Time: realm of the transient
As musicians, we know that music has tempo and rhythm. From that, we can see that life itself has tempo and rhythm. Think of some popular expressions like; 'This day is really dragging' or 'The day slipped right by me' or 'The years go by so fast' or 'This homework assignment is taking forever!' These expressions point out to the quality or type of mental, emotional or physical condition we might find ourselves in in certain circumstances that give rise to how fast or slow time appears to move.
I bring this up because making time for our Personal Art, can bring about a deepening of our musical endeavor which will add quality time to our life. Take the time now before it is taken from you.
Now that the summer is almost over and school, new symphony season or the whole fall- winter schedule starts up, I find it is good to have reflection. Reflection is a great thing if it is taken seriously. If you are a student going back to school (or whatever you might be doing if not a student) ask yourself:
What did I accomplish this summer?
Did I have some kind of plan to begin with?
How was my time spent?
Was there any improvement?
What was the balance of work and play? (there's a good question!)
What was the quality of my practice sessions?
I'm sure there are many questions one could ask of oneself. I try to do it everyday. Asking myself these types of questions, keeps me in touch with myself and I try to be totally honest. The more honest and objective you can be the better. If you hit a 'sore' spot in yourself with some of these questions, feel the ache, and make a plan to find a better way to make the most of your time. It is a process and it is very easy to get out of balance.
I used to practice an absurd amount of time. Some of it was a release and/or an expression of emotion.Was that practicing? Looking back, it was a great need to express and to never want to leave the music. In this way I spent a lot of time with the horn and music. I would practice, meaning working on weaknesses by repetition of exercises, studies, solos, excerpts and drills that I would make up or design to improve specific areas of my playing. I tried to touch on as many aspects of playing as I could.
Now when I practice, efficiency is a very important part. I know what to target and I don't try to cover all areas of playing everyday. It depends on what I want to maintain and what is in my schedule that I have to play for. I really play everyday. I took maybe 30 hours off a few times this summer. Usually I would play well within a 24 hour period of time. I could have laid off but I really like to play everyday. Some days I spend with the horn in a more devotional way. But always the basics are addressed daily. I like having a good 'reed'! When the 'reed' is good, there is a freedom from focusing too much on the physical so the soul-spirit can soar. Good thorough preparation makes for a better lift off, flight and landing!