Sunday, February 23, 2014

Companion Post 2 from Orchestral Trombone Playing Video

In continuing the posts from the video on answering questions on orchestral trombone playing, this post comes from a certain section of the video.  At various times in the video, I speak about the era we are in and what seems to be the acceptable fashion in many orchestras for trombone playing. Near the end of the video, around 22.37, I raise the question, "Is there a even need for greater and greater nuance?" This was asked concerning this particular era that we are in. The answer is YES, there is! But if the fashion and employment opportunity says NO, meaning if you do this or that you won't pass through the gate, (the various rounds  in an audition), then one could say there is not. So much of education is based around job placement. Employment based education is not just happening in music schools but overall in any school of learning. 

That is why I have witnessed people knowing orchestral excerpts, just the excerpts, and not knowing the rest of the piece at all. There is a 'formula' being taught on how to make excerpts 'attractive' in an audition setting. If we are only trained in our schools to play good at the audition, what in the world is that doing for the music and our own sense of musical connection, meaning and purpose? Depending on how heavy and intense that training is, it could be extremely difficult to retrain ourselves  to be more flexible, if that should become a desire. Years ago if you saw a staccato on the page you would play it really short, almost pecky. That could have been viewed as extreme for certain musical styles but very fitting for others. If you went to an audition then and didn't play really short or sounded really heavy on tenor trombone at a tenor trombone audition, it would most likely not have fit that style and you would not advance into the next round. 

This brings up a great territory about being true to the composer's wishes. A student of mine at NEC asked a great question about this that I will answer on video soon. But to just start probing the territory, can any age, given that they have changes in style, actually know the original  wishes of the composer? Especially if the performer is being 'true' or totally attached to a particular school of playing?

Here ends companion post 2.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Answering a Question About Orchestral Trombone Playing

Often I receive emails from people around the US and abroad who appreciate the blog and the many YouTube videos that are up. All the YouTube videos are on the blog but many people see YouTube first.
This man from New York City emailed me a couple of questions about orchestral trombone playing, framing it in a certain way about how to find the balance in your own expression and the section and the conductor. A great question really and I got his permission to answer him in the form of a video. Here is the video for you to watch if you have not already seen it. The companion post will be put up in several posts. Following this video is companion post 1.

Companion Post 1

The main point  of this video is to inspire getting into the essence of the music no matter what orchestra, section or conductor you are playing with. Schools of playing are born from people, players who have found something that works for them and they pass on the concepts and methods to their students. This is all fine but in my view if it becomes a block to ones own development that is a problem. Or if the allegiance is to one school, tone color or one articulation or a certain make of equipment, then are we getting biased and it  maybe difficult to appreciate anything that is different to that. I have addressed this issue a lot because it so hits at the core of what humans do and have done throughout history in one form or another. This is my concern at the core level. It also really begs the question, WHAT IS MUSIC? This is a great frontier and I have explored aspects of it on many blog posts, masterclasses and videos but it might be the time to really open it up even more soon. Here ends Companion Post 1.