Brad Edwards
First Habits: More Than a Warmup
Version for tenor trombone

N.p., , United States
Publisher: Hornbone Press
Date of Publication: 2021

Method book. 240 pages.

Primary Genre: Study Material - method
Secondary Genre: Study Material - etude

Dr. Edwards holds degrees from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and the Hartt School of Music. An outstanding performer, pedagogue, and composer, he is currently Professor of Trombone at Arizona State University. His solo credits include radio and television broadcasts, premieres of new music, guest recitals at colleges and regional workshops, and concertos with student and professional orchestras and wind ensembles. He was a member of the U.S. Air Force Band, Principal Trombonist of the South Carolina Philharmonic, and the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Symphony. He has also performed with such ensembles as the Baltimore Symphony, the Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra, Hartford Symphony, Charleston Symphony, as well as the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra. His work as a composer has enriched both the solo and pedagogical repertoire for the trombone. Blue Wolf for solo trombone has been recorded three times and Four Impromptus for Low Bone Alone, was selected for the national solo competition of the American Trombone Workshop. His pedagogical contributions include Lip Slurs, Lip Slur Melodies, Trombone Craft, Simply Singing, Patterns and Snippets, Introductory Studies in Tenor and Alto Clef, 24 Concert Pieces, The Intermediate Trombonist, 60 Vignettes, and 100 Sight-Reading Melodies in Alto Clef.

 His description of First Habits is as follows:
I have wanted to write a warm/up fundamentals book for a long time. I’ve sketched exercises for as long as I’ve been teaching. Frankly, I’ve been afraid to write such a book because: (1) I keep revising my own warm-up and (2) I may think of other fundamentals exercises that should have been included. That’s why you see a version date under the title. That’s the latest version of this book. The first version dates from May 2021. Those who purchase this book will be, upon request, eligible for free downloads of the revised versions should they occur. For portions of this book, I have created play-along tracks which I share on my website: You are welcome to download them. Small portions of this book are adapted from some of my other books such as Trombone Craft or The Intermediate Trombonist.

This extensive book, 237 pages, is divided into four large sections. The opening statement by the author gives us the overarching aim/theme: What’s the key first habit? Playing with a resonant sound and musical direction. Everything we do should support that!

The four large sections include the following: First Habits Warmup; Warm-Up Variations; Focus Areas; Love Songs and Pirate Songs. It proceeds through the following playing categories: Air/Buzz; Easy Resonance; Five Notes Down; First Slurs; Range Stretch; Note Placement and Musical Patterns. Accompaniments are available for some of the material. Also included are a fundamentals routine, developing a rotation and a daily practice plan. There are guided written pedagogical instructions for much of the book. This is a wonderful collection of traditional fundamental material, including tuning, multiple tonguing and high range development. For the jazz player it provides a basis for traditional technique but would have to be supplemented with studies on improvisation and articulations specific to jazz. There are no avant-garde techniques; a future addendum might include multiphonic studies, as these are becoming more commonplace in solo literature. This is a much-needed compendium of diverse ideas and practices, collected into one volume. It makes a valuable resource/guide for both less advanced students all the way to professional artists.

Reviewer: Karl Hinterbichler
Review Published June 24, 2023