[Trombone-l] Practice for what?

thetubameister@adelphia.net thetubameister at adelphia.net
Fri May 23 08:02:12 CDT 2008

Interesting thoughts...

I wonder, I do - and have done - a great deal of listening.  The odd thing is, as a trombonist and tubist, that I've almost always leaned heavily on baroque music, repertoire, recordings, recital material, etc.  Like, 80% of my listening.  Now, I can probably ID Mahler, but not always the right symphony, Quiet City isn't even on my radar...  But Telemann, Purcell, and Bach are much easier for me, and I've always identified with this music much more.

I think it has created in my a quality in my playing to search for articulation perfection and clarity.  Hear enough Organ, Lute, and even "Switched on Bach", and there's an inherant clarity which is a standard you hold yourself to mercilessly.

I'm not sure listening to the actual pieces repetitively to the point of memorizing all of Mahler's Opuses (Opi?) is as necessary as listening in general.  Being inspired, listen to great artistis of ALL instruments, these are things which can bring us above and beyond our mere repertoire.  And motivate us to go into the practice room time and again...

Just some thoughts :-)


---- Roger Harvey <rharvey at brassworks-music.com> wrote: 
> Dear all,
> As I contribute to the current practice thread it worries me that we  
> become so involved with technical matters of playing an instrument  
> that we forget why we are doing it in the first place. Many players, I  
> know, just love playing their instrument. For most, I hope, it is more  
> than that - it's our way of being involved in the hugely stimulating  
> activity of corporate music-making. I feel that this should never be  
> forgotten during the hard hours of personal practice. I sometimes  
> wonder why some people continue to play as they seem not to be  
> interested in music and occasionally even dislike it. I'm not talking  
> about a lack of involvement with a particular piece or composer but a  
> more general disinterest in music as a whole. I decided to test this  
> out recently at a trombone Masterclass in a leading music college: I  
> compiled a quiz of 10 substantial extracts, mainly from the core  
> repertoire (Mastersinger Overture, Schubert 9, Mahler 3 etc) with a  
> couple of more difficult items (Berg Violin Concert, Elgar  
> Introduction and Allegro, Monteverdi Vespers). The extracts were  
> substantial and typical of the composers - mostly openings - this was  
> not meant to be tricky. 1 point per composer and 1 point per piece -  
> max 20. 1 student got 13, all others were below, and some well below,  
> half marks. My wife was taking a trumpet class at another major  
> college and asked me to do a similar selection for her. 20 pieces this  
> time, similarly mostly well-known pieces with a few slightly more  
> testing but still characteristic pieces. One student got 1 point out  
> of 40! The top mark was 17. One student failed to identify the opening  
> of Quiet City (the bit before the trumpet starts) in spite of the fact  
> that he was performing it a final recital in two weeks time. Neither  
> of these events prove anything but it does support my theory that,  
> even in the leading colleges, many students take far too little  
> interest in the music that will be their daily diet should they  
> succeed in reaching their goal of becoming a professional orchestral  
> player. I have to ask, why spend so much time in the formative years  
> of your life attempting to perfect a skill that has no point unless  
> you have a strong interest in and love of music? Would an aspiring  
> sportsman spend hours practicing without being really interested in  
> the game itself?
> I think that's a good place to stop.
> Regards
> Roger Harvey
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