Monday, August 4, 2014

That's It! I've Got It!

Today, I had no epiphanies. I did not figure anything out today. Sort of...

Peter Pirotte is a friend of mine who recently won a job playing trumpet with the Navy Band in Washington, D.C. He was one of my roommates in Kansas City and probably heard me say, "I think I've figured it out...." at least every other day. I was constantly searching and having breakthroughs. At least I felt like I was. That made practicing exciting and it was all I wanted to do. 

I am always certain that I am going to find the answer to my "issues." Every time I try a different approach, I am sure it is going to be the magic one that fixes everything. It's really easy to keep pressing forward and get into practicing when you feel that way. It's like you're on the brink of a huge discovery that is going to change the world! Only, it never does.

What it does is change your playing a little bit. And instead of there being a magic tip that will suddenly make you amazing, it is a painful process of minor (sometimes imperceivable) improvements. Those are easy to gloss over, which is why it is good to record regularly. I don't record as much as I should but I constantly have the realization:  I couldn't do that two months ago...or last year.

I will continue to search for those few magic secrets that are going to dramatically change my trumpet life knowing I will probably not find them. As with any magic, it's just more exciting to believe.

So, my epiphany today was that I had no epiphany and that I have to keep on working. Like I said, it is easy when you're making huge improvements all of the time. We are not going to have days like that every single day and it is important not to define our musical self by one "bad day." Doug Reneau, another of my Kansas City friends who now plays in the Louisiana Philharmonic, said to me, "If a scientist has a failed hypothesis, he doesn't view it necessarily as a personal failure. It is merely something that did not work and provided some very helpful data. So you've got more to work with the next time. Practicing should be like that." 

Happy Practicing!