Monday, January 4, 2010


I added a blog to my blog list: "I was doing all right", which is by another player who quit, and came back. Like me. Except he's been blogging his recovery for seven years, instead of seven weeks. Also he was more serious than I ever was, a jazz major in college, heading for the pros, before he stopped. I'm looking forward to reading some of what he's written.

I bought some lessons from Frank Morelli. No, not live in person, unfortunately, but a startup called MusicComm taped him and a few other Julliard faculty, doing their teaching. Basically, for a few dollars, I can sit in on a lesson in a world-class institution. It's really interesting. It's not that what he says is so different in detail from what you'd hear from your junior high band teacher ("Support the tone!"), but the realization that no, there aren't any secrets, not really. This is what the best music faculty has to say to the best music students in the country. The rest is talent and work, mostly work.

Playing wise, not much to say. I fooled around a bit with breathing. Since I'd had endurance problems, I wanted to try to discover an exercise that worked that. Long tones are good, but normally I find myself taking a brief break after playing one, just a few seconds, exhaling and inhaling, and recovering. This doesn't work if you have another phrase coming, and the piece is minutes long. You need to be able to just take a breath and keep on going. I ended up playing chromatic scales, bottom couple octaves, 8 beats on each note at 60, and two, three, or four notes per breath. I found myself getting lightheaded, and ended up reading up on things like hyperventilation, hypercapnia, and other fun respiration topics. Fascinating stuff, human physiology.

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