Saturday, August 23, 2014
The Second Most Obvious Audition Issue
There was some cause for pause this week in evaluating the CCM trumpet placement auditions. No worries and no cause for alarm however! The fix does not involve brutal sessions of chop pounding, hyper ventilation, or great displays of monumental exuberance! It is a simple matter that can be remedied rather quickly and without pain, and will greatly benefit players and listeners. It was present at the auditions, but since it did not abound, no one did astound.
I'm talking not about accuracy, intonation, volume, or style. The given in any audition ought to be a steady sense of RHYTHM. This means no rushing, no dragging, or anything short of incredibly precise rhythm. The right tempo with a reliable beat is always impressive. It must be so noticed that it rekindles a pulse in the committee.
Good rhythm is more than mathematical perfection. It must be instinctive and infectious. After all, rhythm matters. It is the basic structure of music. It must be clearly felt. With unstable rhythm, we have unimpressive music.
The best way to perfect rhythm is to put the horn down, and sing or tap out the notes in perfect time. We tend to be better rhythm keepers without the instrument. So, first internalize it, and sing it at all speeds accurately. Then copy that with the trumpet. If it's solid within, it'll be solid without. If it isn't, it isn't.
A great player with average rhythm will only be an average player. We'll likely miss a note or two, but we have no excuse for playing constantly with bad rhythm. Do the work. It will show.
(There was a more noticeable issue at the auditions than rhythmic problems, but we'll leave that for later. Let's start with the easiest.)