Hate long tones? You’re not the only one. I think we all might somewhat hate long tones, but we know we have to do it.
Why not play them with a cool backing track and gamify the exercise to make it fun?
Here you go! I created a backing track to make your long tones fun again. The basic idea is to start out in the middle of your range and then go up and down one half step each time. The goal is to keep a consistent embouchure while playing perfectly in tune as you gradually get louder and then softer on each note. You don’t have to play the entire exercise – it has been designed in a way that you could stop at any point.
As you play, be thinking about your air – there will be a switch between chest air and stomach air which will cause you to either drop or surge in air (and thus throw you out of tune, and/or make you really loud or soft). Work on exhaling with a steady stream of air so that you have an even tone throughout the entire long tone.
You want to think about tuning as well. The goal here is to play perfectly in tune as you gradually get louder then softer. If you want a bigger challenge, try to organize your breath such that you get louder at a steady rate (rather than all of a sudden) and then softer at a steady rate, starting as soft as possible and growing to as loud as possible on the horn. Fun times!
To gamify the experience, place your smart device in front of you with the smiley face tuning app, TE Tuner. The goal is to get the big green smiley face as you play – the entire time you play that note. You can adjust the settings to make it easier or harder as you play.
Three minutes a day, and you’ll be in great shape for your next gig in about three days. Do you have three minutes? Try it, it will be worth it!
Select the button below to download the PDF, which has parts for Eb, Bb, F, and concert pitch in bass clef, treble clef, and a master piano part. You will be asked for your email address on another page, and then you will be automatically redirected to the PDF. Hope you enjoy!