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Fastest Way To Learn New Repertoire

I'm regularly asked by students about how to learn a lot of repertoire in a short span of time.

When you are in college everything is coming at you fast and it can be overwhelming . There are solo pieces, orchestral excerpts, orchestra & ensemble repertoire in addition to the new technical work you will be addressing with your teacher. It is really important to develop an efficient way of learning repertoire which doesn't waste time.

Here are some of my techniques that if you follow slowly and carefully will serve you well throughout your career.

If you're learning a new piece start at the piano. Simply sing the pitches at the piano to help develop your inner ear. Step 2 is to buzz the mouthpiece with the help of the piano to keep your pitches honest.

Forget the rhythm for now - at this point we are buzzing completely out of time. This is to get the pitches solid and true. Step 3 is to combine both singing and buzzing. Buzz the mouthpiece then literally sing the next note of the phrase. It may sound weird at first but eventually it will become second nature to hear the pitch of the upcoming note while you are still buzzing the previous note. Step 4 is to buzz the pitches of the phrase or excerpt all of the way through without voice or piano. Just check your pitch with the keyboard at the beginning and at the end of the phrase. Final step is to add in the rhythm. In this video from my Trombone camp I work with a student on some of these techniques.



This method may seem slow at first, but it's guaranteed to develop your inner ear and it's connection to your embouchure. The first time you try this approach it may take a long time but if you are diligent eventually you will begin to reap the rewards.

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