Monday, October 10, 2005

Broken Tuning Slides, Stagnant Water and Anna Kournikova

Three thoughts from lessons today...

"Hey my tuning slide is broken!"
Ever notice a student play their tuning note, adjust the tuning slide, play the note again and see no change in the tuner?

I love the looks on their faces.

Ah, the power of inner hearing: if the inner ear wants to repeat the same note as before, it automatically directs the lip to bend the note to the same pitch as before, overcoming the power of the tuning slide. If you tune to a tuner and find yourself out of whack, you should *hear* a different pitch in your head as well as adjust your tuning slide.
Stagnant Water and Long Notes
Ever been hiking? If you needed to drink from a stream, would you choose the moving water or the water that is just sitting there?
(OK, I'm hoping the answer here is pretty obvious).
Long notes are like that. Don't let them become stagnant. They should always feel as if they are moving somewhere (either building or decaying).

Dinner with Anna
A student seemed to scrambling through a lyrical piece. I got the impression he wasn't really savoring the notes, just moving on to the next thing.
I asked him, "Who's the most beautiful woman in the world?" His immediate reply, "Anna Kournikova." I said, "So imagine you're having dinner with Anna Kournikova. Just for fun, let's assume that she is really fascinated with you in every way but will have to leave as soon as the meal is over. Would you want to rush through dinner or take your time? "
(OK, I'm hoping the answer here is pretty obvious)
"OK, imagine that this etude is your dinner with Anna. I'm guessing you're going to want to take your time and savor every moment for what it's worth."
Sexist maybe but well, it seemed to help ....