Week 2 Routine Reflection: Pushing The Limit

You’re back! If you returned, you’re either bored or you read something last week that you found useful. Regardless, thanks for reading again!

This week, I made a point of including some exercises that I’ve been wanting to include in my routine for a while; namely the slew of incredible exercises that Chris Olka (Principal Tuba of the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops) has uploaded to Youtube. If you haven’t taken a look at them before, I would definitely recommend you do. They’re difficult, but extremely useful in targeting specific technical areas.

If you played through last week’s routine, you’ll notice that some of the exercises are the same, except for a few key additions:

  • Under melody, I added a few movements of a Bach Cello Suite every other day, instead of just simply doing Bordognis every day (not that there’s anything wrong with that!)
  • I added the following of Chris’ exercises: Bridge Building (essentially a two octave arpeggio with a lip trill at the top), Giant Steps and Threading the Needle, (a slurred or tongued exercise that traces the entirety of the range, targeting flexibility, pitch and tone) and Whack a Mole and In and Out (two high volume exercises, the former an arpeggio at full volume and the latter an exercise that outlines the tonic-dominant tonic of each note, ascending chromatically). If you’d like to check out these exercises for yourself, check out his channel, or send me an email and I’ll send you my transcribed version (jmccourt55@gmail.com).

In addition to adding exercises, I chose to mix up the order in which I perform the exercises. Each day, I would start with the next area, which certainly helped with having a fresh mind before playing each exercise.

Finally, I chose to spend a little more time with each exercise this week, instead of just blowing through each one. This certainly lengthened the routine, but taking my time and actively listening to things like sound quality and note shapes felt like I was actually working towards improving a given skill. This was an obvious but key discovery: why even do the exercises if we’re not working towards improving by doing them?

Here’s the routine! Thanks so much for reading. Next week, I plan on trying to not target every single area every day, and instead only target a few areas each day in hopes of giving more focus to those exercises.

Summer Routine v2