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Dealing with Temperature Variations

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Are you aware of the ways that temperature and humidity can affect your performance? Between my experience with rehearsals and performances, I have played on stages as cool as 65 degrees and as warm as 90 degrees. Humidity has also been all over the map.

Your intonation will be strongly affected by temperature. On a hot stage, you are probably going to be sharp. If you are playing with strings or piano, the effect can be just the opposite on them, so your tuning slide may need to be pulled out very far. When it is cold on stage, naturally the effect is to make the horn flatter. It can take a very long time to get the horn warmed up to proper playing temperature, so be sure you get the horn adequately warm before tuning. The really tricky part is that your horn will cool off very quickly during long rests. You may find it helps to not put the horn down on the floor when you don't play for an extended period. Your lap and arms will help keep it warm. Because the combination of cold metal and warm air you blow through the horn, you will need to empty the moisture out much more frequently.

You may also find the response of the horn is different with temperature extremes. The high range will be more difficult when the stage is cold, but the really low range will speak much better! I have sometimes had trouble producing my lowest pedal tones when the stage is hot, despite the fact that these are usually dependable notes for me.

Your practice sessions will be probably expose you to different temperatures. Keep an electronic tuner handy and check your pitch frequently. You will gradually learn about the affect temperature has on your playing.

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