Maintenance Mode

It’s a unique time in my professional world where there is not too much on the horizon… a concert band tour in August, a brass quintet tour in September, a couple of gigs in October and then a short break until Holiday caroling and Christmas shows. I can’t remember ever having a “break” like this in the past two years so I figure it’s a good time to shed some issues in my playing … so we enter the Maintenance Mode! I’ve tried to make a comprehensive list that covers all of my bases and I am sure there are things that are missing — and I am sure this list will change as I fall into this new routine. Hopefully, I’ll be able to quickly determine where I need to spend the most time and things will start falling into place.

So here goes Matt’s Maintenance Routine:

A. Daily Fundamental and Maintenance Routine
Moving Long Tones (Chicowicz or Schlossberg)
Velocity (Clarke)
Lyrical Study
Pitch Bend (a la Velvikis)
Slow Intervals
Quarter Note Studies
Single Tongue
Double Tongue
Triple Tongue
Fast Flexibility
Pedal Tones

B. Daily “Classical” Routine
Lyrical Studies
Rhythmic Studies
Solo Literature Review
Solo Literature (new)

C. Possible Practice Extensions
Sight Reading
Excerpts Review
Slow Flexibility
Range Expanders
Endurance and Power Exercises
Lip Relaxer

This weekend, I will be running the first half of the San Francisco Marathon — I get to run across the Golden Gate Bridge, twice! Thinking about marathons: A music career is indeed a marathon and requires enormous discipline. Remember the childhood story of the tortoise and the hare? Nothing wrong with talent, speed, and great instincts, but both runners require disciplined training in order to survive the long haul. Daily distractions are not likely to deter the runner who consistently focuses on his game.

Be patient and not weary in daily well-doing. Rewards of persistence are down the road. Skills are not perfected in one or two lessons. A regular agenda of doing what is required will pay off. I might add that it demands more than a mere punching the time clock. The goal is learning to enjoy working towards the mastery of the skills of our profession.

Disappointments, struggles, and even failures are part of the journey. Expect days that are cold and prickly. The goal is not just about your check list. Remember your passion for making great music. Isn’t that where your race began? That drive not only empowers your practice of disciplines, but gives you the benefit of enjoying your run.