Friday, March 13, 2020

The Neglected Component of Success

How many spikes of improvement in your playing have there been lately? Sure, long term progress is the goal, but what about a bunch of sudden bursts of inspired, attention-getting trumpet playing? Why wait? Why not aim for sounding amazing today?

A bassoon colleague once suddenly turned around in an especially energized rehearsal and marveled, "Wow, what did you guys have for breakfast?"  That's the response you want.  

Every day we dutifully go through our prescribed routine, checking most of the boxes, and then calling it another day at the office. Well, not good enough. Life is too short to postpone dramatic improvement. An abrupt shift in our thinking can produce gratifying results before the day is done. It depends on us, how we think, and what we do about it.

The vital component of success is learning to shrink the gap between what we want to sound like and the way we actually sound. How we think we sound is usually not what others are hearing. Critical listening is necessary to give us "real ears."

That means we make a practice of recording ourselves. It means seeking and receiving brutally honest feedback from others, rather than ego-stroking flattery. It means constantly refreshing our concept of sound with the best of recordings and live performances. It becomes our passion to get there quickly.

When we fail to crave spirited dramatic playing, we delude ourselves into accepting the mediocre. We too easily settle rather than struggle. We grow comfortable with being just average. No job was ever awarded to the average. Just OK is not OK!

1 comment:

Hugo Davis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.