Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 21

Thread: Playing Skills as We Age

  1. #11
    In my own background, I had a fairly intense playing schedule while I was in the Coast Guard Band, but for 23-1/2 years after that I worked full time at a non-music job. Between the demands of the job, and the time it took me to get this site up and keep it going, there was not as much bandwidth available for practice as I would have liked. (My discipline is not the best, so I probably could have done a better job at carving out more practice time.)

    During this later time I honed my skills at multi-task practicing, where I try to practice 2 or 3 skills at the same time. Some of the videos I have on YouTube talk about this. Mostly, I need(ed) to be sure to NOT waste the time I had with the horn on my face.

    If there was not time for a good session, I would try to warm up at least. Just make good sounds and cover as much range as practical. The longer sessions were spent in various ways. Sometimes I would focus more on some skills than others, depending on what I wanted to improve. There were a few recitals along the way where I worked much harder and more consistently for 3 months or so, but that pace was not sustainable all the time.

    THIS NEXT PART may pertain to Dennis and others, and was also of benefit to me.

    For a few years in there I had almost no practice time. However, I found it possible to still listen to music while commuting, in the background while working, and other times. I found I began to appreciate music more deeply. Perhaps there was room in my attentions to really absorb the beauty of music when I did not spend so much time with a "music/work" mentality. While in the band, every time I'd hear a neat solo piece or orchestra piece I'd find myself analyzing how it might work for euphonium or band. I still do that, but it is more balanced now. Anyway, during that time I believe my musicianship improved! I had built more "stuff" inside me to draw on while playing.

    I suppose it is like our normal sense of taking a vacation. We do so to refresh, and in theory come back to our everyday life with new energies.

    There are obviously physical considerations with aging. We heal more slowly, and some of our bad playing habits affect us more. For a few months now I have focused on relaxing my chops more while I play (that has been a weakness of mine forever). My joints are not as healthy as they were 30 years ago, so I have to work more on getting finger dexterity where I want it. And the simple fact is I may not be able to play as fast as I once could.

    So far my ultimate range has not suffered - it has actually improved on both ends. But my building my endurance takes a bit more attention.

    In summary, compared to 30 years ago, I'm not quite the technician I was, but I'm a better musician IMO.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    Intermountain West in USA
    Posts
    42
    This thread has been interesting and inspiring. Maybe it's not hopeless for my comeback. I was never at the level of any of you, but I am having fun getting back into playing. I practice virtually every day.

    I notice that it is taking a lot longer to learn a piece than when I was young. The good thing is that my range is coming back. It is now about where it was when I was young: high C treble cleff, i.e. Bb concert is almost secure, and working on then next step higher, and pedal tones are improving greatly (actually better than when I was young), but still a lot of work to do on my range.

    Some of many challenges include breath management, speed, endurance, intonation and more expressive playing. (Well, that sounds like almost everything doesn't it?)

    I am learning bass clef, and making steady progress at it. I am also making progress with the fourth valve.

    One skill I am acquiring is how to be more effective in my practice time. I suppose one could call that a meta-skill.

    One thing that I found more or less by accident that is helping me a lot is that in my warm up time I include some long notes with fairly extreme Cresc/Dimin executed slowly while playing the note. This seems to free up my playing in multiple ways. Do you all use that exercise.

    I just ordered a couple of scale and arpeggio books (treble and bass clef) and plan to include those in my daily practice. I have been playing major scales in every key by ear fairly regularly, but I think I need to beef up my practice in that area to include major and minor keys over two or more octaves, plus chromatic scales.

    I am finding that practicing lip slurs up and down during warm up are very helpful. My teacher strongly recommends those exercises. He also recommends working on circle of fourths to help me prepare for learning to improvise. Of course, he recommends many other things as well. Those are just a few that come to min right now.

    I am strongly considering getting a second bachelors degree, a B.A. in music, not as a performance major but as a general music major.

    On the scientific side, I just learned about the bell effect and the mouthpiece effect. I had never heard of them before. Evidently, a brasswind instrument basically operates as a pipe resonator with one closed end, which should mean that one can only play odd-order partials, but the bell effect and the mouthpiece effect enter into the picture so that it shifts the partials into a good approximation to a doubly open end pipe, i.e. able to hit both even and odd order partials. I found this to be extremely interesting. I think this probably enters into an instrument design in a major way with respect to tuning accuracy of the instrument.
    Last edited by massmanute; 01-17-2021 at 07:23 AM.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Tucson, where tacos are real.
    Posts
    24
    A common theme throughout this thread is the hope that we can continue to play well until the 'end." Well, there is hope! There is compelling evidence that the euphonium is the instrument of choice that will be played in Heaven.

    Here is photographic proof:Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Angelphonium 1.jpg 
Views:	6 
Size:	33.5 KB 
ID:	8122Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Angelphonium 2.jpg 
Views:	8 
Size:	41.8 KB 
ID:	8123

  4. #14
    So apparently Heaven gives you a choice of piston or rotary valves!
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Tucson, where tacos are real.
    Posts
    24
    Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    So apparently Heaven gives you a choice of piston or rotary valves!
    And you have eternity to figure out which one you prefer.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    San Diego, California
    Posts
    388
    Quote Originally Posted by highpitch View Post
    I haven't played since I broke my neck back in May. At first, the doc said no. Then limited time doing so. Now I'm cleared full OK.

    Previously the virus shut down my banding and then Tuba Christmas, and I just haven't had the drive to even pick up the horn.

    I watch U-tube performances and get emotional, but still...

    Something will fire me up soon, I hope.

    DG
    Hang in there Dennis!

    When "Banding" ceased and I had to put-down my Tuba Quartet, I picked up other musical interests to fill the gap. Last month, I started picking up the horn and just dove back into the Arbans Book, along with etudes, etc, in anticipation band and my Tuba Q will be able to start again---soon (we'll see). I also ordered the Euphonium Excerpts book arranged by Dave which should be coming in next week.

    Dan
    Last edited by John Morgan; 01-18-2021 at 02:02 PM. Reason: Fix quote
    Miraphone 5050 Ambassador
    Mp: Wick SM4 Ultra X
    The San Diego Concert Band
    Big Brass Quartet- tuba ensemble (EETT)

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    186
    I genuinely wish I'd been taught with Arban when I was younger (sometimes I forget I'm only 24, yikes), I feel like I'm missing so much finger speed and coordination because of it compared to people that started their brass playing careers with it.
    Euphoniums
    Willson 2960TA Celebration
    Mouthpiece: Denis Wick 5AL
    1979 Boosey & Hawkes Sovereign (Globe Stamp)
    Mouthpiece: Denis Wick SM4
    Baritone
    1975 Besson New Standard
    Mouthpiece: Denis Wick 6BS

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Tucson, where tacos are real.
    Posts
    24
    Quote Originally Posted by TheJH View Post
    I genuinely wish I'd been taught with Arban when I was younger (sometimes I forget I'm only 24, yikes), I feel like I'm missing so much finger speed and coordination because of it compared to people that started their brass playing careers with it.
    I understand. After 50 years of contrabass tuba, I recently began euphonium in earnest. It would have been nice to have started euphonium earlier in life.

    Here is something I eventually learned decades after I could have really used it. In college, I was a vocal performance major. As a man, it was always an "issue" as to whether one was really a tenor or a bass. At that age, it wasn't always definitive, and many potentially decent baritones were hurting themselves trying to be tenors. For me, I really wanted to be an opera singer--I had the desire, the love for the genre, the knowledge of repertoire--in fact, everything but the voice. I had the voice for operetta, lieder, art songs, and musical theater. It took me years to come to terms with the concept of playing the hand you're dealt. Baritones wanting to be tenors, musical theater singers wanting to do opera . . .

    When I started teaching voice, I tried to instill the concept of, "let's see where you are, and make you the best version of yourself."

    So now as a 66 year-old euphonium novice, I realize I have the potential to be the best at what I am, starting from where I am, with the missed opportunities and baggage that I have. Fretting about what might have been will not serve me any purpose. So I will enjoy what lies before me, as much as I am able.

    I don't know if that helps, but it helped me to write it. So thanks.
    Last edited by Acemorgan; 01-21-2021 at 10:43 PM. Reason: Grammar

  9. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Acemorgan View Post
    ...So now as a 66 year-old euphonium novice, I realize I have the potential to be the best at what I am, starting from where I am, with the missed opportunities and baggage that I have. Fretting about what might have been will not serve me any purpose. So I will enjoy what lies before me, as much as I am able...
    I think that is a really good attitude to have, exactly. If you are in relatively good health, then you may have many years ahead of you in which to learn, grow, and develop on euphonium, and there is no reason you could not become quite good, if that is what you want, and if you have the drive and determination to get there. And having all of that background with voice and tuba, you clearly have a leg up on many others. Enjoy the journey!
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Tucson, where tacos are real.
    Posts
    24
    Quote Originally Posted by John Morgan View Post
    Enjoy the journey!
    I appreciate the encouraging words. 😊

Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •