One of my favorite moments as a trumpet student was listening to Clark Terry warm up back stage before a performance. He is also responsible for helping to shape my view of music and becoming a musician. In a master class his quote to the class about improvisation was “first you must imitate, then you can innovate.” As a young musician I thought I should apply this to every facet of music in my life.
I know what your thinking, yet another trumpeter writing about the importance of mouthpiece selection and striking the perfect balance between back-bore and throat size. I happen to follow all those trends religiously but this isn’t another one of those rants. Coincidentally, I currently play a Laskey 75C with a standard throat and back-bore, not that it matters. The question about mouthpieces comes up for me at least twice a year. I’ve noticed this pattern over the past 5 or 6 years.
The question comes up because I want to improve my performance on the trumpet. Which usually leads me to examine my approach to the instrument and the art of creating music. In reality it’s a small question that leads to bigger thoughts. The progression of questions might start off like this:
• Should I play a 22 throat with asymphonic back-bore like I did for 12 years or stay with what I have currently?
• Am I producing the sound I want the audience to hear?
• Am I performing music as thecomposer’s intended and am I being true to the style of music I am performing?
• Am I growing as an artist andeducator of music?
• Can I continue to perform music andhave a meaningful family life?
• Do I make enough money as amusician and educator?
• Am I doing everything I can to providefor my kid?
• Should I finish this bottle of wine orjust go to bed?
This is jus a small sampling of the rabbit hole I fall into late at night/early morning. It starts off with the idea of playing a different mouthpiece and whether it’s the “Right Move”. Then there are the other question… Can I afford it financially….Can I afford not to make a change?
Too many questions … Maybe I’ll open up the back-bore next month.
I’ve been a fan of her music for almost two decades now. I think Alex Ross has written an interesting piece for the Guardian about some of her favorite pieces of music. From Mahler to Steve Reich to Public Enemy… I love the diversity in her library.
During the podcast the host Naomi Lewin facilitated a group discussion about the diversity of both audiences and members of major symphony orchestras in the United States. I’m glad to hear that these kinds of conversations are happening in public forums and encourage many to listen to the podcast American Orchestras Grapples With Lack of Diversity.