Here are some of my thoughts on a variety of topics related to performance and practice.  I believe that progress occurs when we are on point and focused on the desired product.  Feel free to contact me if you would like my insight on a particular issue!

Teaching & Practice Concepts






Keep It Consistent:

  • Always budget time earlier in the day for a proper warm up:

    • Breathing and Buzzing

    • Glisses and Long Tones

    • Articulation:  Scales, Arpeggios, and Overtone Series

    • Slurs and Flexibility


  • Always allow for additional practice time to focus on Fundamentals:

    • Arban, Mueller, and Kopprasch:  Tone Stability, Consistency, and Technique

    • Edwards:  Slurs and Flexibility

    • Blume and Ostrander:  Lower Register – F Attachment



  • Always spend time working on Expression and Creativity:

    • Etudes:  Bordogni (3 ways) and Blazhevich

    • Solo Repertoire

    • Duets, Trios, Chamber Music

    • Improvisation


Keep It Goal-Oriented:

  • Always go into the practice room with a definitive game plan.  What is the mission?

    • Ex:  This 20 minutes will be spent on first 4 lines of Blazhevich 72 under tempo

    • Ex: This 30 minute session will be focused on sight reading


  • Always stay on point.

    • Record yourself to identify wasted time or “noodling”

    • Take a break when you begin to lose focus

    • Be able to walk out having spent your time EXACTLY as intended


Keep It Simple:

  • Always do the “little things”

    • Mark breaths: which are determined by your intended phrasing

    • Define all terminology: which indicate the composer’s interpretation

    • Have a definite metronome marking for where you are and want to be

    • Bracket all problem areas for targeted practice

    • Reminders:  accidentals, phrase direction, rubato, etc.


  • Always approach problems with LOGIC (not emotion).

    • WHAT is the problem?

    • WHEN does it occur?

    • WHY is it happening?  (identify several possible reasons…it’s not exact science)

    • HOW to fix it?  (identify at least 1-2 ways to fix each reason for the problem)


Keep It Positive:

  • Always start where you ARE – and move steadily to where you want to be

    • SLOW PRACTICE:  Keep it slow, but play EXACTLY how you intend at faster tempi

    • Law of averages:  Have you played a passage correctly or incorrectly more times?

    • Recognize the difference between honest critique and destructive thoughts

    • Embrace struggle and challenge – they are necessary for improvement


  • Always track back to sources of inspiration.

    • World class musicians….trombonists and others

    • Live performances – both as participant and as audience member

    • Have a group of friends with whom you can TALK about music…and grow.




©2015  by Josh Bynum. Proudly created with

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