Monday, January 07, 2019

4.26- Tuning Slide- Halfway in a Tuning Slide Year

Weekly Reflections on Life and Music
Believe you can and you're halfway there.
— Theodore Roosevelt

Well, we’ve made it to post #26 in this year’s Tuning Slide. That means we’re halfway there. Which says a great deal about music. Believe it and you are on the right road. I have spent the last several years believing that
1. An old dog can learn new tricks
2. Making music is fun, and
3. They both go together to make life even more joyous than it otherwise would be.
I got my first trumpet when I was in 8th grade in 1961. I was thirteen-years old. There have been very few years in the past 57 when I haven’t played trumpet for something. I went through all kinds of times of not practicing much (if at all) for months and months. I may even have gone a year or or so when I didn’t touch the trumpet. It was always there calling me, reminding me of its joy and wonder. I never stopped being a trumpet player- and for that I am extremely grateful. It is how I live my life.

When I started on this part of my trumpet/musical journey in the last ten years and then connected with the amazing musicians at the Shell Lake Arts Center/UW-Eau Claire, new doors opened that enhanced, then multiplied the wonder of making music and how it relates to my life.

I am the kind of person who likes to share what I learn. As I have been learning I have been writing; as I have been doing research I have been telling you about it; as I have been playing more music more often I can’t help but share it. That is what the Tuning Slide has been all about. Nothing is changing about that.

This post is at mid-point of year four. Lots of things have been covered, some more than once. The whole idea of the “inner game” has been at the heart of what I talk about. Mindfulness and deepening awareness are an essential of that. Trusting Self Two and quieting Self One build into that. The joy of playing is one of the results.

As I look at the next six months of this year’s Tuning Slide here is what I plan to work on. I confess it here, by the way, to keep myself accountable. Even though it will change, at least I am setting it down for me- and all- to see.

First, I am currently working on “precision.” I am not a precise trumpet player. I tend to have that “jazz” sound that never quite lands the note the same way every time. (I don’t think that is an excuse, by the way, but more on that in February, I think.) What this boils down to is awareness of sound. It is always sound, so I am back at that level, playing the single-tongue Arban’s and Getchell exercises in slower, more precise ways. (When in doubt, always go back to Arban and Getchell.)

Second, I am working on being more relaxed in my improvisation. I will be doing more with iReal Pro and Aebersold in the next couple months. (I also hope to do some more composing. That should go together with the improvisation as well.)

Third, as always I will be expanding what I know about the Inner Game. Always being a student, working on improving whatever it takes to be better, continuing to take the time to keep moving and not get stuck in any one spot.

So to get started, here is something I found posted on Facebook. It will be a good thing to think about in the next week as I settle in to the second half of this Tuning Slide year. It is a reminder of the Inner Game:

And, so as to not take ourselves too seriously, here is a list from The Trumpet Blog. Here are a few of them.
1. Trumpets most often play the melody so everyone knows if we play the wrong notes. Unlike the Bassoon, which plays notes that only Canada geese can hear, the trumpet is expected to play every note the way it was intended.

4. Trumpet players rely on their air to sustain a long slow, painful phrase, while an organist could place a book on the keys and go out for lunch and no one would know the difference.

6. The fingering of a trumpet is very complex. For a clarinet player to play a corresponding scale, the clarinet fingerings are simplified because of their use of nine fingers. The trumpet play is limited to only three and is expected to be able to play the same notes.
And then the best reason I can think of (with tongue in cheek, of course, which makes it even harder to play the trumpet:)
10. Trumpets have a much more difficult time working within their section. Nowhere in music is this more challenging for every trumpet player has to put up with other trumpet players and we all know what that requires.
Take a moment and go see the whole list and the truth about why the trumpet is the most difficult instrument to play. Then pat yourself on the back for being so great! (Link)

Have a great week and we’ll kick off the second half of the year next week!

Halfway means there's no sense turning back. It is just as far back as it is to the goal.
— Unknown (Well, actually, I said it.)

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