Sunday, May 06, 2007

Jake's Premise and the Amish Guy

Two stories seemingly not connected (but in my mind, they are)...

Jake's Premise

I was lucky enough to have two lessons with Arnold Jacobs before he died. In the second lesson, I just barely made it to the lesson on time.
Pause to imagine that: being late for a lesson with Arnold Jacobs!
Anyway, I started out playing some Bordogni vocalise and chipping some notes. After two lines of music, he stopped me and said, "Well, you've missed 5 notes so far. Do you really know how this goes?"

So, here was his premise: given that you are a reasonably competent musician, the only real reason for missing a note is that the music isn't clear enough in your mind.

Not your breathing,
not your chops,
not the lack of a warm-up.
not even Chicago traffic jams!
Simply this:

you don't hear it clearly enough in your head.

Could it really be that simple?

The Amish Guy

So here's one from one of my students: an Amish guy strikes his thumb with a hammer. Unlike most people (probably me if it happened to me), he didn't get angry. He simply went on with his task. Why get angry when something goes wrong? What good does it do?

As you practice, how do react when you don't play something well?
Ever get angry?
Did the anger help?
Was it necessary?

1 comment:

John Bailey said...

Yes, if it's in your brain, it'll come out the horn. Without stopping to work it out in advance, the worst situations to "hear" to me are those with lots of hand-written ledger lines stacked three, four, five high.