Practice Aids

Resources

Blog Posts – Occasionally, I post articles about practice tips and miscellaneous tools.

Metronome Online – A simple, free metronome.

Musictheory.net – Understanding music theory is vital for anybody looking to excel at their instrument. This site offers valuable lessons, exercises, and tools that all musicians should take advantage of.

Practice Sightreading – Often overlooked, sightreading plays an important part in the development of all musicians. This resource can generate rhythmic and melodic exercises of various difficulties to keep you on your toes!

Tuning Drones – These cello drones are wonderful for intonation practice. Fantastic for playing underneath scales, buzzing, or while making music out of simple melodies.

Accessories

K & M Trombone Stands – These stands have been unbelievably helpful to myself and many of my students. Simply having your instrument ready to go at all times is so helpful in squeezing in practice sessions that might not happen otherwise! The heavy-duty model is, in my opinion, the best stand I’ve ever used, but a little heavy/bulky for most purposes. Unless you play bass trombone, the standard model will suffice. I use “bone socks” on each of my stands because they prevent moisture from causing the bell and rubber cups to stick a little bit – not entirely necessary, but a nice add-on.

Tuner/Metronome Combo – Having one device that handles both of these functions is great. Many smartphones have free tuner and metronome apps but, because of the temptation for distraction and the improved tuner quality of a standalone device, I often recommend a dedicated device like the following Korg tuners. A contact/clip-on microphone is not necessary but can be handy in a loud environment.

Maintenance – Consistent care for your instrument is an important part of being a musician. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve commented on a mistake made by a student only to find it was a direct result of a sticky slide, etc. A well lubricated handslide, tuning slide and, if applicable, valve, are not luxuries… they are necessities! Here are the products I recommend students use. (Note: Hetman products can often be found cheaper elsewhere, but are included here for ease of listing)

Software

Tonal Energy – This app is very impressive but, to be honest, it borders on having too many features. If you’re an advanced musician who is really nitpicky about using just intonation, could use audio/video recording with pitch analysis along the way, etc., than this is the app for you.

Tunable – This app is handy for all musicians with an iPhone. The tuner and metronome are great, as you would expect from any app like this, but what I really love is the simple interface. This is what I recommend to beginner/intermediate students.

forScore – If you own an iPad, and don’t already use forScore, you should immediately go to their website and check this out, as there are too many great features to list here. I’ve been a user for several years and it has drastically changed how I view and work with music. After digitizing my library, there are no longer massive piles of music on my practice stand or in 3-ring binders for gigs or auditions, I always have countless resources on hand while teaching, and I have a great backup in the event that hard-copies go missing or get damaged. I’ve now used this during countless performances and lessons.