Looking back and looking ahead. It's the end and the beginning all at one time. Just like when you are playing one note the next note is in the making. Even in metronomic time this is so. This is called the stream of relative time.
My dear students, (and all others who read this too!)
I hope you have been enjoying your break and the holidays, if any, that you celebrate. Maybe practicing is part of it? I hope so! There are so many different kinds of practicing one can do on a break time. What kinds you ask? Well let's see.. how about playing in your usual warm-up range but play according to how you feel. Perhaps you do this anyway, but you could start with having a lyrical aspect in your slurs for example. Or do your long tones with vibrato (slide, jaw, diaphragm, neck, tongue) at varying speeds. You could play long tones and think of different colors for each one. You could use something very natural like the rainbow colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Try a scale using those colors. Here:
1. First connect to the color
2. When you take in your breath, inhale that color
3. Then play the note with that same color
Obviously there are many, many colors one can try this with!
4. What do you feel from the different colors? (There is not a right or wrong in this).
Get into something without your usual time pressure. Oh, I know that you might be focusing on festival auditions or recitals too. That's fine of course. Putting other things in might help in many ways such as exercising another part of your mind-brain. (Helps to get you out of a rut plus gives the part of your mind -brain a rest from your usual!)
Perception is a wonderful thing. It can be grown. But one has to want it. Trying things that are different can give us new experiences which over time create a vast storehouse that we can always access and use. It sets up a range of comparisons we can connect to and see them at play in our life outside of music. Doesn't our life experiences outside of music affect our music making?
When a new year comes along it always presents an opportunity to start again. What if we took that same idea and applied to every new month? Or how about every week? Everyday? Every moment...
It is probably easier to take every week or month to start with. This idea can be cultivated into an attitude that when practiced regularly, can be with us. What a great ally a wonderful attitude is! It will be there as much as we practice it and truly discover its meaning for us.
I want you all to know, that I don't consider you MY students, in the sense I do not own you. If my experiences, knowledge and perceptions offer your music, trombone playing and life something, then I can feel honorable. It is an honor to work with you all. Remember that the word teacher has the word heart in it. When you start working with people one day or if you already do, remember that. You are not a trophy hunter/collector. You are trying, to the best of your ability to assist that person in the goals that they are striving for. If someone along the way who studies with you says they want to change careers, voluntarily, that should not disappoint you. You are helping them on part of their life journey not just a music career. What they gained through wanting music is huge! Think about it. From discipline, dedication, determination, self reflection and soooo much more. Make your own list of what pursuing music has done in your life. It could be very interesting as you look at this coming year.
You are all unique beings of the human kind. That is how I view you and more...
May 2017 be a year that moves you closer to your true Self and Artistic wishes and your place in the greater humanity which music has and will always have (along with the other arts), a vital place to help unify us all beyond our differences. Even if it is just for a moment. For in one moment so much can (and does) happen. For aren't we are ALL moments in the stream of relative time?
Love, Peace and Joy,
Mr. Bolter, Norman