One of the most common questions I get asked, by friends and strangers alike, is what does a “normal day” look like for me. I put that phrase in quotes because, simply put, there are no normal days for me. That’s one of the things I like the most about my job. I realize that some folks really like the stability and comfort of a routine schedule, but I dig the freedom that comes with my job. I get up when I want, I practice when I want, I talk a walk when I want, I cook when I want, and I go to bed when I want.
That being said, I will give you a synopsis of my day yesterday, as it was as “normal” as any I’m bound to come across!
If you want to go by the clock, then my day began watching the debut of The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien. I’ve been a fan of his Late Night show for years and was glad to see that he doesn’t seem to be changing because of the earlier time slot. He’s just as goofy as he’s always been, as was evidenced early on when he did the string dance. It doesn’t get much goofier than that! And I was happy to see that he brought the Max Weinberg 7 with him. They are such a great band! And trumpeter Mark Pender was put to the test at the beginning of the show by having to play his high sustained note for a full minute until the applause died down. Bravo, Mark!
After that I wrote yesterday’s blog post and hit the sack.
I woke up about 8:30am and brewed my morning coffee. I’m an addict, so that is the one routine I can’t live without. Then I made Darrah a hummus and artichoke heart sandwich for lunch and kissed her goodbye for the day. While drinking my first cup of coffee I checked my email, Facebook, Twitter…all the usual suspects. Once I felt sufficiently caught up with all that was going on in the world I headed downstairs to “the shed” (that’s musician-speak for the practice room) for my warm-up. This is one of my favorite parts of my day, when I get to slowly reacclimate to the trumpet. It’s a meditative process that involves the very basics of trumpet playing: mouthpiece buzzing, long tones, lip slurs, Clarke and Arban’s studies and the like. This is the part of any trumpet player’s routine that’ll make you or break you. Many people find this stuff tedious, and I used to be one of them. But as I’ve gotten older I have grown to love the process just as much as the results. And I’ve realized that I’ll never get to the results without first going through the process. A teacher of mine once put it this way: there are three stages to learning how to do anything. The first stage is wanting to do it but not being able to do so. The second stage is trying (practicing) to do it and sucking. The third stage is mastery. And no one has ever gone from stage one to stage three without sucking! So embrace it.
After my warm up I showered and left the house for a meeting with a friend of mine who is planing a Birth of the Cool tribute concert. He has asked my company, J&J Music to help produce and promote the show and I’m thrilled to be part of it, being a huge fan of Miles Davis.
From there it was off to the post office and the bank, and then a drive to Des Moines for another meeting. I’m playing a gig today at a retirement home in Des Moines (yes, the musician’s life is just that glamorous!) and had to check out the location and meet with the woman who hired me. Des Moines is right on the Puget Sound and quite beautiful. And it was a gorgeous 80 degree day yesterday which made the trip quite pleasant.
From there I headed back home for more practicing, some house cleaning, and time with the kitty before heading to yoga. Tonight’s class was particularly strenuous and a real workout! It’s a class called “Yoga for Beginners” but it didn’t feel like it today! I was ready for a big plate of noodles when class was over. Then I was ready for the couch!
At home I did some more checking of email/FB/TW, spent some time talking with Darrah and a little time with the TV (How I Met Your Mother on the DVR). I got my charts (more musician-speak – this one means sheet music) in order for today’s gig, and then fell asleep while trying to watch Conan’s second show.
So there you have it. That’s as normal a day as I get. Sometimes there’s teaching involved, sometimes there’s “office hours” for J&J Music with my business partner Josh, sometimes there’s walking, cooking, lazing…you get the gist.
Suffice it to say that no two days look alike, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!