Sunday, September 2, 2007

Excerpt from "The TAC Legend Writings"

This following dialogue is excerpted from one of Master Manlon's master classes.

"Master Manlon was about to continue when someone else, without raising their hand, asked,'Isn't this getting to be too much thinking? What about just picking it up, breathing and playing?'

The Master approached the person and said, 'Hello, what is your
name?'

'Julian,' the young man said.

Master Manlon asked, 'Would you like to come up here and play something for us?'

'Yes,' answered Julian.... [Julian played the trombone solo from Mahler's 3rd Symphony.]

...'What were you thinking about when you were playing?' asked Master Manlon.

'Uh, hmmmm. I was thinking it would have sounded better if I had warmed up a little bit.'... [Master Manlon asked if Julian would like to try to play something else and Julian said he would like to play the second trombone solo from 'Russian Easter Overture' by Rimsky-Korsakov and then played it.]

After a moment of of sensing what the acoustical return from the audience and his own registrations were, he [Master Manlon] proceeded to ask Julian again what he was thinking while he was playing.

Julian said he felt more ready and in control of what he was doing. Then Master Manlon said, 'Yes I heard that, but you didn't address the question I asked you. What were you thinking about while you were playing?'

'I was thinking this feels better. It sounds good and solid,' answered Julian, with a slight timbre of frustration in his voice.

Master Manlon walked closer to Julian, looked at him very directly, and said, 'What does this solo mean to you?'

Julian said, 'It's very chant-like and I read that it was supposed to be a psalm.'

Master Manlon: 'Is that what it means to you?'

Julian: 'What do you mean?'

Master Manlon: 'Is that what you were feeling when you played it for us?'

Julian: 'I was just trying to play it the best I could. That's it.'

Master Manlon: 'Julian, I appreciate that, and it was very clear you were giving it your present all. But knowing what something is about doesn't mean you are connected, or even can relate to it. Do you follow me?'

Julian: 'I think so.'"

The above is from my book in progress, "The TAC Legend Writings." Click here to read another excerpt.

3 comments:

Gabe Langfur said...

Thank you for the reminder. Tomorrow is an audition, and this re-alignment helps me tremendously in the last stages.

Mrs. V. said...

Lovely story about the inner feeling for things that we do (which explains the beautiful sound of your music).

joeyme1 said...

Yesterday, I was talking to a friend during intermission of a concert that I was playing. He recently wrote an unaccompanied trombone solo for Michael Mulcahy. I thought, "Great, I can ask a composer what his piece is about!" So, I asked what the inspiration behind the piece was. He responded that it wasn't about "anything", that it was just a "musical idea". He went on to tell me that he asked Michael what Michael thought of the piece, and his response was only that he found the piece "effective".

And that was all he would say. Upon hearing that, I thought that it was interesting to see that his "musical idea" created an "effect" on the performer/performance. Furthermore, it reinforced my thoughts that "specific, or creative, or descriptive, etc..." musical thoughts create more "specific, creative, or descriptive, etc..." musical effects.

Joey