Thursday, February 23, 2006

Holy Crap...There's Music in There

I'm so used to cramming music into my brain in order to -just- make a deadline, it's odd for me to take time and really learn a piece of music. In fact, I've been trying to remember the last time I was able to sit and learn...really digest...a piece of music. It's been years. I've spent a great deal of time learning notes and rhythms...Very little time becoming a better musician and applying that towards a piece of music.

When I got to NEC, I was told that I needed to learn how to process music very quickly. At that point, I was performing well, but I learned music VERY slowly. Note by note, tone by tone. I'll be damned if I still can't play the music I learned that way, though. That music is still part of my repertoire. Much of what I've learned since then still sits on the edge in my brain, waiting for me to reacquaint myself with it before I trot it out on stage.

Don't get me wrong: I needed to learn how to inhale music quickly and regurgitate it accurately. In fact, I became pretty good at it. I've made sort of a cottage industry in the past few years out of stepping in as a sub at the last minute and playing down concerts. It's fun, but it's not always fulfilling.

I realized all of this when I approached, on the advice of a very sweet and wise friend, a new (to me) piece of music...Not for any audition or concert, but for me. I've added it to my daily practice stack as part of my "required work" before I get to my business practice. I've been going over each note with a fine-toothed comb, really making sure I play the clarinet well while I play those notes and intervals. What do you know? All of the work I had to do later sounded better because of it.

I'm so tired of just warming up, playing scales, and shedding whatever is next. I'm pretty sure that this steady pattern of being lead by the nose is what leads to our business' positively funerial job satisfaction ratings. Picking a beautiful piece of music and just learning it seems to have reduced my stress level and helped my overall playing. Of course, this is only over the course of a few days. We'll see how long it lasts.

It seems like I may owe my friend a few beers.


Blogger Marie said...

No tv, and no beer....make Homer something, something....

2/25/2006 08:15:00 PM  

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