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Unfortunately in the real world, we rarely get to play on fresh chops, so whether we like it or not, practicing while we’re shot is just as important, if not more so, than when we feel like we can conquer the world.

It is indeed humbling, but it pays off in dividends when we have the gig that followed six hours of rehearsal that day. Maintaining concentration and projection of air through the end of a note or phrase is crucial.

You can order Kauko Kahila’s “Semester of Studies” for Bass Trombone at Hickey’s and other fine purveyors of sheet music.

I literally experienced an emotional, mental and physical ‘breakdown’.

The “Semester of Studies” for Bass Trombone by Kauko Kahila has a little taste of everything in these short sixteen etudes.

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I also hate middle C, but I’ll save my rant on that note for a different day. This etude has a boatload of them and has you coming at them from all sorts of angles. A great exercise to work on with drones are 6-note harmonic series slurs.

For my next installment of these “Practice Posts,” I decided to go with a selection from a book of etudes that I’ve continually come back to over the years; the “Semester of Studies” by Kauko Kahila.

This book is one of the most challenging, and I feel, one of the most relevant collection of etudes published today.

All of this is so much easier if I just wrote it out on staff paper and posted a PDF. Some days go better than others, but it’s the path toward consistency that we all must travel upon.

Today it’s Kahila exercise #3, tomorrow it’s Haydn’s “The Creation” or Franck’s “Symphony in D Minor.” Then the next day it’s some recording session that has three trombones inexplicably playing unison licks up to high C#’s.

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