I refused to eat the night before, well, except for a last cup of hot chocolate. See, I had been trying to skip a meal all week, but starting with Sunday's spaghetti, I was going down fast. What can I say? Spicy meatballs and fine-grained parmesan dusted lightly on the rich sauce were beckoning.
I couldn't help myself.
Then there was Abbas. He invited me to the cafeteria. A curse be upon every all-you-can-eat establishment. So I got a salad. And eggs. And an english muffin topped with a scoop of galactic spawn sauce. Oh yeah, and hash browns.
After that night, I ate nothing but fruit, toast, and a few crackers....ok I admit...and that chicken parmesan at the honors dinner-- but at least I had a salad with it.
To play the trumpet well, I need to have a nearly-empty stomach. Not empty enough to make it complain, but empty enough for it to keep a low profile beneath my liver and lungs. I don't need it to puff out my chest, bragging about the attention I give it. Because I need to puff out my chest for other reasons; I need to be a windbag.
To play the trumpet well requires really good lung capacity. To play the trumpet clearly, smoothly, lucidly requires relaxation and ease. The easier (physically) it is to play, to breathe, to move, the better the music sounds. Minute strain in a finger, toe, or eyebrow will somehow filter into the airstream and devastate the sound.
I have only rarely been fully relaxed, hearing the clear sound of strain-less (not effortless, for to play well takes extreme concentration and focus) music stream out of the end of my trumpet bell.
I am naturally predisposed to indigestion. This is annoying. A full stomach is the greatest personal obstacle I know to playing well.
So every concert, I play a weighing game, not with my feet on the scale, but with my mind in my stomach, evaluating how quickly the food will digest, how its chemical makeup will affect the stomach acids, and what I should eat next. Citrus drinks, for example, are great in the days before concerts; they help break down the food. Cheese is sometimes good, when I've reached equilibrium early, and I want to shut down the digestive system so my stomach doesn't grumble while I perform.
Am I obsessed? Yes. Does it work? You betcha. This week, I timed it perfectly; although I didn't play a perfect concert (which many have been kindly overlooking), I at least played the key solos well (Notes: A. Expression: B. Tone Quality: B+).
Next time, however, I'll drop the hot chocolate.