13. May 2008 · 2 comments · Categories: Ramble

As I just wrote at my other site … I’m too tried to breathe. At least that’s the way it feels. I still have two students to teach today, though, and then it’s opening night for Beauty and the Beast.

I know some of my symphony colleagues think I’m a little off, since I like doing shows, but whatever. And a doubler once sat by me as I was playing a show and when I finished he looked at me in a somewhat astonished way and said, “You really care about this stuff, don’t you?” I responded in the affirmative and he went on to say my symphony colleagues would have no respect for me AND if I cared too much I’d be more upset about mistakes and it would zap me of energy.

Well, too bad. I care. I care a lot. I want my playing to be musical. I want to have do my best no matter what I’m playing. I want to feel connected to the music, and I hope to cause listeners to react when I get those fun little “make ’em cry” solos. And yes, if I make a mistake I still care. When i stop caring I hope I stop playing.

But mostly I hope I never stop caring.

Now I’d better rest up so I have energy to teach and play. 🙂


  1. That’s exactly how I feel (well, ok, except about the teaching thing) – although it never occurred to me that any musician could look down on “shows” – to which I can only make the dignified response of “plftpbtbtltlbltllbbpfpffff!!!1!1!!!”

    (hmmm…I think I left out a few ffpfbltffttffsss….)


    Especially as a horn player, where it seems that because “it’s just a hard instrument” you’re supposed to be able to get away with biffing a few notes…but then, I remember the awed freshman trumpet player after a lesson (not with me, with the trumpet guy at the college) saying “He asked, ‘Why do you miss notes?'”

    And Dave Sprung never let me get away with missing notes in lessons just because I was playing a “difficult” instrument – the only time it’s ok to miss notes, as far as I’m concerned, is when you’re sight-reading, and as a pro, even those should be pretty infrequent (one of the reasons I’m not a pro…other than not having the talent 🙂

    Needless to say, I’ve never missed a note since the late ’80s on any sort of instrument…

    [anyone who believes that, please contact me ASAP – I’ve got some investment opportunities I think you’d really be interested in…]

  2. Well, I do miss notes sometimes, Tim. I have to be honest about that. I, of course, attempt perfection. First, for me, is being as musical as possible. And yes, that includes correct notes. (I’m quite unforgiving of myself when I botch one!) But I yearn most for musicality. “Math players” (those who are perfect but heartless) leave me cold.

    But I’m one of those emotional sorts who wants to feel something when I hear music, and wants others to feel something when I play.

    I just hope they aren’t feeling anger, horror, or befuddlement at my being on stage or in the pit! 😉

    I talk to students frequently about the whole perfection thing. It’s a bit of an unattainable goal … something can always be tweaked to be a bit better. At least much of the time. It’s like that carrot in front of the nose; we sometimes get a bite, but we continue to work on getting the whole thing.

    Hmmm. I’m not sure I’m making sense. Let’s blame it on Beauty and the Beast for today. (I always find an excuse, even if they usually aren’t legitimate!)