Time to talk about why I'm here! For those of you who don't know, I'm playing in what's called the production orchestra. We play whatever is required for anything that happens in the auditorium (play ons for comedians, backing guest vocalists). On Sunday and Monday we do the farewell and welcome shows, which consist of pep-band-like tunes (Chicago, mambo #5, Neil Diamond) and some kind of cheesy number that includes the singers and dancers. 2 days out of the week we do a shows with the singers and dancers. One is called Boogie Wonderland (disco!), and the other is kind of a modern take on classic Broadway tunes called Rhythm and Rhyme. A couple other nights we back guest vocalists or entertainers who need us (the ventriloquist for example). We also do Big Band on Friday nights after whichever production show is that night. Talk about a chop busting day! I'm always grateful for it though, because it's my one chance to do what I'm really good at (improvise)! On top of the shows, we have a mini-rehearsal/sound check which is usually at 5:30. It's usually quick and painless. That leaves us 1 or 2 nights a week off.
The music really isn't as hard as I expected. There are definitely things here and there that are really difficult. Some of the arrangers seem to forget that I actually have to move my arm to play, and what range my instrument is in. They often put me up an octave from the recordings for no apparent reason. “trombone is sorta like trumpet, let's just put him up there with them!”. I find myself taking things down pretty often, not for my chops sake, but because it actually sounds better (and it's how it was originally done). For those of you who understand, my parts range from the low E two octaves below the just above middle C to about...high D (an octave up from middle C).
I've really already improved like crazy. I've done a lot of work with our lead trumpet/assistant musical director Carlos. He's given me tons of good advice. I do a good deal of long tones daily. My tone, endurance, and control have improved drastically. I've made some real improvements in my improvisation as well. I'm really getting some cool things under my fingers, and feel like I sound more and more like a professional (improviser) all the time.