Hello! After spending a few weeks on the road performing with a couple summer music festivals, I’ve decided to experiment with a number of different daily routines and see what works best for me, and post my thoughts here.
Regardless of your opinions regarding regimented daily routines, I think most musicians can agree that routines are great ways to track (and be accountable for) your regular progress. Some desire a slightly more flexible warm-up and routine, but the purpose of these reflections will be to determine which routines work best.
Firstly, the pros. What I found extremely helpful was the control I had over my routine due to its pre-determined nature. Given the fact that I planned out each part of my routine, my mind was focused on the sound coming out of my bell and not the next exercise I’d be working on. This routine also forced me to work through exercises that I sometimes don’t do everyday (ahem…scales….), and made work through nearly every aspect of my playing. I found that taking a break at the halfway point made me feel fresher at the end of the routine, and allowed me to practice an additional 1-2 times later that day.
A couple of brief observations:
-I found that working on the daily orchestral excerpt in a later practice session was beneficial, as I could tackle it with fresh chops.
-Spending 30 minutes in the extreme low register made working in that register SO much easier in practice sessions later that day, and even more as the week went on. In general, I feel like tuba players don’t spend nearly enough time in the low register because it’s potentially the most difficult part of our instrument to sound good on (for most), and we should certainly spend more time working on the things that we find the most difficult (both in music and in life).
-Working on a few Bordogni etudes felt so good after most of the heavy lifting of the routine was complete. I’ve never really been the biggest fan of “warm-downs”, so this was kind of a game changer for me.
I didn’t find the cons to be terribly extensive, beyond the fact that I was more tired after these routines than my normal haphazard warmup. In the coming weeks, I will strive to organize the exercises a little better; each day became slightly more difficult because I was simply going chronologically through each etude book, and therefore each day was getting harder and harder.