Consider also, I refer to myself as a hack because I've played alongside some astonishingly good players in this area - cats who blow the doors down in the Washington DC area premier military bands - bands I could never hope to get into, simply because I'm not good enough. So, good enough to gig, but not laying it down like those guys do. I'd drop some specific names, but that's kind of tacky - especially not when I'm not even close to being that caliber. Just because I've been privileged enough to gig with those guys doesn't mean that I'm near that in terms of my own playing - I can only hang up to a certain point!
These days I practice to maintain, and occasionally tighten things up when I find that I'm having a difficult time playing on my regular gig - it's no fun to gig when my playing is all over the place. Lately things have been pretty solid with my chops, but it's the mental aspect that has become challenging, and that tells me I need to start spending some more time with our core material. Like I mentioned before, I don't have a set routine - I work what needs to be worked, so this week I'll actually put some time in running through the charts, which I usually do playing along to recordings - our charts match the original recordings most of the time so I've found doing play-alongs helps a lot. I get to hear what the phrasing and inflection should be, and for those like me who believe we should practice as we perform, it's a great tool to use for that.
"What we do in life echoes in eternity"
"At my signal, unleash hell."
- Maximus Decimus Meridius
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