The next three weeks are a beautiful example of the challenges of freelance playing and maintaining chop endurance and musical style challenges.
This week I have rehearsals and a performance with the Asylum Hill Orchestra in Hartford, CT where I'm performing the Music for the Royal Fireworks, Zadok the Priest, and the King Shall Rejoice-all Handel (all on picc), plus the Missa in tempore belli of F. J. Haydn on C trumpet. Got the music 3 days in advance.
The following week is one rehearsal with a brass quartet and harp with a performance the next day in Marblehead, MA, don't have the music for this yet.
The next week I begin a month long run of playing lead on City of Angels at Curtain Call Theatre in Stamford, CT. Got the music a few days ago, so I have the luxury of two weeks to review it and get the chops into a lead mouthpiece.
On top of this I have a busy teaching schedule all during this and have to prepare for all of the above at the same time.
So...how do you prepare?
I focus for the next couple of days on the baroque/classical stuff by playing through it with a recording to get a sense of endurance issues. Right away I see that the conductor wants to repeat the entire Overture and the 3/4 Allegro section which is a big issue because it is a long haul without the repeat AND goes right into a short adagio that has a pic trumpet flourish up to concert D then jumps right into the 3/4 allegro section that goes on for an entire page with many concert D's throughout. A bit of a challenge as conductor's haven't a clue what this does to our chops. Endurance challenge. Without more than 2 days to prepare for the first rehearsal I just focus on really being aware of setting on breath support and floating the notes. The style of this period lends itself to chime types of attacks with a dynamic drop after notes. Don't confuse this with not sustaining the notes, it just allows you to use your articulation like a trampoline so to save any unnecessary pressure on the chops. I try to make sure I can go through the pieces twice in a day.
It is also necessary, for me, during this hectic schedule to really spend more time on my routines before tackling the music. This is also the time I get on youtube and listen to great advice on breathing and tonguing. I would highly recommend James Morrison's tutorial! Yes, these are concepts I know, but it's nice to be reminded of different approaches to the same ideas. Keeps me engaged in what to value....AIR!!!
As soon as my music arrives for week 2, I have to manage looking it over without killing my picc chops for the above performance. Depending on how it looks I'll probably wait until after the first performance on Friday to look at it. Best scenario!
While looking at the Brass Quartet music I'll probably have no choice and have to run the show music as City of Angels is a tough book, especially because the music director is adding additional parts for me to play.
Did I mention that I'm playing Napoli with band in mid July. Got to fit that in too!
This is what it's like folks!
Part 1 and 3 to this article can be found here and here.