Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mellow Bookends

Sometimes we are guilty of pounding our chops.  Actually, often we're guilty.  Maybe it's a gig with heavy playing, maybe a frustrating practice session with a lick that's just beyond our reach.  Maybe it's marching band.
Whatever it is, why are we so often surprised when, the next day, things aren't working so well??
Here's a prescription for one of my students who seems to have some chops that are rising up in rebellion at their treatment.  I call it Mellow Bookends.

Basically, at the beginning of your first practice session and at the end of your last practice session, spend 20-30 minutes of easy playing.  That playing should have the following characteristics:

  1. Nothing louder than mezzo piano.
  2. No tongue
  3. Smooth
  4. Nothing fast.
  5. Keep the range mostly between middle B-flat and trigger C.  However, soft pedal notes are welcome.
My theory: this is chop therapy.  Do it for a few days and see how they feel. I'm guessing they'll be thanking you and you'll be fired and ready to.....

...pound them again???  (maybe not so much this time)