Why am I struggling so much with this solo

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Pie Girl, Dec 1, 2013.

  1. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 5, 2011
    Hi kehaulani,
    You stated:
    "While I sympathise with the sentiment, the phrase "to compete means one can lose" is hardly reason not to compete. Life's about taking chances and, like it or not, the music business is highly competitive".
    I think you're missing the point. Yes, just life itself is a competition. We compete for looks, talent, strength, power, resources, etc.. However, if a person is in a situation where they are being rated, the last thing they should be thinking about is the outcome. The object is to do the best with the skill and resources available. Being excited to perform is one thing, thinking about the unknown (winning or losing) is a grand waste of time and has the potential to amp the subject up to a point where the adrenalin is running too high. Maybe thinking about winning and losing should stay where it does the most good, playing the lottery.
  2. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Wow does this ring true. I had the honor and pleasure of sharing the stage with Allan Vizzutti not that long ago. He is so much more accomplished of a performer that I will ever be. But sharing the stage was not a competition between two trumpet players at difference performance levels, it was about making music together. It was about playing off each other's lead, and expanding on it, with the only outcome goal as playing what came out of the horn for the moment. The performance (of both of us) was amazing, and I do believe we both challenged each other to go to another level. That is a rating system than cannot be beat.
  3. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    One note to expand on the above performance with Vizzutti. He requested that the band play "Footprints". Up until the improvisation, he played the trumpet, and I played the flugelhorn. He played his improve on trumpet and I followed on flugelhorn. I have posted many a times that I often times played "lead trumpet" range lines on the flugelhorn when the moment presented itself. I did so that evening during my improve solo on "Footprints". Allen loved the effect and then picked up his flugelhorn to trade off ideas with me while both of us performed in the "lead trumpet" range. That shared performance of trading off lead flugelhorn licks back and forth was one of the most amazing performance experiences I have ever had in my career as a musician.
  4. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    Nope. Didn't miss your point. And I agree with what you just wrote. But I posted what I did because there are those, especially in the present American "there are no losers only winners" society, who might take that phrase of yours out of context and at face value, e.g. fear of losing is a reason not to be competitive.
  5. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    I think the point is that we shouldn't be competing against others at all. None of us took up the trumpet to prove we are "better" than anyone else. We like the sound the trumpet makes, the role it plays in an orchestra or big band, even the look and feel of it.

    We play because not to so would leave a huge void in our lives. If we admire things about a colleague's playing we grow. To compete against others is to fight.

    Yeah, the music business can be competitive, but it has been my experience that the most competitive players have also been the wannabes.
  6. xjb0906

    xjb0906 Piano User

    May 2, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    I look forward to performing/practicing with better and more experienced players. I am always a better musician for it.
  7. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    VB, I think that this is a bit of an oversimplification. Your statements above set it up as an "either/or" - possibly because that's how you may personally view it, but why can't it be a "both/and?"

    I can tell you for certain that one of the reasons I really enjoyed playing trumpet, especially after things started to click for me in the middle of 7th grade, is because it was the one thing I could do better than my peers, and it was completley unrelated to athletics - something I opted out of when I quite the football team after about a week, which unfortunately (and unforeseeable by me) made me the target for ridicule and derision - classic bullying at its best.
    In the wake of that, and especially due to some encouragement one day from my band teacher who made me believe I could be better, I started to excel on the horn, and that was great for me because while athletics still held the top spot, one's ability in band still mattered. I liked knowing that as a 7th grader I was better than all but 2 other students - an 8th grade girl, and a fellow 7th grader with whom I was neck and neck. I surpassed the 7th grader the following year and the 8th grader fell off the map when she hit high school - she pretty much peaked in middle school.

    So in my case, your statement definitely doesn't hit the mark. I liked knowing that I was better at it than anyone in my peer group so I worked hard to stay that way, but I ALSO enjoyed the musical aspect of it. Even when I went into the Army band program, I was still sizing up my peers to see where I stood, even though there was no chair placement at that point. I really enjoyed playing in the brass quintet and big band, but make no mistake, I was well aware of the fact that in an Army band that had a plethora trumpet players, I was one of just four in the big band, and one of only two in the brass quintet. In the Army, no one cares too much about your feelings - if there is someone better than you for the spot in an ensemble, you are out and they are in - it's just that simple. If you wanted to keep your slot in an ensemble, then you needed to stay on top of your game to make sure you were better than another person, or at least in the eyes of those that mattered. Music is subjective, but technique, chops and general musicianship are comparable, tangible qualities

    Granted, I've never been a true "cut above" or a world class player, but I'm not really a wannabe either, and I didn't get that way by being passive about it and only making it about the music. If you want the gig, you HAVE to be better than your competition - period. There is no other way.

    This doesn't mean that it was always a competitive fight, or that I didn't admire things about the playing of some of my colleagues because I did. I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by some really solid players, and to have gigged alongside of some truly world class players. When that happens, I pay attention to what they are doing, how they sound, and I'm not shy about asking questions about how they do what they do. I'm always aware of where I stand as a musician when I'm around other people, but you can be aware of those tangible qualities - chops, technique and general musicianship - and continue to strive to be a better, more musical player.

    Both/and, not either/or.

    I know that my past doesn't really matter for the OP's situation, at least not in a way that's immediately applicable, but I think it's important to illustrate that being competitive as an aspiring musician is a normal, healthy thing that can spur someone to achieve things as a musician that might not otherwise be realized.
  8. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 5, 2011
    Hi kehaulani,
    You stated:
    "fear of losing is a reason not to be competitive.
    Oh my, I totally agree. Living without praise or blame is no way to go through life. A person needs a good thick skin if they are going to be in the arts. Just ask Wynton.
  9. Churchman

    Churchman Mezzo Piano User

    Apr 26, 2012
    If you concentrate on doing the best you can, whatever it is, then you'll do the best you can. If someone else is capable of better, and does it, then if a competition they'll win. But you go home knowing you did the best you could.

    As for 'competing' within a band or orchestra - that won't do the band any good as a unit. Some of the early posters spoke of enjoying playing, whichever chair you are in. That's true, and even if the part is way more than you can do comfortably (like when I played 1st trumpet in Vivaldi Gloria a few back), still enjoy it and do your best. After all, there is no more you can do, and in the end it is making music, which is to enjoy.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013
  10. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    and PieGirl is running as fast as she can away from here.......................................................:zzz:

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