Wednesday, September 11, 2019

FBSMC 11, Making the Most of What You Have, Video 13, Rehearsal Time

What have you’ve done with the rehearsals you’ve had????
This is really an excellent question for any musician who wants to rethink what they can get out of a rehearsal and make the most of all that time. The people watching alone is pretty incredible! Especially from the vantage point sitting in the back the orchestra with lots of measures to count. :-)
The orchestra (and any ensemble really), is an intricate web of communication similar to the fine threads  that make up a spider’s web. Every line on a spider’s web can feel the movement of the other lines. It is such a sensitive construction meant for a very specific purpose. The orchestra set-up is as well. Imagine if everyone were really immersed inside the spirit of the music and were unified in the purpose… That web of communication would ‘catch’ the conductive signal of the conductor and transmit the signal of the music much the same as a radio or satellite dish  shoots the signal into space. This actually happens anyway but think of the potency that would take place if everyone were really on the same wavelength!!! That of course is the essence of  intonation at a more core level.

Beware of becoming too much of a geek on your own instrument to the exclusion of learning from the instruments . I’ve learned as much if not more from the other instruments than my own in many ways. You will be able to feel and think of the sound, articulation, and phrasing in a multi-variety of ways. It will also aid in the prevention of being ‘blinded’ by only one kind of sound and falling into ruts and a lack of ideas. (On a deeper note, this blindness to one kind of ‘the right sound’ is the source of bias and prejudice when it is extended into other human thought processes).

Make the most of your rehearsal time!! An interesting anagram of rehearsal if you add another l, is ‘hears all’! Isn’t that cool!!

Video link to video 13

FBSMC 11, Making the Most of What you Have, Video 12 Companion Notes

Can you find the art in all things? This video beckons this question! It is the core of music a s a living thing and Art as a living things no different to life itself. So looking at other art, you can use music references to actually identify, feel and confirm that all things are in all things.

Can you find the rhythm, pitch and timbre in:
human behavior 
in the course of your daily life
comic strips
basket weaving
anything and everything!

This will be a good start on your journey!

Video 12 link:

Sunday, August 11, 2019

FBSMC11, Making the Most of What You Have, video 9, What Have You Done With..

What have you done with the lessons you've been given??

There is soooooo much information these days that I don't know how someone can take it all in. Hopefully people aren't taking it all in to the point they feel that they have to work on everything everybody says. Perhaps more advanced players are finding ways that work for them because of so many options that are out there just a click a way. Well, we all have the power to make our own options. We are all hybrids aren't we(?) of all that has influenced us. Certain things work for a while and then we need to go to other things at various points in our development and career. We age and that brings a different set of circumstances to deal with. Having a lots of ways and means can be excellent, especially the ones that we have come across and worked on tweaking them to what works for us because in the end we are all a 'custom' job.

 There have been times where I will suddenly remember what a teacher said to me decades ago and I realize from a much fuller standpoint now what they meant. The right information will get to us if the strength of our desire is potent enough. When the desire is potent enough, we do get some answers, not all the time are the answers what we think they will be.... Here is where the first law of the student comes in. It is called 'immediate application.' When a student practices immediate application when they are given something, they get it 'hot off the press' so to speak, with the vibratory essence and life of the exercise or advice fresh in their minds. This is a vital key to more quality practice time and subsequent improvement.

Make hay while the sun shines!!

Video 9

FBSMC11, Making the Most of What You Have, One Note

Since the material is getting very dense in these videos, I've decided in this video to focus on how much we can make of one note.

Here is where life can get very interesting! If we are only focused on our beautiful sound, are we going to be willing to experiment to find other qualities? The series of exercises in this video could challenge one's concepts. This subject, for those of you who have followed my videos, will know this is not a new topic that has been discussed! These exercises work on expanding our concepts and ideas mentally and also give us the opportunity to broaden our basic embouchure and breath control. In fact as much as we can get into mental ruts, we certainly get into physical ruts too. This makes sense from several viewpoints including the idea of sticking to one beautiful sound. How many ways can we make that one beautiful sound nuance? At that point, is it the one beautiful sound or is it enhanced or changed to the point where it moved into other shades, colors and timbres?

If there is a high quality ice cream for example, the quality is tasted and recognized whether it is chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, maple walnut and so forth. So is quality independent of the particular flavor? Is quality it's own 'flavor' regardless of what kind it might be? I think this is more to the point isn't it? There are many flavors of trombone sound out there but we can all sense quality even if we like some more than others. But, it does get tricky because our own opinions 'color' the picture. We can solve this apparent contradiction by saying as an example, "a darker more low -over- toned -covered sound fits Mahler more than Mozart." At least this kind of putting together has a purpose that  goes beyond someone's personal "I like or I don't like" as the only criteria.

How are we gong to discover if we never venture outside of our own backyard???

Video 8

Thursday, July 18, 2019

FBSMC11, Making the Most of What You Have, Video 7, Your Experiences

Connecting to Nature is a wonderful way for a human being to feel more unity with life outside of usual urban day to day life with its speeds, timings and agendas. We all have experiences and relationships with color, people, plants, rocks, animals and more! We can connect to these experiences and put them into our music making. Nature is the Living Art and when putting our connections with nature in our music making, our music becomes a living Art as well. 

Now a person does have their internal goings in our psychologies, mental wiring, emotional waves, physical body stuff on all levels and all of these interacting with our environment and various relationships. We can have our art, music making, be a wonderful way towards our own personal development and deepening of our art's content. Our art can become more nutrient dense with more substance the more we bring the fullness of our life into it. 

Starting with our experiences, gives us a chance to feel something that is in us. This is usually more graspable than something outside of our personal experience. So this video really encourages that exploration which can be a useful way of linking our life into our music making.

Video 7 Your Experiences link:

Sunday, July 14, 2019

FBSMC11, Making the Most of What You Have, Companion Notes for Video 6, "The Juggler"

If everything is going fine in our playing, we don't have a need to break it down into parts. If  we are starting out, there are a lot of parts to 'juggle' with aren't there?  The teacher needs to be sensitive to each individual student and their specific ability to take on more and more. Think of what it takes to get a sound out of a brass instrument. Vibrating of the lips, a good inhale and exhale of air, air support. When we want to be more specific about quality of sound, other things need to be put into the picture like: an example we can hear and try to reproduce, a better structure in our embouchure, the quality and speed of the air might need to alter, mouthpiece placement might have to come into it and so on.  It certainly can feel like a juggling act. This is where a good example to have as a model can be useful. Also a concept, eventually a personal concept, that makes it real for us and comes from a feeling within ourselves.

Once a player has a basic foundation where they have basic command over the foundations of playing, they can start to add more to their repertoire of various kinds of articulation, timbres of tone, musical nuances and more. This is an expansion of what they have and certainly can produce another kind of juggling act. Improving and adding more to what we can already do challenges our playing and what is comfortable for us. Once some people get comfortable, the thought of making changes doesn't sound very appealing! But, there are those that want more out of their playing because there is a need to express more or frankly, they get bored with what they have and want to be challenged. This is because at some level, for those who want to go further with their art, there is a sense that more is called for, for they are feeling unsatisfied and sense something is missing in their art.

This video talks about tone color using the elements, water, earth, air and fire and finding how to express these natural elements of nature to our playing. It also gets into expanding our kinds  articulation listening to other instruments and so much more... My recommendation is to try to catch the way of it instead of trying to memorize the words of what is being said.  Build relationships with rhythm, pitch, timbre, other instruments, the elements of nature, everything,  and see how they can enhance and teach you much on all levels about your music and technique as living thing which will certainly help you in making the most of what you have!

Video 6 "The Juggle" link: 

Saturday, July 6, 2019

FBSMC11 Making the Most of What You Have, Companion notes for videos 2,3,4&5

Hi everyone!

FBSMC11 is well on its way! One of the themes that is emerging from the videos so far is how everything is so integrated.

In video 2, I'm talking about making the most of your  T.E.A. time. No, not the nice relaxing time they enjoy mid afternoon in Great Britain, but how you are spending your time, energy and awareness in your practice sessions. When we spend time practicing we are also using energy. When we put our awareness (attention) on something, it takes time and uses energy. This can lead to some very fascinating contemplations! Think about it: time is a specific amount of space, energy is fuel that is needed for awareness, awareness is consciousness even though we can be conscious but not aware! Beware!, meaning be aware that you are 'in' when you are engaged in practicing (and other activities), so you are not just unconsciously acting out of habit when you don't want to be.

Some suggestions to help this along:
1. Practice in shorter time periods paying attention to what you are doing
2. Know what you are trying to get accomplished
3. Ask yourself questions like, "Is this closer or further from what I want?' "Do I even know what I am looking for?"
4. When you feel yourself not 'in'(meaning with what you are doing), STOP and collect yourself in a calm matter.

Try this method:
1. Set  an alarm for 10 minutes
2. Focus on an aspect of playing
3. Stop each time you are unsatisfied with it.
4. End the session when the timer goes off.
5. Rest for 5-6 minutes then start the session again.
NOTE: During the rest sessions, walk in place taking breaths through the nose or mouth for 5  counts in and then 5 counts out. Think thoughts that inspire you and give you energy and enthusiastically remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing.

Video 2 link

The above exercises also go well with Video 3 which is called Practice Time. This video takes the concepts of T.E.A. time  and applies it to our individual practice sessions. Video 3 emphasizes the need to prepare ourselves for more productive engagements in our practice sessions and gives some ways and means to hep this come about. Tuning to the task at hand is a surely a way to have more awareness and energy to make the most out of our time. 

Video 3 link

 Videos 4 and 5 focus on the tripod of music's physical body rhythm, pitch and timbre. Video 4 centers around tone (timbre) and video 5 focuses on rhythm. But!! In video 5 something amazing happens when I realize that if we are working on rhythm playing our horn, how can I ignore or not think about articulation? Rhythm speaks of clarity and specificity and so does articulation and of course pitch does too! So feeling the interrelatedness of all these things triggered an explosion of awareness in seeing everything as one thing and the value of a concept being a compact unified idea made up of many working parts. All the parts come into service and under the banner of the whole. So, within the one (concept in this case), lies the many. The other videos 6 and 7 will dig into this in more detail with more practical exercises!

Video 4 link

Video 5 link