Monday, October 24, 2011

#16: Hindsight is 20/20

Hello, internet world!  I've been quite the busy bee lately.  Just got done playing Lohengrin and Tristan und Isolde with Tallahassee SO.  I'll be playing Symphony Fantastique with the Ocala SO this weekend and then a Halloween concert with TSO on Monday (which means playing Harry Potter, Thriller, and the Monster Mash - woo hoo!).  We get to dress up for the concert... I definitely need to bring my camera this time - last year I missed out on an opportunity to photograph our principal trombonist in a Prince Ali from Aladdin costume.

Whenever I go back to Tallahassee for TSO, I look around and sometimes wish I could do my undergrad at FSU all over again.  But I only sometimes wish for that - I realize that every step in my life has brought me to where I am today, and I like my life.  However, I can't help wishing that I had taken more time for myself - not to practice necessarily (I logged a lot of hours doing that), but to relax.  The more time goes on, the more I realize how important taking little breaks is! It keeps you sane!

I wish I didn't overload myself with extracurriculars, and instead I could have used that time to study theory, scores, or listen to music.  I should have gone to more concerts (especially since I was at FSU - there is really some top-notch music being made there, the Wind Orchestra last week was fantastic).  I should have gone to masterclasses for instruments other than my own.  I think if I had spent more time listening (to anything, orchestral, solo, jazz, etc.), my time in the practice room would have been more productive.  I was in a practice room 3-5 hours a day, practicing everything that was assigned to me, but did I really know what I was going for?  I think I did, but in a short-sighted way - I just tried to prepare what I was assigned that week so I wouldn't completely embarrass myself in my lesson.  I wish I could have seen the big picture - but my life was so hectic, I was just focused on surviving day to day.  There were many semesters that I had to schedule time to eat, shower and sleep because I was so busy.  I will say this though - I have pretty darn good time management skills from all of that. =)

So, if you're in school still - squeeze every bit of knowledge out of it that you can!  Learn how to teach yourself, so that when you are done with school, you can still learn on your own.  Learn how to practice - pay attention to how your studio teacher helps you fix things, and remember how to do it in the future.

And know how to say "no" when you really don't have time for something.  Leave time for you to just sit, veg out, watch TV, play video games, whatever it is you do to just zone out.. Also, leave time to think.  This is different than vegging out - meditate, evaluate, keep a journal or blog... in other words, don't go on auto-pilot!

While in Tallahassee, I got to enjoy the President's Own concert.  Not only was the playing completely immaculate, it was a really entertaining concert too.  I was thrilled to see a huge auditorium filled with people to hear this music.  It's so wonderful that the tickets are free - giving the gift of great music to anyone that wants it - what a great service to our country.  Plus, I think it's such an important tradition - and even though not all of the music they play is American, the President's Own is something uniquely American on its own.

What a dream come true it would be to win that gig!  I'm glad I got to hear them live, especially with the audition coming up.  Prof. Ebbers at FSU was also kind enough to give me a lesson.  It was super duper helpful in so many ways - really helped me refine a lot of things.  It also helped me specifically target stuff I need to work on.  Tuba/euph studio masterclass also gave me a lot of helpful tips.  It was fun to be the student again for a day. =)

I must admit that this post was rather scatterbrained.  So, to keep that theme consistent, I will you with 2 videos that I have found that I am absolutely in love with:

Sotto Voce playing "Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap (look up the original tune if you don't know it, it's very cool):

Beyonce, my muse... I thought I couldn't love her more, and then this song came out. Too bad this song was released halfway into marching season, this would be a great stands tune (there's still time, arrangers!). I personally think that she should hire a tubist for her next tour.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sunday, October 2, 2011

#14: A great article about practicing!

I recommend that everyone read this (and send it to your students!):

My trip to New Mexico was awesome! Now, back to the drawing board....