Sunday, August 26, 2007

If the Shoe Fits...

Fashions come and fashions go.
Stay in tune with what you know.
Water your root and watch it grow.
Know thyself and you will flow.

A full sound is maximum vibration in a particular space or body (human acoustic). Fixed ideas about what a full sound (or anything else) is can cause conflict in a person if they compare themselves to others without enough broader understanding, i.e., take into consideration the fuller context and value of individual uniquenesses.

You can learn from the current style, but that doesn't mean you have to become it to be whole. Otherwise, how will you be able to fulfill your own destiny--or even find out what it is?

If you wear a shoe size 7-1/2 C and your foot fits that shoe fully, then why would you insist on trying to wear a 12-1/2 D shoe? Even though what you "can do" might seem "smaller" sometimes, doesn't mean it is lesser--and it doesn't meant you can't grow.

Here's a story: A student asked me if I thought they had a big, full sound. My response was that they had a medium, small size sound but it was very full within itself. They were very upset with my response! And that's when I gave him the analogy of different shoe sizes.

Many times brass players play equipment that is too big for them. They think this will help them get a fuller sound. But they only are thinking of size, not quality of resonance, which, in the end result, creates the effect of fullness.

I've also seen many people damage themselves as a result of trying to broaden their sound too far away from their natural physiology and nature.

Better to be yourself (and know what that is) so you can discover the fullness of your potential in music--and in life.

1 comment:

Gabe Langfur said...

Thank you for this one Norman - very timely for me! I need to be reminded of this all the time!

You said to me many times in lessons: "Always start with what you CAN do." I repeat this all the time to my own students, and although I capitalize CAN, the word start is also key in this sentence!

You also made sure that I understood that there are no perfect trombone players - everybody has weaknesses, and the successful musicians capitalize on strengths, continually work to improve weaknesses, and also - very importantly - learn to play in such a way that the weaknesses do not detract from the overall picture.

My friend Taka Hagiwara, a very fine tubist, told me that he has to remind himself in auditions not to try to play better than he is. This is not a defeatist attitude at all - it is a commitment to maximizing the potential of who and what you are right now.