Rev it Up Baby!

One potential drawback of school is dealing with an arbitrarily full schedule. Today, I had barely an hour to practice, and truly I tried my best. Classes starting at 8AM and going straight through 1:30, then rehearsal, then a lesson, an hour off, then two rehearsals lasting until 8PM.


So be it.


I got in a half hour between classes since I finished a test very early. Long tones first. This time I moved upwards in half-steps first instead of downwards. I like to mix it up because usually my lips are fairly tired by the end of the second direction, so the benefit is reduced then. I need to make sure I practice in the upper range sometimes when my lips are still strong.


After that, I reviewed the lick from yesterday in the 8 keys I knew, and then learned it in the last 4. Before playing at all I would mentally go through each note, then play slowly. I would also use the trick playing two notes fast at a time, pause, next two notes, etc. It would take me about 1-2 to memorize it and play at about 160 BPM each key.



Later, I put my practice on steroids. Polyrhythms, scales, tunes, technique, and licks. I invented a way to combine them all.


The tune I chose was How High the Moon. I pulled up the changes. Played through the chord tones in triplets.


Instead of my 9 note exercise, I used triplets and made it a 13 note exercise. Sometimes I played plain scale patterns (over the Amaj7 chord for example) so that I practiced scales and polyrhythms. Sometimes I played licks but in triplet form.


So I learned the tune and practiced my scales and rhythm.


I played at a fairly slow tempo so that I could also put my mental energy into technique. Play with good tone, intentional articulation, limited mistakes.


I would take a chorus using almost all thirds. I would take another chorus using almost all stepwise motion.


I did this for a while and got better, but in my key there is a ii-V progression (Bm-E7) that occurs many times throughout the tune. My ii-V vocabulary isn’t bad, but I was having a lot of trouble playing things in that key. So I actually stopped my intense practice and just worked out licks slowly over Bm-E7 and sometimes voice leading into Amaj7.


It actually felt almost as productive as a day with full practice time. That might be a sign I should push myself a little harder than I normally do from now on.


Happy practicing!



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