I've seen this on Facebook today. It's quite true.
The image didn't come out well so there are a couple of things missing among others that unsuccessful people secretly want others to fail.
I would say that successful people have results while unsuccessful people have excuses.
However, being successful doesn't mean that you'll never have any setbacks or that you'll win every audition and competition you try. The strongest isn't the one who never falls, it's the one who always stand right back up after falling.
You'll have success if you keep a positive attitude and learn from every experience positive or negative.
Don't feel too bad if you see a couple of things in there that put you in the "unsuccessful people". No one is perfect. I personally watch TV every day! Oops!...
You don't need to play a concerto to play musically. You should "switch on" your musicality right from the first note of the day.
When I warm up, I think like a singer doing scales and arpeggios and it makes everything much easier.
You probably play more or less the same things every day to warm up so it's easy to become mechanical with it. The musical energy you put in your warm up will help you reach the notes and prepare you well to play your excerpts, etudes and concertos with great musicality once you've completed your warm up drills.
Happy New Year everyone!
A few announcements to start the year: the progressive method volume 3 will be tweaked to make it a bit more palatable to the average student. I'll keep the same pieces but I'll change a few passages to make it easier on the endurance. For the modified numbers, I'll leave the original at the end of the book for those who want a bit more challenge or do them later once they have more chops.
This should take about two weeks after which I'll write more numbers for the progressive method vol. 4.
I wish everybody a wonderful 2013 full a great musical fun!
Learning to play a music instrument is not a race. Some people will conquer the skills to play very difficult pieces quickly while other people will need more time. At the end, it's not important how much time you need. What really matters is how well you learn.
The last few lessons of the Progressive method vol. 3 may be a bit difficult but you can always take more time to learn them. There is no rule that says that you need to do one lesson per week!
I've seen many people who had great intonation, sound and musicality but couldn't play very fast in the beginning doing great in auditions once they finally conquered those technical skills. They just needed a bit more time and their patience paid off!
So don't worry if some people ca play higher, faster and louder than you right now. In a few years, it won't matter at all. Just keep doing what you have to do and the results will come.
It is a natural reflex to use less air when you don't like what you hear or when you are unsure if you're playing the right thing or not. If you don't like your tone on a bad day, you'll tend to want to "hide" it by using less air and playing softer. The problem with that is that you only make things worst and end up in a vicious circle of less air-tension-forcing-bad tone-even less air- etc...
If you don't like your tone for any reason, you better just play out as if everything was normal. If some note disturb you, don't hide! Use a normal air flow or more air if it's appropriate. That way, it won't get worst at least and it'll get better eventually with a bit of patience.
If you are sight reading or don't know the piece very well, using less air will not help you. On the contrary, it'll only make you miss more notes and make more mistakes which will further affect your self confidence. Even if you aren't sure, you are probably playing the right thing! So play with confidence. If indeed, you're playing wrong notes, you'll fall back on your feet faster with more air.
So don't let a few bumps on the road affect your playing. Play out no matter what and you'll always sound strong and confident.
At last, the first five numbers of the progressive method vol. 4 are now available to download on the french horn method page. It took a bit more time then I expected but I hope to upload more numbers soon now that baby is sleeping better! I hope you enjoy this new book!
It is very tempting when you practice a piece or an etude to simply play the piece over and over again only stopping to correct single notes that you've missed. Although this might be the first thing you want to do when you read some music for the first time, it won't get you very far. If you want to play beyond a certain level, you'll have to diversify your strategy to solve technical and musical problems. Here are a few ideas and strategies that you should try while you practice. Most of these topics have been covered on this blog before but a little reminder is always good!
PRACTICE WHOLE PASSAGES:
A note is like a syllable in a word which is part of a bigger phrase. It doesn't mean anything on it's own. Simply replaying a note that you missed and continuing will not help you. You need to practice the whole passage several times until you can play it with ease before moving on. Just getting it right once after 20 tries still leaves you with a rather low average so you need to practice the passage until you can get it right most of the time.
CUT IT IN SMALL PARTS:
Small bites are easier to swallow. Take a bar or two and repeat them several times. You'll have more success than if you try to play the whole piece over and over again.
SING YOUR PART WITH YOUR VOICE:
If you can hear it, you can play it. Knowing the music in your head will increase you ability to play it by 1000%!
PLAY ON YOUR MOUTHPIECE:
This will help you get the right lips/air movement and is also great way to see if you know the piece well.
PRACTICE THE AIR ALONE:
It will help you get rid of unnecessary body tension blocking your air and help you to play fluidly.
PRACTICE SLOW AND INCREASE THE SPEED GRADUALLY:
REPEAT DIFFICULT PASSAGES SEVERAL TIMES:
This way you'll develop your reflexes until your fingers move by themselves without you thinking about them.
TRY DIFFERENT FINGERINGS;
Some passages are easier to play if you use a different fingering for one note or another. You can try different combinations if what you normally use doesn't seem to work.
If something doesn't work immediately, it may be because you need more time... You don't always need to change something.
BE THE TEACHER:
Your lesson is only 60-90 minutes per week. The rest of the time, you're on your own so you need to take charge and do what is necessary to make it work without someone telling you what to do. Those ideas above can help you but you can and should always try to come up with your own solutions because you know yourself best and can feel if something is working or not.
Try as much as possible to put less pressure on your chops when you play. A large amount of pressure will make it difficult for your lips to move from one note to another thus reducing mobility and flexibility. It will also force your embouchure to respond with an opposing force against the mouthpiece and you'll end up wasting valuable energy without knowing it.
Phillip Farkas had a great exercise to practice playing without pressure: he would put his horn on a table and try playing some note using only his embouchure without touching his instrument with his hands.
You probably don't need to go that far! I find that just being aware of how much pressure you are using is enough to notice when it's a bit too much. You can then adjust it to what you find reasonable.
Since I'm the happy father of a beautiful baby girl who was born in june, I haven't had much time to write new music in the past few months but I will soon upload the first few numbers of the Progressive method volume 4. As I wrote earlier, it will be different from the previous books; no more exercise page on the left. There will only be etudes a bit easier than Kopprasch. I find that there isn't much for students at this level so I will try to fill the gap. I'll upload them in groups of 4-5 etudes starting this month hopefully up to 25-30. So stay tuned!
"Sitting on the tempo" is an expression often used by musicians meaning that you take your time with a steady tempo but without dragging.
It allows you to play in a relaxed manner and improves your rhythmical precision. I also find that I have more endurance when I take my time because being relaxed helps me to take more air which sends more oxygen in my blood and helps me playing a bit longer.
Practice with metronome to make sure you don't rush. We don't always notice that we rush when we're used to play in some way. Sometimes we make our life harder than it should be!
I am associate principal horn of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and the author of the progressive methods. I'm happy to share my experience as a horn player and teacher with you.