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Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trickg, Sep 13, 2005.
Beautifully said Manny.
'Expression' is a whole palette of tones, colours and devices used to convey meaning,.......'passion' is only one of them.
That was an eloquent bit of writing, Manny.
I can still remember the first time this happened to me. I was in college in a lesson with Ray Cresera (sp?). We were playing something from Arbans and he explained how to play it and the light went on. I was playing passionately but not expressing it to him.
It's funny that this topic brought back that memory from about 20 years ago but honestly that was the first time I can remember understanding what Manny is talking about.
After 20 years I still have that tune down, now if I could only learn another one.
Again Manny, you have posted one for my archives.
That's what I was trying to come to grips with, but just couldn't seem to be able to put into words.
It's interesting that you mention your instrument and the role that it plays in expressing your passion musically.
As a trumept player, I have found that it is very frustrating for me to play trumpet if I'm fighting either the chops or the horn with what I'm playing. It also puts into perspective why we work so hard at our technical exercises - the goal is to make the physical act of playing so effortless, that we don't have to think about playing in terms of what is happening mechanically and technically so that we can then be expressive in our passion for what we are playing.
In terms of drums and drumming, it's why we choose our drums, heads, sticks, pedals and cymbals, and why some drummers are so finicky about gear placement prior to playing. If we can eliminate having to think about the technical aspects of our gear, it makes it that much easier to play musically. I found this expecially true with cymbals - while I decided to make do with "lesser" drums, my cymbals were quite expensive because they are used so much, and cheap cymbals can be very distracting if they are bad, and there is nothing you can do about them. Drums can at least be enhanced with good heads and proper tuning, even if they aren't of the highest quality - but I digress.
Back to the trumpet, playing and equipment, I guess that is why some of us are such gearheads - we want to maximize our equipment to pull it out of the musical equation as much as possible. The reason that I bought my current trumpet is because I thought it would be better suited to what I was playing, and therefore require less thought and effort from me. It's also the reason I took the plunge and sent it out to Bob Reeves for a PVA - I want to know that this fantastic trumpet is the very best it can be for me. But all of that is technical.
Back to the subject of passion in music, it really is an holistic experience - everything comes together in a performance of music to create an overall experience, and communication of that passion from the performers (expression) to the listeners can be at the highest level possible.
So, is the real key to expressive playing the ability to communicate your passion? If the conductor is poor, and they aren't communicating their passion for the music in an expressive, yet understandable way to their ensemble, even a great group of musicians can sound lifeless and flat under their direction, and I would tend to think that the same would hold true for any soloist, or even section player.
Ok, my brain hurts now - time to think on it a bit more.
Once again, thanks for giving some important food for thought. I thought about it through out the day, started to post something and nuked it because it was mostly BS and didn't express my passion!
It wasn't until the end of the day when everyone was in bed and I swears to G-d and the voigin I wrote without stopping once! It was as though I was experiencing what I was writing about as I was writing! A little spooky, if you wanna know the truth. So,here it is man: I was expressing my passion about the subject without anything getting in the way of it. Calmly, without forcing as I almost did earlier in the day, it flowed because I wanted to be clear.
Between your question and JJ's phenomenal post about the Posthorn solo (read it if you haven't!) I had a really good day.
G-d, I love this site!
Wow...ML just went Fruedian on us. Nice post. Truly puts it all into perspective quite nicely.
Then there is the challenge of playing with expression when you passionately hate the tune. ie. In The Mood. Or playing with expression when you are playing the same piece every night for 3-4 months and there is very little or no passion left. Being able to pull it off is one of the big differences between a good player and a great player.
Sounds like you just came up with an idea for a whole new thread -- songs we simply cannot stand to play anymore because we've seen too much of them and they are either a) boring, or b) overplayed, or worse yet, c) both.
I used to love Malaguena until I began working with marching bands. Now I think I'd be content if I never heard that piece again for the rest of my life.
And what trumpet player really enjoys hearing "our next jazz gig is a three hour set in a small ballroom on the fourth floor of the Hyatt -- so we'll have to play very soft and it's mostly old-timers, so we'll probably do a lot of Glenn Miller and Count Bassie, with a few walzes and a lot of ballads". Tell me how to get passionate about that. Don't get me wrong...i LOVE to listen to bassie, but playing Bassie is another thing entirely...
I get geeked every single time I play!!!!
Our leader gets tired of "Old number 9", "In The Mood", but not me.
Our swing band does over 50 gigs a year, a lot of corporate gigs and a lot of weddings. We are 15 piece and a vocalist. We get paid a lot of money, and I give every job 100%.
I not only like to listen to Basie, but I LOVE playing the note for note transcriptions of his stuff. And we have an extensive library of his stuff. The same goes for the transcriptions of the James, Goodman, Dorsey and all the great Billy May charts for Sinatra. You couldn't get up for doing Dorsey's "Well Git It"? Even every night.
I realize that every night there is a different crowd. Also every gig I know that I might be touching someone's memory.
The guys in the band are all gung ho about playing these tunes. We are dissappointed if we leave out some of them if the gig is too short.
Do we play some of tunes a lot? You bet!! But at least in MY case, I love every minute of it and it is always fresh and exciting to me.
My wife always has two questions if she's not at the gig:
How did I play and Did the crowd like us?
Watching the crowd is always an upper for me. To get one of these is almost as good as getting paid.
I love it!!!!