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Flexibility
for trombone
By Anders Larson
Flexibility for
trombone players

By Anders Larson

Introduction
Trombone playing without good flexibility can be like being a bodybuilder; big and strong,
but often clumsy and unable to use the strength to anything really useful. (And it looks kind
of stupid too...) You want to combine strength with grace, flexibility and sound. And a big
bowl of musicality, of course. Think of parkour (try search for it on Youtube of you don´t
know what it is!). As brass players (and musicians in general), I believe that we can learn a
lot from those performers. They combine strength with extreme limberness and body
control. And there is always a fluid forward motion in their performances.

My intention with this collection of flexibility exercises, is to make sure that you can always
find something that is both rewarding, fun to play and challenging. Flexibility is fundamental
for trombone (and brass) players, and the exercises are not targeted to classical or jazz
players specially, but trombone players in all genres.

Good flexibility is one of the keys to becoming a good trombone player. It builds up
strength, improves legato playing, intonation and instrument control. But since you got
hold of this book, you probably know this already!

This book
The book is divided in twelve chapters. You don´t have to follow the order of the book,
neither do you need to play all the exercises in the chapter. It´s up to you to make sure you
get the most out of it and your practice sessions.

I have inserted a comment field after many of the exercises. This could make it easier for
you to keep track on what you are working on, and highlight your favorite exercises. I have
chosen to include written introductions to all the exercises, and I hope that helps you get
the most out of the exercises.

If you find some of the exercises to challenging – just skip it! It´s better to focus on the
ones you can play well and include the others as you improve your playing!
Flexibility for trombone players

Who are you?


Are you a good amateur, looking to get the most out of your well chosen hobby?
Are you going to music school, and want to dig deeper into the world of trombone
playing?
Are you a college or music conservatory student who want to be challenged in your
everyday practice sessions?
Are you a trombone teacher and want some inspiration for your teaching, while learning
yourself?
Are you a pro, looking to maintain and improve your skills, and want to dazzle your
colleagues with lip wrecking flexibility?
......keep on reading then!

If the mailman just delivered your first trombone, this book is probably not for you. You
could take a look at the very first exercises, and then put this book away for a year or
three. But if you are beyond the basics of trombone playing, I bet there are things in here
that can help you improve your trombone playing!

Who am I?
My name is Anders Larson, a Swedish freelance trombone player, based in Copenhagen,
Denmark. I have played trombone for more than 25 years (early starter...), and
professionally for about 15. My work includes small jazz groups, big bands, recording
sessions, salsa/latin, shows and musical and some occasional orchestral playing. As a
teacher, I have worked with students on all levels, from beginners to conservatory students
and professional players.

I am the founder of www.digitaltrombone.com, where I try to share as much of my


knowledge about trombone playing as possible. The site has become a well known and
trusted online resource for many trombone players, and I do my best to make sure only to
share trombone related quality content.

Furthermore, I have released two albums: Unborn with Anders Larson Quartet & Paizo
String Quartet and Monday Night Big Band & Anders Larson. You can find them on Spotify
or in iTunes. I believe they are sold out at 7-Eleven for the moment...

Enough said (especially about me), let´s go get better!



1. Flexibility
Getting started!

These exercises might seem overly easy, but they are here for a reason. Before moving on
to the more technically challenging exercises in this book, it is a very good idea to play a
few simple exercises to make sure everything is working properly - airflow, tuning, sound
and timing. Play them real slow, and try to make it feel as effortless as possible. If you are
struggling to get these exercises smooth, you should spend some extra time here before
moving on in the book.

With that said, you can also just use this section as a warm up exercise, getting you in
flexibility mood.

? 5 bœ œ Œ
œ œ
Œ
bœ bœ
Œ œ œ Œ
1 4 b˙ ˙ b˙ ˙

? bœ bœ Œ œ œ Œ œ œ Œ
b˙ ˙ ˙

? bœ œ b˙ Œ œ ˙ Œ b œ b˙ Œ œ ˙ Œ
2 œ bœ œ

? b œ b˙ Œ œ ˙ Œ ˙ Œ
bœ œ œ œ

?c œ bœ œ Œ œ œ Œ
3 bœ b˙. Continue down to
œ œ ˙.

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1. FLexibility - getting started

4
? bœ œ bœ œ œ œ œ œ ˙. Œ Continue pattern on all
positions down to 7th.

œ œ œ œ
5
? bœ œ œ œ bœ œ b˙
ΠContinue pattern on all
positions down to 7th.

My comments: Date: My Rating:

? b œ 3 œ œ 3
œ bœ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ˙ Ó
3 3
Continue pattern on all
6 positions down to 7th.

? œ b œ œ œ œ œ œ œ
3 3
Ó
3 3
7 bœ œ œ œ ˙ Continue pattern on all
positions down to 7th.

? bœ œ bœ
3 3

œ œ bœ bœ
3
œ bœ bœ
3

œ œ œ œ
3 3
œ
3
8 œ bœ œ bœ œ œ œ

? bœ œ bœ œ œ
3 3

bœ bœ œ œ
3
bœ œ
3 3

b œ œ œ œ œ œ
3 3

9 œ bœ œ bœ œ
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2. Crescendo with control

Can you play a perfect crescendo in the middle/low range going from ppp to fff in one
breath? This exercise is actually to be considered as much a breathing exercise as a
flexibility exercise. Before playing the exercise, please consider the following:
The goal is not to play as strong as possible. The goal is to get the feeling of opening up
your throat and let the notes in ff pour out practically without any effort.
The analogy of a water pouring out of a tap is a great way to visualize the air flow. Take a
look at these pictures:

Which one of the two others would you say is the best picture of playing a rich ff? Are
you sure?
I´d say go for the uncompressed, large bore water tap! No matter how many liters you
can squeeze out of a water hose per second, it still can´t beat the quality of the free flow
from a water tap!
Converted into airflow: Even if you can get more air out in shorter time with pure force, it
wont be as efficient as when you let it poor out through a large opening! Many players
actually force the air flow and still play really good. You can get far by doing that, but
remember that by using pure Air Flow and let Pentagon work with Air Force I would say
that you could become a 25% better brass player overnight, whatever that means!

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2. Crescendo with control

? bb 32 ˙ ˙ Ó ˙ ˙
Ó
˙ n˙
Ó n˙ ˙
Ó
p f
1

? bb b ˙ ˙ Ó ˙ b˙ Ó ˙ ˙ Ó ˙ ˙ Ó

? bb # ˙ # ˙ Ó #˙ #˙ Ó ˙ ˙ Ó ˙ ˙ Ó

? b n˙ Ó n˙ Ó
b n˙ n˙

? bb ˙ ˙ Ó ˙ ˙ Ó n˙ Ó n˙ Ó
˙ ˙
p f
2

? bb b ˙
b˙ Ó b˙ b˙ Ó ˙ ˙ Ó ˙ ˙ Ó

? bb # ˙ Ó #˙ Ó ˙ Ó ˙ Ó
#˙ #˙ ˙ ˙

? bb n ˙ Ó n˙ Ó
n˙ n˙
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2. Crescendo with control

? b4˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Ó ˙ n˙ n ˙ ˙
3 b 2 ˙ Ó ˙ ˙ Ó ˙ Ó

? bb b ˙ ˙ ˙ b˙ Ó ˙ ˙ ˙ Ó
b˙ Ó b˙ ˙ Ó ˙ ˙

? bb # ˙ # ˙ Ó #˙ #˙ Ó ˙ ˙ Ó ˙ ˙ Ó
#˙ #˙ ˙ ˙

? b n˙ Ó n˙ n˙ Ó
b n˙ n˙ n˙

? bb ˙ ˙ ˙ Ó ˙ ˙
˙ Ó n ˙ ˙ Ó ˙ n˙
4 ˙ ˙ Ó

? bb ˙ b˙ b˙ ˙ ˙ Ó ˙ ˙
b˙ Ó b˙ Ó ˙ ˙ ˙ Ó

? b #˙ Ó #˙ #˙ Ó ˙ Ó ˙ ˙ Ó
b #˙ #˙ #˙ ˙ ˙ ˙

? bb ˙ Ó ˙ n˙ Ó
˙ n˙ ˙

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3. Large intervals
Avoiding the notes "in between"

These exercises are made specifically to work on larger intervals while avoiding the notes in
the gap between. You should aim for perfection and not speed when you work on these
exercises.
Find a tempo that enable you to play all the notes with full sound an good pitch without
stumbling over the “avoid notes”. For example, if you want to make an octave leap up from a
low Bb, you should make sure not to touch the F in between. The smaller notes in some of
the exercises are optional, only play them when the tempo allows you to do it in one breath
with good control.
I use these flexibility exercises regularly, and find them very rewarding. Especially playing in a
low range as well as high range in the same breath without changing the embouchure to
much is very healthy.
The smaller notes are optional, make sure that you play the exercise well rather than playing
the long version.
Exercise 18 and 19 are to be considered as very advanced. I can´t play them myself unless I
am in pretty good shape… But if you are up for the challenge – please be my guest!

?c œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ
œ
œ œ
œ œ œ œ œ ˙
1

?œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ˙
œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ
2

? œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ
œ œ œ œ œ ˙
3

?œ œ œ œ
œ œ œ
œ œ œ
œ œ œ
œ
œ œ œ œ ˙
4

œ œ œ œ
? 43 œ œ œ œ œ œ œ
œ œ œ œ
5

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œ œ œ
3. Large intervals

? œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ
œ œ œ
6

My comments: Date: My Rating:

?c œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ
œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ˙
7

8
?œ œ œ œ œ
œ
œ
œ
œ
œ
œ
œ
œ
œ
œ
œ
˙

œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ
9
?œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ˙

My comments: Date: My Rating:

œ œ œ œ
? 43 œ œ œ œ #œ #
œ œ œ
œ œ œ # œ œ ˙ Œ
œ ˙
10

œ œ œ œ ˙
? # œ œ œ # œ œ œ œ œ # œ œ œ œ œ ˙ Œ
œ
11

œ œ
? œ œ #œ œ œ œ #œ œ œ
œ
#œ œ œ
Œ
œ œ œ ˙
12

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3. Large intervals

? œ œ #œ œ œ œ œ #œ
œ œ œ
œ #œ
œ
œ
˙
Œ
œ œ œ
13

œ œ œ œ
?c œ œ # œ œ œ œ œ # œ œ œ Ó
œ œ ˙
14

œ œ ˙
? #œ œ œ œ œ œ #œ œ œ œ
œ œ Ó
œ œ
15

My comments: Date: My Rating:

œ #œ #œ œ
? 45 œ œ # œ œ œ œ œ
œ
#œ œ œ œ œ
œ
œ Ó
œ œ ˙
16


œ œ #œ œ œ
#œ œ
? œ œ œ
œ #œ œ œ œ
œ
œ œ Ó
œ œ ˙
17

œ #œ œ œ œ
œ œ œ
? 46 œ œ #œ œ œ
œ w
18

œ œ #œ œ
? œ #œ œ œ œ
19 œ œ œ w

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4. Flexibility
Working on speed

b œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ bœ œ œ œ œ œ
?c œ œ œ œ œ œ œ˙
1 R

œ bœ œ œ œ œ œ œ bœ œ œ œ˙
?R œœ œ œœ œ œ œ œ œ
2 œ œ œ

Having good flexibility on your brass instrument is fundamental. In basically all music you
will play, you will find use for the flexibility skills you worked on in the practice room. Not
always the most fancy and exciting work, but someone has to do it – and I´m afraid that
someone is you. And me. And all the other brass players out there...

Speeding
Working on control and precision is important, but you should work on speed as well. This
exercise really help you speed up your flexibility chops. Of course, you can use any pattern
you want, but this one is well suited to play in a high tempo.

It´s important to start with a very slow tempo, making sure that you can play the pattern
with great precision. Set your metronome at about 60bpm and try the pattern. Then
continue by increasing the tempo by 10bpm and play the pattern again. When you get to
tempo where you loose control of the exercise,turn the metronome down by 10bpm and
try again. Then try the faster tempo again.

The goal with this exercise is to get to the speed where you no longer play every note, but
just find a flow, kind of playing a lip trill with a melody. This sensation kicks in around
180bpm.

Tips:
Try starting the exercise on 7th position for variation, working your way up to 1st position.

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5. Lip trills

Admitted, this exercise is not the most fun you can have with a trombone, but there´s no way
around the fact that there´s a lot of hard work involved if you want to be a top performer on a
brass instrument. Footballers don´t kick a ball around all the time at practice...

With that in place: Let´s do something about the world of lip trills. Regardless of the genres
you play, they will be needed at some point.

There is only one way to make it work, and that is to start slow. Find a metronome, and set a
slow tempo that allows you to play the whole phrase. I recommend that you write down the
tempo you can play it in today, and try to raise it by a few beats per minute every day over a
period of time. The goal is to get to the point where you don´t notice the individual notes, and
just let it flow. Think of it as running, you don´t want to think about every step you take, but
rather just the direction and the speed.

If the last few intervals are too high, just skip them. Start the exercise on 1st position and work
your way out to 7th, repeating the whole pattern on every position. And tomorrow you start at
7th and go up to 1st position. Deal?

There is not much more to be said about this exercise. Just go for it!

3 3
? c bœ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ bœ œ œ œ œ œ œ
œ œ œ œ œ
1st position

bœ œ œ œ
3 3
1
Legato, no tounge

? bœ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ bw

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5. Lip trills

?œ bœ œ œ
Continue with the same rythmical pattern

œ œ œ
? bœ

œ œ œ œ
?

œ bœ œ œ
?
bœ bœ œ œ
?
Note that Ab will be out of tune on 1st position.

bœ œ œ œ
?
œ œ œ œ

œ bœ œ œ

? Repeat exercise 1 on all positions!

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œ œ #œ œ nœ bœ œ bœ bœ nœ nœ œ œ #œ nœ
? œ
2
1 2 3 4 5 4 3 2

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œ œ #œ œ nœ bœ œ œ bœ bœ nœ nœ œ œ #œ nœ
5. Lip trills

˙
? Ó
1 2 3 4 5 4 3 2 1

# œ œ n œ b œ œ œ b œ b œ œ œ œ œ n œn œ œ œ # œ œ n œ b œ œ œ b œb œ œ œ œ œ n œ n œ œ œ # ˙
? Ó
2 3 4 5...

œ b œ œ œ b œb œ œ œ # œn œ œ œ b œ œ n œn œ œ b œ œ œ b œb œ œ œ # œn œ œ œ b œ œ n œn œ ˙
? Ó

My comments: Date: My Rating:

œ œ #œ bœ nœ œ nœ #œ
? bœ œ nœ bœ bœ nœ nœ œ
3

œ œ #œ bœ nœ
? bœ œ nœ bœ bœ nœ nœ œ œ nœ #œ b˙
Ó

#œ nœ œ #œ nœ œ
? œ bœ œ œbœbœœnœ œœnœnœbœ œ bœ œœbœbœœnœœœnœnœbœ ˙ Ó

? b œ œ œ œb œ b œ œ n œ b œb œ n œ n œ œ œ n œ n œ b œ œ œ œb œ b œ œ n œ b œb œ n œ n œ œ œ n œ n œ b ˙ Ó

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6. Flexibility with
pedal tones

In these exercises, focus lays on including pedal tones when you work on flexibility on the
trombone, and being able to access them effortless and without changing the embouchure to
much compared to the normal range.

I find these exercises very rewarding for my trombone playing in general and it really helps me
get that full sound I want, also in the high range.

Depending on the size of your trombone, and your chops in general, you might not be able to
play the exercises all the way down to pedal E on 7th position. That´s ok, just go as deep as
you can. If you work on the pedal tone range daily for a period, you will improve fast and be
able to play more of the exercises and get all the way down.

And unless you have elephant sized lounges, you wont be able to play many notes in one
breath, so just fill up whenever you need to. Air flow is more important than a steady tempo in
these exercises.

?c œ œ œ bœ œ ˙ Ó bœ œ œ bœ œ œ
Repeat pattern on 2nd to 7th position

bœ Ó
bœ bœ bœ bœ b˙
1

? 46 b œ œ b œ nœ œ
bœ œ
bœ œ œ
w
Ó
bœ bœ
2

? œ bœ œ œ bœ œ
bœ œ bœ œ Ó
Repeat pattern on 2nd to 7th position

bœ bœ bw

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6. Flexibility with pedal tones

? c bœ
œ bœ œ bœ œ œ œ
bœ œ bœ œ
3
bœ œ œ œ
? b˙ Ó
bœ nœ bœ nœ
bœ nœ bœ nœ

? bœ œ bœ œ bœ œ œ œ
bœ œ bœ
4
œ bœ œ œ œ
? b˙ Ó
bœ nœ bœ nœ
bœ nœ bœ nœ
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œ œ bœ bœ œ bœ
3

œ œ
3 3

3 3 3

œ bœ
bœ œ bœ œ
5
bœ œ

?œ bœ nœ œ bœ
œ œ
3 3

œ œ #œ #œ
3 3 3
˙
3
bœ nœ
3

œ bœ
œ œ3 #œ œ bœ nœ
? œ œ
bœ bœ œ œ bœ œ
3 3

3 3
œ
3
bœ œ
bœ œ bœ
6
œ bœ œ
? œ
bœ nœ bœ bœ nœ nœ
3
œ
3 3

œ œ œ bœ
3 3 3 3

bœ nœ
œ œ bœ nœ bœ nœ bœ ˙
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6. Flexibility with pedal tones

? bœ œ bœ œ œ bœ bœ œ œ bœ bœ œ œ
œ bœ œ bœ œ
bœ œ bœ œ
7
bœ œ

nœ nœ bœ bœ bœ nœ bœ œ
?œœ
œ œ œ bœ bœ bœ nœ nœ n œ bœ ˙
œ bœ nœ bœ
œœ bœ nœ
? œ bœ œ œ bœ bœ œ œ bœ œ œ
bœ œ bœ œ bœ b œ
bœ œ bœ œ
œ bœ
8
œ

? bœ nœ nœ bœ bœ nœ nœ bœ
œ œœœœ œ bœ b œ nœ bœ nœ bœ œ ˙
œ œ bœ nœ bœ œ bœ
My comments: Date: My Rating:

œ bœ œ bœ
? œ bœ Œ œ bœ Œ
Repeat pattern on 2nd to 7th position

bœ bœ
9

œ œ
? bœ œ bœ Œ bœ œ bœ Œ
bœ bœ
10
Repeat pattern on 2nd to 7th position

œ œ bœ œ œ bœ
? œ bœ œ bœ
Repeat pattern on 2nd to 7th position

bœ œ bœ œ
11

œ œ œ œ œ œ
? bœ œ bœ bœ œ bœ
bœ bœ
12
Repeat pattern on 2nd to 7th position

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7. Flexibility with rhythm

Many trombone flexibility exercises tend to have a rather uninspiring rhythm and focus mainly
on changing notes. Here, I have added some rhythmical flavor, making them a bit more fun to
play, but most of all, adding a new challenge to the concept of flexibility. It might seem like a
small difference, but it actually makes it a quite different ball game.

You should focus on playing these patterns as effortless as possible. Whenever you are
changing note or changing from quarter notes to eight notes, think light and easy, rather than
trying to nail it with force. More ballet, less sumo. More vegetables, less steak. More summer
breeze, less snow storm...

Exercise 1-3 are (quite) easy, 4-5 are easy/medium. For some reason, the triads in no. 6 are
quite tricky to get in place. No. 7-11 are to be considered advanced, gradually getting tougher.
And no 12 is just plain stupid... But if you can play it without having to change embouchure to
much for the pedal tones, it is quite rewarding.

A last important note: all changes (pitch and rhythm) should be controlled mainly by the
embouchure and not so much with the air. Try avoiding blowing harder when shifting note!

œ bœ
Play all patterns on all positions.

? c bœ. œ ‘ ‘ b˙ Ó
1 J

œ œ œ œ
? bœ. œ bœ œ bœ. œ bœ œ ‘ b˙ Ó
2 J J

b œ œ œ œ œ.
?6 . œ œ Ó
3 4 bœ J J ‘ bw

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7. Flexibility with rhtythm

œ bœ œ œ ˙
?c œ œ œ œ Ó
4 bœ œ ‘ ‘

b œ œ œœ œœ
?3 œ œ ‘ b˙ Œ
5 4 bœ

3 œ œ œ œ3
? c bœ œ b œ œ
6 ‘ b˙ Ó
My comments: Date: My Rating:

œ bœ œ œ œ
œ
7
? bœ œ bœ œ ‘ b˙ Ó

œ bœ œ
œ œ œ œ œ œ
8
? bœ œ œ ‘ b˙ Ó

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œ. œ œ3 œ . œ œ œ3 œ
? œ bœ. œ œ œ œ. œ b œ . œ œ. œ
9 R

œ. œ œ
? bœ. œ œ œ. œ
3
œ b˙ Ó
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7. Flexibility with rhtythm

œ #œ œ bœ œ œ œ bœ œ bœ nœ #œ nœ bœ
10
? œ œ bœ œ bœ Nœ
2 1 2 1 3 2 3 2

œ œ œ bœ œ œ œ bœ bœ bœ nœ nœ bœ bœ
? bœ œ bœ œ bœ Nœ
4 3 4 3 5 4 5 4

œ œ œ bœ bœ œ œ #œ œ œ œ œ œ
? bœ œ œ œ œ œ

6 5 6 5 7 6 7 6

My comments: Date: My Rating:

œ œ
#œ bœ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ #œ œ
11
? œ bœ œ bœ œ œ œ œ

bœ bœ
2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1

œ œ # œ nœ œ bœ nœ bœ nœ #œ œ œ bœ
? œ bœ œ nœ nœ œ bœ bœ Nœ
3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2

œ œ œ bœ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ
œ b œ
? bœ œ bœ bœ bœ œ œ œ œ
4 3 4 3 4 3 4 3

#œ #œ
#œ œ œ œ œ œ œ #œ œ œ œ œ #œ #œ
? #œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ
5 4 5 4 5 4 5 4

œ œ
œ bœ bœ bœ œ œ œ œ bœ œ œ œ œ œ
? œ bœ bœ bœ œ œ œ œ
6 5 6 5 6 5 6 5

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7. Flexibility with rhtythm

œ œ
? #œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ #œ œ
œœœœœœ œ œ
7 6 7 6 7 6 7 6

My comments: Date: My Rating:

œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ #œ œ
# œ b œ
? œ œ bœ œ bœ œ œ œ œ

12

bœ bœ
2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1

œ œ # œ nœ œ bœ nœ bœ nœ #œ œ œ bœ
? œ bœ nœ nœ œ bœ bœ
œ bœ
3 2 Nœ
œ œ œ bœ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ
œ b œ bœ
? bœ œ bœ bœ œ œ œ œ
4 3 bœ
#œ #œ
#œ œ œ œ œ œ œ #œ œ œ œ #œ #œ
? œ #œ œ œ œ œ œ œ #œ
5 4 œ
œ œ
œ bœ bœ bœ œ œ œ œ bœ œ œ œ œ œ
? œ bœ bœ bœ œ œ œ œ
6 5 bœ
œ œ
? #œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ #œ œ
œœœœœœ œœ
7 6 œ
My comments: Date: My Rating:

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8. Flexibility on trombone
and mouthpiece
It is no secret by now, that practicing flexibility is one of the keys to good technique and chops!
Playing the same exercise on both mouthpiece and instrument is great both for building up
strength and gaining more control over the instrument.

Here, I have made a bunch of trombone exercises that focus on this. They are supposed to be
played first on trombone and then on mouthpiece, but as a variation you could start with the
mouthpiece. There will be some fiddling around with the mouthpiece on and off, but please
bare with me on this one.

You should focus on keeping the same embouchure both on the trombone and the
mouthpiece. When you play on the mouthpiece, you need more strength and control in order
to hit the (right) notes. Try to use the same approach when you play the trombone - making
sure that your lips (and ears) know what pitch to hit will really help you improve your instrument
control.

b œ œ3 œ œ œ b œ œ œ œœ ˙
trombone:

?c œ œ œ œ œ œ Ó
3 3 3 3 3 3 3
1 bœ œ œœ bœ œ œœ

b œ œ bœ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ˙
mouthpiece:

? Ó
3 3 3 3

Continue pattern on all positions down to 7th.

b œ œ 3 œ œ 3 3 bœ œ 3 3 œ œ 3
trombone:

? bœ œ œœœœ œ œ bœ œ œœœœ œœ ˙
3
Ó
3

œ bœ œ œ œ œ œ œ
mouthpiece:

? Ó
3 3 3 3
bœ œ œ œ ˙

My comments: Date: My Rating:

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FLexibility on trombone and mouthpiece

b œ œ œ œ œ b œ œ œ œ œ
trombone:

3
? bœ œ œ bœ œ œ ˙ Ó

œ œ œ
? œ bœ œ œ
mouthpiece:

bœ ˙ Ó

œ bœ œ œ
b œ œ œ œ œ bœ b œ œ œ œ œ
trombone:

4
? bœ œ œ œ œ œ bœ œ œ

bœ œ œ
œ bœ
? œ œ œ Ó
˙

œ bœ œ
b œ œ œ œ œ œ bœ
mouthpiece:

? bœ œ œ œ œ œ ˙ Ó

My comments: Date: My Rating:

bœ œ œ œ bœ œ œ
œ bœ œ œ œ œ œ bœ œ œ
trombone:

? œ b œ œ
5 œ œ œ œ

œ b˙
œ œ
? œ œ bœ œ œ
Ó

bœ œ ˙
œ œ bœ œ œ
mouthpiece:

œ œ œ
? œ œ œ bœ œ Ó
œ
My comments: Date: My Rating:

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9. Flexibility on trombone
and mouthpiece part 2

In this second part with exercises for both trombone and mouthpiece, the focus is on
octaves and a mix of staccato and legato playing. The idea is to work on mouthpiece and
trombone simultaneously to make sure that you use a similar embouchure. Beware of the
pitch on the mouthpiece, especially when playing staccato phrases. It can be virtually
impossible to get all pitches correct on the mouthpiece, but do the best you can!

When a task is repeated over time, the muscle memory will be better and better at
remembering how to do it, eventually allowing it to be performed without very much effort.
This is important when playing on the mouthpiece since there is no tubing to "force" the lips
to vibrate with the correct speed. This approach, combined with using your musicality to
hear the next pitch, before you play it, will help a lot with your precision and intonation on
the trombone.

By practicing the switch from mouthpiece to trombone, you will improve instrument control
and your ability to hit the right pitch on the trombone.

? c bœ bœ œ bœ œ œ œ
trombone:

1 œ bœ œ œ œ b˙ Ó

? bœ b œ. œ. b .
œ .
œ .
œ .
œ
. œ. b œ. œ. œ. œ. b˙ Ó

bœ œ b œ. œ.
mouthpiece:

? bœ œ b œ. œ. b˙ Ó

My comments: Date: My Rating:

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9. Flexibility on trombone and mouthpiece part 2

trombone:
bœ bœ œ
2
? bœ bœ œ

bœ œ
œ
œ œ
b˙ Ó

b œ. b œ. œ.
? bœ b œ. œ. b .
œ œ. . œ. œ.
. b œ. œ b˙ Ó

bœ b œ.
mouthpiece:

? bœ bœ œ b œ. œ.
b œ. b˙ Ó

My comments: Date: My Rating:

bœ bœ œ
trombone:

? bœ œ bœ œ œ œ
3 bœ bœ œ b˙ Ó

b œ. b œ. œ.
? b œ. œ. b œ. . œ. œ. . œ.
b œ. bœ œ b˙ Ó

bœ b œ.
mouthpiece:

? bœ œ b œ. œ.
bœ b œ. b˙ Ó

My comments: Date: My Rating:

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9. Flexibility on trombone and mouthpiece part 2

trombone:

? bœ bœ œ b˙
bœ œ bœ œ œ œ Ó
bœ bœ œ
4

.
? bœ bœ œ.
b œ.
b œ. œ.
œ.
œ. œ.

Ó
.
b œ. b œ. œ.

? bœ b œ. b˙
mouthpiece:

bœ œ b œ. œ. Ó
bœ b œ.

My comments: Date: My Rating:

bœ bœ œ
trombone:

? bœ œ bœ œ œ œ Ó
bœ bœ œ b˙
5

? b œ. b œ. œ.
b œ. œ. b œ. œ. œ. œ. Ó
b œ. b œ. œ. b˙

bœ b œ.
mouthpiece:

? bœ œ b œ. œ. Ó
bœ b œ. b˙

My comments: Date: My Rating:

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10. Moving around

These patterns show you some ways to get out of the


first-down-to-seventh-position-playing-the-same-pattern-mode, making it more fun to play.
This also makes your flexibility practicing come closer to the actual use of it in real music.

Many trombone (and other brass players) tend to do their flexibility home work, but as soon
as they start moving the slide around, they put an attack on every note and cut up their
airflow. Don´t go there! On of the benefits of flexibility exercises, is that it improves your legato
playing - that is, if you actually use your flexibility skills. Both legato and flexibility should focus
on constant air flow!

The patterns are quite simple, but skipping slides and moving up and down make them come
alive and sound more fresh. You should try to get some speed going, and aim for a totally
smooth phrasing. Think of it as one long note played with a steady air flow. And watch the
pitch, some of the patterns can be a bit tricky to intonate, especially when you start on 7th
position.

? c bœ bœ œ bœ bœ nœ nœ œ œ
3 3 3
bœ bœ bœ bœ nœ nœ œ
3
3 3 3 3

bœ nœ œ bœ bœ nœ œ
1
œ
3 3

? bœ bœ œ œ
bœ œ ˙

? bœ bœ œ bœ bœ nœ nœ œ œ bœ bœ bœ bœ nœ nœ œ œ
3 3 3 3
3 3 3 3
2 bœ nœ œ bœ bœ nœ œ
3

? bœ
3

b œ œ œ ˙
bœ œ
3 3 3 3
b œ n œ
3 3

? œ œ bœ bœ œ œ n œ n œ b œ b œ bœ n œ n œ nœ
3 3
3
œ bœ œ nœ bœ b œ nœ n œ

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10. Moving around

? b œ
3
bœ bœ b œ
3
œ ˙

3 3 3 3

bœ bœ œ œ nœ nœ bœ bœ bœ 3 bœ nœ nœ nœ 3 nœ
3 3


œ œ bœ œ nœ bœ bœ nœ nœ
4

? bœ bœ b œ 3
œ ˙

3

My comments: Date: My Rating:

œ3 b œ œ3 œ œ3 b œ œ3 œ # œ3 N œ œ3 œ œ3 œ œ3 œ
5
?œ œ bœ œ Nœ œ œ œ

? bœ œ3 b œ œ3 œ b œ3 b œ œ3 œ N œ3 N œ œ3 œ œ3 œ œ3 œ
œ bœ œ Nœ œ œ œ

? bœ b œ
3
b œ œ
3
œ # œ œ œ œ ˙
œ Ó
3 3
œ œ

œ3 b œ œ3 b œ # œ3 n œ n œ3 œ œ3 b œ b œ3 b œ n œ3 n œ n œ3 œ
6
?œ bœ nœ œ bœ bœ nœ œ

? bœ b œ
3
bœ # œ3 œ
œ ˙
My comments: Date: My Rating:

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10. Moving around

œ b œ œ 3 œ œ 3 bœ œ 3 œ #œ 3 Nœ œ 3 œ œ 3 œ 3
? œ œ œ œ œ œ
3

7
bœ œ Nœ œ

œ
? bœ b œ œ œ b œ b œ œ œ N œ N œ œ œ œ œ œ
œ œ œ
3 3
bœ œ Nœ œ
3 3 3 3
œ
3 3

? bœ bœ b œ œ 3 œ #œ 3
œ œ œ 3 œ #˙ Ó
3

œ œ

œ 3 bœ œ 3 bœ #œ 3 nœ nœ 3 œ Nœ 3 bœ bœ 3 bœ nœ 3 nœ nœ 3
8
? œ bœ nœ œ bœ bœ nœ œ œ

? b œ b œ b œ # œ œ3 œ ˙
3

My comments: Date: My Rating:

b œ œ n œ b œ œ b œ n œ # œ
? œ #œ œ bœ bœ œ œ nœ nœ bœ bœ bœ nœ nœ nœ nœ
3 3 3 3 3 3 3
3
9

œ bœ œ œ
3
bœ ˙
? bœ
3

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10. Moving around

b œ œ n œ b œ N œ b œ n œ # œ nœ
? #œ œ œ bœ bœ œ œ nœ nœ bœ bœ bœ nœ nœ nœ
3 3 3 3 3 3 3
3
10

œ œ ˙
? bœ bœ œ bœ
3 3

My comments: Date: My Rating:

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11. Against the grain

This exercise came out of me being bored while playing some of the standard flexibility
patterns. The solution was to change position for every note but still follow the pattern
of the exercise. The output sounds really strange, but it´s fun to play! These are the
original patterns that I transformed:

? bœ œ bœ œ œ
3 3
3 bœ
3 3
œ œ bœ bœ œ œ
3

b œ œ œ œ
3 3
œ bœ œ bœ œ œ œ œ Etc...

œ #œ œ
? œ bœ œ œ b œ bœ œ œ œ
bœ œ bœ œ Etc...

b œ œ œ œ # œ œ5 b œ5 œ b œ œ œ œ5
? bœ œ œ œ b œ
5

bœ œ œ Etc...

œ bœ œ œ
bœ œ #œ
6

? œ œ
6

bœ œ
œ Etc...

The first of the modified exercises is quite easy, but as the pattern involves more and
more notes it takes longer and longer to resolve it and come back "home" again. And it
sounds stranger and stranger... I recommend a slow tempo in the beginning, making it
possible to hear and intonate all notes.

I played around with these exercises a few years ago, and tried playing all the notes from
pattern number eight as a chord on the piano. It actually inspired me to write a piece of
music that ended up as title track on my cd “Unborn” for jazz quartet and string quartet.
(Music Mecca CD 5032-2)

The first chords in the strings actually consists of the notes form this pattern (then
transposed a few times). In the end of the tune it is back again with full power and the
whole band.

Enough said, now have some fun with the exercises!

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11. Against the grain

3 3 3 3 3 3
bœ œ bœ bœ œ bœ
3 3

?c œ œ bœ nœ bœ œ œ bœ nœ bœ Ó
1 bœ œœ œ b œ œœ œ ˙
Position: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 6 5 4 3 2
3 3

? bœ œ bœ œ bœ œ bœ œ œ œ bœ œ b˙
3 3 3 3 3
3

b œ œœœ Ó
2 bœ œ bœ nœ bœ œ bœ nœ
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 6 5 4 3 2

My comments: Date: My Rating:

#œ œ nœ
? bœ œ bœ Nœ bœ œ nœ œ b œ bœ
3
œ bœ nœ
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 2 3 4

? œ œ œ bœ œ bœ œ ˙ Ó
4 bœ
5 6 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

œ œ bœ bœ nœ
? bœ œ nœ œ œ bœ n œ
5 œ bœ œ bœ
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 2 3 4

bœ #œ ˙
? bœ œ œ œ Ó
œ bœ
5 6 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

My comments: Date: My Rating:

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11. Against the grain

b œ N œ bœ œ #œ b œ #œ bœ
? 45 b œ œ œ bœ
6 œ bœ œ
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 2 3

œ bœ #œ œ œ œ
? œ œ b œ œ bœ
Nœ œ bœ œ
4 5 6 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 2 3 4 5 6

? bœ œ bœ œ œ œ bœ œ œ bœ
œ œ bœ œ
œ
7 6 5 4 3 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 6 5

œ œ œ bœ œ œ œ bœ œ
? œ œ bœ œ Œ
œ bœ bw
4 3 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

My comments: Date: My Rating:

œ #œ bœ œ bœ #œ bœ
? bœ œ œ œ bœ
7 bœ œ œ
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 2 3

œ bœ œ bœ œ bœ œ
? œ #œ œ bœ bœ
œ bœ œ
4 5 6 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 2 3 4 5 6

œ œ bœ
?œ œ bœ
œ bœ œ œ œ œ œ bœ
œ
7 6 5 4 3 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 6 5

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11. Against the grain

œ œ bœ œ œ œ w
? bœ œ bœ œ bœ œ Œ
œ œ œ
4 3 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

My comments: Date: My Rating:

b œ œ bœ bœ œ bœ bœ œ bœ
8
? 46 b œ œ œ w Œ Œ
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

bœ œ bœ b œ œ bw
? œ bœ b œ œ
œ œ Œ Œ
œ
9
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

My comments: Date: My Rating:

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Natural legato
Take a big breath!

Both classical and jazz players benefit from a good at natural legato. It´s a fundamental part
of trombone playing, and helps you accomplish smooth and light legato phrasing. This
natural legato exercise is a logical next step of all the flexibility exercises in this book.

You can actually play these patterns as natural legato all the way, only tonguing the first note.
Pattern 1 and 2 is basically major triads up and down, following the circle of fourths (the circle
of fifth backwards - moving in fourths makes more sense musically as each chord becomes a
dominant for the next). Pattern 3 is pattern 1 and 2 combined.

I like the feel of this exercise as you just play and play without having to use the tongue. It is a
bit tricky to get the intonation in place, and there is only one working solution with a lot of
alternate positions in order to play natural legato all the way. I have indicated which alternate
positions you need to use in order to play it as natural legato all the way.

This exercise is good for legato playing, flexibility and high range, as well as building up your
chops in general. If the range is too high, just start a bar or two into the exercises.

œ bœ œ bœ bœ
œ œ œ œ œ bœ bœ œ œ œ bœ
1
?c

œ bœ bœ
#4 4 3

?
bœ bœ œ bœ bœ Nœ #œ #œ #œ œ œ #œ œ
#4 5 5 5 5 4 5 #6 5 #5 4

œ œ #œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ˙
? #œ œ Ó
5 #5 #7 6 6 7 #7 6

My comments: Date: My Rating:

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12. Natural legato - take a big breath!

œ œ
œ #œ #œ œ #œ
œ œ œ #œ œ œ œ œ œ
2
?
4

œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ bœ
? œ œ Aœ œ œ bœ
4 #5 4 #4 #4 5

? bœ bœ œ bœ bœ œ œ bœ bœ bœ
bœ œ b˙
5 6 #6 5 7 6

My comments: Date: My Rating:

œ œ œ œ bœ œ œ bœ œ #œ #œ
œ œ œ #œ
? œ
3

bœ œ œ bœ bœ œ œ œ œ #œ œ œ œ œ bœ bœ œ bœ bœ œ bœ
? bœ œ bœ
#4 4 3 4 #4 5 5 5 5

œ œ œ œ œ œ œ Nœ #œ #œ #œ œ œ #œ b œ œ œ œ bœ œ œ
? œ œ bœ
4 #5 4 #4 4 5 #6 5 #5 4 1 3 4 6 #6 5

# œ œ œœ œ bœ bœ œ œ
? œ œ #œ œ b œ b œ œ bœ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ˙ Ó
5 6 #6 5 7 6 5 6 #6 5 7 6 6 7 #7 6

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12. Natural legato - take a big breath!

My comments: Date: My Rating:

Do you want to learn more?


Check out the book "10 Jazz Etudes For Trombone"!
58 pages of challenging etudes written for trombone, based on the chords of famous jazz standards. All etudes
come in both easy and advanced version. Available at www.digitaltrombone.com/shop

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