Stability, reliability and consistency

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by tpter1, Oct 2, 2006.

  1. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    In my mind, these are the three traits of any good person and musician, both in terms of who they are and in a musical sense. It is especially true for principal/lead players.

    My question is this, Manny: in addition to a consistent daily practice routine/schedule, how does one build and improve upon these characteristics in his/her playing? In the Monette video, for example, where you are demonstrating the Prana horns on the Bartok excerpt, you played that (on camera) at least six times. Who knows how many before and after... (well, you, the camera person and Dave do, but not too many others). Each playing is right on. Every time. Without fail. That's your job description...how do we improve that aspect of our playing?

    I ask because in the concert I just finished, I had several solos. One was always a kind of crap shoot...sometimes I nailed it, others, not so much. I worked it every day (even in different keys), but it was still not at the point where I felt it was reliable and consistent. Next time out, I want to be reliable, stable and consistent. 100%.
     
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Dear Glenn,

    I think consistency is the biggest challenge we face and it is only through a consistent approach that we achieve it. Sounds simple but it's not. The discipline of consistency is only managed through constant singing of each and every note we play, I swear to G-d, that's it. It's simple but simply difficult. With a clear trumpet voice in our head, we eliminate the opportunity for the demons to take hold and we find ourselves playing well all the time.

    ML
     
  3. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    If I might add just one little thing, it would be that aspect of "planting" or "sticking" the note, like a good gymnast dismounting after a routine, or a skater after a jump.
     
  4. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    Thank you, both of you. I guess I need to listen more, then, and develop some more concentration skills so I don't find my mind wandering to see who's in the first row of the audience 2 measures before I have to play. I suppose if I played a few more concerts I wouldn't have that problem; I'd have the mechanisms in place to deal with it out of habit.

    Vulgano Brother- Would you elaborate a bit?
     
  5. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    I’ll try to explain, but it gets a little sticky, so please bear with me.

    A true story: I once had a real lip-reading bona-fide deaf student – hearing aids & all, who I taught in German, and it worked pretty well, except for the release of notes. Once the sound level dropped below 80db, she couldn’t hear anymore, and the end of each note would simply fall off. We worked on the idea of holding the note until after it “ended,†and the result was longer notes, which got a little quieter at the end, and then fell off. We simply can’t play what we don’t hear.

    The problem for this Vulgano Brother is that I can’t always play the things I “hear.†The trumpet has an infinite number of weirdly mutated demon-possessed notes built in, and I’ve played most of them, trying to take the trumpet to a level of expression its never been before . (I am sometimes guilty of trying to swallow things bigger than my own head, and it somehow doesn’t work.)

    My point about “planting†and “sticking†the notes has some other names – Bruno Walter spoke of the “impulse of will†as a conductor, but I mean it mainly as an antidote to the concept of “not missing notes.†Too many audiences can’t comprehend the level of music coming out the bell, but they can sure count wrong notes. The “English†and “German†styles seem to be predicated on the virtue of not missing notes, and as a consequence music sometimes suffers.

    Playing mistake free is much too often given more worth than musical communication, and I find that sad.

    So, the Vulgano Brother approach is to:

    1. Scale down my grandiose fantasies into something at least idiomatic.
    2. Play in such a way as to “nail†each note within the musical context.

    Scaled down further:

    Be moderate without being mediocre.
     
  6. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    That's an interesting story that ends up in an interesting place: less is more, in some cases.

    Another topic to spin off of that could be how the masters make the difficult seem simple. (The old analagy of a duck: smooth and graceful above the water, paddling like you-know-what underneath).

    I think I get your drift, now. Follow through. Play as if there's more to come, yes? Concept... That builds nicely into what Manny suggested. Thank you.

    ps.: I try to swallow more than my head allows, also. Sometimes I pay the price by getting so turned inside out that my head gets stuck where the by-product of my digestion is set free!
     
  7. 40cal

    40cal Forte User

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    I cannot even begin to describe the images floating about my brain right now:shock:
     
  8. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

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    Ditto!

    Yikes!
     
  9. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Maybe that is the true benefit of Hatha yoga and playing “neutral†– it keeps our heads as far as possible from our you-know-whats!
     
  10. 40cal

    40cal Forte User

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    Glenn does bring up a very good question, and of course Manny's answer is great advice. Definitely applies to me as my schedule does not always allow for a regular practice routine I would conjecture that a consistent approach or in my case lack there of, is even more important.
     

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