I loved the recent post where you mentioned "Your ear may have been only telling you pitch but not color and intensity". What a great way to conceptualize sound! It has taken me a long time to really get my "ears" around this idea, and it is clearly what distinguishes the good players from the great players. I know I have glimpses of greatness every once in a while, and then ease back into my more familiar “good” sound.

I’ve run into this idea from lots of great players / teachers:

Bill Adam:
"Hear the pitch in your mind (can you sing the pitch?)..." AND "Hear the sound you desire in your mind before you play...Keep your mind focused on the sound you desire and let your body adapt as it attempts to achieve your goal".

Arnold Jacobs:
He says "that he plays two tubas simultaneously - one in the hand and the other in the mind".

John Hagstrom:
He says that, "...the intensity of the musical voice in one's head must be able to drown out what may or may not come out of the instrument".

Charlie Vernon:
He encourages the reader to "imagine, in the depths of your mind, what you think the greatest trombone sound in the world would be like" and then to "use the imagery of the `greatest trombone sound' as a goal to aim for."

I've had lots of conversations with many different players about this topic of mental imagery and have gotten the same advice time and time again. To develop an internal sound concept with greater CLARITY and INTENSITY I must continually bombard myself with great sounds. I must totally immerse myself in the music until the image is so clear and strong that I can only imagine those great sounds. I do this (I’m currently on a Beethoven cycle and have Symphony 7 and 8 in the CD player on the drive to and from work) and I can bring up many of these themes in my mind in good detail at anytime of the day. I'm guessing that my detail of sound is only good compared to what you hear and so many other top-notch players.

In another post you mentioned that one of the things that you have always been good at is "Imitating sounds that you hear". I vividly remember you commenting on the CSO Reiner Scheherazade recording where you heard someone whisper "BRAVO" in the 4th movement. When I finally heard what you were talking about it absolutely floored me how detailed oriented you are when it comes to hearing sounds! I never would have heard that if you hadn’t pointed it out.

You seem to come up with some great games to share with everyone on these forums. I would love it if you would have time to think up about half a dozen listening games that you could rollout (over a course of several months) in your forum. This would be with the intent of helping players to develop a stronger sense of clarity and intensity in the sounds that are available to hear in music. Your ears have such a level of refinement and along with your sense of creativity, I know these "games" would benefit everyone that reads your forum.

Looking forward any suggestions that you have to offer!

Take care,