Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Vulgano Brother, Feb 28, 2007.

  1. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Sometimes little insights into trumpet playing will pop up at unusual times and under unusual circumstances. This week, while studying the book of Job it occurred to me that Elihu, the only one to offer good advice to Job, was telling Job to quit being so danged introspective, and to be extrospective instead.

    At those times of peak performance when I’ve played my best (thankfully more often than my worst), I didn’t think about chops or support or counting or anything but the sound coming off the back wall, listening to the sound in my ears match the sound in my head.

    I’ve noticed that when playing my worst, I’ve been very much inside myself, in a tense world of survival: breathing and making an embouchure, tongue position, hand position, trying not to screw up. I’ve seen it and heard it happen to other players and students.

    A vast amount of practice literature is devoted to isolating the various elements of playing the trumpet, and we have all invested vast amounts of time on the most minute elements.

    I’m curious, therefore, what the rest of the community has to say about extrospection; what little tricks there are to get ourselves out of our own heads and into the music.

    This could be fun.
  2. Richard Oliver

    Richard Oliver Forte User

    Jul 18, 2006
    Casper, WY
    Salve Vulgano!

    The Book of Job is one of my favorites: "With the hearing of the ear, I have heard thee, but now my eye seeth thee. Therefore I reprehend myself, and do penance in dust and ashes."

    A couple of rehearsals ago, I ran into what you refer. Things were going awfully awry. Making all sorts of foul goat noise. At one point, I thought "well it can't get much worse than this" and the next figure came out fine. Actually better than fine.

    A bit like golf. If you stand on the tee-box all a dither, the fairway is tough to hit.

    Thanks for bringing up Job. Indispensable reading for everyone at some point in their lives. I returned to it 2+ years ago when coming out of a VERY bad patch. St. Augustine's "Confessions" were very good too.

    And as we all know, St. Augustine was a Vulgani of the old school.



    ROGERIO Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 30, 2004
    Great topic Vulgano. I have experienced the same thing, although to be honest it has been a long time. I was playing the Leopold Mozart for a solo competition and about mid movement my chops started giving out. I knew that I was just to focused on the mechanics of every note production and that my brain was on "manual mode" while it should have been in "auto mode". Something I learned while in a lesson with Arnold Jacobs... to let your brain do the work on its own... just give it a sound image to produce and get out of the way...

    I SHIFTED gears and changed my focus... to something lovely, pure and simple... what was needed for the L. Mozart to work. It was really an amazing experience. Before I knew it I was done and it came off beautifully. I was later greeted to great news.

    There is something to be said about how we practice (for the mechanics) and how we perform (for the making of music). Being able to throw the switch is the real question you seem to be asking.

    Looking fwd to where this takes us. Thanks for your post... and a thank you to Elihu too.

    SORRY MANNY and Vulgano... just realized this was in your forum Manny... should have waited to post.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2007
  4. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    No problem... Jerry actually said very well. There's nothing for me to add. The idea of getting past the feedback the body sends to your brain and sending positive messages of sound and interpretation is our biggest challenge. Bravo to you!

  5. TheRiddler

    TheRiddler Pianissimo User

    Oct 8, 2006
    I like to swing my right foot around sometimes -- It gets me thinkin about something else and then my subconscious does the work... or I fall down... one of the two.
  6. mattdalton

    mattdalton Pianissimo User

    Apr 30, 2005
    Newcastle, WA USA
    Great topic, Jerry!

    You can certainly count me among those who have had problems crop up when being too introspective. It's usually when I'm trying to make sure I'm getting the notes right. And if I start trying to fix something physical in order to not miss more notes, it's as our former teacher says, "the kiss of death."

    I know that the fix is to focus on the music, and my two best tricks for doing so are to:
    • re-direct my attention toward blending with another player, trying to get inside his or her sound instead of focusing primarily on mine
    • make sure that I'm really singing the music in my head during rests, which helps block out thoughts related to fixing things

    I'm still trying to find tricks for those times when nerves or other factors cause shallow breathing, and I look forward to hearing about others' tricks. You never know when one of them could be just the thing to help make that shift to extrospection.
  7. Richard Oliver

    Richard Oliver Forte User

    Jul 18, 2006
    Casper, WY
    Me also, apologies. When I posted, I didn't bother to look at the forum title.

    I'll be more careful in the future.


  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    That is why we practice. To create habits for all the mechanical things that should happen, thus freeing us to "create". Properly preparing SHOULD allow us to leave all of the ballast behind. This applies to everything in life.
    Are we open enough to take this advice.................?

    ROGERIO Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 30, 2004

    BINGO. I think that is a given. We all hope to be fully prepared for everything... but that is not always the case. If I'm not mistaken, I think V.B. is talking about something much deeper... who knows, maybe I'm over reading.

  10. trpt2345

    trpt2345 Mezzo Forte User

    May 21, 2006
    Morelia, Mexico
    Maybe it's because I'm a jazz guy or something but I think you have to attempt things you're NOT prepared for from time to time. Otherwise what's the point? You'll never grow otherwise. There's that moment on stage when you think, what the hell, let me try this even though I've never done it before. You might win, you might fall on your face, but what the hell, no guts, no glory.

    Michael McLaughlin

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