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The Practice Room

Alternate Positions (And How to Use Them)

By David Mathie • June 01, 2021
In the brass family, alternate fingerings are rarely needed and rarely used, with the exception of the trombone. On our instrument, alternate positions are of vital importance and make it possible for us to have technical facility approaching that of the valved brass.

Jazz Improvisation for Beginners

By David Wilken • April 01, 2002
So you want to learn how to improvise jazz. "Where do I begin?" you might ask. You have worked hard to learn to read music, now how do you make it up on the spot? Use this introduction to get started!

Multiple Tonguing for Trombonists

By David Mathie • October 27, 2021
As trombone players, we are expected to tongue whatever is put in front of us, assuming we don't need to move our slides much when things get fast. Joking aside, brass players need to accommodate passages that are too rapid to tongue using the normal "Tah" syllable. To do this we use multiple tonguing.

One Octave Major Scales & Arpeggios

By Richard Human, Jr. • December 08, 2020
If you have spent any time at all learning to play an instrument, you have come across scales and arpeggios. There is a reason for this - they are the foundation to musical technique, and one of the very basic doors we have into the understanding of playing our instruments.

Playing Legato on the Trombone: A Primer

By Walter Barrett • July 31, 2000
Most trombonists at one time or another have trouble executing a clean, singing legato. This article is an introduction to the basic slurring techniques used by trombonists, and some basic tips on how to practice them.

The Joy in Being Able

By Richard Human, Jr. • February 07, 2021
Norman Bolter, composer of many striking and meaningful musical works for the trombone, has written this work, The Joy In Being Able, specifically for the younger trombonist. This piece is available only here in the "Practice Room" section of the Online Trombone Journal.

Trombone Basics: Accessories

By Luke Malewicz • April 27, 2021
In addition to your instrument you will also need some accessories to get started. These vary from ones you may already be familiar with like a music stand to ones you may not realize you need.

Trombone Basics: Correct Posture and Holding the Instrument

By Luke Malewicz • February 19, 2021
As you get more comfortable with your new instrument it's important to start building good habits. One of the first challenges you will encounter (apart from making sound on the trombone) is properly holding it in a way that is not only comfortable but will also give you the best chance of producing a good sound.

Trombone Basics: How to Put Together and Take Apart Your Instrument

By Luke Malewicz • January 31, 2021
Just as with any instrument the trombone is easy to damage it if we are not careful not only when playing it but also when we take it out and put it back into the case. In this video I will walk you through putting the instrument together and taking it apart.

Two Octave Major Scales & Arpeggios

By Richard Human, Jr. • December 24, 2020
As you and your ensemble members improve you will practice and perform more advanced and challenging music. Learning and practicing two octave scales and arpeggios can help you to prepare for these challenges.

Two Octave Natural Minor Scales and Arpeggios

By Richard Human, Jr. • June 14, 2022
After the major scales and arpeggios, the natural minor scales and arpeggios, or Aeolian mode, are the second-most used scales and chords in Western classical music, jazz, and rock. If you have memorized your major scales and arpeggios and know their key signatures, then you already know the natural minor scales and arpeggios!

Vibrato: An Overview for Trombonists

By Walter Barrett • April 26, 2006
Vibrato is a musical embellishment produced by varying a notes pitch, amplitude, or both, going slightly above and below the note in a regular, repeated fashion. This article presents various techniques for vibrato, discusses the uses of vibrato, and presents advice for learning stylistic concerns.

Warm-up for Young Trombonists

By Linda Leonard • December 08, 2020
Your lips are made up of many muscles which help you to play trombone, and it's necessary that you warm them up every day. This is a warm-up that will help you get ready to play the trombone.