When Is Your Technique "Enough"?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trickg, Nov 25, 2005.

  1. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Manny,

    I was practicing today and working specifically on my articulation and I started to ponder the level of technique I have obtained and retained over the years vs. the level of technique that has been obtained by those I consider to be "world class" players.

    The way I look at it, technique is a means to an end; the ultimate goal is to be able to play music as expressively as you can, and therefore I would tend to think that the ideal would be that your technique is at such a level that it becomes as natural as breathing - your horn becomes a true extension of the body.

    Does anyone ever really "get there" and have their technical ability so refined that it is no longer ever a concern? At what point do you decide that your technique is good enough, and rather than structuring your practice toward improving, your practice is structured toward maintaining the technique that you have built? Have you gotten there, where your techinque is "enough", or are you still working to refine your technical ability?

    I ask because I know that for me, in my years of playing, I have waxed and waned on certain aspects of my technique, due mostly to the fact that there has only ever been a relatively short time frame where I actually structured my practice in a disciplined effort to improve all aspects of my technique, and that was over 10 years ago. These days I will work from time to time to rebuild some things that are lagging so that I can actually feel ok about collecting my cheque at the end of the night, but mostly, due to my life being what it is, my practice time is structured more toward maintaining than building. This has been frustrating at times because I also feel that while my technical ability has waxed and waned, I have continued to advance musically, and there is becoming an increasingly larger spread between how I would like to play something and what my technical ability actually allows me to play. Does that makes sense?

    I guess I was just curious if you have ever assessed the technical aspect of your playing and been totally happy with it because it has afforded you the ability to play things exactly as you want to - your technical ability balances and matches your musical ability - it is "enough".
     
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Even though you wrte a lengthy post I'm going to answer you succinctly and I hope you don't mind.

    No, Patrick, I have not reached a point where I'm satisfied with anything except my innate abilities. Those will always be a part of me. The techniques I strive daily to improve are the ones over which i have control: tonguing, transposition, endurance, finger dexterity,etc. I work everyday to better those techniques. I'm never satisfied with those this because I've heard the best players in the world play and that's what I want in my playing.

    ML
     
  3. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Ok, I can can dig that answer, and I'm impressed with your humility - many would argue that you ARE among the best players in the world. :-)

    What it means to me is that perfection of technique is an elusive ideal, even among the best players - an ideal to be striven for, but one that ultimately will never be reached.
     
  4. Alex Yates

    Alex Yates Forte User

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    Here you go Patrick.......I think this might help with your perspective.

    PERFECTION

    Perfection is being right
    Excellence is willing to be wrong

    Perfection is fear
    Excellence is taking a risk

    Perfection is anger and frustration
    Excellence is powerful

    Perfection is control
    Excellence is spontaneous

    Perfection is judgement
    Excellence is accepting

    Perfection it taking
    Excellence is giving

    Perfection is doubt
    Excellence is confidence

    Perfection is pressure
    Excellence is natural

    PERFECTION is the DESTINATION
    EXCELLENCE is the JOURNEY.

    I did not compose this, but I have had it for years. I like its message and thought it complimented what you were asking about.
     
  5. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    That's excellent... brava!

    ML
     
  6. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Alex, I like where that went, although I don't necessarily agree with all of the things that were lumped on top of perfection. The idea of perfection is interesting in that it can never truly be reached, however, excellence without perfection is a much healthier goal - it takes the pressure off. Now the question lies in defining the term excellence in trumpet playing because it can mean so many different things to different people.

    For the record, the things I have been working on in the practice room paid off on the gig last night, and Manny, once again I sent a thought out your way thinking how cool it would be for you to one day sit in and blow down some of these charts. A good time would be had by all! :D
     
  7. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Patrick,

    I'll look forward to the day. It would be too much fun.

    ML
     
  8. Rimshot

    Rimshot Pianissimo User

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    Having grown up with a perfectionist father, I can assure you Alex's Perfection/Excellence list his home--and especially the ones at the top. The only thing I might add would be that if Excellence is a wonderous spaceship, Perfection is the ultimate Black Hole!

    p.s. If you want to destroy a child, just be a perfectionist parent--they have a high success rate (but not perfect!).
     
  9. Siegtrmpt

    Siegtrmpt Mezzo Piano User

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    I like to listen to Gerard Schwarz's "Cornet Favorites" album when I need motivation to get going on technical studies. Fast and musical. It reminds me I've got quite a ways to go.
     
  10. Alex Yates

    Alex Yates Forte User

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    On the flip-side, having parents who cared less and actually went out of their way to thwart efforts (as I did) could also destroy a child..........

    ........or make them independent as h***. Luckily, I was one of the ones who was focused from a very young age and wouldn't let anything stop me. My folks did not want to hear a peep out of that trumpet. (And NO, I didn't suck. LOL.) Soooooo....I practiced my trumpet in the closet, into a pillow with a flashlight shining on the music so I could see it. I would skip classes in high school on a regular basis (still graduated top of my class) so I could get in time every day on the horn in one of the practice rooms. If it wasn't for the support of all of my teachers throughout life, I don't know where I would be today. And I mean ALL of my teachers, not just the trumpet teachers. ;-)

    FYI (for clarification) -- The "Perfection/Excellence" list I posted was given to me by Jim Thompson long ago. I don't know if he composed it or got it from someone else. He never told me either way. It really has to do with what we expect of ourselves as trumpeters and people. No one person or outside element is part of the picture in this case.
     

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