It's the middle of summer, there's a storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico named Cindy, and I am stuck in Indiana for a few extra days waiting on a car repair before the International Trombone Festival in California next week. Luckily, I am stuck here with my duet partner and wife, who is pretty good company. We're looking forward to performing together with our friend and pianist Dr. Topher Ruggiero on Friday afternoon at 2:00 PM.
This blog post message is pretty simple. "Do less, and do better." Or put another way, calm your storm.
It's really easy to look at life with 2017 eyes that focus on scheduled social media posts and new Snaps each day. It can feel like you're behind the times if you aren't posting to Instagram 3 times a day. Instead, go the other way. If you believe that social media interaction is important, find one outlet and camp out there. Have accounts in the other places so people can find you, but in those places, tell them where you visit most often. If you have good content, they will find you.
If you are practicing this summer, take advantage of the summer pace. Maybe in your next practice session, focus on making really high quality, liquid smooth slow lip slurs. Really hold yourself to a high standard. I mean, be really picky. Was the first time through good? GREAT! Now try it again, and aim for better than good. In the next session, check in on the slurs, but then focus on your single tonguing clarity. You don't have to get it all done right now, but get something done each time. Slow down your pace a little while you can. When you get frustrated, go for a walk in the park or float down the river in a kayak with a friend. Whatever you choose to spend your time doing, be present, stay in the moment, and try to enjoy the process of getting better.
There will be days in a week or a month or 3 months when you'll have to play practice triage, and won't have time to zero in on an individual aspect of your playing.
So say it with me this time: "Do less, and do better."
Take care of yourselves and each other,