Steps Toward an Ecology of Trumpet Playing Part II

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Vulgano Brother, Mar 14, 2014.

  1. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind is one my favorite book titles. In it, Julian Jaynes argues that with early man the right and left hemispheres on the brain were separate entities. The left hemisphere was used for most tasks, but when confronted with an unusual situation the right hemisphere would chime in with authority, and early man thought this voice as being the voice of a god.

    An interesting take comes from the Inner Game of Tennis, by Timothy Gallwey. He also divides us in half, with Self 1 and Self 2. Self 1 jabbers happily away, knows everything and criticizes Self 2.

    Self 2 is the doer. It will learn just fine on its own, except when Self 1 comes up with all kinds of stupid advice and non-constructive criticisms. If we can put Self 1 in its proper place we could harness it and put it to work in a constructive way.

    Enter a couple of 14[SUP]th[/SUP] Century German Mystics, Meister Eckhart and Johannes Tauler. Both preached about the need for detachment, “letting goness.” In doing so, we can use Self 1 as a passive observer, letting Self 2 do its thing.

    Enter Dr. Maxwell Maltz who in 1960, published Psycho-Cybernetics: A New Way to Get More Living out of Life. A plastic surgeon, Maltz contends that our self-image is very important. This came from his experience with his patients, and how after their plastic surgery they suddenly felt better about themselves. Still the same person on the inside they experienced a better self-image. According to Maltz, if one's self-image is unhealthy or faulty — all of his or her efforts will end in failure. The cybernetics part is based on the Greek for “steersman.”

    Mixing these all, together Self 1 can be a passive observer, detached and steering Self 2 towards a specific and reasonable goal.

    Lastly a bit of Zen from Zen in the Art of Archery. "You know already that you should not grieve over bad shots; learn now not to rejoice over the good ones. You must free yourself from the buffetings of pleasure and pain, and learn to rise above them in easy equanimity, to rejoice as though not you but another had shot well. This, too, you must practice unceasingly-you cannot conceive how important it is.”
  2. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    I'm normally very wary of talk of differences in left and right hemispheres, since so much of what has been said on the subject is total codswallop. Two 'entities' with half a brain each don't make a balanced intelligent being; they just make two morons.

    Having said that, I came across this the other day when reading about resultant tones and missing fundamentals. Quite interesting.

  3. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    I don't know what is harder to grok, the bit about the 2 hemispheres and the missing fundemantal, or the quote from Beowulf. I posit that the missing fundamental is like the missing link. You don't know what you 've got till it's gone, especially if it was never there to begin with.
  4. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    I had to look up 'grok'. Found this on wiki:

    This is really rather apt. The two hemispheres 'grok' each other because together they become far more than the sum of their parts. The fundamental and the partials 'grok' each other because they are likewise inseperable.

    I'm not sure quite what VB is building up to here, but in trumpet terms my view is that producing music is the sum of many, many small parts. Lose one part and it is no longer music. There's no such thing as 'nearly' music. It's like nearly alive or nearly pregnant. Music is an emergent property that doesn't exist unless all the parts 'grok' each other.
  5. WannaScream

    WannaScream Pianissimo User

    Nov 27, 2013
    I can relate to the Zen and the Art of Archery quote. I spent several years practicing with a recurve bow before deciding my time would be better spent on my trumpet. I found many commonalities between the two arts, however. Indeed, one is, you cannot get hung up on bad shots/notes. It is also difficult to overcome the impatience and frustration that come with them. With each, you have to develop form (embouchure, etc.) and ingrain it to the subconscious. In practice, you must develop each component, but in performance, they must integrate without thought. I would add, it's difficult to persevere knowing it's much easier to pick up a compound bow/ electric guitar!
  6. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    An interesting read:
    An other: "When you forget the good and the non-good, the worldly life and the religious life, and all other dharmas, and permit no thoughts relating to them to arise, and you abandon body and mind—then there is complete freedom. When the mind is like wood or stone, there is nothing to be discriminated."
  7. fels

    fels Piano User

    Jun 8, 2008
    Colorado Springs
    for Veery

    I understood "grok" immediately. Like a song from the past. Big reader of Heinlein - Stranger in a Strange Land - and all the rest.

    Right brain left brain - technique v presentation - in the moment - et. seq.- all are labels.

    I had a lesson years ago with a classical artist that i respect - he pointed out that when reading we do not (in our heads) say each word - we assimilate a learned vocabulary. Zen is very appropriate for music - trumpet et al. You learn the vocabulary so that you don't think about it; then you (attempt to ) communicate.
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006

    I am having trouble with relating "ecology" to the presented concepts. This is for sure due to the fact that I haven't read any of these books. Sure we ying and yang (self one and two), have angels and devils, good and bad playing horns and positive and negative attitudes, but that is more "Biosphere" to me - even eating great tasting veggies can lead to incredible amounts of gas. A trumpet player DOES need to temper intellectualism with dare, confidence with caution, sleep with practice. Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman actually shows how two internal systems can trick one another, how our gut level feeling or intellectualism can actually lead us to the WRONG answers. Ecology however, in my small brains interpretation, is the interface between organisms or relationships to our "external" environments.

    More ecological from my view: Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War: Robert Coram: Englische Bücher

    This book shows us how we can focus energy where it needs to be to make a difference.
  9. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

    Jun 22, 2011
    Fort Wayne, IN
    I have pondered similarities between trumpet playing and traditional instinctive archery many times, WannaScream. In fact, a modest collection of fine vintage recurve bows is hanging above my desk as I write this. My archery interest is "on hold" these days. Perhaps I will be able to return to it in retirement. Trumpet playing is way more available on a daily basis and equally rewarding, if not more so, for me.

  10. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    The sport of archery, like firearms, is not a pleasure that is readily allowed in or near most of our homes while playing a brass musical instrument is.

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