Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2006 10:23:58 -0700
From: "Reaban, Derek" <>
Subject: [TPIN] Jens Lindemann Master Class (Part 1)

Jens presented a fantastic masterclass on Thursday morning at the ASU School of Music (Katzin Concert Hall). He communicates his ideas extremely well and had a nice structure to his presentation. As always he was lively and engaged the audience with fun stories, a great sense of humor, and a wealth of knowledge. I took good notes, so I'll do my best to summarize what I learned. Find a comfortable chair because this is a long one!

He began with personal information about where he grew up and how he get involved in music (some luck was involved in giving him a really good start in music - with his Jr. High and High School directors) and really drew everyone in with his story telling style.

I learned that he studied with Dave Hickman at the Banff Center Summer Workshop after his first year in college (where he was in a law program!). This experience at Banff was pivotal for him because it exposed him to great players his own age as well as hearing Dave's amazing sound up close. He then transferred to McGill and studied with James Thompson (who was Principal with the OSM at the time).

At this point he got excited about playing in the Munich International Trumpet Competition and worked very hard preparing with Jim Thompson. He knew in his heart that he wanted to be a trumpet soloist some day even though he was still very young. When he arrived at the competition he met many French and Asian trumpet players that were used to practicing 5 to 6 hours a day. Jens had never spent this much time playing and didn't even know it was possible. He felt compelled to step up his time in the practice room (while at the competition) to feel like he was keeping up with the other players.

After about 4 hours in the practice room one day (before the competition), there was a knock on the door. It was Gabriel Casone. He saw the bruising on Jens' chops and said, "You play too much! No practice today. Come for a cappuccino!" After the cappuccino Jens said, "Now we go back to practice?" Gabriel said, "No! It's a beautiful day. Let's take a walk around the lake." After about an hour and a half Jens says again, "want to go back and practice?" Gabriel said, "No, no! Let's go for another cappuccino. No play. It's too much." After about 5 hours Jens was itching to get back to practicing and Gabriel said, "OK. Now we go back!"

Jens was in the room ready for another big hour and a half practice session, and after about 15 minutes, Gabriel knocked on the door. "OK. That's enough. No more playing! We go for another cappuccino!"

After we all stopped laughing Jens said, "I didn't get it. Gabriel was an older player and he got it!" The message that he was telling Jens was that if you don't know it by now, you don't know it. Just relax! If you try to play this contest of "I can play higher, faster, or longer than you, you have the trumpet meat-head approach." Jens ended up going no where in that contest and Gabriel ended up being a finalist.

Jens paid close attention to what he had learned from Gabriel. He went back to Montreal and met with Jim Thompson (who had heard the results of the competition) and he asked Jens, "So? You still want to be a soloist?" At this point Jens told us that Jim Thompson knew he didn't have a chance and wasn't going to go anywhere in the competition, but he also said that Jim never told him that he ever doubted his ability.

But here's the point of his whole story, which is exactly why I love to attend events like this. Jim knew that Jens HAD to go to this competition to see what it was all about. He could have warned Jens about what he was up against, but it wouldn't have mattered. He had to go through this trial by fire on his own. After this experience he was really ready to work (after surviving a lesson that he couldn't learn any other way).

I know that I've had an experience like this as a player. When I had prepared as well as I was capable of at the time and still had endurance problems making it through a standard orchestral program on the principal book (a community orchestra), I was devastated. Of course, this is exactly the experience that was required for me to start asking the right questions to overcome my many deficiencies related to ease of sound production. 

Jens said that after the Munich experience he entered 40 solo competitions over 8 years and he lost almost every single one of them. He said, "You don't learn anything when you win something! This is just an affirmation that you were the best player on this one day." Then he said, "You only learn something when you learn. Because losing SUCKS! It hurts." He followed this with a great discussion and to summarize...Accept what the reality is and don't shift the blame somewhere else when things don't go well. Look at yourself and say, "Wow. I really didn't play well enough. There were so many other players that were better than I was. And then think about all of the great players that you got to hear and learn from them!"

The next story was simply priceless...

After a loss at a competition Jens called his Dad, looking for the voice of comfort and on the other end of the phone he heard (in a strong German accent), "Vell...I guess it vasn't obvious enough that you vere the vinner. Next time you should practice more and make it obvious. Don't complain to me! Click..."


But then he alluded to the Olympic snowboarder that threw the showboating move on the way to a gold medal and had to settle for the silver. Take care of business and things will be more effective for you.

Another thing that was significant was that in these 8 years of competitions he always had a deadline and was always preparing literature. I know the four times that I have worked up auditions I have made more progress in my playing than I could imagine was possible.

There is so much more that Jens touched on in this part of his talk. Memorize to set yourself apart from the competition. Getting the horn and your attention out of the stand allows the music to change completely. It's the human perception of communication with the audience. "Sharing" versus "imposing" the musical message. And on and on...all great info!

Derek Reaban
Tempe, Arizona