Saturday, February 14, 2009


What do brick-layers and trumpet players have in common? Some would say both are unskilled blue collar laborers lacking in artistic abilities. Sometimes maybe. It's not so much a question of ability however, but of integrity.

Accuracy is a reflection of character. A mason's work does not allow for sloppiness. Weak foundations will cause disasters, and that kind of worker is not likely to be rehired. Precision matters. We trumpet players seem to think that we can get away with laying the notes down any old way. We tend to slap together our notes of etudes, excerpts, and concertos, paying not enough attention to the quality of each note. Would that we had the commitment to the precision of master builders!

Imagine a huge pile of bricks just dumped in your front yard and ready for your grand building project. You've studied your blue prints, so you know pretty much where you're going. You have your manual and electric saw, chisel, hammer, mortar, trowel and all the equipment needed to get the job done. Then your hard work begins. You want your finished product to be functional and of aesthetic value. Others will appreciate not only all of your labor but your eye for detail. They will marvel, and you will be proud of your work.

So the good news is that our work is not so much talent-based as it is attention-based. Whether you're building a patio or a concert hall, playing a scale or a concerto, each individual part matters. Spend lots of quality time with those bricks, and treat them with care. Whether builder or artist, working with bricks or notes, your success is in the details.

No comments: