Phil Parker Senior Flexibility Study

I am currently waging war on this blog against long trumpet warm ups. As a full time professional trumpet player I don’t see any need for long routines of pedal notes and lip slurs and other similar types of trumpet weight lifting (Caruso included!). I have tried all these things and it has taken me many years of due diligence to these routines to realise I would have been better off playing music instead! My students are discovering this for themselves at a much earlier age than I ever did.

A very wise man said to me a couple of years ago, “… There is no point in practicing to sound ugly!”

I do play all day though. I play music all day long. I feel in much better shape than ever because I am not so tired. My chops feel great and my technique is so much easier because I practice 90% music. My last trumpet posts are starting to get a little repetitive, but I am worried (now I am old and wizened!!!) about younger players I hear (professional ones too!) who sound worse once they have ‘warmed up’ than they did when they took the trumpet out of the case in the first place.

I am in a busy orchestra and the official schedule says I get two pairs of days off each month. There is not the time to practice all these exercises. A brief warm up and go! Of course the grind of the schedule can mean that some flexibility work, strengthening, long tones etc are necessary. I think the player has to trust his chops etc. They will tell you when you need to have a harder workout!

If my chops are crying out for some strengthening stuff (that is what I call flexibility exercises – I personally think they do nothing to encourage suppleness – they are weight lifting for the trumpet!) I think these studies passed on by Phil Parker Senior do the job nicely if the chops feel ‘too slack’ …

Phil Parker Senior StudiesYou can plainly see there is nothing new here. No wicky-wacky stuff! Simples! Play them gently. ‘Ascend’ through the keys (2+3, 1&2, 1, 2 & open fingerings – this is not stuff for beginners!!!). I don’t do them every day, in fact I may do them tomorrow as I have a day off and I haven’t done them for a couple of months. My chops feel good so I haven’t felt the need…

About brendanball

Professional Trumpeter: Soloist, Orchestra Player, Chamber Music, Contemporary Music & Education.
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