If you read ‘Oops‘ you know that I didn’t play for almost a week while traveling back from the International Horn Symposium. Practice on Friday, when I finally got home, was a disaster. Lesson learned – never do that again. On Saturday I started practicing again with lots of long low notes and easy slurs to try to get some flexibility back. I played for about 20 minutes and took about an hour break. I practiced again for another 45 minutes, mostly scales and some etudes. I was missing lots of notes and the tone was very screechy so practicing anything like real music wasn’t worth the frustration.

Sunday was definitely better. I started with the same long low notes and slurs since my chops were still somewhat stiff. I always start practicing this way but I just did it for a whole lot longer before I worked into a higher range. What’s nice is that I actually noticed a real improvement in playing the arpeggios, not that I would suggest not playing for a week to get there. My tone was also noticeably better than Saturday but still not where I like it to be. I worked on some of the exercises in the Singer embouchure book and did some Kopprash (still not a fan). Since I still wasn’t really thrilled with my tone, I just played through some of the easier pieces I’ve played in the past rather than actually practicing something. I know this is not the right way to practice but my goal was just to get my chops back.

Monday was lesson day. Fortunately my chops were in pretty good shape by now. We started with low warmups and moved on to double octave arpeggios starting at low C. These went as well as they did yesterday and even Lynn, my teacher, said I had improved. Next up were the Singer and Kopprash exercises. One of the things Lynn pointed out was that I am not thinking about what I am going to play before I start and therefore tend to mess up the first several measures. She has mentioned this many times at past lessons but I tend to want to rush into things and forget. I need to take my time, feel the rhythm and hear what I want to play in my head first. It’s amazing how well this works when I actually do it. It really has to become a habit.

The best thing about Monday’s lesson was that we finally put Mozart 3 to bed. Lynn has been suggesting that it was time to move on for at least a month now and I had been resisting because I was still missing notes here and there. But the misses are never in the same places, they are due to a lapse in concentration or air support, one leading to the other. If I get my act together and relax and just play the piece musically, I can play it and be happy with the way I played it. So, on to new music. We picked “Canciones” by Paul Basler. We played through it and it is a really lovely piece and it should be fun to learn.

An interesting month –>

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