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Can you double tongue ALL two octave scales?
Can you hit a double 'C' and higher?
Do you have a beautiful warm, rich tone?

All of these playing styles (and more) can be MASTERED through Skill Building. Smart practicing and Skill Building is somewhat a lost art. All of us want to pick up the horn, have fun and play various music. But what are our goals? What are we trying to achieve? If we are just playing for enjoyment then THAT is the goal. But if your goal is to improve or get better, then you must add Skill Building to your practice routine.

What is Skill Building?

Begin working on a particular skill (tonguing, scales, range) in simple, attainable steps, then increasing the difficulty SLIGHTLY. Practicing that level for many repetitions UNTIL MASTERED, then increasing the difficulty. It may take hours, days or weeks to MASTER a particular level. Mastery is obtained when you can play a particular passage or selection 10-15 times at the given metronome marking with no mistakes.

How to do Skill Building:

Let's take the double tonguing example of two octave scales. (click for more information on double tonguing)(It is taken for granted that you have MASTERED double tonguing. If not you would do these exercises.)

1) MASTER single tonguing the scales in sixteenth notes from 40 BPM to 132+ BPM. (may take a two month period) Muscle memory and technique are being developed.

2) SLOWLY begin double tonguing the scales and MASTER each metronome marking.

3) Increase the tempo as each level is MASTERED (could take 6 months)

Now, after six months of Skill Building, you have MASTERED double tonguing two octave scales! If you had followed your normal practice routine, what would your skill level be on double tonguing two octave scales?


Believe me, I'm not perfect, there are days when I play for fun. To improve on a consistent basis add Skill Building to your practicing sessions!

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