Happy Thursday evening! Day 3 of the tour, the day before our first show here in Atlantic City. Today was technically a day off- we were here around the hotel left to our own devices. What it turned into was a fascinating look into the teetering economy of a gambling town much like Las Vegas….
I was up around 9 local time to head to the gym, was pretty hungry again (all my meals lately have been so spread out it’s wild) so I had to cut it short. Turns out the breakfast at the employee cafe is not bad at all! They had eggs, sweet potatoes (luckily they really like their sweet potatoes here, I can’t leave without them), bacon (of which I didn’t partake but glad it’s an option), a pretty good kale salad… I put it all in pita bread with peanut butter. Don’t judge me! Got tea at Starbucks… I just haaaad to.
Next task of the morning… find a place to warm up! Went backstage to the Events Center.. today the other band in the bill was setting up their stage and sound checking (they’re really famous hehe). I bumped into their lighting director and asked him where I could blow a loud trumpet for forty-five minutes to warmup… it’s a big maze of hallways full of technical equipment so I figured some corner would do. Ultimately we found one of the board rooms where they hold big corporate meetings and I warmed up in there- very happy to have a place to be loud to myself. I’ve learned this semester that as a trumpet player I do best having a LOUD and strong warmup to prep for playing that way. Lots of teachers advocate the OPPOSITE but that just don’t work fo me. I spent about 55 minutes in total getting my chops ready- felt real good if not a little toooo good at the end. Could’ve done without going quite so hard. Ultimately this has to serve as both my practice time and my warmup time- so I gotta be sure to work on technique as well- range, tonguing, slurring, et cetera.
My warmup served me well, and the forms of the tunes are easy enough to reduce the tune to a couple of words (intro, 3 verses, chorus, ending, etc.). I still have a ways to go before I’m entirely satisfied with my range… but I’m keeping the thoughts POSITIVE! It’s fun rehearsing with them too. Nathan’s always scatting or singing- it’s infectious when he starts, we all join him.
Then before I ate I wanted to ask our tour manager about per diems.. we’re supposed to get some cash each day we’re here, but hadn’t gotten any yet- so we got that taken care of. Dealing with adults with these sensitive issues is tricky but very much worth it- it makes you look like you know what you’re talking about- especially coming from a kid.
Lunchtime at the dreaded employee cafeteria again (it was definitely less good but they had vegetarian chili so I’m happy), and then went to my room to work editing a transcription video that I shot at home last week. Tryin’ real hard to be productive and set clear, specific goals for myself. This blog is ALSO gettin really long good lawn. I’ll edit it I’m sure.
Went to hang with Nathan and Steven in their room and watch a bit of The Office and decide what to do… we opted for the boardwalk- only a $9 Uber away.
6 PM or so and we were being driven to the coast where the sun sets on the opposite side of the ocean than California (!). We spent almost 2 hours just walking up and down the pier and remarking at what we saw. Instantly it struck us as sad; cheap shops, psychics, junk food, every other building was for lease, the streets almost entirely empty, men standing outside trying to get us to go to a B grade comedy act tonight, and large, LOUD video billboards every ten feet it seemed. The over-commercialized nature of this place was irking me, but it was very nice to get some sunlight and get some walking in. We discovered that Nathan didn’t know that New Jersey was a state.. learn something new every day. Before long we wanted to leave- we walked to some really sketchy markets so I could get water and soap (for the drive ahead I need bar soap since we’ll be showering at venues… those stories will come soon I’m sure).
When we got back I could tell I was dehydrated, and my head hurt. Steven wanted to go to his room and do jumping jacks to revitalize himself, and Nathan went over to the bar… I went up to my room, thinking I’d practice, but ultimately I didn’t get much done. Shortly had dinner, basically the same food I had for lunch (but figured out how to get tea so that’s a plus!!!). For about an hour I felt really jaded and unproductive… did a little bit of yoga, drank lots of water, did practice for 45 minutes or so. Worked on stuff for the show, and a bit of this Ella Fitzgerald solo on “Bernie’s Tune”.. trying to sing every syllable just like her and then transfer it to trumpet.. so killing!!
I’ve been standing up while typing this blog… better to keep my blood flowing than to sit and fall deep into the computer. As of now I feel pretty good, if anything a bit hungry. I’m talking so much about health only because that’s been the thing I’m thinking about most the last few days… staying on top of my body is my number one priority- without that I won’t have the endurance to do this show. I think often about the other guys in the band we play in- the drummer in particular can go for HOURS without a break… I gotta get stronger!! But hey, all in good time.
OK, a lot to say for Day 3.. tomorrow we have soundcheck, hopefully I can get a little bit of exercising and composing in beforehand. Aiming for a less intense warmup but still 50 minutes or so. I SHALL be back tomorrow :) any questions or suggestions ?? Let me know!!!