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Sensory Activity



 
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 3:35 pm    Post subject: Sensory Activity Reply with quote

One of the topics Mr. Adam brings up frequently is the role of the senses in all we do. One sensory activity can interfere with another and this is one of the problems we have when playing the trumpet. Hearing the music is what activates the playing system, allowing the mind to direct the body on a subconcious level to do what needs to be done to produce the sound. It never ceases to amaze me how visually oriented we are. Another case in point recently surfaced as the debate continues as to whether the use of cell phones should be prohibited while driving. One solution was to allow the hands off/voice activated phones in the belief that taking the eyes off the road was the cause of these accidents. In reality they found that the act of moving the concentration from the visual to the hearing is the problem. It is no wonder that so many do not understand the role of the sense of hearing in playing the trumpet and how feeling the notes will cause problems.
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OzTrumpeteer
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 5:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm in the process of altering my embouchure slightly, and now, though I think my sound has more vibrancy, the unfamiliar setting feels 'wrong', which can be distracting. I'm confident that I can concentrate and focus on the sound but I'm just wondering, does Mr. Adam advocate any particular ways of shutting out the senses?

btw, talking on mobiles while driving is illegal here, though hands-free is ok. Sort of a loop-hole, really. What about talking to your passengers? Listening to the radio?
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 5:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can't shut out a sensory activity. Have you ever tried to ignore an itch? It only gets worse. The mere thought of trying to ignore something draws your attention to it and only makes it worse. So what we have to do is use another sensory activity to knock out the one that is giving us trouble. When playing the trumpet that would be the hearing knocking out the feeling. To do this we must cultivate our imagination. If we can imagine the sound vividly, our mind can not differentiate between the imagined and reality. Ever have a dream where upon awakening you couldn't tell if it was real or imagined? Vividly imagined events such as the imagined intruder in the middle of the night often cause strong physical reactions, the pounding heart etc. The feeling in your chops that is bugging you is the left brain analytical mind evaluating your discomfort. A vivid image of the sound can overwhelm the left brain activity. Singing, then playing simple melodies, always using the "singer's mind", will help subdue the feeling. Mr. Adam tells us that trumpet playing is 90% mental, 9% air and 1% everything else including the fingers, chops and all physical elements. When that physical increases, that is when we get in trouble. Always listen to the sound that is in your mind. If at first the mind sound and what is coming out of the bell don't match up, you must resist the temptation to make physical adjustments. Just keep blowing and the mind will direct the body to do what is needed to produce the imagined sound. The two prime elements here are the ability to trust yourself and to not judge yourself. Just be an observer of your playing as though someone else is doing the playing..
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PH
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Billy B wrote:
...If at first the mind sound and what is coming out of the bell don't match up, you must resist the temptation to make physical adjustments. Just keep blowing and the mind will direct the body to do what is needed to produce the imagined sound. The two prime elements here are the ability to trust yourself and to not judge yourself. Just be an observer of your playing as though someone else is doing the playing..


I would like to insert 2 words here to clarify an already excellent explanation.

"...If at first the mind sound and what is coming out of the bell don't match up, you must resist the temptation to make conscious physical adjustments. Just keep blowing and the unconscious mind will direct the body to do what is needed to produce the imagined sound. The two prime elements here are the ability to trust yourself and to not judge yourself. Just be an observer of your playing as though someone else is doing the playing..."
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Pat. That is exactly what I meant to say. That is why you are the professor and I am not.
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Derek Reaban
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bill and Pat,

Great topic! I especially like these words:
  • ...we must cultivate our imagination.
  • If we can imagine the sound vividly, our mind can not differentiate between the imagined and reality.
  • A vivid image of the sound can overwhelm the left brain activity.
  • Always listen to the sound that is in your mind.
  • ...the unconscious mind will direct the body to do what is needed to produce the imagined sound.

I posted this in the Orchestra forum several days ago:

Quote:

I received the play list for the Wind Ensemble that I play with last month and saw that we will be playing Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. I knew that this was going to be a challenge for me, so I asked my instructor for the 1st trumpet part to the orchestral version and I’ve been listening to the NY Phil recording of this for the past couple of weeks (even before looking at the music). Wow! These guys make this music sound effortless and extremely exciting! This was the Bernstein recording from 1961 with William Vacchiano, Nat Prager, John Ware, and Jimmy Smith.

Well with this sound ringing in my head I picked up the part and when I looked at the music I could literally hear everything before I even played a note.


It’s amazing to me that when I bombarded myself with this music prior to playing a note, I couldn’t even begin to think how I would sound playing Symphonic Dances. I just had a clear ringing sound of the NY Philharmonic in my mind. It took me several weeks of listening to this music every day, but there it was. A clear sound picture in my mind. A starting point to allow my body to start producing those same great sounds.

I guess I’m just slower than most when it comes to getting a clear sound image in my mind, but it is so comforting knowing that Mr. Vacchiano’s sound is ringing in my head guiding my future progress with this piece.

The one thing that I’d like to offer to this post is to keep listening. The clearer the image is, the better chance we have of achieving that goal! One or two times listening through something may not be enough (it wasn’t even close for me). Keep listening until the sound is so strong that you can’t stop hearing it when you turn off your CD player! This is the prerequisite for the Bill Adam concept to take hold and drive the final sound product!

Great post.
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OzTrumpeteer
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Billy B wrote:
...The two prime elements here are the ability to trust yourself and to not judge yourself. Just be an observer of your playing as though someone else is doing the playing..


Often, the difficulty for me, and, I imagine (excuse the pun ), for others too, is to not be overly self-aware. Or at least, to allow this awarenes to interfere with my focus.

Great posts - thanks for the clear explanations.
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2005 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oz,

I am not sure I get your drift. Could you elaborate?
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OzTrumpeteer
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just wanted to highlight what was, for me, the most important point here; I sometimes fall into the trap of being too aware and critical of every little detail of my playing, which can lead me to make decisions that aren't based on the sound.

Sorry that wasn't clear. Thanks again.
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EricM224
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a great post, and I'd like to add this point that John Hagstrom makes:

- Image intensity is as important as image quality. This means that the intensity of the musical voice in one's head must be able to drown out what may or may not come out of the instrument. It is not enough the let your musical image be triggered by the first notes you play. Instead, get the sound going first in your head and then join it with your playing. Proficiency in this area leads to much less dependancy on the physical sensations of playing and allow the player FREEDOM to be more interactive with other musicians.

I think this is a great statement! This whole article is great if you're interested it's called "Musical and Brass Playing Insights based on my experience in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra."

Mr. Wing is always telling me to let the physical be peripheral to the sound. He says, " Kepp your energy up and sing that beautiful sound in your mind so you can be FREE to play music." If we can immerse ourselves in the musical process and out of the physical I believe that the results are always more personally and musically pleasing!

Eric
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the chief
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PH wrote:
Billy B wrote:
...If at first the mind sound and what is coming out of the bell don't match up, you must resist the temptation to make physical adjustments. Just keep blowing and the mind will direct the body to do what is needed to produce the imagined sound. The two prime elements here are the ability to trust yourself and to not judge yourself. Just be an observer of your playing as though someone else is doing the playing..


I would like to insert 2 words here to clarify an already excellent explanation.

"...If at first the mind sound and what is coming out of the bell don't match up, you must resist the temptation to make conscious physical adjustments. Just keep blowing and the unconscious mind will direct the body to do what is needed to produce the imagined sound. The two prime elements here are the ability to trust yourself and to not judge yourself. Just be an observer of your playing as though someone else is doing the playing..."



This is a good explanation by both guys.
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Seymor B Fudd
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the chief wrote:
PH wrote:
Billy B wrote:
...If at first the mind sound and what is coming out of the bell don't match up, you must resist the temptation to make physical adjustments. Just keep blowing and the mind will direct the body to do what is needed to produce the imagined sound. The two prime elements here are the ability to trust yourself and to not judge yourself. Just be an observer of your playing as though someone else is doing the playing..


I would like to insert 2 words here to clarify an already excellent explanation.

"...If at first the mind sound and what is coming out of the bell don't match up, you must resist the temptation to make conscious physical adjustments. Just keep blowing and the unconscious mind will direct the body to do what is needed to produce the imagined sound. The two prime elements here are the ability to trust yourself and to not judge yourself. Just be an observer of your playing as though someone else is doing the playing..."

This is a good explanation by both guys.



+1!
Seems that it is paramount ""to attain that truly cataleptic state of mind necessary for every artistic performance of the foremost degree".
A statement attributed to R Wagner.
Cataleptic meaning hypnagogic meaning Altered State of Consciousness (ASC) meaning entering a state of mind where your undivided attention is directed to the music, on becoming `absorbed´. This is to say that in a way you will have to avert peripheral stimuli, e.g. the audience, your perhaps too tight shoelaces, someone dropping a mute, perceiving the conductor more indirectly in the corner of your eye etc.
On the other hand - letting yourself to become disturbed, then frequently you kinda `wake´up from this state and so things may get rough, suddenly you´ll become aware of dry lips, a previously wellknown phrase suddenly seems complicated, was it a B or Bflat, the stern-looking guy on the first row seems to stare disapprovingly at you, perhaps you´ve made a mistake unaware of it......
By no means this is easy - but I think that mr Adam has captured kind of a Zen-attitude to music - listen, listen, indulge in listening, become immersed - then your subconscious mind will guide you - And the Angels sing
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kevin_soda
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a lot of trouble getting out of my own head. Even when I'm performing. I find it incredibly challenging to immerse myself in the musical moments of the present. I'm often overly critical of my own playing even when I receive compliments from patrons or colleagues. How can I incorporate this approach in practice?
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kevin_soda wrote:
I have a lot of trouble getting out of my own head. Even when I'm performing. I find it incredibly challenging to immerse myself in the musical moments of the present. I'm often overly critical of my own playing even when I receive compliments from patrons or colleagues. How can I incorporate this approach in practice?


Slow down. Quiet the mind. Focus on the sound of one note at a time. Then expand.

Read "Psycho-cybernetics." Read it again. Do what it says. Then read "Inner Game of Tennis."
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Criticism of your own playing must come from the perspective of a third person much like the referee in a football game. While both teams may react emotionally to the call, the referee merely makes the call through his observation.

Never judge as "bad" or "good", but as "right" or "wrong" with no values attached. The carpenter doesn't become emotional when he makes a wrong cut; he throws the board in the scrap heap and makes another cut.

The books Pat mentioned will help you understand.
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kevin_soda
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool! I'll check the library. Thanks!
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