Do we laugh at ourselves or do we get more serious?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by rbdeli, Oct 3, 2009.

  1. rbdeli

    rbdeli Mezzo Piano User

    May 8, 2009
    I learned to never take my playing too seriously. One time in college, my roomate and I each performed these trumpet exams called, a jury. We both played right next to each other so we recorded our performances for each other. I played a pretty difficult piece, but felt I had it mastered. When it came time to play, however, I just got dizzy and froze and played absolutely awful. I got a D for my grade and probably didn't even deserve that good. I got back to my room and immediately erased the tape of my self. When My roomate arrived, he was very red-faced and said that, he too, totally folded and choked. He was very angry with himself. But unlike me, he put the tape in and had me listen to it. WHen we got to the parts where he squaked and splattered notes, we both looked at each other and started giggling. By the time his awful performance was over we were laughing our asses off. Then, I remembered that I had erased my tape and felt immediately saddened by it. I needed to share it with my friend and laugh at myself with him.
  2. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    That is an incredible life lesson. I think we have all had similar experiences that can, or should, help us put things in perspective vis-a-vis what is really important - family, friends, health, service to others, etc.

    The only thing that may be close to trumpet playing as far as reflecting on our ego (which is what happened to you) is sports. When I was playing football in high school, many years ago, the games were filmed using a 16mm camera and then the film had to be developed before we could see it. That sometimes took nearly a week so we barely had the film back in time to see it before the next game. In one game against our biggest rival, there were some mistakes which had all of us very frustrated and combative with each other on the field. But, a week later when the film came, the frustrations and anger were gone and as we watched the film with all of the errors, we were ribbing and kidding each other with good spirits and it became a bonding experience instead of dividing us - sort of like the recording did with you.

    At my age, I look back and realize that the things that I thought were big deals when I was an adolescent were, in fact, trivial. And, the things that I ignored are the things that I now see are the really important elements of a happy life. I'm glad you came to that realization.
  3. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008
    Depends on the situation. At home, jamming, or at some rehearsals I embrace the cracks and clams as learning opportunities and as red flags for places to watch out for during a performance. I sometimes bring a recorder with me when I play and listen to the playback in the car as another set of ears.

    If I screw up during a performance (particularly a paid one or a church job) I beat myself up pretty bad. Mistakes shouldn't happen in those situations.
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Ya know, I often wonder what the great players did BEFORE home recording was so easy. I suspect, they prepared better.

    Home recording does not necessarily give us an opportunity to get better. It gives us the opportunity to find the lowest common denominator, redefine what "good enough" is. Just like Microsoft Office lets people believe that they are creative, it is actually for very many a productivity killer.

    I think lack of proper preparation is the number one mistake with most players. That is caused by a false sense of what is needed to do a good job. Getting by seems to be the focus. I was never able to laugh about a train wreck (I have had enough of them). I let myself and those around me down because I did not prepare adequately. Preparation is my main focus for the last 25 years. I am most of the time able to laugh out of joy instead of some slapstick.
  5. GordonH

    GordonH Mezzo Forte User

    May 15, 2005
    I have started doing a lot more preparation since I got stuck with the relatively simple trumpet parts from the romantic period. It was too easy to get lazy. Now I am trying to make the most of the few notes I have!
  6. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    None of us want to play wrong notes, but when it happens , be aware of it and move on, it's not the end of the world.Harry James used to play a clam on purpose, in every recording , because he felt that only God was perfect. This isn't brain surgery , where if you make a mistake someone dies, that's why there are retakes in the recording studio, on every recording, no one walks into the studio ,records a 40 min. CD and is done and out the door in 40 min., of course if you make enough of them you may not be asked back.
  7. RHSbigbluemarchingband

    RHSbigbluemarchingband Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 17, 2009
    I personally initially hate when I mess up, but why beat yourself up? If its really bad I laugh hysterically at my mistakes. One night, during a football game, our brass captain, and section head, was playing charge (we scored everytime!), and he was getting tired, so he completely flubbed it, and all of us almost fell off the bleachers dying laughing. We take critisism, and know we've done bad, but sometimes its so bad, you can't help but laugh, especially if you know what, why, and how everything went wrong.......Besides, isn't playing supposed to be, well FUN (im going to probably get hit for that)

    ....just my .02 cents
  8. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    There are a couple crash and burns that I still shudder to think about. Embarrassing, not just for me, but for the people I was playing with. I don't dwell on feeling guilty about it, it's not like I was trying to hack something, but it's still not funny.

    In other situations (rehearsal, duets with a friend), a big hack might be kind of funny, provided that you're well prepared and it's just "one of those things." Like a wild pitch that sails over the catcher to the backstop. If it's a all-star pitcher and it happens once a year, and no harm comes of it, it might be funny. If it's a mediocre pitcher and it happens repeatedly, and it costs the game, it's not funny at all.
  9. Masterwannabe

    Masterwannabe Mezzo Piano User

    Sep 11, 2009
    I think we all want to play perfect but we all know that seldom happens. I want to do the best I can first of all for me and then of course for the audience no matter how big or small. I agree we must get past any flubs as soon as we can and with as little trauma as possible and if that means laughng at ourselves, so be it. The reason I say this is because many years ago (44 to be exact) I had a flub that I guess scarred me till the last year or so.

    Our high school band always marched in the Memorial Day parade and played for the services at the cemetary. One of the things we did was a trumpet would play 'Taps' and off at some distance another trumpet would play 'Taps' again as an echo. That year I was to be the echo and when my time to play came I could not even get a note out of my horn. I was very upset with myself for a long time after that but I really did not know just how that affected me till a friend of mine passed away about a year ago.

    Since we went to church together his family had heard me play there many times so they asked me to play Taps at his funeral. After agreeing to do this, the incident 40 + years ago came back to me and I must admit I was getting nervous (I had not attempted to play that since). Taps is a very emotional tune to me as I am sure it is to all of you. The combination of the emotional nature of the event and the tune and the bad memory from years past caused me to practice like I have never practiced anything. I did not want to disappoint the family, friends and others attending the funeral and I sure did not want to embarrass myself. PTL, I got thru Taps with no errors (I did start to quiver on the last three notes) and I have since played it 4 more times.

    We have probably been taught we learn from our mistakes and I would say that is true only if we really want to learn.

    If you don't know where you are going it doesn't matter how you get there. :play:
  10. lil'bulldog21

    lil'bulldog21 New Friend

    Oct 5, 2009
    West Michigan
    In the Bands that I play in at Ferris State, the trumpets ALWAYS have the most fun. It's a sort of stress reliever to just laugh and play together. Undoubtedly, all of the other sections hate/envy us. I think it's so important to not get so caught up in our mistakes that it becomes more of a chore than something that is enjoyable :)

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