Thursday, June 2, 2011

Playing In and Playing Out

Today's post of Rochut/Bordogni #27 was more than a little overdue I'd say. Goodness. To my legions of internet fans, I apologize for the dearth of posts these many months. I'm hoping to enter a more productive period, starting....now.

It was the strangest thing. Back sometime in the early fall, I think, I got wind that a new community band was being formed--rehearsals would be at the local high school. I wanted to make a good impression, so I spent the next few months seriously working out. All my major scales 3 octaves every day. Clarke studies, solo work, tuner work, metronome work, pedal register, extreme high register, double/triple tonguing, excerpts, sight reading. Every day. You'd think I was preparing an audition for Julliard.

Due to various delays, the band didn't have it's first rehearsal until the beginning of January, so I was plowing through this rigorous (for me anyway) daily routine for a good three or four months. Then the rehearsals started--the band was great fun and we played some really excellent music (more on that in a future post)--but here's where the funny thing happened: all of a sudden, I stopped practicing. Completely. I'd play the rehearsal every Thursday, then the next Thursday would roll around and I'd realize I hadn't taken my horn out of the bag all week. Week after week.

Perhaps the psychology of this isn't too hard to fathom. While I've played in many bands over the years, it's been a few years and this band was an unknown entity--I didn't want to embarrass myself. When I played the first rehearsal and it was clear that I wasn't embarrassing myself it suddenly became safe to stop practicing. Mostly, I'm amused at how I was immediately able to transform my obsessive drive into complete lackadaisy pretty much over night.

Likely the main reason I barely touched my horn all semester was my gig bag. For the last two years my horn has always been out--right there by the music stand--ready to go. However, the past five months I would come home from my rehearsal--set my bag down and forget about it. Teachers, take note. When you send your students home from a lesson, make sure you slip a Snickers bar into the bell of their instrument as they're packing up and tell them to take it out when they get home. The key is getting that horn out of the case.

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