Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 17:28:39 EST
Subject: Fwd: Skiing and Trumpet Playing....Finding the leverage (long)

hutsont@BATTELLE.ORG writes:

<< You need to forget
 about the details and focus on making each note as easy and effortless to
 play as possible with good sound.  I have spent alot of hours suffering bad
 days.  Hours that extend beyond the practice sessions.  It sometimes tooks
 days to be able to get back to where I was before I had that bad day.  Using
 this approach, I seem to be able to cope much better and can get back to
 where I was after having a bad day much sooner; within a single practice
 session.  Bad days don't stay bad days now. >>

        Well, I have almost too much to say in such a limited forum with a limited time span (I have to get to the gig on time), but here are some additions to this discussion which I think are pertinent.

        Ralph Alessi and Vince Penzarella are two people whose ideas have had an extremely positive impact on my trumpet playing over the years. Ralph turned me on to Psychocybernetics (and he turned me on to Vince as well), which was a major turning point in my career. Then, upon going to see Mr. Penzarella for a few lessons, I had yet another epiphany about trumpet playing. Vince told me that he still views trumpet playing as though he were a child going to the playground with his best friend for a day of unabashed fun.

        He even went so far as to detail a method of practicing which utilizes your own biological intelligence to get results fast. Basically, he would have you spend an hour or so (or whatever time you had to just play some music) playing music. Not scales or rudiments....just music that you like playing ---- and record the session. Again, this is just you and your "best friend" in the playground, we're not going for singel take CDs. Then just before you go to bed at night, you are to take a clean sheet of paper, draw a line down the middle, and label one column "Things I did well/liked" and the other side "Things I didn't like/did poorly." You must find at least equal amounts of items for each side of the list as you listen to the tape you made earlier. When you're done, you tear the sheet in half, putting the "Things you disliked" column on your music stand, to be used as the basis of your concentration for tomorrow's practice session. Finally, you read to yourself all the things in the "things I like" column, and go to sleep. The nect day, start focusing your practice routine on the rudiments which will help improve the things you didn' tlike from yesterday.

        This method has allowed me to focus my practice sessions to an extremely high degree. i use it whenever I have an important performance pending, and can very often short circuit problems before they arise.

        Remember that your brain/body is a smart machine which learns to produce responses based on feedback from its environment, and that includes your psychological state while playing. If we hold our minds to the highest ideals, then our physical response will be a reproduction of those ideals. The more vividly we can envision them, the more accurately and quickly we can create them in our playing habits. to me, the human mind is one of the least utilized yet most powerful tools we have at our disposal; learn to use it efficiently and the dividends paid will be numerous.

- --Walter Hertman