Monday, January 17, 2011

Release the Artist!

(ramblings of a fellow frustrated trumpet player fraternity member)

Do you ever feel like your trumpet seems to get in the way of what you're trying to do? You know how the music is supposed to sound, but your trumpet always has other ideas. Why is it that the great artist-performer in us is so easily silenced by technical demands? At the first sign of trouble we forget about our mission. Our trumpet wins while our artistry never even gets to make an appearance.

The trumpet loves to play with your mind. It looks up at you sarcastically and threatens, "Don't even think about enjoying this music, or about injecting any drama. Oh no! You must first conquer that long list of technical issues that you carry around every day. I suggest that you wax eloquently at some more convenient time." And we buy it!!

You look down and grumble back with clenched teeth, "I'd be a fabulous trumpet player if it weren't for having to deal with you and your many flaws. You cost me a fortune and all you do is squelch my tone, pinch my chops, and thwart my marvelous music-making abilities! If it weren't for you I'd be an awesome player! If I still have any semblance of a creative artist remaining in me, it's certainly no thanks to you. And by now any instincts of musicianship must have been permanently dwarfed!" By day's end the artist lies bound and gagged while alas, our trumpet has won again!

Ironically our greatest challenge does not lie with the instrument but in learning to let the music out of the instrument. Music should motivate mastery. Technique is merely a servant. Somewhere deep inside you resides a great singer impatiently waiting to be released. Just start giving the commands, and out will flow stunning, crowd-pleasing performances. This must be our battle plan each day. Good luck with that!

(Speaking of singers - Oh to have been a voice major! The vocalist doesn't have to clean his instrument, oil it, shine it, grease it, repair it, ship it, or stow it. In fact, no one can even see it, and it costs a singer nothing to get one! What a deal!)

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