Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Accuracy Matters

Mel Broiles once claimed at my trumpet lesson that there is only one thing that separates a good student from a pro.  Any Juilliard trumpet player, he said, is just as good as any top orchestral player with one exception. Experienced professionals are dependable, whereas students "trample the daisies", as he put it. 

There are probably many more differences between seasoned and non-seasoned players, but his simple emphasis on consistency was exactly what was needed that day. It was as if he yelled, "go home and practice, but stop missing notes!"

How can we expect a smooth-sailing recording session when our lack of control is a public problem? How can we deserve a rousing ovation at a concert or recital when we played well but missed dozens of notes?

At my sixth grade solo performance of Moss Rose, my younger brother could be seen in the front row constantly counting something on his fingers.  When I asked him what he was counting, he said "all of your mistakes!" 

Quality without accuracy is not quality. 


Jim Wilt said...

Trampling the daisies - haha, that brings back some memories. We often tell our students that getting the right notes "isn't everything". Unfortunately, they take this as a license to be cavalier about accuracy and consistency, and chalk up clams as evidence of musicality. Denial is a beautiful thing, no? Getting all the right notes isn't everything, but it's where you start, the table stakes. On top of that, they have to be centered, in tune, in time, in rhythm, with the proper dynamics, articulation and appropriate style. Oh, and it all needs to be musical and compelling, which is certainly at least as important as the aforementioned. Some of the other qualities are subjective and vary depending on the perspective of the listener, but a missed note is a missed note.

Thanks for "keeping it real" Phil.

Nick No Risk said...

We all know that, but how do you reach that level of reliability, where you can claim at least 90-95% of the notes played will be the correct and beautiful?

Phil Collins said...

See "Practicing the Midas touch" 2014