One of the things I’m most fortunate with in my work is that it is so rarely monotonous. Not only does teaching people of all ages present me with a wide range of challenges most weeks but, on top of that, being a multi-genre instrumentalist serves to keep me on my toes as well!
In the last week I have transcribed, practised and performed a trumpet concerto; recorded some backing instrumentals for a experimental folk band; practised, for a personal recording project, the music of J.S.Bach, J.B.Arban, and Harry James; played the alto flugelhorn (pitched in G) on a brass quartet recording; and rehearsed with a Rocksteady/Ska band for an upcoming gig.
I certainly cannot complain about being bored!
Needless to say all of this is in the midst of my usual equipment swapping shenanigans! I’ve really taken to practising the exercises from the Balanced Embouchure book. As well as there being some changes in the way that I think about embouchure and some fun experimenting with air pockets for RI exercises and adding tension to increase focus on the RO exercises, I have also found that my desire to try different mouthpieces has re-surfaced. If anything this is because I feel a lot less dependent on using specific equipment than I was when I was purely a TCE/MSC player. I’m discovering that although there are definitely mouthpieces in my collection that are better for playing in the high register I am becoming more able to maintain the amount of focus I like in my tone on much larger equipment too. Another interesting twist to the equation is that my rotary valve trumpet, my vintage Conn, and my Bach Strad all react differently to the various mouthpieces. As always, the biggest hurdle is accepting that there isn’t one mouthpiece to rule them all…
As these things come in peaks and troughs my upcoming week is much less busy but I think I’m pretty thankful to break back to normality for now.