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Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Bloomin Untidy Musician, Jun 25, 2008.
As an addendum to my previous post, the reason Andrew has adopted the attitude of "my dog will still love me" is not a reflection of his lack of care or concern for his product, but rather one of self-preservation. A musician who is constantly worrying about not making mistakes will at best be a very boring, conservative player and at worst, be a nervous wreck. Tension=mistakes. Anything a musician can do to alleviate tension can only be good for their performance.
As Mr. DiMonte has pointed out, any mistake we make will be immediately heard and talked about. Musicians are well aware of this. We also get to read about it the next day in the paper, and wonder if our friends/neighbors/family members are also reading said review - it isn't just limited to the people who attended the concert. All of that can weigh heavily on a player during that four measure snare drum solo right before the Ballerina's dance, or during the furious cello line right before the octave call in Zarathustra. The mind will screw you twenty ways 'till Tuesday trying to undermine your confidence before a big solo, and musicians have to develop coping skills to try to silence the voice of doubt. If we screw up, we can't pull out an eraser, or hit the backspace key on the computer. No, we get to read about it in the New York Times, or the Los Angeles Times, or the Chicago Tribune, or the ....
...or on the Trumpet Herald or Trumpet Master. Here's a little kicker on top of that. Sometimes the people you work for (board and management)are not very good at judging the quality of a performance. Hard to believe, but true. They may base their opinion of your worth on what they read or hear second-hand. Case in point: I once played a piece by Messiaen called "The Ascension". The orchestra's executive director was sitting about ten feet behind me, singing in the choir. When the review came out, the critic lavished praise on the principal trumpet, who was actually playing second to me. That night, the executive director came up to the principal and shook his hand, telling him what a great job he was doing. Nice. They even reprinted the review a couple months later in the Symphony Magazine, with the mistake intact.
Anyway, my hope is this will give you a better insight into what we do. There is nothing casual or cavalier about how we go about our business, and we don't need any reprimand from someone who is neither a trumpeter nor a musician. Chances are, if it isn't "good enough" for you, it wasn't anywhere close to good enough for us, either, and while you can dish out your critique and go on with your life, we will be chewing on that sub-par performance for days, weeks or years.
IMO, a fantastic post. Thanks, J
The paying public take their chances, whether it be football, soccer, professional wrestling, or a symphony orchestra.
We do our best.
I endured a lot of that in Germany, hearing stuff like "great concert, too bad you missed the one note, though." (Tolles Konzert, aber shade dass Sie die eine Note vermissed)
We do our best, and take chances to make some real music. When it happens, the real music, maybe one or two out of the crowd, maybe more, notice.
It is still worth it.
Andrew showed considerable and commendable restraint and patience with his response. The only reason I jumped in is because I didn't get the sense that we were all "on the same page" afterward.
A guy doesn't get to where Andrew has gotten by being sloppy, "failing to prepare" or "preparing to fail". These are words written by someone without an understanding of what it takes to play at the level of Mr. McAndless, principal trumpet of a major orchestra. That's fine - I don't expect the general public to know that. I guess it was the response to his explanation that, to me, sounded patriarchal, which set me off. Like he owed you an explanation, and that you had judged it sufficient to deem he possessed the attributes and patience of a professional. Uh-huh. Like you can judge that by whether or not he misses a note or two. Accuracy is one part of a very large equation of what makes a trumpeter, or any musician for that matter, exceptional. I guess it is the easiest one to quantify, because that's the one all the "experts" seem to jump on.
Do I sound defensive? Well, yes, I probably do. It has come from years of dealing with people who thought they knew far more about music than either they did or I did, and some of those people have been in charge of making decisions that directly impacted the future of the orchestras I have played in, mostly to the detriment of my colleagues. Considering the time and money we spend trying to perfect our craft, it is a hard pill to swallow when being lectured by someone with absolutely no clue. Most of the time, all we are allowed to do is smile, grit our teeth and be polite to the board member who thought it necessary to pass judgment, usually to try to puff themselves up around their friends or spouses. Well, I don't have to do that here, so you get to hear my rant. Lucky you.
We do our best.
That sometimes includes what others call mistakes. In any sport our accuracy would be in the "Hall of Fame" league, but the question remains: are we willing to risk a wrong note?
Is perfection our goal, or is making music our goal? Making perfect music is out of the equation, as far as I am concerned, unless we risk the occasional wrong note, which brings us back to the original question--do we seek perfection, or music?
My vote is for music.
'That's fine - I don't expect the general public to know that. I guess it was the response to his explanation that, to me, sounded patriarchal, which set me off.' -J
I didn't gather that J. My sense of it was JD was speaking from the perspective he sited earlier: 'For the record, I'm a retired 'bean counter' who have supported "live" performances, mainly JAZZ for over 45 years both within these U.S. of A and around the Globe.'
He'll say better if not.
'Considering the time and money we spend trying to perfect our craft, it is a hard pill to swallow when being lectured by someone with absolutely no clue.'
I don't need defend Mr. DiMonte, but i'm of the same Paying Audience that can only judge by what we hear. Give the people what they want, as they say. -And obviously that's shared regard, otherwise ya'll would be out of a job. I said earlier that i wouldn't even attempt to play in an Orchestral setting. It's beyond this simple countryboy's needs of wide open space to even try. -And much gratis on the insights J, but i'd be willing to bet it won't be long, you'll be talking like Easy as ya Please, Wily Veteran Cops. They're forever held liable to legitimate and outspoken perspective, however focused an individual's depth of immediate and residual interest? Which is fair. It's 'Only Human' that we're obliged to anticipate the worst, while hopeful of the best?
'Making perfect music is out of the equation, as far as I am concerned, unless we risk the occasional wrong note, which brings us back to the original question--do we seek perfection, or music?'
'My vote is for music.'
Those are some King Kong Balls you got there V! God, i love how Musicians do that! No doubt it's reward beyond words.