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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: Quotes

Intonation is Relative

Andrew Hitz

"It is okay to play out of tune. It is not okay to stay out of tune."

-Michael Davis of (Hip-Bone Music and Former Trombone Player for the Rolling Stones)

This also brings to mind one of my favorite phrases: "Intonation is a social skill."

If two people are playing together and are not in tune with each other it doesn't matter what the tuner says. One is not flat and the other sharp. "They" are out of tune.

Whether you are "right" or "wrong", when you notice you are out of tune, fix it.

Are You Procrastinating?

Andrew Hitz

“If you had started doing anything two weeks ago, by today you would have been two weeks better at it.” ― John Mayer

Stop procrastinating. Face whatever it is that you fear about your playing or career and make a plan to attack it. Take the first step today or you know where you’ll be two weeks from now.

It's The Little Things

Andrew Hitz

"It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen."

-John Wooden

John Wooden may have been a basketball coach but he sure knew the secret to success in music.  The difference between a superior rating and an excellent rating at assessment is the little details.  The difference between your average professional musician and the greatest in the world is the little details.  The difference between having a great lesson and a pretty good lesson is the little details.

Because the little things make the big things happen.

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."

Charlie Parker on Sharing Your Experiences Musically

Andrew Hitz

Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.

-Charlie Parker

This is why I insist that my students "have a life" separate from their horns.  You can't play a song about getting your heart broken if you've never had a broken heart.  You can't convey being scared or giddy if you've never experienced those things yourself.

If what's coming out of your bell is not your experience, your thoughts, and your wisdom, chances are you won't be compensated too much for it.

Two Quotes to Help You Get to the Next Level

Andrew Hitz

"Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is a strength."
-Ranaan Meyer
"You need to be brutally honest with yourself about what you can and can't do on the horn."
-Joe Alessi

Honest appraisal of one's abilities is the first step in improving any skill.  The key is constantly practicing both the things you can do and the things you can't do so your assessment of your own abilities is not out of date.

Do you have an accurate assessment of your strengths and weaknesses today?