Wednesday, January 16, 2013


As I started my first day of the Spring semester yesterday, my mind was very focused on the human technology. What an incredible design and living mechanism! So intricate, fine, totally made for purpose and function.

Then there is the trombone. Without the human technology the trombone is obviously not capable of doing anything. This is obvious but is a very important value and attitude that lives in me strongly. Depending on what the person is connected to when they play, will determine the potency of their music making.

A student was playing a solo today and it was quite good. I then asked them what they were thinking about when they were playing. It was not specific enough to create a strong atmospheric presence or transference to me. The person was concerned about playing it 'right.' This concept was not a part of themselves in a real way. It was on the basis of thinking things like, "I'll put a little of this here and a little of that there." If one is not clear in the message, story, image or character they want to communicate, it will not happen. Or at best there will be fragments of it that appear and then disappear. Then when they tapped into something real for them it was better in every aspect of playing. We were also talking about rhythm not being a metronomic thing but a movement of the spirit of the music.

The human person is the instrument for the music. Music is energy which expresses itself through rhythm, pitch and timbre. What a person connects to, gives the vital fuel for the spirit of the music to emerge.

It was an interesting day working with people. For there is the music they want to work on, then there is the music of their lives in the foreground and the background.... you can't escape it. The music ideally, needs to be a part of it. The two musics, need to support each other, be in tune with each other. Otherwise there is an imbalance and lack of unified resonance.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Bolter,
I am a 14 year-old boy, living in Sydney, Australia - in the 2nd year of learning my trombone, for my club activities. A few weeks ago, we had this really major competition and I was really stressed up. Due to that, I completely lost the ability to play my high notes. I used to be able to reach my double high Bb quite easily, but because of the stress from the competition, I just suddenly found myself not being able to reach my high Bb now. (that's a serious serious problem) Although the competition is now over, I still cannot reach my high notes. Do you have any suggestions on how I can improve on this problem of mine? Or why did this problem even appear? I would also appreciate it if you can give me some extra tips on how to reach my higher notes. I'm sorry to take up some of your time, but I'm really getting desperate here. Its worrying me a lot. If you do need any details, I am playing the Golden Bach trombone. Thank you for your time.

-Damian Patti