Lockdown practice

pbirch

Active Member
What is everyone practicing during lockdown? I am practicing the Bach cello suites (Ralph Sauer edition) particularly the slow sarabandes, the Kesh jig by Staffan Lunden-Welden and I’m finally making some progress with the 3rd mvt of the Vaughn Williams tuba concerto how is everyone else doing?
 

GER

Active Member
Good old Arban and a few of my favourite pieces. Finding it hard going though, tending to have a few days practice then a few days off
 

Vegasbound

Active Member
This lockdown period will have caused problems for those who do not have a solid practice regime, or have relied on the twice a week rehearsal plus concerts/contests too keep chops in shape

Remember all those 'trombone players have a gig' joke? Now the rest of the band knows what it's like

My practice hasn't changed that much, warm up (have varied this week by week) currently the Michael Davis 10 min each excercise has 3 options and the play along cd is fun....then Maggio, lip flex, various solos I always practice in blocks of 30 mins followed by a 30 min or so break and repeat
 

John Brooks

Well-Known Member
This lockdown period will have caused problems for those who do not have a solid practice regime, or have relied on the twice a week rehearsal plus concerts/contests too keep chops in shape

Remember all those 'trombone players have a gig' joke? Now the rest of the band knows what it's like

My practice hasn't changed that much, warm up (have varied this week by week) currently the Michael Davis 10 min each excercise has 3 options and the play along cd is fun....then Maggio, lip flex, various solos I always practice in blocks of 30 mins followed by a 30 min or so break and repeat
I can personally relate to this from a non-playing perspective. I'm almost 75, retired last December (finally!) and was trying to figure out my post retirement life when COVID came along. Any form of structure to my days that I had established was quickly lost due to the isolation.
 

Vegasbound

Active Member
I can personally relate to this from a non-playing perspective. I'm almost 75, retired last December (finally!) and was trying to figure out my post retirement life when COVID came along. Any form of structure to my days that I had established was quickly lost due to the isolation.
John, my father is still playing at 88 and has redisigned his garden including putting in a pond all this he has done himself, and has kept his practice at about an hour a day unless he has over done it in the garden......maybe you should pick your horn up again
 

John Brooks

Well-Known Member
John, my father is still playing at 88 and has redisigned his garden including putting in a pond all this he has done himself, and has kept his practice at about an hour a day unless he has over done it in the garden......maybe you should pick your horn up again
Good for him, that's quite amazing. And thanks for the encouragement as well. Maybe I should never have laid it down....but having done so and having tried to pick it up again (with encouragement from my daughter and two grand daughters) but with poor results I've decided to leave it alone. I am active and walk about 5 - 8 km each day, rain or shine. I just need to get myself structured, including a consistent bed time and wake up time etc.
 

2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
Practice, h’mm that’s an interesting idea but like (I suspect) a lot of other players I really wonder where it will lead to? I tend to find that I have a fairly stable underlying foundation of skills which doesn’t seem to move forward much for practice and that whilst practice does help with immediate problems the resulting enhanced skills quickly ebb away. Yes, that is quite a negative perspective but I doubt that it’s uncommon. Let’s explore the concepts further.

Not much is asked of a Tuba in a Brass Band and my Band has better Tuba players than me so any ‘glory’ can be quickly pushed to one side - such things don’t appeal to me anyway - so I can just play music for pleasure and with rare exception I play something for pleasure each day. Music can be made on many instruments, could be something different in the Band or not a Band instrument at all. In ‘my’ Band many of the players play other instruments too (eg. Piano, guitar, recorder, clarinet) so why not join such people by giving something else a try? It certainly broadens your musical experience and like ‘cross training’ it feeds back (positively) into how well you play in Band.

I’m hoping to still be playing in my 90’s but understand that at some point I’ll be too old to play Tuba, etc, - but whatever my current age is I’m always looking for another twenty years of Banding. To my mind I really think it’s best to play something musical until either your body or your mind fails you. Of course that doesn’t have to mean still belonging to a Band or (dependant on attitudes within the Band) doing every rehearsal and job. A Band not too far away from me has a group of oldies who meet up to just play and similar informal groups aren’t that uncommon. The U.K’s. University of the Third Age is a wonderful organisation, branch activities vary but recorder and ukulele groups are common and they keep folk socially and musically active, there can be musical life after banding. I randomly select a branch of U3A to illustrate the music available within it: Bromsgrove U3A .


Well that’s it from me other than to wish that there was more unaccompanied music available to play. Having said that by chance I found that the Recorder has a lot of ancient music written for it and the pitch range is within that of Brass Instruments - I must explore that idea further. The likes of Arban bore me silly but give me a tune to play and I’ll be blowing (and casually learning too) for literally hours.
 
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2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
One of the things that encourages me is the story of Pablo Casals, the cellist of the last century, when asked why he still practiced into his nineties, said that he believed he could still make progress
Yes, that’s the attitude! Playing for the simple pleasures it brings. If what you’re doing gives you some form of pleasure or satisfaction it then matters not whether anyone else hears or benefits from it. One just needs enough hours in the day to do all the other ‘important’ stuff too.
 
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pbirch

Active Member
Practice, h’mm that’s an interesting idea but like (I suspect) a lot of other players I really wonder where it will lead to? I tend to find that I have a fairly stable underlying foundation of skills which doesn’t seem to move forward much for practice and that whilst practice does help with immediate problems the resulting enhanced skills quickly ebb away. Yes, that is quite a negative perspective but I doubt that it’s uncommon. Let’s explore the concepts further.

Not much is asked of a Tuba in a Brass Band and my Band has better Tuba players than me so any ‘glory’ can be quickly pushed to one side - such things don’t appeal to me anyway - so I can just play music for pleasure and with rare exception I play something for pleasure each day. Music can be made on many instruments, could be something different in the Band or not a Band instrument at all. In ‘my’ Band many of the players play other instruments too (eg. Piano, guitar, recorder, clarinet) so why not join such people by giving something else a try? It certainly broadens your musical experience and like ‘cross training’ it feeds back (positively) into how well you play in Band.

I’m hoping to still be playing in my 90’s but understand that at some point I’ll be too old to play Tuba, etc, - but whatever my current age is I’m always looking for another twenty years of Banding. To my mind I really think it’s best to play something musical until either your body or your mind fails you. Of course that doesn’t have to mean still belonging to a Band or (dependant on attitudes within the Band) doing every rehearsal and job. A Band not too far away from me has a group of oldies who meet up to just play and similar informal groups aren’t that uncommon. The U.K’s. University of the Third Age is a wonderful organisation, branch activities vary but recorder and ukulele groups are common and they keep folk socially and musically active, there can be musical life after banding. I randomly select a branch of U3A to illustrate the music available within it: Bromsgrove U3A .


Well that’s it from me other than to wish that there was more unaccompanied music available to play. Having said that by chance I found that the Recorder has a lot of ancient music written for it and the pitch range is within that of Brass Instruments - I must explore that idea further. The likes of Arban bore me silly but give me a tune to play and I’ll be blowing (and casually learning too) for literally hours.
I am not sure I agree with much of your 1st paragraph, when the basic skills are firmly in place you can work on other skills and they need not ebb away, you do need to maintain them, though and you will possibly find that they cease to be so static.
I also find it hard to agree with you that not much is asked of the tuba in the brass band, the section provides the harmonic, rhythmic and dynamic foundation of the whole ensemble, and all the tuba players contribute to it, there will always be better and stronger players but everyone contributes and whilst moments of glory are few, see how dull a band is without the tubas.
I do agree with you about playing tunes rather than exercises, but there is some good music in the Arban in unexpected places, you just have to look out for it.
And finally, you never get too old to play the tuba. :)
 

2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
I am not sure I agree with much of your 1st paragraph, when the basic skills are firmly in place you can work on other skills and they need not ebb away, you do need to maintain them, though and you will possibly find that they cease to be so static.
I also find it hard to agree with you that not much is asked of the tuba in the brass band, the section provides the harmonic, rhythmic and dynamic foundation of the whole ensemble, and all the tuba players contribute to it, there will always be better and stronger players but everyone contributes and whilst moments of glory are few, see how dull a band is without the tubas.
I do agree with you about playing tunes rather than exercises, but there is some good music in the Arban in unexpected places, you just have to look out for it.
And finally, you never get too old to play the tuba. :)
Interesting really about the Bass section. I’ve found some really able people playing Bass yet typically the Band parts use but a small part of what skills they have. Yep, the section does provide the base on which all else sits yet I’ve never met an MD who ‘really’ interfaced with a Bass Section and developed those skills you mention, nor have I ever found practice material specific to those skills. Perhaps I’m at fault but that’s my experience and I have certainly sought for it to be different. This lockdown provides opportunity to do many things differently, for what is asked and expected of me I recon that a month of decent practice will get me back on the rails and in the meantime I can use time more usefully. Sacrilegious but pragmatic, do what you can now with an eye to picking up the pieces later.

“You never get too old to play The Tuba”, I jolly well hope so! Mind that does assume reaching a grand old age rather than an early demise.

Another vote here for the Bach Cello Suites. I use the (IIRC) Clarke version in treble Clef, playing that stuff has given me a lot of pleasure and a lot of challenge. Oh for similar to get ones teeth into and to have an enjoyable learning experience from ... proper music. Of course that’s just my personal taste, what are other people playing in lockdown?
 
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2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
Good old Arban and a few of my favourite pieces. Finding it hard going though, tending to have a few days practice then a few days off
Never really liked Arban myself and gave my copy away to younger and better player than me, lots of other folk do like Arban but it’s just not my ‘cup of tea’. Do you have any other ‘method books’ that you like?

What are your favourite pieces? I’m always on the lookout for new music to play and doubtless your favourites could encourage others too.

A few days practice and a few days off sounds fine to me. I think that pacing yourself and enjoying what you’re doing is important.
 
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