Phil Smith has said many times in his masterclasses, "musical solutions to technical problems." It has always resonated with me, but there is a creative balance between improving the physical aspect of playing the trumpet and seeking musical solutions exclusively. I by no means have this figured out, but I sense that I am one step closer to understand what this means for me. There are a lot of moving pieces.
The first aspect is awareness of a physical skill that needs to be improved, for me it was a combination of reading pedagogy books and some encouragement from my teacher about a specific issue of jaw and teeth alignment to tackle. I believe that I must work on this physical skill away from the instrument. Problems arise when I focus so much on it that I lose focus on the fundamentals of a full breath, steady flow, and a strong musical message. There must be practice where I put aside these technical issues, that I know that I am working hard on, and go after the musical idea that I want to convey . In fact, I am able to hear what it sounds like when my teeth are aligned. If I go after that "sound" within the context of a full breath and steady flow, we can begin to see what Phil Smith might mean by "musical solutions to technical problems." I also believe, there is an aspect of positive muscle memory combined with positive visualization that must take place here as well.
Time to Keep it Simple,
Adam C White
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