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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Let The Ideas Out

Andrew Hitz

"If you have enough bad ideas you will have absolutely no trouble having enough good ideas. What people who create do is they let the ideas out. they sit and they do the work and the ideas come. Good ideas, bad ideas."
—Seth Godin from Leap First

Seth Godin was not talking about the practice room in the above comment but he might as well have been.

It is imperative that we "let the ideas out" when we are in the practice room.

Of course we need to focus on a daily basis on range, dynamics, articulations, releases, slurs and everything in between. This is the homework that every great musician on any instrument has done in spades.

But no one really cares if you are only a great technician on your instrument. Sure, you'll probably have a career of some kind (if you are truly a great technician and not just a good one) but you won't have one that is very rewarding or that has much impact on the world.

The ideas are what affect others. The ideas are why we all got into this crazy business in the first place. And the key to having great ideas is to have lots of ideas.

Ideas are why some people prefer Phil Smith, some prefer Chris Martin, and some prefer Thomas Hooten. It sure isn't because Phil can slur better than Chris or Thomas can. They slur equally well.

Yet all three of them play with enough clear ideas and storytelling in their playing that it is quite easy to prefer one over the other two. And that's what it's all about.

And the only way to ever approach the quality and clarity of the ideas of any of those three trumpet players is by letting the ideas out. The good ones and the bad ones.

That's exactly what they did.