The Artist and the Athlete
Someone I admire once told me that being a musician meant combining the precision of a surgeon with the aesthetic of an artist. We have to be both precise and spiritual. And while I can’t speak for all instruments, the trumpet’s precision comes from the athletic, physical demands that our instrument requires. It seems very tempting to only practice things we like to practice, will perform on an important concert (jury, recital, etc.), or just play at the moments we are required to attend. But this is not enough to keep the athlete of the trumpet in shape to be dependable as a performer. In other words: without the athlete there isn’t an artist-Plain, simple, and true. By all means, practice your musical requirements and play stuff that makes you feel happy. But don’t neglect your Schlossberg, your Arban, your Clark, and your other studies. And while I’m still writing, keep in mind that often our requirements as trumpet players can be very demanding in ensemble situations. That means that we are often worn out by those very demands of playing high and loud very frequently. In addition to our technical studies you should also make sure you have a warm up AND a warm down routine. I’ll be sure to write on those topics later, but having a dependable warm up routine will make you feel prepared to do anything that is required of you in an ensemble situation. Having a dependable (even brief) warm down session might ensure that you’re able to warm up quicker and it may help you keep your chops fresh throughout the day. As a general rule: However your lips feel at the end of the day is exactly how they will feel at the beginning of the next.
Take some time, warm down at the end of the night so you won’t have to work so hard at recovering then next day.