With the exception of a band concert on the beach on Saturday my summer schedule of weekly rehearsals followed by weekly concerts for both of the bands I’m in is finally over. Phew. Add to that my trips to IHS and the Barry Tuckwell Institute (BTI) it’s been quite a summer. Then there’s the weekly lessons with Lynn and the monthly lessons with Scott Bacon. I have not had much time to actually practice.
My drive back in June from IHS took longer than it should have so I didn’t play my horn for about six days. That resulted, strangely enough, in a big improvement in my playing ability. This improvement lasted for a week or two and then I went to the BTI. I had a fabulous time there but since then my chops have been shot. I have not recovered yet from playing for more than three hours each day.
I’ve tried cutting back my playing time to about an hour from my previous, before BTI, two hours of daily practice. I’ve skipped days here and there. I’ve spent a lot of time practicing long, low notes and easy arpeggios. Nothing is really helping. I’m pretty sure that my band schedule isn’t helping the situation because we play fff almost all the time. Rehearsals run from an hour and a half to two hours and the concerts are an hour.
I’ve managed to barely maintain the level of technical capability I reached since IHS but my tone is pretty bad. It’s fuzzy and screechy. This is my typical problem when I’m having a bad day and I know I’ve mentioned it many times before. Then there are days when I just can’t play anything. I’ve always had bad days here and there, even two or three in a row. I think this current spell of bad days sets a record for me. It’s been three and a half weeks of poor to mediocre playing and no endurance. I’m dealing with this pretty well I think. I’m not rushing out to change mouthpieces or trying to find some gadget that will cure all. I haven’t changed my warmup routine. I’m more annoyed than frustrated. Enough already with this.
I am hoping that when I get back into my normal routine of practicing that this bad spell will get go away. It’s way more fun to practice when I’m playing at the level of my expectations. If another week goes by without any improvement then I’ll have to dive deeper into what’s going on. Right now I’m still calm.