Friday, February 22, 2013

Avoiding the Crash

Wow, what a dream house! There it is in its impressive location, high, mighty, and seemingly impervious to the ravages of nature.  But what happened?

CSO Principal Trumpet Robert Sullivan described well for us in his master class at CCM the tragic picture of glorious beach houses suddenly overcome by hurricane Hugo some years ago.  Although constructed high on stilts, they were quickly destroyed by an inevitable onslaught of wicked weather.  Further inland, it was those basic ancient concrete fortresses that easily withstood the nasty elements.  That vivid image serves to remind us of our dependence on a sturdy foundationDaily attending to the state of the structure is our responsibility.

So what is the structure of a multimillion dollar dream house?  Its structure is NOT the lush landscaping, nor the plush expensive decor.  The enviable external facade has its glory for sure, but the lasting structure of any building is unseen and plain, but very strong

A trumpet player may have awesome skills and incredible musicianship.  He/she likely has an array of abilities on call for the thrilling of audiences.  But the real value of the player is the strength and endurance of those basic foundational skills that enable great playing.  Those boring bolts, nuts, beams, screws, planks, and nails are all securely fastened to and part of a sturdy immoveable foundation that is rooted way down deep.

The proper use of wind, articulation, and flexibility are just some of those foundational issues that must be restrengthened every day.  They are not necessarily fun to deal with, but when attended to regularly, they free the player to focus solely on music making.  Well worth it, wouldn't you agree?

It is easy to see only on those outward attention grabbers - loud, high, fast, and faster.  Rather it is paying attention to those unglamorous basic foundational elements that marks the great players who overcome obstacles and who are still playing well after the storm.


1 comment:

Roger Blackburn said...

Great illustration, Phil! I'm dealing with that problem as I have eased into retirement playing in amateur groups. My routine on the trumpet is greatly diminished by other priorities of retirement lifestyle. Must say I'm enjoying the retirement phase of my life but frustrated when I pick up the trumpet.