- Tuesday, September 20, 2011
- by Jonathan Martin
For a few years, when I was in Italy touring with the Navy Sixth Fleet Band, I carried all of my study books, etudes, play-along CD's, and Fake Book with me everywhere I went. That book bag; plus my trumpet, plus my mute bag, plus my suit case, and garment bag for my uniforms, was a lot to keep up with.
And, we travelled all over Europe, North Africa, all around the Black Sea and Mediterranean.
Finally, after three years of doing this, I had an idea. I still had another year left on my tour, and I was exhausted from carrying around so much cargo. So, I decided to carry less of it.
But, I still had the same amount of practicing to do.
So Much Practice; So Little Stuff
So, what I did was this. I started following the plan we've outlined so far in these tutorials. I sat myself down in my apartment, and made a plan. I outlined my priorities, and created goals for the week.
Then I went through my music books, and jazz etudes. I picked out the ones I wanted to study over the course of the week. It turned out to be only about 20 pages worth of material. I photo-copied those pages and put them into a black concert folio I found, and there you go. I had lightened my load by about 35 pounds.
It felt like weight had been lifted
Man, that was a relief. My trumpet case has a side pocket and that foilio fit in there perfectly. I could keep up with the rest of the band now running through airports, and hiking up hills to get to the stage, etc.
I want to be very clear. I own all the books that I made copies from, and I only used the copies for as long as I needed them. I even recycled by copying the next weeks material on the back. When I was done, I threw them away. Don't make copies from borrowed books; it's illegal and it's wrong. Buy your books, and feel good about yourself.
While I was practing this way, I discovered some added benefits that I did not expect. (Besides being lighter)
I was able to make notes on my copies, and not mark up the originals. Which meant that my study books were going to last a lot longer than they normally would. I mean I used pencil, and erased often, but still.
I was able to stay focused on what I wanted to learn much better than I ever had been before. I eliminated the distraction of flipping pages. All I had with me was what I meant to practice.
Before, there was a pile of music books at my feet about a foot and a half high when I was practicing. I got overwhelmed and frustrated. It simply wasn't there anymore to be a distraction, and I got a lot more done in less time.
So, with this one easy step you can avoid the frustration, aggrevation, and back strain that I went through for all those years.
Take what you learned from step three "Breaking your Priorities Down Into Goals", and decide what pages of which studies you want to work on for this upcoming week. Then, copy only those pages and put them into a folder. Take only that folder with you when practice.
Try that for a couple of months, and measure how much more you've improved over the old way of doing things.
Next Up ...
Do you know any other ways of improving your practice efficiency? Please share in the Comments ...
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