Routine: What and Why?

The first session of the day can often feel like a chore. Warming up can seem like a mindless routine and the benefits of your introductory appointment with the trumpet can often seem intangible. I would argue that this first session is the most important session of the day, because while sure, it is important to learn your repertoire, the most important long-term path to be on is one where you're constantly improving and avoiding injury. 

What's the difference between warmups and fundamentals? All warmups are fundamentals, but not all fundamentals are warmups. Just like working out at the gym or getting on your mat for your yoga practice, the safest and most effective way to begin is to start with movements that are productive, but also prepare you for the rest of what you're up against. For me, this whole idea combines with the goal of simple efficiency into the decision to always include a full routine in my first session of the day, unless there are extenuating circumstances. It does help that I'm a morning person and I thrive on routine. That being said, I think what I outline below is a flexible approach that can work really well for people who can't stand doing the same thing every day.

This key first session of the day should serve many purposes. Okay, sure, warming up. But there are certain boxes that you should always make sure to tick off. It's important to touch on all parts of your playing. When I have to play high Cs at work, I sure don't want them to be my first high Cs of the day. Through this comprehensive daily approach, it's also possible to improve your technical command of the instrument, build strength and condition, get the face time you need on the different instruments you've got on the go, and most importantly avoid injury by maintaining base fitness in your chops. 

So, the first session should touch on all the general areas of playing. As far as I can tell, everything falls in to three broad categories: sound production, flexibility, and articulation. By having lots of different ways to check off each of those boxes, ideally options at different levels of difficulty, intensity, and duration, you'll be able to tailor an effective and complete fundamentals session for each day.

More to come on this big topic.