Great improvement by the end of our long tone exercises. Always start your practice routine with long tones. Remember to aim for a very GRADUAL ascent and descent in dynamics, and try to avoid sudden bursts of volume. Keep your embouchure and posture relaxed, and aim for a smooth and round tone quality as you change dynamics in the long tone.

Take a quick look at your fingering chart just to become more familiar with the low register E-C fingerings. Practice the chromatic scale starting from your low E. As you get more comfortable with the one fingering (which uses the left pinky to start), try the alternate one that you were finding a bit more difficult – that one’s a bit of a stretch for your fingers at the moment so don’t stress if it doesn’t work out immediately.

Great work on the band pieces that we looked over. Continue practicing them with a metronome, so that you have a basis of time. In general, always try to be conscious of the tempo and staying rhythmically consistent. Watch out for tuning on certain notes (for instance, where the parts divide into fourths and fifths). Always remember that you are trying to evoke a mood, mixing your sound with that of your band mates in an ensemble in order to create a cohesive musical experience! Here’s a few steps that will help out:

1. Always listening (to the overall sound, how your part fits into it)

2. Dynamics and articulation/accents (try to always be aware of the markings and then also following how the ensemble/conductor has decided to approach these musical markings when playing in a group)

3. Tuning (part of always listening – take into account the general sound/pitch and where you sit comparatively). Listening to the harmony will help you hear where your note exactly fits in, so that – in the case that it’s off – you can quickly adjust. Over time these adjustments will become quicker and quicker, and eventually not even noticeable. With time, if you practice listening/harmony and long tones, you will gain a very good concept of exactly where the note should be landing in terms of its tuning and harmonic placement within the context of the musical piece.

4. Time and rhythm (think about subdividing when you play, and imagining a rhythmic grid into which your notes can fall into place).

Try to do or even think about 1 or 2 of the things listed above when you practice. It’s a lot to think about, but the more time and attention you start attracting to anything on that list, it will help with advancing and improving your overall musicality and understanding! Good luck, and it was great to hear you in lesson this week!