Boy this has been a busy week. I picked up a consulting contract with a customer I worked with before I retired so I had to go to Atlanta for the initial meeting. Despite the fact that I traveled over 3 million miles during my 25 year marketing career I prefer driving to flying so I wanted to drive to Atlanta. My husband was also heading to the meeting since he is peripherally involved with the project so I convinced him to drive by adding a mini-vacation in Virginia Beach.
My challenge was fitting in practicing during the trip. It’s a 15 hour drive from Long Island to Atlanta so we headed out last Tuesday evening to avoid traffic. I practiced before we left so Tuesday was covered. Wednesday was the long haul of the drive but I still got about 45 minutes of practice in. I used my Best Brass mute for the first time. The Best Brass mute is similar to the Yamaha Silent Brass mute but it is smaller and self contained – no external amplification box. The horn sounded reasonable, much better than with just a plain practice mute. Using the mute was an interesting experience. I didn’t feel like I was giving my chops any kind of a workout. After 45 minutes I still felt fresh. I think it’s okay for practicing technical passages but not for endurance. I also had to hold the horn with my right forearm pressed against the mute to keep it from falling out of the horn.
On Thursday we got back to the hotel at a reasonable time and I asked the clerk at the front desk if there was somewhere I could play. She offered the hotel’s boardroom which was located behind the front desk but away from any rooms. I figured that anyone in the lobby was going to hear me play so I decided to just have some fun. I did do my usual warmup but I skipped scales and Kopprasch. (Great excuse.) I brought a lot of music with me so I just ran through it – Basler’s Canciones, Strauss’ Nocturno, Strauss 1, Lowell Shaw’s Just Desserts and some stuff from the Mason Jones solo book. Hopefully the inevitable clams weren’t that audible. The hotel clerk gave me a big thumbs up when I was done so I guess it wasn’t too bad.
Friday was another long haul driving day but this time I didn’t get any practicing in. By the time we got to the hotel, checked in and ate dinner – we were starving – it was late and I was exhausted. Saturday I took the horn out around 10 Am and played for a bit out on the balcony. It was oceanfront and I was hoping the noise from the ocean would drown out the horn. Well it didn’t. My husband was outside by the boardwalk and he could hear me. I decided that taking out the mute was probably a good idea. The other rooms around me didn’t really need an AM horn call.
The drive home on Sunday took forever. What should have been an eight hour drive turned into an eleven hour drive. Needless to say when I got home it was late and I was not in the mood to practice. So for a six day trip I missed two days. On the days I did practice I got somewhere between 45 minutes to an hour in. None of it was what I would call quality practice but at least I did play and kept my chops working.
With a day off on Sunday I was curious how Monday would go. I put in a solid hour of hard practice in the morning and played very well. Then I remembered that I had a two hour band rehearsal that evening. Surprisingly I didn’t have any endurance problems at the rehearsal until the very end. Yesterday I was extremely busy and only played at my other band’s rehearsal. I had lots of endurance problems and no upper register so I guess I paid for Monday on Tuesday. In the end I think I did pretty well keeping in shape. I did schedule my weekly lesson for Friday to give me some time to prepare for it.