Learning to play from the musical mind can set you free.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by BrotherBACH, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. afp

    afp Pianissimo User

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    VG,

    I have a lot of dues still to pay. I hope to get to the place where I do all the basics correctly all the time, but that hasn't happened yet. However, when I have a high lead lick to play, I think of air, tongue arch, posture, and playing lightly before I start. I will sometimes even write a reminder on the music. When I do think of those things I play cleaner and sound better. If I find myself shelving low on a note, I think of air support. When I sustain a note I think hard about intonation. I guess it isn't so much as thinking of all these things simultaneously, but thinking about them as the come up in the music.
     
  2. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

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    Hi BrotherBach,
    You stated:
    "There was a surreal moment where every distraction and thought disappeared and I did not know whether I was singing or playing and the sound just opened up. It was close to a meditative, even mystical moment. Damn eerie."
    ----
    Welcome! You've arrived. What you described is exactly what we strive for. It's those moments when we become one with the horn that makes it worth it. I believe most never get there or, are still on the road to getting there. It's almost like Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs for the arts. What's wild is when a person gets to that stage, we seek the perfect note or the perfect few notes. Now I know that sounds kinda dumb but just a couple of weeks ago I was woodshedding a piece and the way I played it and ended it caused me to just put my horn down. I was covered in goosebumps and close to tears. It was otherworldly and I can never replicate it. It was like for a brief moment God gave me a little piece of candy. There were no thoughts of competitions, deadlines, or physicalness.
    Your words ring as hope and high wisdom to those on the way and so understandable to those that are there.
    Bravo!
    Dr.Mark
     
  3. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

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    Hi afp,
    You stated:
    "I constantly think about the mechanics of playing, mainly proper air support and tongue arch, intonation, volume, and style. What I find for me is as I start into learning a lick, a section, or a chart; I focus a lot on the aforementioned items."
    ----
    I no longer approach music in this fashion. However, if I'm not feeling good (ears messed up due to sinuses), something is dogging my mind, or if I'm doing a very long performance, then I will occasionally check those elements as I play and focus on conservation.
    All the things you mentioned are the things I fall back on when things aren't working right or when I'm getting tired.
    Do I feel that what you are doing as wrong? No. Do I feel in years to come if you work hard and stick with it you will reverse your approach? Yes.
    Dr.Mark
     
  4. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Interesting. That makes more sense, and doesn't make you the odd man out, but rather that you too play from your musical mind. The goal is peace of mind, and the more aware we are the more things we notice as we're playing, making micro-adjustments our minds will constantly scan what is going on, much, I assume, like a pilot in one of those flying bricks you used to fly. There is a big 'ol checklist of things that we need do correctly, but keeping the music in mind will push us towards the technique needed to play musically. My point is that if we are only technique oriented we really can't call ourselves musicians.

    The Germans have a couple of words Musikant and Musiker. The Musikant is a technician, the Musiker an artist.

    My goal, here at TM, is to help people become artists.
     
  5. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

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    VB,
    You stated:
    "The Germans have a couple of words Musikant and Musiker. The Musikant is a technician, the Musiker an artist.
    My goal, here at TM, is to help people become artists.
    -----
    Musikant & Musiker! You've just added two important words to my vocabulary.
    Thank you!!
    Dr.Mark
     
  6. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Hey, Dr. Mark, don't thank me, thank the Germans!
     
  7. afp

    afp Pianissimo User

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    One of the issues I had was my own internal idea of musical style and expression was crap--backwards almost. It wasn't until I started taking lessons from a guy who had made his living for 25 years as a pro player that I started to learn what good musicianship was. I had been playing everything like I was in marching band. He taught me how to swing, back tongue, when to use vibrato, how to phrase, when to tongue, when to slur, the various meanings of staccato, how to use intonation, etc.

    I am much better at all this now. My teacher sat in for a couple performances of our local production of Fiddler on the Roof, and we used the full Broadway score. After we finished he told me that "I played the hell out of the lead book." He has even asked me to play with him on a couple of his gigs. Realize this is just small town stuff, but we do have a few very strong former pro players and they don't ask people to play with them that will make things sound bad.

    I couldn't have got where I am know had I not analyzed the snot out of everything I do. I don't know if I'll ever get to that "oneness with the music" with trumpet, like I did with airplanes. None of this is natural for me.

    Another thought. I do not value "the music" over "the trumpet." If I did I'd play a much easier instrument, like the saxophone. At least with jazz, sax players master their instruments much more quickly that trumpet players. Just take a look at a typical high school band.

    For me, the trumpet is critical and what I strive to do is make music with the trumpet. Take away the trumpet, as happened to me 35 years ago, and I won't be motivated to keep making music, which is exactly what happened 36 years ago.
     
  8. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

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    At some stage of your trumpet life, the right instrument will find you. And then you won't play according to any learnt-by-heart rules, but by the seat of your pants. Just like flying (I once - before cataract set in - had a CHPL and nine type ratings, so I know what I'm talking about).
     
  9. afp

    afp Pianissimo User

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    Roseburg, OR
    You are not going to find agreement with me here. Flying by the seat of your pants is what get guys killed. Flying military jets is a different and very demanding world. It requires much thought, analysis, judgment, and an enormous amount of SA. There is just no room for seat of the pants flying. Regardless, the analogy between flying and trumpet breaks down if we endow it with anything more than just a commonality in approach.

    The right instrument has found me. It was only when it was taken from me that music died for me. I was only when I was told to not think too much and let the music flow that I didn't progress. People find success using different approaches, and it is a mistake to assume everyone needs to follow the same path.
     
  10. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

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    Hi afp,
    You stated:
    "I couldn't have got where I am know had I not analyzed the snot out of everything I do. I don't know if I'll ever get to that "oneness with the music" with trumpet, like I did with airplanes. None of this is natural for me.
    -----------
    I firmly believe that you are on the right track and I was the same way. I anaylized everything. I could play the notes but something was missing when I compared myself with the people I admired.
    Someone once said "It takes a long time to sound like yourself" and boy oh boy is that the truth.
    To send emotion through the horn and into the ears of the audience and to your inner ear is not an easy task and no one does it on every performance or on every practice. Just stick with it and you'll get there. Everybody's approach is individual and I can't tell you how to get there but this much I do know. It starts with goosebumps. Study the goosebumps and you can't go wrong.
    Dr.Mark
     

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