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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Phil Smith Sums Up Playing Music

Andrew Hitz

"Music is not just the black dots on the white paper - it's what happens when those black dots on the white paper go into your heart, and come out again." - Phil Smith  (Principal Trumpet, New York Philharmonic)

Thankfully this is true.  If not, he would be the only orchestral trumpet player working today.  Sam Pilafian would be the only employed brass quintet tuba player.  Renée Fleming would be the only working soprano.

© 2009 Andrew Hitz

Playing all of the right notes and right rhythms is very important, but conveying your opinions and your emotions through those notes and rhythms is what will get you and keep you employed.  Everyone has their own life experiences which is why there is always room for another great storyteller, no matter what the instrument, in the music business.

No one in your audience was there for your happiest moment, your saddest moment or your scariest moment.  These experiences are what we rely on when those black dots on the white paper go into and out of our hearts and into the ears of our audience.