When to Change Routines

As a follow up to the previous series, “Warm-ups and Routines You May Not Know,” I thought it would be a good idea to consider some of the reasons why you might even want to consider a new routine in the first place.  The following are just some of the questions to think about as you evaluate your existing warm-up and daily routine.

“How does my embouchure feel after I’ve played my entire routine?  Are my chops tired, or fresh and ready to continue playing (after a short rest)?”

“Following a strenuous day of playing, does my routine the next day help me put things back together, or does it wear me down even more?”

“Is my routine adaptable to different time constraints?  Can I be ready to play in a shorter amount of time than it takes to complete the entire routine?”

“How well does my routine prepare me for the types of playing I normally do?”

“How well does my routine fit with my current work or school schedule?”

“Does playing through my routine instill confidence in my abilities, or cause frustration?”

“Are there aspects of other routines I want to combine with my current routine, and if so, is it feasible?”

“Is my routine too difficult/too easy for my current ability level?”

“Does my routine continue to remind me why I play the horn, or has it become boring and mind numbing?”

Bear in mind that you don’t necessarily need to change your entire routine to remedy some of the above issues.  Simply working in some slight modifications or other materials can make a world of difference.  If you aren’t interested in using a different routine but want to tweak your current one, try varying the order and/or amount of rest between sections.  Summer time is a great opportunity to try out these modifications or sample different materials.  Even if you don’t end up changing anything, working with a different routine or routines for a few days or weeks can help remind you what it is you like about your current one, and give you fresh ideas.

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