Saturday, November 26, 2011

Changing it up

(I always have fun picking the images for these blogs)

Blog # 93: Changing it up

I think its important to keep things fresh, new and to change things up from time to time. I think as human beings we can all get into our certain patterns that we do day to day; maybe its the same breakfast or lunch, maybe its the same exercise schedule, or the same practice routine(seems like a lot of musicians get stuck playing the same stuff). It is easy to get comfortable doing the same thing and the next thing you know, you blink and maybe 10 years have passed and you're still doing the same thing! Sometimes big changes are hard, but little changes are much more manageable.

I definitely felt like I had a certain pattern to my life from when I graduated NYU in spring 2007 until 2009 and then a different pattern from then until the end of 2010. This year has been great though, I've met a lot of new people who bring a totally different energy to my life, I moved out the apartment I had been living in for 5 yrs, I've been listening to different music and playing music with a more varied group of musicians, genre-wise. I got pretty into running this year, trying to go for an hour run, 3 days a week, and I've been getting more and more into eating healthy too. I actually feel younger now than I have in years, maybe its surrounding myself with younger, hungrier people too. Its also interesting how certain friends I've gotten closer to, and others have drifted away. I guess that's just the nature of life, and I accept this.

But its never enough, there is only forward to the next thing. With 2012 just a month away, I've been thinking about what a big year 2011 has been for me. Its been a year of progress and a year of remembering. Its been a year of intense feelings too. I feel like I just woke up from a long sleep, and everything is now in bright colors(like when Dorothy wakes up in Oz). Even though a year is just an abitrary start to a new cycle, its good to have a marker. It makes it easier to remember the distinct feel of each year and I want 2012 to be the biggest yet. I'm looking forward to a rebirth and re-invention.

I'm welcoming change and I already have one thing I plan on doing different in the new year: my practice journal. Since 2002 I have kept a daily journal of my practice habits. Each day I record how long I practice, if I had a gig, or a rehearsal and even details on if my chops felt weird etc. Its been cool to see how when I started these journals I could only play 2-3 hours a day before getting tired, and since moving to New York(and studying with Laurie Frink), I've done 5-6 hours per day, every day. If the journals were started to keep myself accountable they've succeeded. I've only taken 3 days off since 2002: one when I got mono sophomore yr of college and my throat swelled shut and had to go to the emergency room, and 2 days off when I got my wisdom teeth out(I actually started back playing again too quickly and ended up getting them infected; woops!)

If the purpose of the journal was to monitor my playing and make sure I wasn't slacking, I think I've established that I'm not that guy, so I've decided I'm going to stop the journals on Jan 1st 2012. Maybe they just became a compulsive habit, but in getting busier over the last few months I've noticed that I can get hours of practice in during different times of the day and still keep my ability up, whereas for the longest time I forced myself to play 11-1pm, 4-6pm, and 8-9:30(regardless as to how I felt). I still like playing those hours, but I am more flexibly now. If a friend calls and wants to hang randomly one afternoon, I can take an afternoon off and its not the end of the world. This may not seem like a big deal, but it took me a long time to get here. I was just so tunnel vision on trumpet that I forgot about a lot of other great stuff that is out there in this world. I'm more relaxed about life now. I still want to be the best trumpeter I can be. I still want to practice insane amounts, and I'm still not going to take a day off, but I'm a human being too...and I get that now. It took me a long time.

I'm also entertaining the idea of checking out a new trumpet. I've played the same Bach 43 trumpet for the past 10 years too. I've been curious about Martin Committees for a while, but have heard horror stories about finding a good one and their intonation issues. I've heard Lawler makes a great modern version of the Committee, so i'm curious. We'll see what happens. Gotta do some more homework on the subject, but the idea of shopping for a new horn is intimidating, especially with all the leadpipe, bell, and bore variations. I don't even know where to start.

Looking forward to some big moves in 2012

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