I generally dial back my practice schedule over the Christmas and New Year holiday, unless there is a performance immediately following it. The physical and mental break is refreshing, but even more important is the extra time available to spend with family and friends. That being said, I’ve only gone one day this break without practicing – Christmas day. The rest of the time I’ve been working on various materials to keep my chops in shape and to do some advance preparation for performances later in the semester. At the very least I have been putting in about an hour to an hour and a half each day. This is substantially less than my normal routine, but adequate to minimize the time needed to return to 100% when the semester begins. Here’s the repertoire on my holiday practicing list.
- Douglas Hill, Warm-ups and Maintenance Sessions for the Horn Player (60 minute routine)
- Luciano L’Abbate, Scales and Arpeggios, and Arban’s Complete Conservatory Method for Trumpet (daily scale practice)
- Gallay, 12 Grand Caprices, Op. 32 (Technically challenging and musically interesting, these are great for staying in shape! For an inspiring recording of these and other works by Gallay, check out Anneke Scott’s recent CD.)
- Kopprasch, Sixty Studies, Op. 6 (Working on some more Kopprasch videos.)
- Rose French, Range Songs for Horn (Along with the Gallay, these short studies are perfect for maintaining tone and endurance.)
- Eurico Carrapatoso, Sete Melodias em Forma de Bruma, Op. 16 (I’ll be performing this work with colleagues Claire Vangelisti and Richard Seiler on a recital in April and at the 45th International Horn Symposium. It’s a wonderful piece, but relatively unknown outside Portugal. Here’s a sample from the first movement.)
Of these, I’ve been doing the 60 minute maintenance routine every day, along with scale practice and a few selections from Range Songs. After that I choose from among the other materials to round out my practice session. What do you like to practice over the holidays to stay in shape? Feel free to comment below.
As this will be my last post of 2012, I want to wish everyone a safe and prosperous New Year! See you all in 2013!