Refreshing chromatics practice

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with chromatic scales. My students would also attest to that, as they’ve been quite busy with chromatic scales in the Arban’s book. Chromatic practice is so healthy for us, especially as trombone players. I find in many students that their major/minor scales are in OK shape, but there is significant position-approximation happening. With chromatics, you must put the slide in EXACTLY the right place, or you start pushing the following half-steps out of tune. How many times have you played a chromatic scale only to end up on the final note too soon? Yep.

The challenge is to keep chromatic scales fresh: it’s always the same notes, just starting and finishing different places. We can work on articulation, dynamics, range, speed, alto/tenor/bass, etc, but it’s easy to get in a rut. I came up with my own chromatic scale routine that I’ve been using for a few months now, choosing a different ‘key’, or starting note, each day.

I’ve linked a PDF file below. Relearning Finale 2011 took me a while, so don’t be too cruel in judging my notation! The great thing about this routine is that you can target the tempi that often fall “in the cracks”, and also push yourself via baby steps into faster speeds. Hopefully this will at least germinate some ideas for your own practice.

Speed ‘Em Up Chromatics

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