Yesterday was both a frustrating and then a very rewarding day. My practice session in the morning was pretty bad. My warmup routine was okay but it usually is. Then I rested for 20 minutes and began practicing the etudes I’m working on. This week they are in the Preparatory Melodies book by Pottag. They don’t look hard but I always struggle through them. Yesterday I couldn’t play the stacatto notes cleanly and I just missed more notes than I got.
After the etudes I moved on to the Gliere Concerto in Bb. I’m about 1/3 through the first movement. Usually I don’t have range issues with this piece but I could barely play the E at the end of the opening arpeggio and the F at the beginning of the main theme just wasn’t happening. After that it only got worse. I moved on to working on scales and even they went poorly. I took another 20 minute break and then persevered playing in the middle range to get my hour in.
I wasn’t expecting much for my afternoon session but what a surprise. I played better than I have since I started playing again, maybe even better than I used to play. Every note was clean. Range was no issue. I got to the D above high C pretty easily. I was able to actually play musically instead of worrying about just getting the notes. I always try to play musically but when I’m constantly splatting notes it’s pretty hard to play a nice phrase. I can’t believe I’m saying this but the part of the Gliere I’m working on was almost easy. I moved on to Strauss 1 with similar results.
I’ve had my share of horn misery over the past two months but it’s rewarding practice sessions like this one that keep me going. I know that someday I will play like I did yesterday afternoon more often than not. I just hope that ‘someday’ comes sooner than later.