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When Brett Baker, General Manager for Geneva Instruments, invited me to create a practice regime for lockdown as part of a collaboration between the company and 4barsrest, I was delighted to accept, of course, but it did raise a few questions as to the best way to structure my ideas.

Brett Baker and Geneva Instruments

At the time of the invitation, the world had shut down for business and we were under strict instructions to ‘stay at home’. Clearly, this regime had to be both productive but also reassuring. I didn’t feel it was the right moment to introduce some revolutionary concepts using material that would be difficult to acquire and I felt the regime needed to be both playable, familiar but also challenging.

Keeping things familiar during lockdown

Probably like most brass players, I’ve become used to the idea that all the best thinking for practice regimes had been developed relatively recently. Most of the greatest players around now are passionate educators and there are many superb methods and study books available for us to really take things to the highest level.

Much to my shame, the Arban method was gathering dust on the shelf as I’d subconsciously filed it away as a classic book but perhaps a little old fashioned for today’s modern, multi-dimentional, multi-talented cornet/trumpet player.

An early edition of Arban’s Cornet Method

However, I had revisited Arban’s timeless Characteristic Study No 1 just to give it a GarageBand revamp which I have cheekily recreated as Arbanista No 1. You can check it out here when you have a moment.

https://paularchibald.wordpress.com/2020/04/18/arbanista-no-1/

Looking through the book once again I was quickly reminded that any player who mastered this method would have a solid and secure technical foundation at the end of it. All I had to do was structure some of the material into manageable sections that, when bundled together, would create an enjoyable and inspiring practice session but ultimately ensure that the time spent was worth the effort in terms of personal musical development. And so the Arban Bootcamp was born! Checkout the Arban Bootcamp video here:

https://vimeo.com/417172704

Once the exercises are familiar the Bootcamp takes around 45-50 minutes to play and it’s a great workout once completed. Once band and orchestra rehearsals, concerts and contests restart you’ll be in great shape and ahead of the game. It will be a great feeling I can promise you….