Marking progress

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tbdana
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Marking progress

Post by tbdana »

One year ago today I was a little more than 3 months into playing after a 30+ year layoff, and that day I played for a friend, and he opined that I, "sound like a first grader." Ouch. That hurt. And as I remember that comment, today, it still stings. So I use it as motivation.

I think I've come a little way in the time since then, and I marked my progress at the 1-year mark by recording some tunes (a couple of which I've shared here). It was my way of conducting a sanity check, holding myself accountable, and making sure I'm not sugar coating the amount of my progress.

And now I'm looking for some way to keep me motivated and mark my continued progress at the 2-year mark. What do you guys do, if anything, to mark your progress as you improve, and motivate yourself to keep working?
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tjonz
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Re: Marking progress

Post by tjonz »

I've found it useful to keep a journal of what I'm working on, what's giving me trouble, etc. and to review it periodically. Often I'll look back at what I was doing a year ago and think, "Kid's stuff!"
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Doug Elliott
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Re: Marking progress

Post by Doug Elliott »

Schedule a concert or recital and prepare for it.
"I know a thing or two because I've seen a thing or two."
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tbdana
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Re: Marking progress

Post by tbdana »

Doug Elliott wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2024 5:27 pm Schedule a concert or recital and prepare for it.
Ah. Yeah, that's a pretty obvious one that had escaped my two functioning brain cells. I'ma do dat. :)
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harrisonreed
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Re: Marking progress

Post by harrisonreed »

Why don't you record an album? If you don't write tunes, cover them (like you've at just been doing).

But here's the catch -- don't try to sound like Bill or anybody else. Come up with your own sound.

Or ... Record the album of cover tunes that are vocal charts and try to sound as close to the vocalist as you possibly can before you start soloing over it.

I wouldn't suggest recording an album to someone who needed a reality check. You can actually make music. Are you trying to pretend like you're still behind the curve, or what, lol. I think not many of us could throw up a recording like you've done, already.
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VJOFan
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Re: Marking progress

Post by VJOFan »

Right now I’ve got a set of three contrasting, progressive etude books on the go. I could use book marks, but I have a way of closing the books together so they mark each other’s place. Each session I play one page of each book. The pages get harder so if I can keep playing them I’m getting better. If I don’t like how a page goes, I’ll do it one more day before turning the page.

I’m using tuning apps, recorded drones, my voice recorder and camera apps and such to monitor what I sound like.

The books are not the only thing I’m playing, but they keep me honest, provide a little structure and I picked them to hit flexibility/range, technique/articulation and melodic control. It’s like a routine but with different actual exercises each session.

For motivation, I have my first gig in over two years next month. (I had some family reasons that made me tell musicians to stop calling me for a while, but I think one of them just forgot. The situation is mostly resolved so it was good timing.)
"And that's one man's opinion," Doug Collins, CFJC-TV News 1973-2013
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BrianAn
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Re: Marking progress

Post by BrianAn »

Something I've been thinking of: when I'm learning jazz standards I can book a (paid) gig at a club or something to make myself prepare for it and make sure I have those tunes down. Does a similar thing exist for classical rep, where you can get paid to play a bunch of solos / etudes?
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Doug Elliott
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Re: Marking progress

Post by Doug Elliott »

Maybe at a nursing or retirement home, otherwise pretty much no.
"I know a thing or two because I've seen a thing or two."
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BGuttman
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Re: Marking progress

Post by BGuttman »

I am a resident in a nursing home. We don't generally hire people to play classical stuff. If you wanted to play more popular music that might sell.

Sadly, I don't think there is much of a market for playing classical music for pay.
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Posaunus
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Re: Marking progress

Post by Posaunus »

When entertainers are hired at retirement / senior living homes, they typically prefer "oldies" that the residents can recognize and may want to sing along with. I've done some of these gigs with a Dixieland group - but again the favorites are the sing-alongs. Think of something that will get these folks to smile!
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Doug Elliott
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Re: Marking progress

Post by Doug Elliott »

Some places hire a variety of entertainment on a regular basis, so there's always a chance.
"I know a thing or two because I've seen a thing or two."
imsevimse
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Re: Marking progress

Post by imsevimse »

tbdana wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2024 3:17 pm ...
What do you guys do, if anything, to mark your progress as you improve, and motivate yourself to keep working?
I practice all year, about every day but more around christmas and in summer because then I have more time. I decide to record and put something on facebook for my friends or at YouTube or sound cloude. Then I can go back and listen to early recordings at any time to check if I'm doing better. To have as a goal to make a recording on Internet help my motivation and I don't mind having it criticized. Some years ago I made a few recordings available at this forum and asked for feedback. I did learn alot, so that was good.

/Tom
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LeTromboniste
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Re: Marking progress

Post by LeTromboniste »

BrianAn wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 8:07 am Does a similar thing exist for classical rep, where you can get paid to play a bunch of solos / etudes?
Not tons of such opportunities, no. But some things I can think of that I've done and where you might get paid are programming solo and/or particularly challenging pieces on your own chamber ensemble's concert, organising a recital yourself and sell tickets or pass the hat, or booking an engagement to give a recital and masterclass/workshop as a package (depending on your level, at a school, a high school, a conservatory/university).
Maximilien Brisson
www.maximilienbrisson.com
Lecturer for baroque trombone,
Hfk Bremen/University of the Arts Bremen
imsevimse
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Re: Marking progress

Post by imsevimse »

Another thing I do to mark progress is to write down the "eureka-moments". There are usually not many of those in a year nowdays but they do happen and usually it is when I practice more. These moments are when I suddenly discover something by myself when I experiment that help my playing right away. For example, one of the more recent ones, about ten years ago, I noticed it was easier for me in the low register to aim slight to the side in the mouthpiece. One major discovery I remember I wrote down in the 90ies was when I discovered I could tounge fast if I move the tounge sideways, left to right just behind the teeth. I call this technique "snake-tounge" and it just happened. It was at a time when I struggled to learn the doodle. It took years before I could do that clean and it took years before I could do the doodle too. I lost the book where I made the notes but that's not important now, it was only important at the time when it was new to me. I do remember I wrote it not to forget. :hi:
tbdana wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2024 3:17 pm And now I'm looking for some way to keep me motivated and mark my continued progress at the 2-year mark.
In your case I don't know really. You are at a level I will never come close to and you have already played with the best there is. I do not know your age but if you have held up for 30+ years then I guess you are close to my age. I think young people have an advantage when they are going to be discovered. For some reason age isn't our friend if we are new on the scene, maybe that could be a problem, but if your goal is to just be at your best and do it just because you love music, then those things don't matter. You deserve to be heard. You should do concerts. Question is now how to get your name out. I guess Internet could be your friend if you start a youtube channel it could be interesting. You could show people how you do and think when you play like Bill Watrous. You need to market yourself somehow to get your name more known if you want to do your own concerts. Maybe the channal could help and you could share your experience because that experience with 15 years in the band of Bill Watrous is unique. It could attract people to your channal and who knows where that leads. As suggested you could record your own stuff, maybe write your own music and record it, if you have the money. It would be something new. If you haven't done a project like this before I'm sure you will make personal progress. Hope that helps and at least inspires you for a couple of days. You're great!

/Tom
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LeTromboniste
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Re: Marking progress

Post by LeTromboniste »

tbdana wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2024 3:17 pm One year ago today I was a little more than 3 months into playing after a 30+ year layoff, and that day I played for a friend, and he opined that I, "sound like a first grader." Ouch. That hurt. And as I remember that comment, today, it still stings. So I use it as motivation.

I think I've come a little way in the time since then, and I marked my progress at the 1-year mark by recording some tunes (a couple of which I've shared here). It was my way of conducting a sanity check, holding myself accountable, and making sure I'm not sugar coating the amount of my progress.

And now I'm looking for some way to keep me motivated and mark my continued progress at the 2-year mark. What do you guys do, if anything, to mark your progress as you improve, and motivate yourself to keep working?
I think the recordings you've made are a good way to do that. I find scheduling important recordings sessions or solo performances (even if it means self-organising something) is a great way to put goals ahead of yourself and give you motivation, purpose and accountability
Maximilien Brisson
www.maximilienbrisson.com
Lecturer for baroque trombone,
Hfk Bremen/University of the Arts Bremen
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