Practicing Outdoors

 On beautiful days, I enjoy moving my classroom outdoors.

On beautiful days, I enjoy moving my classroom outdoors.

It's an absolutely fabulous day.  The sun is out, the temperatures are in the 70's, and my students have just had their first day of school.  Which means they've been inside... all day.  As much as I like the classroom where I teach private lessons, how could we stay inside on a day like this??  

It's a perfect day to play outside.

Do you ever look out the window and think that you'd rather be out there than inside doing homework or practicing?  I used to do it all the time as a kid.  Ha!  I still do it!  So, put the two together.  You can read that chapter on covalent bonding in your back yard. You can finish your math worksheet on a blanket in the grass.  You can practice your scales in a shady spot on the deck.  (Bonus - you'll have birdsong as accompaniment.)  

When you get the urge to play your instrument outdoors, you'll need to take a few things into consideration before heading out:

 

Temperature :   Especially for wooden instruments like clarinet and oboe.  Days when temperatures are about the same as inside your house (high 60's through very low 80's) are good choices.  Too hot or too cold, and not only will you be uncomfortable, but you risk doing damage to the instrument.  Try to find a shady spot to play, so temperatures will be more consistent. 

Humidity : Moisture in the air can wreak havoc on woodwind instrument pads.  Too much moisture, and they can swell, split, or fray.  Even if you have a covered porch, don't ever take your instrument out to play in rainy weather.  Better keep it indoors on humid, sticky days, too.  Too little moisture in the air can also be bad, but if you're staying in the temperature guidelines, it probably won't be a problem.  

Wind :  Um, was that a page of music that just flew away?  Obviously, windy days are problematic for practicing (but just fine for reading a book!).  Is there a gentle breeze?  OK, then just go out armed with binder clips, clothespins, or giant rubber bands to keep the pages from flying off your music stand.  

Be very careful in how you pick your outdoor days.  If you're not sure, play it safe and keep the instrument inside.  

 

All set?  Great - then go out and enjoy creation while you make music!