Nick, who just graduated from high school (and was mentioned in the earlier post, “The Visual Connection to a Musical Line“) recently made my day when he shared the story of his last experience on the driving range. His friend (a more experienced golfer) was hitting balls without taking very much time to establish a good stance, and needless to say, was not having much luck with the results. Nick began his session in the same way, until he remembered his approach to the trumpet.
He then paused to collect his thoughts, and more carefully assumed the proper position to address the ball. After that, he still delayed his swing, observing all of the checkpoints of form, balance, and relaxation he had been taught, making the right adjustments until he knew he was ready. From that point on the results were quite different, as he had much more control of his swing and ball placement. I was thrilled to hear his story, for it told me he was drawing from his experience of disciplined, thoughtful trumpet practice, and from that controlled routine could better understand how all great disciplines have so much in common.
Time (especially if combined with knowledge and awareness) is our secret weapon when we face any obstacle to our self improvement. By taking more time we can escape the chains of old habits and knee jerk reactions, and thus allow our mind and body the chance to experience new things…to become more conscious and aware…and to learn and grow. Other students have noticed changes in their lives since beginning their trumpet lessons. Jose, is now putting himself through school (towards a pre med degree) as a working musician, and said his grades improved in high school once he started to approach his trumpet practicing and playing more consciously. Jorge (an adult who performs every week with his own band) told me he has become a better driver (of a car, not a golf ball!), and even a better husband and father since we have been working together. Although our mind may at first rebel against discipline, it also recognizes the positive results of such control, and becomes more and more drawn to the success. Time allows us the opportunity to gain more control. “Go slower, and arrive sooner” no longer sounds like a contradiction, but instead becomes our mantra.