Silence of the Lambs

Discussion in 'EC Downloading' started by ecarroll, Aug 21, 2005.

  1. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

    Jul 13, 2005
    I live almost seven miles north of a small, New England town that only has five stoplights (although it does have an Ivy League college, which keeps things interesting). It's expensive to live out of town; gas prices have almost tripled in the time that we've lived here (I won't let this turn into a political rant. Politics are out of bounds in this forum), but it's worth it for the wildlife and birdsong that surrounds us in the summer and fall, and for the silence of the winter. It's not unusual to go outside during a sub-zero night and discover that the only sound that you can hear is your own breathing. Hold your breath and you can actually hear your pulse.

    Silence is vitally important to every musician. All music comes from silence and we measure our voice against it. Consider for a moment an unaccompanied piece like Takemitsu's PATHS -- the "dramatic" moments are mostly the silent ones. Many of you will be taking auditions soon at your various schools. Some are taking professional auditions as well. I suggest that you take time and listen carefully to the silence before you play. It will help you to focus your ideas and engage your imagination -- qualities that every audition committee will hear in your program and respect.



    "Paintings must be like miracles."
    -Mark Rothko
  2. Mzony

    Mzony Pianissimo User

    Nov 14, 2004
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Hey Eddie,
    I remember the great silence as we were standing outside your house listening to the great silence one evening in the dead of winter. I remember it was colder than anything previously imaginable, I remember it was darker than any darkness I had ever experienced, and I remember stepping on a piece of ice falling on my ass and yelling very loudly! :D :x :D :x :oops:
    $40 to take the Dartmouth express from Logan Airport, $10 for breakfast near the college, $50 (I forget the amount actually) for a GREAT, insperational, lesson from a great mentor...A big black and blue mark on my ass that lasted three weeks...PRICELESS! ;-)
    Thanks for the memories Eddie. :lol:

  3. TrentAustin

    TrentAustin Fortissimo User

    Oct 28, 2003
    KC MO
    So I'm not the only one who's fallen on Ed's icy driveway! I remember I ditched my horns into a snowbank to prevent a total disaster. I quickly got up and slithered into my car... in pain for the next few days.

    My hometown in Maine doesn't even have a streetlight anymore! The town is a barren wasteland left from a woolen mill that polluted the waters and killed some local workers from cancer.

    I do remember fondly pulling out my lawn chair and listening to my sound bounce for what seemed miles outside of my old house. Ah, the POWER :)!


  4. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

    Jul 13, 2005
    Trent and Mike,

    I made what I thought was a thought provoking post encouraging our fellow Trumpet Masters and Mistresses to engage in "deep listening"...and your replies are about butt rodeo in my driveway.

    You are soooo my (former) students :lol:


  5. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    A bit more serious, as I've not done the butt rodeo jig in Ed's driveway (but have in my own!) I once heard a conductor say that the quality of your sound is equal to the quality of the silence which precedes it. Something I think about whenever I am ready to start an ensemble or begin a piece I am playing, and something I share with my ensembles at school.

    Not to "kiss up", Ed, but I have a recording of yours that my father gave to me a few years back. (Masters of Leipzig, with NY Trumpet Ensemble). It, for me, is THE model of what I want to sound like on the small horns, and the articulation style I constantly try to emulate. What an honor it is to have you here.
  6. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

    Jul 13, 2005

    Sucking up is encouraged, and the honor is mine.

    Thank you.
  7. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona

    Living in a city where it gets down to 32 F at most several times a year, and hardly ever into the 20s, I have not had the opportunity to experience pure silence very often. In fact, until I was a Senior in High School I don’t think I had ever “heard†true silence.

    Several weeks after I arrived at Interlochen in Mid November (1983), the weather turned very cold. Another several weeks and the lake had started to freeze over, and just before I left to return to Arizona (before Christmas) I went down to the lake to listen. I was absolutely shocked. There was NO sound! I sat there for as long as I could before my teeth started chattering to soak in what absolute silence felt like. I will remember that day for the rest of my life! In fact, I haven’t experienced silence like that since 1983!

    I submitted a post at the TH several years ago entitled Don’t Drop the Ashtray!!. It’s very appropriate to include a portion of it here as well.

    The rest of my post talked about the vocal approach to playing and if you’re interested you can click on the link above.

    Do I get a prize for including “butts†and silence in the same post????

    Great topic! Thanks for starting it!
  8. Alex Yates

    Alex Yates Forte User

    Aug 11, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    Silence is a wonderful thing indeed

    Ah, silence. And what better canvas is there to experience it than the earth cloaked in snow? While in graduate school in Rochester, New York, there were many occasions when my lessons took place at Barbara and Charlie's home. They lived in a very rural area of farms and horse ranches. Being one of those folks who doesn't like to be late, I usually arrive early. I don't like to arrive too early though and would always take the extra time as an opportunity to pull over the car, stand in the middle of a field in pitch darkness, stare at the stars and hear nothing. 'Tis a wonderful thing indeed.
  9. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

    Jul 13, 2005
    Alex and Derek,

    Wonderful posts. Please keep 'em coming...


    EC (listening with my eyes)

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