Saturday, October 18, 2008

Noodling Matters

If you must noodle, you'd better make it good. Actually, it better be great! No super-fast, sloppy warming up allowed. Who wants to hear it? Especially in an audition, you want to make a great first impression. Don't broadcast your lack of attention to quality with a few careless licks. You don't want to hear those dreaded three words, "Thank you. Next", at least not so soon. So put on that gold crown, because you are about to perform on your King Trumpet, the Midas Edition. Nothing comes out of it but pure gold. That includes your noodles, all of them!

You're thinking, "I'm just stretching and bending." Well then, stretch and bend nicely. Imagine a preacher stepping to the pulpit before his sermon to test the volume level of his microphone. What would be the reaction if he were to let fly a bunch of off-color phrases unfit for the ears of his congregation? We've all heard what happens when a politician is unaware that his mike is on! Sadly, although he didn't intend for all of his words to be heard, those are often the most remembered. It all counts!

What if you went down to Great American Ball Park to see batting and infield practice before a Reds game? Immediately you are shocked at all the strikeouts and errors. One batter mistakenly lets go of his bat as it flies straight into the stands. First base is being overthrown consistently. Runners are tripping, and outfielders dropping fly balls by the bucket. "These are only warm ups" you say, "but still we paid for this!"

You've just boarded your Delta flight for Chicago (for musical reasons only). Then you hear the announcement. "Fasten your seat belts. Our pilot is going to warm up the plane first. He likes to test the runway a couple of times before taking off. Please bear with us. It may be a bit jerky before he is ready."

Our next scenario of horrors is at Bethesda Hospital in Cincinnati where you are witnessing your own heart operation! The young surgeon appears very nervous and highly unskilled as he approaches you. He quickly proceeds to make his first incision into your chest as if he were using his Black and Decker drill! The attending physician tries to calm you down. "Don't worry. He needs to warm up a bit. Once he's ready, he is really good." We get the picture.

You hold in your hand much more than an instrument. Your trumpet can preach the most eloquent and powerful sermon ever heard without you ever uttering a word. It can so speak as to mightily move hearts and minds. You are that highly talented and trained athlete who performs to the acclaim of multitudes. You are the pilot that can skillfully transport your listeners to many distant lands in an instant. And you operate with the precision of a surgeon who contributes to mankind by his invaluable life-changing ability. Your work matters.

1 comment:

Wade said...

Wow, the stuff I hear players "warm up" with. "Misty?" Yikes! And screaming with no warming at all? What's that about?

Roger Ingram told me one of his jobs with Woody's band was to occasionally take a section player aside and say: "Woody can't hear you. You gotta stop leaving your chops in the woodshed or he's going to fire you."