Greetings, everyone, and welcome to the third post in our series about fitting practice into your schedule during the busy holiday season. Today we talk Time Off!
One of the best parts of the holidays is all the time off from school and work. No daily grind! No alarm clock! Ahhh! During our time off, it can be tempting to take off from playing, too; after all, practicing does take more effort than watching movies with your cousins. But any trombone player who’s taken a couple of weeks off can tell you: after-vacation chops are NO FUN!
So, how do you keep your chops in tip-top shape and still get your relaxation on? Try these tips:
1. Just PLAY. There’s no rule that says you have to do a rigorous practice session each time you pick up your horn. So why not use your practice session to just play stuff? Improvise. See what kinds of sounds your horn can make. Have a dynamics contest with yourself, whatever! Every time you play, you’re keeping your facial muscles strong and encouraging your mind to think musically…even if you’re not knee-deep in Blazhevich etudes.
2. Play with friends. OK, jam sessions are fun. So why not have one? Invite your friends over and play together. Even if you guys don’t become the next Tower of Power, you’ve practiced, and you’ve bonded with your friends!
3. Play for friends. Performances motivate us to play our best, and they give us specific things to work on. Volunteer to play a couple of tunes for your family’s holiday gatherings, and spend your practice time having fun with holiday tunes. You’ll be the life of the party, and you’ll avoid floppy chops.
The trombone may be a part of your life for many years, so learning to have fun with it is a valuable skill! Next time, we’ll talk about how to plan meaningful practice into your holiday routine.