Canadian Musician - September/October 2017 - Page 30

BRASS Paul Baron is one of today’s most highly respected lead and commercial trumpet players. His sound is distinctly bright and powerful and carries with it decades of experience in a wide range of musical styles from jazz to rock, big band to musical theatre, and TV jingles to movie soundtracks. As well as being a performing artist for Jupiter Instruments and Pickett Brass with his signature line of mouthpieces, Paul is also an author, educator, and clinician. By Paul Baron Pack Your A-Game: How to Maintain Peak Performance as a Travelling Musician Part 1 I have been asked many times in clinics, mas- ter classes, lessons – even by colleagues – how to maintain peak performance on the road. Traveling for gigs poses a number of different challenges with many variables in- volved that we wouldn’t necessarily encounter while working at home. Travel First of all, there is the obvious: travel. This often requires many hours on planes and buses and in itself can be very fatiguing. Very often I play a show late into the evening and, because of the distance to the next city and venue, will be up for travel four hours later. Many times this is unavoidable, so I make sure to stay hydrated at all times. The other thing I do is carry head- phones and earplugs to try and get cat naps on the plane or bus. Even a little dozing off time can be refreshing, so being able to cut out some of the exterior noises helps to refresh on long travel days. This also helps me recover quicker once I’ve arrived at the destination. We can learn a lot about maintaining physical performance from athletes. It’s obvious that after a strenu- ous athletic endeavor, be it a training session or event, an athlete needs rest to recover. This is no less the case for musicians, especially after a high-energy trumpet gig. Lactic acid and excess blood builds up in our lips as a way of protecting the tissue, so rest is a big factor in bringing down the swelling. Hydrating helps with this as well. Warm-Ups on the Road I always do a warm-up starting with a clean slate every day. What I mean by this is that I make 30 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N sure to start off gently and listen to my body as it gives me signals with how to progress. Sometimes I pick up the horn and things feel pretty fresh right from the start; I am able to progress easily through my warm-up and feel ready to perform after only five minutes. Other days, especially if the travel schedule is tiring and I’ve had a heavy playing schedule the day before, my warm-up can take on a different role. For those times, I find it even more important to listen to the signs my body is sending to start even more gently. If travel and schedule allow, I prefer to do a gentle warm-up in the later morning so as to start the healing process early in the day. Since I d