Rudd’s “Side by Side:” keystone habits

I recently read about keystone habits in ’s wonderful new self-published book, Side by Side: Building and Sustaining an Effective Community in the Music Studio. Wiff, trumpet professor at Baylor University, is a voracious reader, referring to many inspiring books throughout. One of them is The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, and from this source, Wiff brings up the concept of “keystone habits,” which are habits that, when fully embraced and followed through for a long period of time, will bring about positive change. For Wiff, his example was introducing group warmup for his studio (“The Hang” or “Tone Bath”). This was such a critical change for Wiff and his studio, building great fundamentals, community, and a shared musical vocabulary.

At the Trumpet Studio, we have been doing group warmups for about three years now, but we can grow with some of the very innovative thoughts Wiff introduces (like skits). And we shall. As of now, my graduate teaching assistant runs the once-a-week warmup, but my goal is to introduce a second warmup session that I will run more like the Baylor Trumpet Studio “Tone Bath” with more fluidity and projects to prepare for professional life (at Baylor, there are two warmups).

I also think about my own keystone habits more keenly now, and I am doing one of them. Writing in this blog. Often I have been discouraged from writing because I have felt that I don’t have anything to contribute, but this is just old man Doubt trying to hold me back. I have come to realize that Trumpet Journey is such a great place for me to learn and share my learning about the trumpet. The other that is so critical for me is exercise. When I exercise each day, my body and mind are much more awake and willing to do the work they are capable of doing (plus, during exercise, I can practice Pimsleur French and listen to Audible books!).

Recording in the Colorado cold

Last November, I was asked to make an out-of-doors recording of ’s “” for a seasonal greeting message from . My colleague, Dr. Joel Bacon, organ professor at CSU, had already recorded the theme, and the idea was to have other musicians–CSU students and some of my teaching colleagues–dovetail in and out of that melody.

Of course, I said I’d like to do this project. I thought about the conditions in which we were going to record–a sunny, late-fall Colorado morning with temperatures at 23º F (-5º C). So, I knew if were to play in tune with the recording at this temperature, I would have to choose the trumpet in my collection that could play the sharpest. It turned out to be my D trumpet, which was great, because this version of Ode to Joy was also in D.

The camera crew was fantastic and professional when I arrived. One woman held a reflective panel to add light, and the other operated the camera with a condenser mic attached. After a few adjustments (and tuning slide in ALL THE WAY), this was the raw footage for me (unfortunately, some of the audio peaked too high).

Now, here is a Facebook link for the final video released by CSU (FB videos won’t embed, so you’ll have to navigate to that link). I think it worked out well, and I love how they were able to feature so many musicians.