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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: Master Class

Warren Deck Master Class Quotes (Part 2 of 2)

Andrew Hitz

Here is part two of my quotes from a master class by former Principal Tuba of the New York Philharmonic, Warren Deck. These quotes are from his class at the 2015 Northeast Regional Tuba Euphonium Conference at Ithaca College.

It was a phenomenal class. The quotes below about the window especially blew my mind. Really opened my eyes to exactly what I am trying to play and teach.

You can find part one here.

  • I like to play a game with myself when I listen to music. It's called 'how much can I hear? How much can I notice? That's why I like to listen in community. I like to listen with 3 or 4 people. 
  • The higher the quality of your musical mind, the higher the quality of what's going to come out of your instrument. 
  • Keep the instrument full of air. 
  • I'm going to urge you to listen to records and try to dig one level deeper. What can you hear? Every day try to hear something you haven't heard before. 
  • Listen to the great players. Listen to how they make the magic. 
  • The air only knows one thing: the shape of my phrase. 
  • I want to hear the music as if I never have to breath ever. 
  • I'm going to throw in an extra breath to see whether I can do it without changing the shape of the phrase. 
  • The way air misses notes is dynamically. Air can miss notes. But oftentimes we missed it with our embouchure. 
  • The bow doesn't need to know about changing the pitch. 
  • Teach your embouchure to sing that tune accurately. 
  • Separate the art from the craft. Our art is how well we can conceive of it. Our craft is how well we can play it. 
  • The art is a scene and the craft is the window. If we show someone our scene, how much dirt is on the window? 
  • The reason we clean the window is because we have an exact idea of how we want to sound. 
  • Ronnie Romm said that flying a plane was the most musical thing he ever did. 
  • I'm driving a car and my listener is my passenger. What kind of ride am I giving them?

 

Warren Deck Master Class Quotes (Part 1 of 2)

Andrew Hitz

Back in April of 2015 I was honored to do a music business presentation at the Northeast Regional Tuba Euphonium Conference at Ithaca College hosted by Aaron Tindall. The lineup was better than some of the national conferences I've attended and it was an honor to be a part of it.

One of the real treats of that week was getting to attend a master class by former New York Philharmonic tuba player Warren Deck. I had a lesson with him in his New Jersey basement back in 1992 but hadn't been exposed to his teaching since then.

Warren is one of the all-time great tuba players and teachers. He is that rare combination of superb player and phenomenal teacher. I love these quotes and glad that I remembered that I was sitting on them!

You can find part two here.

  • A great writer has a really huge vocabulary and by using that they can evoke a wide range of emotions by their choice of words.
  • Musicians manipulate audiences emotions. They willingly pay to be taken on a journey.
  • I advocate that people commune with the page. Ask 'what is this composer trying to tell me through this archaic notation system?'
  • How many different ways can you say the word hi?
  • How can we change little things to find just the right inflection when we play?
  • Think of different interpretations as saying the same things with different accents.
  • The same person might play things completely differently depending on the acoustical settings.
  • An actor acting to the back of a hall would look ridiculous doing the same thing for a camera right in their face.
  • I was always chasing the tuba in my head.
  • Can I articulate a note any way I want at any dynamic?
  • I found that the louder I played the harder I tended to tongue. I needed dynamics and articulations to function separately.
  • The difference between ta and da is compression.
  • I took (the relationship between dynamics and articulation) and was able to practice an Arban's exercise much more mindfully.
  • I want to be able to change octaves where my air thinks it's one note.
  • The older I get the more I admire Gil Johnson for his ability to phrase and soar.
  • I just heard a person who has had a good deal of success with auditions say that they learned how to play their instrument before they learned excerpts.

Jens Lindemann Master Class Quotes from George Mason University (Part 3 of 3)

Andrew Hitz

Here is the final installment of Jens Lindemann quotes from his master class at George Mason last semester for our brass ensemble.  It was a pleasure to have him.  He left the students inspired and in the practice room!

  • "When I get to the bottom I think of adding volume of air, not volume of sound.  Keep things set and then apply air."
     
  • "When I hear people say 'I'm not really a high note player.  I'm more of a second player and focus on this octave and a half.' I call bullshit."
     
  • "We are taught to play low to high from day one.  That's a terrible idea."
     
  • "High notes are faster vibrations.  They're not high."
     
  • "The faster you think of everything on a horizontal plane including air-wise, the beter off you'll be.  Horizontally away from you, not up."
     
  • "By the time you get to college you're not so much learning new things but unlearning old things."
     
  • "The instrument is right here (his lips.) (The trumpet) is just an amplifier."
     
  • "We're far too dependent when we're young on the tongue to start notes."
     
  • "The way to practice using the mid-section of our bodies is breath attacks."
     
  • "There's no mystery as to what we're doing here.  It's just plumbing."
     
  • "The instrument is not profound.  The body is profound."
     
  • "Playing an octave is no big deal.  Then you add a slur and every body freaks out.  That stupid line makes everybody freak out."
     
  • "There's no such thing as a slur on a trumpet.  It simply means play from one note to the next without a tongue."
     
  • "You can mask a slur by crescendoing slightly on the bottom note."
     
  • "I'm a lot more relaxed about mouthpieces now than when I was coming up."
     
  • "I'm not a believer in finding the biggest mouthpiece that you can get for your instrument.  And that includes the professionals who are hoisting that upon you.  They are wrong."
     
  • "It's important for you to know that you can get things done on mid-sized equipment."

Jens Lindemann Master Class Quotes from George Mason University (Part 2 of 3)

Andrew Hitz

Here is the second installment of quotes from the wonderful clinic that Jens Lindemann gave at George Mason last semester.  So much good stuff in here! Thank you, Jens!

  • "There are a handful of musicians in our business that are untouchable.  Like Wynton Marsalis.  He's not a trumpet player.  He's an icon."
     
  • "It begins with what I call the Musical Circle of Life.  Top of the circle is Day 1.  6 o'clock is brass purgatory: people who talk about mouthpieces and recordings.  The goal is to get back to the top of the circle.  But you can never get back to Day 1."
     
  • "The responsibility is getting enlightened.  And that responsibility is on you, not on me."
     
  • "You get me for one hour a week.  When you leave the room, do you think I think about you for one minute afterwards? I serisouly don't.  I have a wife, and a life, and a career.  But you don't think about me either."
     
  • "You're the ones who have to be responsible for saying 'I've got to figure this out.'"
     
  • "You've got to think outside the box.  You can't just go through a list of books and solos.  That's a meathead approach."
     
  • "Playing a brass instrument is ultimately about getting your whole body involved.  To make it as free and easy as possible."
     
  • "You know the best players where it just seems so natural? That's because it is."
     
  • "Find a way to be in your chair and engaged."
     
  • "First thing I would suggest is to strongly discourage sitting on the back of your chair.  When I sit on the front of the chair everything is unlocked.  I'm engaging my entire body."
     
  • "Rule #1: View your whole body as a part of the instrument."
     
  • "Practice rolling a ball under your foot while you play."
     
  • "Keep your mind engaged."
     
  • "Technology is one of the great advantages of today."
     
  • "The only problem with a problem is potentially realizing it's not a problem."
     
  • "You must be inquisitive."
     
  • "When I set up an embouchure I try to keep things as set as possible."

Jens Lindemann Master Class Quotes from George Mason University (Part 1 of 3)

Andrew Hitz

Trumpet virtuoso Jens Lindemann is one of the great players and pedagogues of any instrument in the world today.  He is truly gifted musician and educator and we were honored to have him come to George Mason to give a master class last semester.

Here are some quotes from his class with the brass ensemble.  There were so many good ones I had to split this up into three posts.

Enjoy!

  • "The relationships you're forging now are the ones you will have in 15-20 years.  Remember, as you gain in status so do those who are now around you."
     
  • "Tchaik 4 with the NY Phil and Zubin Mehta was like opening a cage and tossing raw meat into it."
     
  • "This is where your research will help your performance.  If you know the composer is a cinematic composer, you will play it in a cinematic way."
     
  • "There's not a trumpet player in the world that I don't have on speed dial.  I'm super famous."
     
  • "The greatest of the great players are the ones that say they're going to take this to the next level no matter what it takes."
     
  • "You don't have to be superstar players to make a great performance."
     
  • "The big thing about chamber music is that you shouldn't play it like you're sitting in the back of the orchestra.  It's harder to play soloisticly in that scenario."
     
  • "Traditionally you think about fitting in and keeping the machine going when you win a job."
     
  • "They all looked at me and told me 'No no. Don't play it like Freddy played it.  Play it like you play it.'"
     
  • "When you obviously have a moving line, like 8th notes in a ballad, move it along."
     
  • "Rhythm is a musical term for cooperation."
     
  • "The third note of a quarter note triplet is not important.  What's important is the first note and where it's going."
     
  • "Are you going to let the trumpets steal your solo line or are you going to Marty-ize it?"
     
  • "Not everything has to line up vertically in music.  I used to think it did."
     
  • "I used to hear Gene (Watts) talk about 1960's Mozart.  About how the bass and drums didn't line up, about how it was out of tune.  'But it was so right.'"
     
  • "The day you start sounding perfect, like a computer, is the day you completely lose what this is about: emotional rub."
     
  • "It's not just how you play the downbeat.  It's having direction in the notes leading up to the downbeat."
     
  • "There are a handful of musicians in our business that are untouchable.  Like Wynton Marsalis.  He's not a trumpet player.  He's an icon."