Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1999 23:13:24 EDT
From: "Matthew J. Graves" <>
Subject: Re: Practice


1. Strive to practice everyday. Of course, there will be days when you can't. Don't worry about it as long as you don't get into the habit of missing days in a row.

2. Decide how much time you can devote per day to this task. Maybe you don't have the luxury of long periods of time (several hours) in which to space out your practice. Fine. Break it up into pieces throughout the day as best you can.

3. Choose materials to suit your goals. For instance, you may desire more flexibility, cleaner tonguing, "cleaner" fingers, a bigger sound, more musicality, and (the ever desirous) more range.

4. Figure out how much time you can afford to spend on each item.

5. I imagine most of us don't have the luxury of practicing each and every item that we want to improve during the course of each day. In this case, make one day your "A" routine, another your "B" routine, and maybe even another your "C" routine. Map it out somewhat as follows:

Monday ("A"):

Session 1:
5 - 10 minute "warm-up" - Breathing Exercise and
Slow and low long tones.
20 minutes of slurred and single tongued flexibility studies

Session 2:
20 - 30 minutes of Clarke's Technical Studies

Session 3:
15 - 20 minutes of an Etude
5 minutes of a pedal tone related exercise

Tuesday ("B"):

Session 1:
5 - 10 minute "warm-up" - Breathing Exercise and
Slow and low long tones.
20 minutes of "Vocalises"

Session 2:
20 - 30 minutes of scales with various articulations

Session 3:
20 - 30 Minutes of a "range study"
"up routine" like Systematic Approach by Claude Gordon
10 - 15 Minutes of a Pedal Tone "down routine"

Wednesday ("C")

Session 1:
5 - 10 minute "warm-up" - Breathing Exercise and
Slow and low long tones.

Session 2:
10 minutes of scales and/or flexibility
20 - 30 minutes of "Orchestral" type project or Jazz Standard/Improv work

Session 3:
20 - 30 Minutes of double tonguing/triple tonguing or
Jazz improv related scales/chord/pattern/lick study
10 - 15 minutes of pedal tones

Thursday "A"
Friday "B"
Saturday "C"
Sunday "A" or "day off"

6. Write down each A, B, or C routine and change only when you meet your goal or practice it for several weeks to a month. Variety is the spice . . .

7. In all practice, stress quality over quantity, accuracy over speed, strength and clearity over height, and musicality over number of exercises and pages played. Don't overstrain the chops. Rest as needed during each session as well as between sessions.

8. You want to do just "A" for a week or two and then "B". Maybe even just leave it at "A" and "B." It depends on your current level of development, your needs and you goals.

9. Critics, this is not Gospel. Yes, this is a generalization. " As with any medication, consult a qualified physician before using." :)

10. Adjust routine to fit gigs so as to balance your "diet."

Matt Graves
Author of Fundamental Flexibility Studies
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See sample pages and details at homepage at

On Mon, 26 Apr 1999 21:34:10 -0400 Brian D Beck <> writes:
> I would like to know people's opinions on practicing.
>(Example: How Long, What To Practice, etc...)