Apartment Practicing...at NIGHT???06/12/2013 21:19
I remember an old ad for the Yamaha Silent Brass Mute System. It portrayed an older woman sitting in an apartment wondering what happened to the "trumpet playing fella upstairs". Well that fella had purchased a Silent Brass System. Everyone was happy. All was quiet. My parents bought one for me and it saw little use throughout my high school and collegiate years, except for the one performance of Rush's YYZ on a horn recital where four horns played the guitar chords using Silent Brass systems which had been plugged into guitar amplifiers...We had too much fun with that! But recently, I had been practicing with the system quite often late into the night, and I had become frustrated with the amount of resistance the actual mute presents. I decided to just shelve it.
Since then, I have decided to challenge myself by practicing at night... in the apartment....without a mute. Being a courteous neighbor who knows what it is like to work at various times of day and night, my normal practice hours start no earlier than 9 am and go no later than 7:30pm. That seems safe and thoughtful. I try to maintain open communication with my neighbors so they will feel free to let me know if they have a headache or have a small child asleep, etc. So, what do I mean by practicing late at night? The kind of practicing I am talking about is the nitty-gritty hard work of practicing below 60 decibels....below 50 decibels...all the way down to 40 decibels if possible. I mean really forcing oneself to play notes, scales, etudes, excerpts, and other exercises across the range of the horn at the mere threshold of sound. The benefits of such practice are directly tied to the personal standard one holds oneself to. Merely practicing softly without demanding the most beautiful sounding notes will not suffice. One really has to hone in on every slur, every front to every note, and every sound of evey note to demand the most beautiful soft dynamic control and mastery. The greatest brass players that I have had the privilege to know can play so beautifully in the softest dynamic levels, and they will tell you how important soft playing is for an efficient embouchure. I am convinced that this is going to pay off...SO...back to practicing! Until next time...
Or you could do this: Or s youtu.be/Ec7PKZKSdnQ