Soft practicing produces really exciting results, because it forces us to use our air as perfectly as we can.

All kinds of exercises—flexibility,
register change, flow studies, tonguing, slurring—benefit from practice at low volume.

One example: a lot of successful lead trumpet players (the guys and gals whose workplaces are between high C and double C) recommend practicing octave glissandi, softly.

Some points to consider:

• Many of us can’t play beautifully at low volume because we rarely practice softly.

• The ability to produce what famed wind conductor Frank Battisti calls “a resonant pianissimo” gives us skills that, like good air, make everything else better.

• Soft practicing lets us practice longer without fatigue; fatigued practicing is nearly always counterproductive.

Try soft practicing if you’re not already doing it; you’ll find it to be one of the most productive components of your daily routine.