Trombone lesson: warm up and play music (sort of) at the same time

Playing scale patterns in all keys as a trombone warm up will make you think while playing. Why not improve your chops and get smarter at the same time? (I will cover how to get prettier in a future post…)

You could put your trombone out in the sun for a quick warm up, but I still recommend the old fashioned way that includes actually playing on it. To get your lips soft and responsive, you should start by planing soft in a comfortable range, slowly expanding the range in both directions.

Playing long notes, slow etudes and simple flexibility exercises is are fine ways to warm up. But in this lesson I want to focus on combining trombone warm up with getting to know your instrument better and heat up your brain at the same time.

Trombones are not as visually laid out as a piano or a guitar. It is hard to visualise notes, and it takes a lifetime to really get under the skin of the bastard. Continue reading

    Trombone lesson: Doodle Pentatonics

    Pentatonic April – part II

    This is the second pentatonic exercise in a series of two, read the first part here

    New to doodle tonguing? Here is a series of articles to get you started.
    Doodle tonguing part I
    Doodle tonguing part II
    Doodle tonguing part III
    Doodle tonguing part IV

    Doodle Pentatonics
    Pentatonic scales are useful for many things, including working on your doodle chops. You will expand your range, build up strength and really get those pentatonic scales into your slide arm.

    No secret formula here, just plain hard (and rewarding) work. Make sure that you play the scales in a tempo that you can master. Every attack should be clear, and make sure the difference between the doo-attacks and dl-attacks are minimal. Continue reading

      Trombone lesson: Pentatonic scale flexibility

      I like pentatonic scales. They tend to fit the trombone quite well, and are in general useful for many things such as bass lines, blues themes and funky horn section phrases. And of course in improvisation. This is probably the best scale to start with if you are new to improvising, since it will sound melodically any way you play it. I have written about how to use pentatonic scales in improvisation here.

      This is no improvisation exercise. It is a simple trombone flexibility exercise, based on the pentatonic scale. The idea is to start each phrase on a low note, and working on expanding intervals with ease. Don´t try to fight the instrument when you work on these patterns. That never help your trombone playing. Try to blow as relaxed as possible, bouncing up from the low notes. Continue reading

        Trombone lesson: Pentatonic licks for 2013

        Christmas is over, and we have now entered 2013. For me that mean picking up the trombone again and get back in the practice room. To get back in shape, I tried to come up with something to challenge myself with, and the result are these pentatonic trombone licks. It is basically just a three note lick, but it moves around in all twelve keys, following the circle of fourths.

        For me, a good trombone lesson learned is when I forgot about the horn and just play music. This exercise help me do just that – shift focus away from the trombone, embouchure, breathing and other technical aspects, and rather just try to get the right notes in the right place. Continue reading

          Trombone lesson: Altered scale in all keys

          Maybe you read my previous article with scale exercises? Then let´s move on with the same concept using the altered scale!

          I find the altered scale to be very useful when I improvise. It has more edge and tension than any mode of the major scale. And it´s very useful over a large variety of chords.

          first, here´s the scale in the key of C:

          It consists of the root, b9, #9, major third, #11, b6, and the b7. These are all notes you use in an altered dominant chord. As a matter of fact, you can play all the notes in the scale at once, creating a C7 b9 #11 b13. Continue reading

            Scales in all twelve keys

            It doesn´t matter if you play jazz or classical music. Being really familiar with the major scales in all twelve keys is very useful, both for improvising and reading music. You should get to the point where you don´t have to think about the notes in the scale any longer and can play it up and down while planning the dinner! Continue reading

              Trombone lesson: My favorite warmup

              Nothing fancy here, just a great warm up exercise that I use on a (almost) daily basis. It´s a good combination of legato and staccato and starts in a relaxed range and goes down. Deep down! Try not to give up half way in order to get the most out of it. Continue reading

                Trombone lesson: Scales without tongueing

                One of the reasons that many jazz trombone players use the higher range a lot is simply that the notes are positioned closer and you are more agile. Yes, it takes some more chops to play around up there, but the reward is that you can play melodic lines lighter and more precise, and get rid some of the clumsiness that the trombone struggles with in the lower range.

                These scale exercises take this to the extreme. Continue reading