Thursday, June 16, 2011

Stop Already!

"Stop or you'll blow your brains out, or worse yet, your chops!" Woodwind players can always buy more reeds, but brass players can't buy a new box of lips. Easy does it with those non-stop workouts.

You've certainly got a metronome, tuner, and maybe even a decibel meter in the practice room, but how about a timer? You need something that regularly signals that it's time to rest and come up for air. The chops need a break and some fresh blood circulation. Muscles are strengthened by resting as well as by exertion.

Mandatory resting might seem like advice for wimps. Hence, you rarely see a timer in a trumpet player's bag of goods. For us obsessive/compulsive types some sort of stopping device should be a must-have.

Andre is reported to practice many times a day in brief sessions. Vacchiano advised us to put the horn down while the embouchure still feels good. Strategic resting preserves chops while impatient blasting tends to destroy them quickly. Try practicing a little a lot rather than a lot a little.

18 comments:

Andy L. Westbrook said...

I agree. Have you ever noticed how professional golfers carry a small notepad in their back pocket. In addition to golf being a slow game, good players pay attention to those little details in between swings. They also understand what adjustments to make when conditions change. Both the opponent and champion is themselves. In brass playing, a list of little conditions can change to. Perhaps even more reason to practice carefully and making material consistent in daily routines with good rest in between. I would think you miss less and pay attention more.

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