- Quality beats quantity.
- Quality wins jobs.
- A few minutes of gorgeous playing is better than a whole hour of mediocre blasting.
- Big bucks for good notes. Big fines for bad notes.
- Ensure that all notes are "usable."
Tuesday, December 28, 2021
Monday, December 13, 2021
- Humiliation can be the very experience needed to spark improvement.
- Confronting weaknesses is vital.
- Appreciate the value of a single lesson.
- Prepare for performance.
- Practice accuracy.
- The control of a single note can be harder than a whole page.
- Practice what's not fun.
Saturday, November 20, 2021
Answer: HUNGER. The rabbit is drawn to the carrot. The mouse is lured by the cheese, and the fish is hooked by the worm. Consider also the bull, who is enticed into a wild frenzy by the matador's crimson cape! That's the picture, an obsession to be captured by music!
Saturday, July 31, 2021
Thomas Schippers asked that question in the Cincinnati trumpet audition in 1975. It was after one of those long grinding excerpts from Ein Heldenleben. I was a bit puzzled, thinking that I had just nailed it successfully. Later I learned that he was testing for endurance.
At Tanglewood one summer we heard it again. Roger Voisin was conducting us on Fanfare for the Common Man. Right before we began the performance, he said "all right, boys, we're going to play it twice." (GULP!) Fortunately, we only played it once. He then smiled as if to say, "just testing you, guys."
Lesson: Once is not enough, even if it's good.
Friday, July 02, 2021
Nothing wrong with being a student! Who isn't one?
This advice years ago really helped bring some sanity to practice sessions. Instead of indiscriminate blasting, it brought an awareness that all notes matter. Music is about listening. "Try to sound like a great musician!"
Monday, June 28, 2021
The "ping" produced by the striking mallet on the toy xylophone is how clear and precise trumpet entrances need to be.
The mallet is the tongue. The note is focused, clear, popping, ringing, and pinging.
Saturday, June 26, 2021
Mel Broiles had just demonstrated how one of those opera arias in Arban's The Art of Phrasing should sound. Then it was my turn. (Yes pressure!)
Trying hard to reproduce even some of his elegance and power, I whole-heartedly plowed through one of those famous Verdi arias. I gave it my best but expected a grimace and shrug of disapproval. Instead, he exclaimed, "Spoken like a gentleman!"
Later I wondered if it was sarcasm or genuine praise. Praise was hard to get. I took it as a compliment which has served as motivation lasting for years. How important are the words we speak!
Friday, June 25, 2021
That simple statement should launch a search for all the prominant and voluptuous solo octaves on the planet, starting from Over the Rainbow all the way through Mahler 9!
Have a nice octave day!
Thursday, June 24, 2021
Armando Ghitalla said in one sentence what was needed to chase away timidity. A mindset that has no fear. An eagerness to make the grand entrance. A confidence that your first note will be attention-getting.
You must have a reputation for confident accuracy! As a colleague once said, "It must be automatic."
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
Saturday, June 05, 2021
"Your passion for music must be greater than your fear of the audience."
Overcome fear with overpowering musicianship. Purpose to enthusiastically communicate, rather than just deliver notes. Prepare to entertain. Drama beats trauma.
Wednesday, June 02, 2021
"I want you to practice this week as if I were listening to every note!"
Not much else is needed for this command to be useful. You can insert the name of your choice. Then invite your great artist/teacher to listen in. Accountability matters in daily work.
Benefits: fewer wasted notes, less boredom, better quality, more musical interest, and it's cheaper!