Sunday, August 31, 2014

Game Time Practice by Michael Jordan and Arnold Jacobs

"During every practice I spend time imagining myself playing in the game so when the actual game comes it's no big deal because I've already done it all."  -  Michael Jordan

"There should be a period of time during each practice session when you perform. Invite some friends in to your practice room and play a passage or a page of something. ... What I'm trying to indicate is that each day should contain some amount of performing. You should engage in the deliberate act of story telling each day you practice. Don't only gather information when you practice, spend time imparting it. This is important."  -  Arnold Jacobs 

Note: These are two of many valuable quotes compiled by Michael Grose, Principal Tuba in the Eugene Symphony and Associate Professor of the Oregon School of Music. #jakeped 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mahler 5 Alert!

The CCM Philharmonia will perform Mahler 5 on Friday evening October 10.  Auditions for the trumpet section will be held next week.

As we enter these exciting days, here are a few inspiring quotes from the great Arnold Jacobs:

"The big thing about music—or any other art form—is that you can enjoy what you are doing, but others must also enjoy what you are doing. It should be like painting a beautiful picture on canvas for others to appreciate. When you are playing a solo, you are not playing for yourself, but for the people who are listening."

"In your thoughts, be a musician not a mechanic." 

"One should have a great sound in the brain to imitate."

"It doesn't have to feel good, it just has to sound great!"

Guys, remember: drama, power, finesse, and beauty.  And one more: pacing!


Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Second Most Obvious Audition Issue

The second most obvious issue at the auditions: 

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.)