Monday, July 30, 2007

Alessi Seminar Notes, Day 1...SING! LISTEN!

Please note:

These entries from the Alessi Seminar are not a literal transcript. I took written notes and then typed them up. I have made every effort to be accurate but, as you might expect, each blog entry is a meager substitute for actually being there.

Remember that many of the things Mr. Alessi says in these masterclasses are in the context of addressing the needs of a particular student and should not be seen as universal mandates to be mindlessly followed.

If you are serious about pursuing musical excellence on the trombone, there is no substitute for actually attending one of Mr. Alessi's seminars. You'll be glad you did.

The first day of the seminar consisted of a reception, an opening meeting and first rehearsals for the trombone choirs.

Mr. Alessi pointed out in the meeting that the main purpose of this whole experience is to learn. He also noted that he learns quite a bit from these seminars.

Notes from the trombone choir rehearsal...

The main reminders in the rehearsal: sing and listen. In other words, never stop that singing approach to your instrument.

Also, never stop listening to musicians around you. Don't get into that mode where you are totally focused on your part and unaware of the group as a whole.

He told us a story about a conversation with a colleague in the brass section. Joe was asking him how he sounded so good in performance after performance. The colleague's reply was to just remember to keep singing. Sometimes he (the colleague) starts to hear those little voices in his head. When he concentrates on singing, the voices go away.

He pointed out that there are a lot of great players but they aren't always great listeners. "It's always easier to play with someone who is really listening."

As many of you know, James Markey just won the bass trombone spot in the New York Philharmonic. Joe made the comment that Markey was an outstanding listener.

So that's the message for today (and maybe for the whole session)