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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Charles Lazarus Master Class Quotes (Part 2 of 3)

Andrew Hitz

Here is part two of quotes from the wonderful master class that trumpet great Charles Lazarus gave at the National Trumpet Competition this year.  In case you missed it, here's part one.  I can't believe how much I learned from this class.  I'm awfully happy that I braved all those trumpet players! I'll post part three on Friday.

  • "As basic human beings, we react to rhythm. Rhythm is a very primal and fundamental thing that humans react to."
  • "Rhythm gives you the framework to coordinate all of the physical things that have to happen in synchronicity when playing the trumpet."
  • "Rhythm, more than anything else when you’re playing, dramatically affects your physical coordination."
  • "Most missed notes are early.  Some are late, very few missed notes are on time."
  • "I subdivide everything I play, all of the time if I’m playing well.  If you hear me kack, I probably am not subdividing."
  • "Why did I biff the E? Because I wasn’t subdividing and I tried to play the E before it was time."
  • "Heldenleiben duh duh-duh splee-ah  - the splee would be before the downbeat."
  • "Every single day you should play with a metronome, especially in your warm-up."
  • "Play with a metronome every single day and then turn it off. Learn to internalize it."
  • "If you are a jazz player and you can’t tap your foot on 2 and 4, that’s a problem."
  • "I ask myself three questions if the sound is terrible and the feel is terrible: 1. How did it sound? What do I want it to sound like? 2. Am I phrasing? Am I taking in air and phrasing with that? 3. How is my time?"
  • "I’ve found that if those three questions are addressed, any technical problem can be solved."
  • "Don’t worry about aligning your wheels if your engine won’t start."
  • "You need to address those three questions before you go looking for the magic mouthpiece. You have to have your priorities straight."