I must admit that I am excited to discuss two of my favorite things: food and daily routines. Mexican food is perhaps one of the biggest scams of all time. Each entree is nothing more than a reorganization of a few basic ingredients. And yet, every time that Taco Bell comes out with a new dish I stand in line eager to give them all of my money. I am comparably intrigued with brass daily routines.
In my playing and teaching I am a strong advocate of daily routines. In 2004, this inspired me to conduct a survey of daily routine habits that served as a foundation to a significant amount of the exercises on this website.
There are a number of facets of playing that must be developed and maintained in order to display fundamental competency on a brass instrument. I don’t believe that any approach is the only way. Instead, there are a number of skills which require regular practice including Breathing, Mouthpiece Buzzing, Long Tones, Melodic or Flow Exercises, Slurring (slow, fast, and in varied registers), Low Register, High Register, Tonguing and Articulation, Flexibility, Fingering or Slide Technique, Playing by Ear, and Intonation.
There are many great resources available to organize your fundamental practice. Currently I use a mixture of my own materials alongside the Arban Method, Mike Davis’ 20-Minute Warmup, Roger Bobo’s Mastering the Tuba, and the Brass Gym. These texts are well designed, interactive, and full of inspiration. But when reduced to their most basic elements they are all striving to fulfill the same objectives.
In conclusion, it is important to be both regimented and flexible within your daily routine. Be consistent and adapt to your current performing demands. Whether it be with a Jacobs Turn Study, Chicowitz Flow Study, or a Bordogni etude down an octave, always strive for beautiful sound and musicality!