Musical Toolbox

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Slavoie, Apr 19, 2008.

  1. Slavoie

    Slavoie New Friend

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    Feb 21, 2008
    Andrew asked me a while ago to share this idea with you guys. The concept of a musical toolbox was first introduced to me by Pace Sturdevant and is one I find increasingly useful in building confidence and trust in my own playing.

    As musicians, we are faced with the constant challenge of relying on muscle and musical memories to perform our art. There is no manual to refer back to explaining how to perform the opening of Mahler V. We need to trust the skills we have developed in the practice room and allow our musical minds to take charge on stage; hence the idea of a musical toolbox.

    Your musical toolbox is a database of all the skills you have learnt in your practice room, and it is a tool you carry everywhere. Everything we learn is a new tool that must be added to the box. Learning to trust these tools diminishes anxiety, builds confidence and allows us to communicate our musical ideas effectively.

    Any other confidence building ideas would be appreciated:-)
     
  2. amtrpt

    amtrpt Pianissimo User

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    Thanks Stephanie.
    I really love this idea. Anything I can do to make my playing more simple is a huge help to me. Being able to think of opening a tool box and pulling out a skill is really a great way of reducing the mental part of playing and hopefully helping to put more emphasis on the musical part.
    Thank you for sharing!
    Andrew
     
  3. trumpetlore

    trumpetlore Pianissimo User

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    I've never thought about the toolbox as something to build confidence, to me, it's always just been a toolbox. It's the list of things that I do well, and can pull out at any time, more of a technical thing for me, tonguing, intonation, microtonal playing, and multiphonics are all examples of this to me. I kinda like the idea of using the toolbox itself as a confidence tool...something for me to think about.
    Jeremy
     
  4. Scooter01

    Scooter01 Pianissimo User

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    Mar 31, 2006
    The instruction manual would be Arban's. A well established foundation of the fundamentals is similar to an artist having the right size and shape paint brushes. A look back to many of the established great trumpet players will bear this out. Harry James, Mile Davis, Doc Severinsen, Maynard Ferguson, Al Hirt. Being able to play the Carnival of Venice (Arban) is graduation day!
     
  5. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

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    Why restrict it to tools from the practice room? Many tools derive from performing and ensemble rehearsing as well.
    From performing I have developed a tool I call resilient attitude. It is the ability to proceed after a screw-up while remembering that music isn't a contest. It actually helps me play better with fewer misses.
     
  6. amtrpt

    amtrpt Pianissimo User

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    Veery,
    That's a good point to make. We should be able to draw on all of our experiences.
    Andrew
    ps. Although Stephanie didn't include it in her post I know that she does that also.
     
  7. Scooter01

    Scooter01 Pianissimo User

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    I would also like to add that without a firm foundation in fundamentals none of this is possible. For you to be truly creative and have the freedom of expression you must first learn the language, craft, technique or whatever you may call it. What you are describing is a palette of colors which your technique enables you to use creatively. All of the resilient attitude in the world cannot help you if you are unable to perform at an adequate level due to a lack of fundamental ability. I'm intending here to add to an understanding of your statement and by no means wish to detract.
     
  8. Scooter01

    Scooter01 Pianissimo User

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    I have a case in point from a different discipline which I think helps to illustrate my concept. I have come across a number of Art students from a local school of some status. All these students were enrolled in a photographic art program and were working on their respective projects for the final quarter grade. In all approx. 15 students submitted work for us to finish and prepare for display (I was working for a local professional photo lab). I was surprised that in each case these students lacked an understanding of the technical aspects of image capture to be able to proficiently produce an acceptable image with decent tonality and proper exposure from light to shadow. They had no instruction on the technique, but great instruction on the artistic aspects. In essence, they were deplorable attempts at creativity. These images were not necessarily intended to be pleasing, but were difficult to view and the shear lack of mastery of the craft lead to a less than respectable presentation.

    You can have the most beautiful tone quality in the world, have a very creative mind, but if you cannot play with a technique on par with the level of the piece being performed...

    On the other hand a mastery of technique and lack of creativity is equally bad. There must be balance.
     
  9. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

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    We can call it a second-generation tool, then. One which uses those from the first generation in concert (no pun intended) to accomplish a task not possible by using any of them separately.

    Which takes us to the martial-arts concept of eliminating volition. That is when the brain conceives and the desired result occurs without any concious awareness of the use of the decisions, tools and techniques that are incorporated in achieving that result. One doesn't will it to happen, one thinks it and it just happens. When what you hear inside your head just comes out of the horn with no concious process. This comes with mastery. Only a few gain it.

    Sorry but I have a Zen infection.
     
  10. Scooter01

    Scooter01 Pianissimo User

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    I like this concept.
     

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