- Take a deep breath and project the air forward and straight through the instrument. Don't let up on the air, keep it moving!
- When playing, try to always think and hear sound rather than just note names and fingerings or slide positions. In other words, "think like a singer".
- Listen to great players on your instrument and do your best to emulate their sound and phrasing.
- Run through difficult spots in the music at least 3 times correctly at a very slow tempo and fix those mistakes! This will really pay off later.
- If you are having difficulty and are getting extremely frustrated, put the horn down and come back to it later. Playing music should be an enjoyable experience.
How To Take A Lesson
- Prepare yourself throughout the week by practicing daily - duh!
- Warm up before your lesson by playing a little bit at home before the lesson or at least fluttering your lips and buzzing your mouthpiece. It is more difficult to play a brass instrument cold. If you warm up before your lesson you will sound better, play more confidently, and you might not have to do those boring warm-up excercises at the start of the lesson.... :-)
- Don't be afraid to ask questions during the lesson and suggest songs that you would like to learn. Teachers like it when the student gets involved.
- Keep your horn clean and in good playing condition. Players often forgot that a poorly maintained instrument can adversely affect your sound and the instrument's resonance. Oil your valves before the lesson. I've often joked with a student after they've spent part of their lesson oiling their valves, "well, gee, that was nice, but remember, you're paying me to watch you oil your valves so you might want to do that before the lesson"!