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Thread: Staying in Shape in Basic Training

  1. Staying in Shape in Basic Training

    I finally started my military career and landed a job as a euphoniumist in one of the Army bands (yay!). Not yet in Pershing's Own, but give me time. I will head to basic training, and was wondering, since that is a minimum of 10 weeks without any practice, does anyone have any suggestions on staying in shape? I wouldn't count on getting time for mouthpiece drills. I only have a few days between basic and the school of music, and although many others are in the same boat, can't stand the thought of presenting a lackluster product to the instructors. Thanks, I know many of you out there have been through this.

  2. #2

    Staying in Shape in Basic Training

    Congratulations on your successful audition, and acceptance into the Army band program!

    Your dedication to your art is admirable, but in all honesty, I wouldn't worry about playing during basic training.

    Your first objective - and the one you should focus on - is getting through this training. It's going to challenge you, both mentally and physically, and while millions have gone through it before you, an injury or some other kind of problem could spell disaster.

    One foot in front of the other. Try not to project, focus on the task at hand, and you'll do fine.

    At the Army School of Music, they're very well versed and understand the situation you've just been through. Quite frankly, they know you can play your horn. What they're going to do with you is train you in the Army method in how to march, manual of instruments, and even how to entertain an audience.

    You'll get through the Army SOM just fine - again, by focusing on the task at hand, putting one foot in front of the other, and by doing the best you can at every task put before you.

    U.S. Army, Retired (built mid-Fifties)
    Adams E2 Euph (built 2017)
    Boosey & Co. Imperial Euph (built 1941)
    Edwards B454 Bass Trombone (built 2012)
    Boosey & Hawkes Imperial Eb tuba (built 1958)
    Kanstul 33-T lBBb tuba (built 2010)
    Shen 3/4 upright bass (who cares?)

  3. #3

    Staying in Shape in Basic Training

    Get a plastic mouthpiece and put it in your civilian clothes bag. That will be the clothes you wear to reception. Put it in your shoes. When you graduate Basic, crack it out. And I mean plastic, all metal stuff is usually gone.

    I went to Ft. Knox 20 yrs ago, my advice is to really concentrate on your pushups and drink plenty of water. Focus, and do exactly as you are instructed. It will be hard and it will be worth it.

  4. #4

    Staying in Shape in Basic Training

    I don't have any advice for keeping your embouchure in shape during basic, but I do have some advice about basic itself -- you will be told to do things in ways that seem ridiculous. Do them the way that you're told to do them. The point (well, one of the points) of basic is to break civilian habits and teach to to do things the way you're told to do them, first time, every time.

    David Bjornstad

    1923 Conn New Wonder 86I, Bach 6 1/2 AL
    2018 Wessex EP100 Dolce, Denis Wick 4ABL
    2013 Jinbao JBEP-1111L, Denis Wick 4AM
    2015 Jinbao JBBR-1240, Denis Wick clone mouthpiece of unknown designation
    Cullman (AL) Community Band (Euph Section Leader)
    Brass Band of Huntsville (2nd Bari)

  5. #5

    Staying in Shape in Basic Training

    Good advice above, to focus on the task at hand. You can take a long time off without hurting yourself if you just practice carefully when coming back. Take it very easy, don't push too far too fast.

    But while in basic, focus on taking care of your body in general. You'll be working it VERY hard, so eat as well as you can (balanced). Hydrate as much as possible (or practical - there may be no available bathroom for some long stretches now and then). If you come out healthy and strong with tissue that is hydrated, it will help a lot in coming back to playing.

    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
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    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  6. Staying in Shape in Basic Training

    I support all the previous suggestions. Focus on the task at hand. Get in the best physical shape of your life. When you pick up your horn again you will be surprized at how fast the music comes back. The decipline to get the job done right which you learn to be a solder is easily applied to music.

    After taking 26 years off I was out playing the rest of the section in my community band within a month. A month of careful, focused, and guided practice (I have a great instructor since I started again).

    Besson 767 New Standard, SM 4U
    Irondequoit Concert Band & Penfield Pops, Rochester NY area

    F-Alphorn, Hubert Hense maker, Alderwood
    Alphorn Society of Western NY

  7. Hello all, I ave been reading this thread and have a question. I go to basic then right away I go to the Army School of music I am worried that with the so many weeks off I am not going to do so well

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Quote Originally Posted by helga1063 View Post
    Hello all, I ave been reading this thread and have a question. I go to basic then right away I go to the Army School of music I am worried that with the so many weeks off I am not going to do so well
    Hi, and welcome to the forum.

    I don't think you'll have to worry too much about being out of shape in SOM. Everyone will be in the same boat as you as they're just finishing up boot camp too. Good luck BTW.
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank

    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
    Russian Christmas Music (Alfred Reed)
    El Relicario (Jose Padilla; arr. R. Longfield)

  9. Being a former Marine musician I will agree with every said thus far. I would like to add however that you should focus on one thing at a time as you go through your training. Step one is to complete basic then step two is SOM. Try not to add any more stress to yourself than what is already going to be put upon you. Best of luck to you!


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