Take a break
Playing trombone and teaching has been a major part of my life, for most of my life. It's consuming, it's constant, the daily rigmarole of practice is never ending. Or is it?
I remember reading an extract from my good friend and mentor Denis Wick's book, 'Trombone Technique' many years ago and he advocates taking two weeks away from music, the instrument and anything relating to your day to day work flow. I can understand why. All of us have untapped skills, knowledge and interests which justify an element of our time. Spending time nurturing and developing these skills gives the mind and body a well earned rest from day to day routines.
Many musicians have widely differing talents; some enjoy cooking, some enjoy sports activities, some enjoy reading, some enjoy DIY (!) However, I have found that many of my brass playing friends have interests in the creative arts. Look at Dave Finlayson for example, a fabulous trombone player and musician, trombonist with the New York Philharmonic and excellent photographer, check out his shots and videos at www.davidfinlayson.com. Bill Wyman, Bryan Adams, Andy Summers (guitar with the Police) all excel in photographic areas.
I have recently returned from a lovely weeks holiday in St. Ives, Cornwall. I love this place. We have been visiting here since I was 6/7 years old, it's a coastal town that presents so many happy memories. On this particular visit, and consequently fraught with serious amounts of guilt, I decided to leave my instrument in the car, for the full seven days.
We had a fabulous week marred only by the onslaught of Storm Doris (!) Good old Doris made our beautiful static caravan feel like we were sleeping in a tumble dryer. Grief did it howl! Thank goodness we were securely tethered to the ground by a couple of sturdy chains, which looked like they had as much strength as two paper clips!
This brief holiday gave me a chance to reignite another interest of mine; photography and videography. St. Ives is an extremely popular destination. In the summer months it is simply chock-a-block with tourists and day trippers. The small narrow streets and tiny fishermen's cottages are amass with faloose-wielding tourists on a mission to buy the latest St. Ives mug, tea towel or print from the numerous art galleries on offer.
I decided I wanted to try and depict this quaint town in a different guise so my son Josh and I popped into town around 9pm and took some shots. I love the quiet almost abandoned atmosphere we managed to create. Such a total opposite to the hussle and bustle of life in a Cornish coastal town in season.
St. Ives at Night
My reason for writing this brief blog is to simply reiterate Denis' advice and take a step back from your music making, instrument and practice for a time. From personal experience I am now far more motivated and enthused about getting back on form and all aspects of my practice analysis and senses are now fully refreshed and heightened.
Go on, give it a go...