The Summerglen Files

Music, Creativity, and Everyday Life at Summerglen Music in Raleigh, NC

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Sick Day at Summerglen

November 11th, 2009 · No Comments

There’s been some kind of nasty tropical weather system passing over Summerglen for the past couple of days, and it’s made my sinuses and head quite, er, hostile toward trombone playing. During cold and flu season each year, many trombonists are in this same boat, facing the not-so-fun possibility of having to play sick. So, what can we do to keep up our musical skills when we’re under the weather?

1. First of all, never underestimate the power of REST. Playing a brass instrument can be physically taxing; after all, playing involves both aerobic exercise and strength training! If your body is exhausted from fighting off some nasty bug, rest can be the best kind of practice there is.

2. Listen. If you’re well enough to sit up, but playing still makes your head feel like it’s going to explode, listening can be a great way to grow musically on a sick day. Try checking out some new artists, working on some transcribing, or even listening more deeply to old favorites.

3. Small doses of practice, large doses of water and down time. If you’re at the point where you can practice, make sure to work smarter, not harder. Try structuring your practice in 10-minute sessions, each with a specific goal in mind–and give yourself breaks for water and rest in between. Never underestimate the impact of 10 minutes of focused practice!

4. Clean your horn. I unfortunately learned this lesson the hard way. Make sure to clean your trombone with soap, hot water, and a snake frequently when you’re sick…because it’s no fun to breathe in the germs that are living in your mouthpiece and slide! If you need some help with cleaning your slide, check out my slide cleaning video on the Summerglen Music resources page.

If you have any great tips for making the most of a sick day as a brass player, please feel free to share them in the comments. Until next time, I wish you good health! :)

Tags: Practice Tips · staying healthy

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