This weekend was Arizona's Solo and Ensemble Festival. I played the Hummel, wich I've been preparing for about 4 to 5 months now. I got a II on it, wich dissapoints me because I didn't play nearly as well as I normaly do, if I played it as well as I usualy do, I'm sure I would have got a I. The thing that really got me thinking about it though is what the judge asked me after my performance, he asked me what recordings I listend to and what I picked up from the recordings that arn't written on the paper. I'm sure many of us here listen to recordings of others in order to prepare a piece, we do this all the time in my band and orchestra classes at school, and I'm sure it helps us alot even if we don't really realize it, but after thinking about it today, I thought "Why?" The last few months I have listend to a countless number of recordings of the Hummel to help with style and interpretations. Now that I think of it, this might be part of the reason I did so poorly yesterday. In the hours leading up to my performance I listend to the Wynton Marsallis recording three or four times as a litle last minuet reminder of the dynamics he used here, and the articulations he used there. Even though I had all of this written on my part for me to see, while I was perfoming I was still trying to imagin how he did it and everything, I think that may have taken away from some of my concentration. If I could go back now, I would have just gone in there and played it the way I play it, express myself, and show off. So all of this made me wonder, why do we as performers try to model ourselves after other performers who have already acheived greatness, and why do our teachers tell us to listen to the recordings and try to play it like that? Shouldn't they want us to express ourselves and play it the way we interpret it? I would love to be able to play just like Manny, or Wilmer, but why? Manny and Wilmer already play like that, if someone wants to here something played like that, they would go listen to Manny or Wilmer. Music is all about expressing ourselves on a personal level. When I performed the Hummel yesterday I tried to play it the way Wynton played it, but why? If the judge wanted to here it played like that, he'd go listen to Wynton, not me. Why don't our teachers advise us to play it how we interpret it, why do they want us to sound just like someone else?