Here is the second installment of quotes from the wonderful class that University of Georgia Professor David Zerkel gave at George Mason University in September.
In case you missed it, click here for Part 1.
- "When you start an excerpt, don't just hit the button on a treadmill and then go flying. I turn on the treadmill for at least a full measure before I get on so I'm ready to start."
- "I can't tell you how many times I have been at an audition and literally said to myself 'Why am I playing? You aren't ready to play yet.'"
- "We all have this idea in our head that it takes perfect playing to win an audition. It does not. It takes playing that is informed and stylish and that the person who is going to sit next to them for the rest of their careers knows the context of the music. They're hiring a musician, not a tuba player."
- "I want you to think less about playing perfectly and more about playing communicatively."
- "For me, music is performed in words, and sentences, and paragraphs, and chapters."
- "Think less syllabically and think longer."
- "Our job as performers in whatever we do, as performers, conductors, or people selling widgets, is to keep people with us, to not let them off the hook. It can't be 'I'm going to play something nice for you and I hope you enjoy it.' You need to say 'You're coming with me. Get in the car. And here's what we're going to do.'"
- "Keep moving your bow on long notes."
- "People have short attention spans, Google Generation. On the long notes I'm going to insist that you keep us with you."
- "Always motion."
- "You can look at the trees in the wind. They are moving. Wind demands motion. Motion happens because of wind. I'm asking your playing to be more windy. I'm asking for you to show me the reaction to the wind."
- "When watching a conductor, the information you're getting is the motion between the beats. That's what you have to show."
- "There are a lot of times when you get to the end of your phrase and you get an involuntary sound. We need to dictate it and not let the instrument tell us how it is going to be."
- "Be sure you are maximizing your expansion when you're playing."
- "If you need more air, for God's sake go get it."
- "What's going to make people notice that my lung capacity is small? By playing with an involuntary sound at the end of phrases."
- "I have a decision to make: am I going to let my sound suffer or am I going to breath in more places?"
- "Can we all agree that when we are playing any wind instrument that one of our goals is to play with a resonant sound?"
- "Sound is vibration. Resonance is an abundance of vibration. In order for us to play with an abundance of vibrations we must use an abundance of air."
- "Jacobs asked me "how do you breath?" I gave a complicated answer and he said 'No, you suck air into your body.'"
- "Jacobs talked to me about blowing way, way, way, way WAY beyond your lips. He then played using air to his lips, then to his valve cluster, then to his bottom bow, then to his bell."
- "Think of blowing your air two feet beyond your bell."
- "Project everything forward. When you're singing properly your mask (face) vibrates."
- "Someone says your sound is huge, that's a compliment. When they tell you you play loud, they may hate you."
- "In the upper register the air stream is pencil-sized. In the middle register it is corndog sized."