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Tip #1 – Endurance
I spent the last 2 weeks preparing and going on tour with Ed Calle and Temple Jazz Orchestra (TJO) (videos to follow soon). But one of the issues I had was my endurance felt like it was diminishing – which to a lead player is an EXTREMELY frustrating thing.
Upon further examination, I found the following to be the issue for me…
1) I was ONLY playing the lead book and doing one solo during the show. I have found that when you only play “typical” music that involves playing / resting, your muscle memory resets to THAT type of playing… whereas in the past, I had been doing quite a bit of solo / small group gigs which kept the horn to my face for long periods of time. This to me is the single biggest cause of issue for me.
2) Changing altitude – We started off in Texas – around 500 feet above sea level. But – we ended the tour in Estes Park – approximately 8,000 feet above sea level. I found myself short of breath quite a bit and I think this contributed to some of my fatigue playing wise as well. Although it wasn’t severe…
3) Moist climate to a dry climate… I actually prefer lower humidity and temperatures. My body seems to fair better in that environment. I do NOT do well in heat and humidity…
The biggest take away that I can offer to you (AND ME) is that it is necessary to do some sort of endurance based practice. Meaning – keep the horn to your face for extended periods of time. Allow for rest and do it again. Incorporate this into your practice regimen.
Tip #2 – Hydration
I was reminded as to how quickly (and easily) dehydration can sneak up on you if you aren’t drinking enough water! Especially in drier climates, you will dehydrate and not even realize it! Hiking in the mountains without enough (or any) water is a dangerous bet. And you dehydrate a lot faster than you can re-hydrate! This will MASSIVELY impact the chops as they are mostly water!
Do yourself a favor during these long summer months… drink plenty of water daily! Up to a gallon per day is NOT too much! Your body and chops will thank you!
“Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.”
Have a GREAT week!