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Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Walter, Jan 12, 2007.
My dad told me....
"Make the song yours."
One of the nicest bits of advice I have had was in a lesson with Crispian:
"Just because you CAN play it like Maurice Andre, doesn't mean you should"
Not only was it a lovely compliment (made about the first movement of the Telemann concerto) but it struck home that we shouldn't always try to copy the way someone else plays a piece, we should work out how WE want to play it.
Air is #1
What changed my playing was sitting next to a man named Michael Meeks. He used to be principal trumpet for the LSO and Academy of St. Martin in the fields. All he was doing was sitting in a section at my community college band. I found out later that he recomended me for a job that he was unable to take. That actually made me never want to put my horn down again.
All of the playing advice ist great! I see a lack of "human factor" very often though.
Regardless of who you are, how good you are or what you have accomplished, find a second set of ears that you trust and open up to constructive criticism!
Even here at TM, we see runaway egos from excellent players that do not have the necessary "distance" to accept another "opinion". There is ALWAYS another opinion, even if you are Bud Herseth, Wynton Marsalis, Charlie Schlueter or Maurice AndrÃ©.
Best advice I ever heard: "Don't play notes, Play music"
"Strength is my enemy, weakness is my friend."
Building on that my trumpet teacher Stuart Dodgson told me:
"Steve, when you go higher (play a higher note than the one before,) use more air. When you go lower, use more air."
Not sure why my post from yesterday went missing. Here it is again.
I believe this came from my trumpet professor from SIUC - Dr. Robert Allison. This isn't verbatim, and it is kind of a hard to believe concept â€“ at least it was for me â€“ so I also give an explanation and some examples of how it worked for me.
"You are your own worst critic, so, record yourself practicing and performing and listen to yourself intently and critically. When you pick up the horn again, focus on improving at least one thing you heard that needed improvement."
I'm not sure if the rest of what I say is true for all of you out there, but this is what I experienced. I was skeptical at first thinking "why would I need to record myself when I can hear everything as I'm playing it?" Well, for some reason, what you mentally "hear" and what actually comes out of the bell are sometimes two different things. I'm not talking about how the horn physically sounds to you as compared to the audience either, with the exception of tone. When you are playing your instrument, I believe you have a mental "sound image" of what is coming out of your horn, which is somewhat distorted from what actually physically comes out. This is especially true for me when practicing improvisation. With improvisation, you usually know what you want to come out of your horn, but it doesn't always come out that way, even though your mental "sound image" said it did. With non-improvised stuff, it's a bit more subtle, but still there. I noticed things like articulation issues, intonation issues (Big Time), tone issues, etc. I've also noticed that listening to recordings of yourself makes you a better listener while you are actually playing. You listen for those things that didn't sound so good on the recordings.
You'll really be surprised at how different you sound on a recording as compared to that mental "sound image". I did this religiously throughout my junior and senior year in college. I remember listening to my first recordings of myself near the end of my senior year, and WOW what a difference. This was back in 1992. I just recently popped in the recording of my senior recital. Well, I was expecting it to sound a lot better than it did. I guess as you grow as a musician, your ear becomes more and more critical.
Thanks for this thread! It has inspired me to get out the recording equipment and go through that sometimes painful yet rewarding experience of listening to myself.
I have tried recording myself and found that on a bad day it is brutally honest......I am sure that if you can persist through the painful stages it has to be a good way of improving your playing....this has inspired me to have another go as well.
Manny...how should we apply Arnold Jacobs statement "Strength is my enemy, weakness is my friend" to our playing?