Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More Day 1 Frequency Bone Summer Music Connection

Add this to your warm-up each day

Usually when people begin their warm up routine, if they have a routine, they begin with any range of exercises they feel will move them closer to be in touch with the physical instrument of themselves and the instrument they are playing. This could include doing some breathing exercises, embouchure work on a mouthpiece or visualizer of some kind, or vocal studies, slide or fingering movements and articulation exercises.

Do we ever warm up our mind? How about our emotions? What about reconnecting to our sentiments about music and the fondness we have for the instruments that we play? One could ask why do these things need warming up? Well, if you liken it to a relationship with a person, don't you have to warm into each other by a greeting? Perhaps you had a disagreement the day before and you need to sort that out. Isn't it helpful to say to the other person, "I hope we can move on and I am sorry if I did anything to hurt you," for example. You are trying to warm up to them again and get the relationship back in balance so it can move on and be productive and settled.

Try this: Before playing your first note, take a deep breath and relax. Ask yourself and feel in yourself, out loud, how are you today. Just a simple, "how are you?" Then feel what comes up in you. Take another deep breath, relax and connect to your love of music and your instrument. Then tell yourself how you are going to assess your playing. Say to yourself, "instead of good and bad, I will say closer to what I want or further away from what I want." Then encourage yourself by acknowledging the progress you have already attained in your eyes. Then acknowledge what you would like to develop more of in your playing. This can be done if preferred, while looking into your eyes in the mirror.

Now, when you play your first note, play the way your body feels even if it is not the sound you would ideally like. Then play the way you emotionally feel, then a play a note the way you mentally feel. Or, you can just play the first note any old way you feel like it. You can do that as long or as short as you like. You will find it at least an interesting exercise. You can of course modify it to your own needs once you get the hang of it.

Then see how this addition to your warm- up works for you. You might find you do not want to do it everyday, but even a few times a week will keep you closer to 'all' of you, the physical, mental and emotional and to the purpose of your musical endeavor. It is a useful way to acknowledge and bring all the parts together so they can work in unison towards the same goal.

Feel free to comment on the blog the results of your attempts.

3 comments:

Ross said...

I really like the idea of 'closer' or 'farther away' from what I want. I started my warm up the way you suggested and then played my first note...a low B flat. I stayed on that note for a few minutes trying different things...some first and second overlay things, and some third. I would try different articulations, different intonations, different timbres, different thoughts, and with each one as I would repeat it a few times, I tried to decide if it was closer or farther away from what my goal was with that note at that particular time.

I felt like progress was more forthcoming in that manner since I didn't have to dismiss my results just because it wasn't my 'ideal.' I could still retain them as 'useful' as long as it was closer to my goal.

I actually enjoyed it so much that the only note I have played today is a low B flat. I'm about to go out to have some dinner, so perhaps after dinner I'll play some other notes. But at least for the time from 4 to 6 (Colorado time), I was still exploring the possibilities of that one note.

I found it really useful!

creade said...

Hi Mr. Bolter,

I've been trying to get as many people involved in your Summer Music Connection as possible. I've found it to be such a breath of fresh air, especially when many of us are in the very peculiar environments of traditional summer festivals.

I've found looking in the mirror before I begin to play for the day to be so helpful. I think that in order to gain as much as I can from my practice time, I need to truly be at peace with where I am at that particular moment, day, month, or year in my life. It gives me an extremely clear picture of what I need to accomplish and what I CAN accomplish in the allotted time that I have to get work done. This has helped me truly be able to calibrate how to schedule out my practicing days. Not only emphasizing how I'm doing on the trombone on any given day, but how I'm doing as a person (which are obviously directly related).

I do have one question...

With music being a living thing that is as alive as any of us, what are thoughts on the differences between repetition and consistency. A lot of musicians believe that their excerpts should be exactly the same (and 'perfect') every time in order to win a job. How can a musician keep his/her music as alive as they would want to, while still keeping a completely consistent technical presentation. Should we strive to play our excerpts/solos the same every time? Or, should we let them breathe the way we would anything else that is living. If so, how do we reconcile the two?

Thanks for everything, Mr. Bolter. This has been incredibly helpful.

Take care,
Chris

creade said...

Hi Mr. Bolter,

I've been trying to get as many people involved in your Summer Music Connection as possible. I've found it to be such a breath of fresh air, especially when many of us are in the very peculiar environments of traditional summer festivals.

I've found looking in the mirror before I begin to play for the day to be so helpful. I think that in order to gain as much as I can from my practice time, I need to truly be at peace with where I am at that particular moment, day, month, or year in my life. It gives me an extremely clear picture of what I need to accomplish and what I can accomplish in the allotted time that I have to get work done. This has helped me truly be able to calibrate how to schedule out my practicing days. Not only emphasizing how I'm doing on the trombone on any given day, but how I'm doing as a person (which are obviously directly related).

Thanks for everything, Mr. Bolter. Once again, you've been such a help.

Take care,
Chris