I recently read about keystone habits in Wiff Rudd’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 CSU 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 keystone habit 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!).