Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Performing Etudes

A great performance is more effective than a thousand words. In lessons, Mel Broiles would often perform whole etudes of Sachse, Caffarelli, Charlier, or The Art of Phrasing arias from the Arban book, always with impressive artistry, power and finesse. Nothing needed to be said. That was how it was to be done.

In addition to fiery playing Mel would share his typically blunt but effective advice. Two of his comments I'll never forget. He scribbled an equation on the back page of the Sachse 100 Studies book which read:

1. A GREAT TRUMPET PLAYER = BLOW plus BRAINS. "With both, you can go twice as far." Much later I figured out what he was saying.

2. This was his comment after my mediocre attempt at a dramatic etude: "If there's no pizzazz in the practice room, you can't expect it to be there on the stage!"

Performing Etudes is written in honor of Mel Broiles, former Principal Trumpet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Mel was a master at inspiring and motivating his students. Musical inspiration is just as vital as right thinking and efficient breathing. With all three, you can go three times farther! Performing in the practice room makes performing on the stage a lot more dramatic and a lot less traumatic.