It’s been almost a month since I left by car for IHS. Before the trip I was extremely diligent with my practicing. I don’t think I missed more than a day or two since mid-January. I built up my endurance so that I could practice around two hours everyday. Once I left for Macomb all of this changed.
During my drive I didn’t have time for two hours of practice and I found practicing in hotel rooms difficult. With the practice mute it was weird and very boring. Without the mute I felt uncomfortable because I don’t play very well yet and I didn’t want anyone to hear me. Consequently, my two hours of practicing went out the window.
Once I got to Macomb I did get a lot of playing in but not a lot of actual practicing in. I don’t really have the endurance yet to go to warm-up sessions and then the ensembles and try out horns and still practice. I wrote about my extended drive back home with no practicing in ‘Oops‘ and about the first several of days of practice after I got home in “Recovery.”
This brings us to the middle of last week and my daughter’s wedding this past Sunday. I did not have a lot of time for practicing. To say my life was hectic would be quite an understatement. All four of my kids were home, there were a million errands to run and I had to clean up the house for the after wedding barbeque that we were hosting. My horn got put away in it’s case (“Mom, can’t you put your stuff away now? (Notice the parent / child reversal)), music was put back into the piano bench, the stand relocated into the laundry room – out of site, out of mind. I did manage to get a bit of practicing done but nowhere near as much as I would have liked.
Obviously no practicing happened on the day of the wedding. The hairdressers showed up a 6 am at my house and my time was scheduled right up to leaving for the ceremony. My daughter actually created an excel spreadsheet for the schedule with times listed down to 5 minutes. (e.g. – Mom’s hair – 6 am; mom’s makeup 6:25 am; mom’s nails 6:35 am, maid-of-honor hair 6:20 am, and so on.) Fortunately the wedding was wonderful and there were no hiccups. For any of you that are interested the pictures are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/abarkan283/sets/72157620369929574/. There’s a picture of me walking down the aisle with my oldest son here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/abarkan283/3653088529/in/set-72157620369929574/.
I didn’t practice Monday or Tuesday either because I had band rehearsals both nights. I’ve learned that I can’t practice anything more than warmups before two non-stop hours of rehearsals. Then Wednesday I had a lesson in the morning and I played duets with a friend for two hours in the afternoon. My lesson clearly reflected the fact that I hadn’t practiced much. Many of the exercises that we worked on the week before didn’t go as well yesterday. Plus, my brain was not engaged. I couldn’t transpose down an octave at all and this is something that I can usually do without any problems. It was so bad all I could do was laugh. Maybe it was because we had started working on Eb transposition first that caused the brain fog. The duets in the afternoon went better than my lesson but again, not as good as I have played previously. I did have a lot of fun though and that’s more important to me than missing notes.
Today I finally got to practice. It had been so long that I had to remind myself what my usual routine was. I had to go searching for the metronome (found it, darn) and my tuner. I started out with my usual warmups and then moved on to the Singer embouchure exercises and then Kopprash #2. The good news is that I played these really well, even the Kopprash and that’s a really rare event. I worked on Basler’s Conciones and Struass 1 and was surprised at how well I played them. I practiced for about an hour and 15 minutes in the morning and then again for another hour in the late afternoon. I didn’t have any problems with endurance so I had to make myself stop. It’s hard to do that when everything is clicking so nicely.
Tomorrow is another totally normal, uninteresting day (all the kids have left and peace and quiet has returned to the house) so I will practice again for my usual two hours. I really, really hope I have another good day.