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Relaxation Techniques by John Glasel consists of a series of Yoga-like exercises designed for advanced and professional trumpeters who feel the need to improve tone quality, range, and endurance. These exercises serve to increase strength and eliminate tensions, thus developing greater efficiency in the use of the lips and breathing muscles. As your playing set-up becomes more relaxed, a more natural style of playing will emerge. Your sound will become more open, endurance will increase, and you will be able to add at least a third to your usable high register.
Many Trumpet methods are collections of exercises or studies, sometimes arranged in a progression from easier to more difficult, but with little or no explanations of how to practice them. Relaxation Techniques is different: since how you practice is more important than what you practice, this book contains detailed instructions on how to practice each exercise, with particular attention to tempo, dynamics, articulation, breath control, mental attitude, and the amount of rest to be taken between exercises.
Since this method of practicing is quite different from most other methods and totally unlike any known style ,of performing, all instructions should be carefully followed. Many of the instructions tend to make the easiest-looking exercises quite difficult. Do not take short-cuts to make them easier to play or better-soundIng. The success of this method depends on your constant attention to every detail of the instructions.
Relaxation Techniques should be practiced daily. Practice time should be between 45 and 75 minutes per day. For best results, do not practice more than this amount and discontinue your regular practice routine. By limiting your practice you will break down tensions (bad habits) faster. Don’t be afraid that this practice restriction will cause a loss of endurance-as limited as these exercises seem, they will keep you in condition. However, if you feel the need for some additional practice, you may spend five or ten minutes on such practice immediately before the last exercise of each lesson.
Relaxation Techniques is organized as a series of lessons. Each lesson should be practiced daily for at least two weeks, except for Lesson I, for which one week is sufficient. Do not be in a hurry to go from one lesson to the next-unlike other methods, there is little value in progressing from the front to the back of the book. Indeed, many of the exercises are repeated fronl one lesson to the next. Every exercise in each lesson should be done well and fairly easily before going on to the next lesson, no matter how long it takes to achieve this.
It is suggested that you use a loose-leaf format in practicing these exercises. Simply remove the binding staples, cut along the center fold, and punch holes to conform with your binder. Then you will be able to arrange each lesson’s exercises consecutively and eliminate excessive page-turning during your practice sessions. (The decision to publish Relaxation Techniques in several volumes was due to the page limitation of wire-binding-other types of binding are harder to take apart.)
Relaxation Techniques is derived from the teachings of the late Maurice Grupp, to whose memory these volumes are dedicated.