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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Quotes from Marty Hackleman Master Class at George Mason University (Repost)

Andrew Hitz

Two years ago this week I posted the following quotes from a Marty Hackleman class at Mason.  I still use many of these quotes in my every day teaching and thought they were worth reposting.  I hope you find these as insightful as I do! -----

Last night, Professor Marty Hackleman gave an amazing master class at George Mason University.  Marty is the principal horn of the National Symphony and a former member of both the Empire Brass and the Canadian Brass.  In my opinion, he is one of the premier teachers and performers that the brass world has ever known.

I have put a few of the quotes that really spoke loudly to me in bold.  What quotes jump out at you? Please comment with your favorite quote and how it relates to your playing.

Here are the highlights from the class:

  • It's not that you work, it's how you work.
     
  • How simple can you make the problem?  How simple can you make the solution?
     
  • We don't see the causes.  We see the symptoms.
     
  • All that you want to do is make it slightly better than yesterday but not as good as tomorrow.  And you enjoy the chase.
     
  • When you do a daily routine, don't sit in front of the TV wasting your time.
     
  • Think of your routine as a physical brass mediation.  Enjoy the time alone.
     
  • The routine is a question of how you play and not what you play.
     
  • A lot of times when you have a problem with your playing and you think you know the solution try the exact opposite.  85% of the time it will work.  And that comes from personal experience.
     
  • I only breathe as much as I need when I'm warming up and I focus on quality over quantity.  But if you're playing a different instrument, like the tuba, it may be different.
     
  • It is more important to practice efficiently than a lot of inefficient practicing.  If you don't feel like it, stop.  Get a cup of coffee and then come back.  Then suck it up and make yourself feel like it for even 15 minutes.
     
  • Even if you can play your ass off, try to make it easier.
     
  • Make it as simple, natural and easy as you can.
     
  • Don't save the high notes until the end of your routine.  They shouldn't be that precious.  They should be a natural extension of everything else.
     
  • I failed first.  Everybody failed first.  But do you stop at failure?
     
  • You'll be surprised that if you ask yourself to do something regularly, you'll find a solution.
     
  • If tension is creeping into your playing, your routine is where you find that out, not in rehearsal or in performance.
     
  • Support isn't caused by air.  They are separate things.
     
  • You want to use your routine to make yourself better, not just make yourself functional.
     
  • I know (my routine) works because at almost 60 years old I believe I can play better than I've ever played in my life.  And it's not luck.  I promise you.
     
  • First thing is you have to make sure that your horn sounds like what's in your head.
     
  • You have to be more responsible about being a musician and not just a horn player.
     
  • We make crescendos and we don't come all the way back.  If you come all the way back you have somewhere to go again.