficult passages, not the easy ones. Practice slowly. Find your ideal practice tempo (fastest you can play it perfectly). Speed up your practice of difficult passages over time (could take many days or weeks)
  • Tongue with dah and gah. Make them sound the same. Practice slowly. Double tonguing is dah,gah,dah,gah and triple is dah,dah,gah
  • Practice jaw vibrato a little bit for brass band playing
  • Keep your horn out of its case. Make practicing a habit.
  • Practice Good Playing Habits (described above) – Repetition Creates Consistency