Thursday, October 30, 2014

Shrinking the Gap

What's the purpose of practicing?  Is the purpose of playing just to practice?  And should we continue plowing through that same checklist of assignments hoping for a good result? How easy it is to loose sight of where we're going and why. There is always a gap between how we sound and how we want to sound. The main purpose of practicing is to shrink that gap as quickly as possible.
Motivated students tend to focus on the other side of the gap, not the great chasm before them. It's not about the distance but the vision. The practice session becomes a game of "how fast can I get out of here, and get over there?" The best students can taste the other side, aim for it daily, and listen carefully to the best musicians. The goal is to not sound like a student!

What then compels any sane person to jump headlong into countless hours of struggling with the trumpet? Is it not that strong concept of a powerful yet beautiful sound, and the passion to pursue it? The carrot before the horse is that great trumpet sound that captivated us from day one.  That's what sustains us through nerves, obstacles, discouragements, and even defeats.  Many jump, but few survive.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

The Midas Touch

Remember King Midas? He was the king who got what he wished for, that everything he touched would instantly turn to solid gold. He quickly had a household of gleaming treasures including his daughter! Poor King Midas!

"Let's say you played 10,000 notes today, and you are thrilled because 2,000 of them were simply amazing!  Unfortunately that means there were 8,000 mediocre notes that nobody wanted to hear. Congratulations for the good notes, but sadly, it is the 8,000 mediocre notes that tend to be habit-forming.  The majority rules. Try to deliver 10,000 great ones!"   - Arnold Jacobs

Remember King Midas?  Everything he touched instantly turned to pure gold!  Why not have that mindset? Put on an imaginary crown and a royal robe the next time you enter your practice room.  Tomorrow as you open that trumpet case and pick up your gold-plated Midas trumpet with its gleaming gold mouthpiece, think about your treasure trove, boatloads of valuable golden doubloons!

You have no notes to waste.  Make it your practice to make them all count.