Thursday, September 12, 2013

A One-Track Mind

What does Grand Central Station have in common with your practice room?  Hopefully nothing.  Often however we experience the same stress and anxiety of a busy terminal.  Instead of a calm walk to the beach, you find yourself frantically looking at a multitude of destinations.  "Which train do I take, and WHERE am I going again?" Like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, you've got no time because "you're late, you're late, for a very important date."  Sadly, it sounds like your destination is unknown.

How about approaching practice with a one-track mind?  Pick something you need to work on.  Don't flit about like a bee from one flower to another.  Do one thing well at a time!

Here are a few trains to consider taking.  Remember, you can only board one train at a time. 

  • RHYTHM - Your most productive work will probably be without the horn.  Sing it. 
  • SOUND QUALITY - Play very slowly for great sound on all notes. Listen. 
  • DYNAMIC CONTRAST - Don't assume it's happening.  Exaggerate.
  • DRAMATIC MESSAGES - Avoid the boring. Be devoted to the story. Act it.
  • STARTS OF PHRASES (first notes/entrances) - Enter the music well. Start clearly. 
  • THE MOST DIFFICULT PASSAGE - Spend extra time on the nasty stuff. Master it. 
  • HOLD THE HIGHEST NOTES OF A PASSAGE FOR SECURITY - The top notes must be the best.  Enjoy them. 
  • ENDS OF PHRASES - Enter silence gracefully.  Last notes matter.

Relax, define the issue of the session, and walk through it carefully and slowly. Think beach, not terminal.

1 comment:

Vern Campbell, M.D. said...

Nice blog with great tips. Thanks!