Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Three Stands

Furnishing your practice room? Suggestion: buy three heavy duty music stands with extensions for plenty of music, as well as three back-friendly chairs or else one very sturdy chair with wheels so that you can scoot from one stand to the next. Each stand must be visited daily. That's the point.

Why the three stands? Well, there's a problem that always identifies itself by the end of every day. And that is guilt over not managing to cover all of the items on our plate (our stand). There are those few who are so organized that everything from Schlossberg to Brandenburg gets rehearsed on a daily basis. But for the rest of us, there is that temptation to camp out on only a few items to the detriment of other urgent needs. The result is that by day's end many facets of playing have been neglected. This guilt trip can continue for long periods of time, often years. So the goal is to organize the practice room so that all gets practiced. A balanced plan of attack is the idea. Try the following in no rigid order:

On Stand #1 we have solos galore, some ready to sizzle in front, with the rest simmering on the back burner. Stack as many as the stand will hold. If you get bored, go the next piece. Bracket all of the nasty spots, organize your work, and avoid constant run-throughs. With multiple solos all within reach, it helps to keep works from getting stale or lost. It also keeps you constantly ready for a recital. Take your break.

On Stand #2 we have a bunch of etude books. Muscle-building endurance must be part of our agenda. Wise conditioning will build stamina for the shows. From this perch you will also include scales, arpeggios, flexibilities and all that Arban demands. Choose varied styles of studies and enjoy a similar but different menu each day. Take another break.

On Stand #3 we have tons o' excerpts. For legit players, this must have its place in daily prep. Crammers never make finals. On the other hand, Eddy Excerpt can't play anything except the same excerpts he always does, and he can't sight-read! Balance is the key. There are probably at least twenty-five must-have pieces required for every audition. Each must always be bubbling on the front burner. From this stand you will prepare and audition daily.

If your practice room is large enough you can make a good case for including several more chairs and stands. How about a Transposition Stand? (or dentist chair!) The Warm Up Stand could have only magazines, no music, and of course include a full view of the TV. This is surprisingly common for many who tend to over-focus. They welcome freedom from the printed page and thrive on distractions while starting the day's playing. Noodle now, concentrate later. How about a Sight-Reading Stand! We always forget about that vital skill.

Whatever your pleasure, the need is learning to cover all responsibilities responsibly. Plan for it.

1 comment:

trevor_d said...

Mr. Collins, my name is Trevor Duell and I have enjoyed reading your blog for several months now. I am (of course) an aspiring trumpet player about ready to graduate with degrees in performance and education. I am looking to go on to graduate school (also for performance). I look forward to continuing to learn from your wisdom! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!