Many orchestral directors conduct slightly before the pulse of the orchestra. This allows them to send a strong musical message to the orchestra, right before they play. This is a proactive approach. It's no surprise that many teachers, Arnold Jacobs initially, advocate for this in our own playing.
This seems so simple, yet we are often reactive to what comes out of our bell, good or bad. Rather, Jacobs advocate for a mindfulness that keeps of focused on what we want to sound like, yet constantly in the present. I remember Charlie Schlueter telling me that as soon as I reacted to a good sound, I would kick myself in the face (make a mistake from losing focus). AKA there is no time to react to the past. There is only now. Tim Hudson, a student of Schlueter, used to tell me to not be afraid of something in the future or dwell on something in the past. Focusing on the future is no good, and once we get there we might as well have stayed in the present to begin with (both quotes paraphrased). So I go back to Jacobs, let's be virtuoso conductors of our own sound. Let's constantly send a strong musical message, and send wind to our chops.
Time to Keep Exploring.
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