My goal is to improve, so I must practice all day. Having studied with Claude Gordon, I am very "routine" oriented and my routines are progressive. I offer to you what I call the "Sunday Routine".
After a long hard week of playing and practicing, the pro player is ready for a day off. But he cannot take one. Because he has a gig that day. Or an important run starting the following day. Therefore he must practice. Some may question this work ethic and ask "Why not just do a short warm-up, do the gig and go watch football?" This may be fine for some, but the top players are ALWAYS striving to get better.
The "Sunday Routine" is not only for pros but for cats that have tired "chops" and may need a little rejuvenation. The "Sunday Routine" is great for students that are practicing Gordon, Caruso or Adam stuff that is demanding.
The Sunday Routine
The only book needed is Clarke technical although if you use this routine weekly as an alternative to "hard" practice, you will need to augment it. I'll address that at the end.
You will be slurring Clarke studies.
Begin with the first study and exercise 1. Slur 8x. Take a breath whenever you need to. Play as softly as possible, in a whisper. It is important to play soft and light and not stop for mistakes unless you run out of air. This is the way Clarke is supposed to be played anyway. Just play it and move on. Don't practice it. Just play it and get it right next time. This first exercise is the most important to grasp. Clarke studies are just long tones where the air is "active". You should really know the Clarke studies to get the full benefit of this routine. Most trumpet players, regardless of level, are familiar with Clarke. At first Clarke is keys and fingerings, but the rewards come much later. In fact the Sunday Routine is best played without the written music, therefore giving your full attention over to your particular goals.
I highly recommend that if you do a certain daily "warm-up" that you omit it on this Sunday. The "Sunday Routine" is an alternative to the daily chop bashing that you put yourself through. And I don't strictly refer to the lips here. This is as much a mental relief as physical.
Slur #1-13, 8x each. As softly as you can possibly play. You blew balls last night, just like you do every night. This is what you do. Remove the horn from your face between each exercise. In fact remove it every time you take a breath and as much as need to. Kinda like reverse Caruso rules. In fact don't tap your foot and breath through your mouth! You may get no response at first, but it will come. You must start on low F# in Clarke ex1. No buzzing or flapping or any other warm-up. The notes of the "Sunday Routine" are very easy. The concepts are a little harder to understand.
Tone concepts: Keep in mind that this is not a progressive routine, rather one that is being developed for the advancing player who has over done it a bit. It's kinda like the "Morning after pill" for trumpet. Your tone sounds real bad right now! That's why you do the "Sunday Routine".
The whole routine:
Clarke first study #1-13 slur 8x. Short rest here please.
Clarke second study in reverse order of key going down by half-step #37(F)-27(low G) slur 4x each. I take a break here. Never rush the Sunday Routine.
Clarke third study # 46(F#)- 52(C) slur as written. It's very important to rest more than you are used to while doing this routine. Most trumpet players do practice by routine. When you become accustomed to your particular routine, your body knows it and responds well to it. This was one of Claude's secrets. Practicing the same thing the same way over and over makes you better at that same thing. Many players, especially young players get "locked into" a certain daily routine. Many call it a "warm-up". You might think that I'm gonna tell you that Claude said that warm-ups are bogus and that you should just start playing. I'm not and neither did Claude. I always warmed up when I studied with Claude.
It just wasn't always the SAME warm-up. The warm-up would remain as a constant during a period of time, like a month or sometimes six months. But it always changed or grew. I believe this concept keeps you fresh.
I'll just give you my personal routine for reference. I am currently doing what's called an alternate day plan. I start my day with five of the ten CG tongue level exercises(#1-5). Tomorrow I do the other five. Both days are followed by my undertaking of the Caruso studies. I now do the six notes and fourths each day. Although Charly prescribes much more Caruso, I simply don't have that much time to rest. I play all day, every day. Proper rest is so important when practicing "hard" like I do.
There is more though:
Clarke fourth study #66(F#)- 75(Eb). Slur with repeat. Play soft and LIGHT always! This is the key to reposing your "chops". Take your time and REST. If you feel no response, stop and rest. No response is the first step towards tired.
To recap the "Sunday Routine" without commentary:
Clarke study 1, #1 - 13, slur 8x.
Clarke study 2, #37 - 27 played in reverse order, going down by half-step in key., slur 4x
Clarke study 3, #46 - 52 slur as written with repeat. Keep it light!!
Clarke study 4, #66(F#) - 75(Eb) slur as written with repeat.
More advice: It's how you practice this that makes it unique and helpful. I guarantee the first time you do this, you'll feel tired because you won't rest properly. You will rush through because the range of it does not challenge you. "This routine is easy, it only goes to a C in the staff!". I'd call that a bad attitude or just plain dumb. Most good trumpet players take the attitude that playing high is as easy as playing low. Well duhhh then playing low is just as hard as playing high. The Sunday Routine is about attitude adjustment. You play and practice hard every day, all day long. You don't take days off. Lew Soloff doesn't take a day off. Chuck Findley doesn't take a day off. They get out of bed and eat the trumpet for breakfast. And they go to sleep at night knowing that they have a "Sunday Routine" that they can call on when they need it.
After the "Sunday Routine"
I often use this routine as a "chop break" from my more intense practicing, which is basically all of my practicing. I sometimes think of it as a "ballad" day.
Therefore some of the more lyrical studies are appropriate. I suggest Charlier #2 and 13 on this day. You should know the pieces you are going to play very well and concentrate your efforts on creating a sincere musical setting. Do not concern yourself with learning new pieces as this will defeat the purpose of the Sunday Routine. Play what you know but play it different. After all, today is your day off.
Trumpet, Arranger, Composer, Educator
SF Bay Area