Healthy Habits During Marching Band Season
OK you young trombone jocks, I'm on to you! I know exactly what you do every day beginning in August: standing outside, slide parallel to the deck, running set after set in the hot sun, and playing AS LOUD AS YOU CAN PLAY! Yeah, I know that's what you're up to! How do I know? I know because I like to do that too! Who doesn't love to go out on the football field on a hot August morning or a cool October Friday night and play loud in your pre game warmup, loud in the bleachers, loud at half time, and loud during the 4th quarter? That's all well and good, provided you are playing with a good sound. You are thinking about your tone quality out there, aren't you?!?!
I want to address one way that we, as brass players, stay healthy. Well, what the heck does "staying healthy" mean? Do you ever have those moments where you play really hard and loud at a game or contest, and the next day your face feels like a brick? Maybe it's hard to warm up, your sound is super fuzzy, articulation and starting notes is difficult... sound familiar? That feeling is not healthy and it's a sign that you could be overdoing it! LISTEN TO YOUR BODY, it is trying to tell you something!
Now, I'll be the first to admit that restraint is not a common virtue among trombone players! We tend to have the reputation for getting a little excited at times, maybe overdoing it a bit... So, I want you to think about your practice habits during marching band season! BALANCE is key! If you are outside playing loud during rehearsal or performance, then the vast majority of your practicing should be easy. Work on soft long tones, lip slurs, Rochut etudes 8ba and in tenor clef 8ba. This is also a good time to catch up on listening and studying recordings of new pieces. You might work on music theory or ear training practice. There are many options. When I have had a period with a lot of loud playing, especially if it's outside, I balance that with easy, soft practicing on my own. Try it, I think you will feel, and sound, much better!