Often when we decide to make a physical change in our playing, even if it's minor, we blow it out of proportion. We make this minor problem much bigger than it is, or we over do any correction needed. Earlier this month, I realized that bottom lip needed to stay more engaged in the mouthpiece (MP), throughout my playing. While this is true, I focused so much on this to the neglect of the music, and created more problems than helped. My body was unbelievably tense.
Then I remembered the concepts of forward sound that I had been exploring this summer. Gabe Dimartino had been encouraging me to send everything as far forward in the facial muscles as possible, and to hear a consistent burn/resonance in the sound. Maybe these concepts are related. This weekend I realized that perhaps the idea of forward sound is an auditory way that I can achieve a similar result to keeping the bottom lip in the MP. I was reminded of a great analogy to end with. When perfecting a cake recipe, we always must keep the end goal of a delicious cake in mind (the end musical goal). Maybe we realized that a little bit of salt will help make the cake taste more consistent, AKA a small adjustment of the lip will help keep the sound more consistent. BUT if I only focus on adding salt to the neglect of the overall concept of a delicious cake by continuing to be generous with flour, eggs, sugar (Musical basics- Great breath/flow, good pitch and rhythm, etc.), then I miss the point of adding salt to begin with. We must keep small improvements in the context of the larger goal, and perhaps change our perspective on them.
Time to keep exploring,
Adam C White
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