I’d like to think I am anyway. It is probably the fact that my horns are new. I have been practicing more and more. And using the SISU Mouthguard seems to have increased my ability to play longer. And playing longer allows me to accomplish more.
I am, of course, working on scales with a metronome to help build my speed and accuracy. I am still working on learning jazz standards; maybe two songs a week. I play them slowly. I play them fast. I play them until I have their chord progressions memorized. I play them until I can’t stand it any longer.
I also plan to add some patterns to the works. I have this great book that I have had for probably 30 years. It’s called Patterns For Jazz, by Jerry Coker, Jimmy Casale, Gary Campbell, and Jerry Greene. I have never even gotten a qtr of the way through it. It is the kind of book that you hate to use. The ideas aren’t that easy and you have to make yourself do it. It is arduous work. But when you finally do, even a little, it turns you into a different kind of player and ups your game.
The process of learning can be addicting. It has happened to me several times in the past; once when I was in college and again when I went to the Armed Forces School of music, and now again. I am finding it harder to stop playing even after my embouchure finally does get too tired. And when I’m not playing, I’m thinking about playing and what I will be working on next.
This time I’m not being forced to play for a grade or threat of being sent to the regular Navy as a Boatswain’s mate. It is only for me this time. And maybe someday I’ll get a gig, one I actually want. Right now though I’m just enjoying myself.