Weekly Trumpet Tips 2/3/15

Trumpet Shadow

The Shadow

Welcome to Weekly Trumpet Tips:

(1) 4 Levels of Competence

(2) Tired Chops Cause… 

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Tip #1 – 4 Levels of Competence

The more I learn about the mind, efficient practicing and details involving our learning and understanding of the things we do the more I see how I’ve experienced all 4 levels of competence.  Don’t get caught up in the term of “competence vs. incompetence.”  Incompetence does not declare ignorance or a lack of intelligence.  It is simply a term used to convey our level of understanding on a subject…

1) Unconscious Incompetence – we don’t know that we “don’t know.”

2) Conscious Incompetence – We know that we don’t know.

3) Unconscious Competence – We don’t know how or why we’re able to do what we do.

4) Conscious Competence – We know what we do and how we do it and can convey that message to others.

The first level – well, that’s how we all start.  The second level – that’s what I like to associate to hearing someone like Maynard or Arturo and being deeply fascinated and awe struck but not having a clue as to how they do what they do!

The 3rd level is where many musicians are who have been playing at a high level for a long period of time.  They are extremely competent, but have no conscious idea of what they do – at least not on a level of being able to clearly define and explain what they do.

The 4th Level – This is the level that I believe all teachers who really want to pass on their message to students in a concise way needs to be at!  Not only are they able to do what they talk about, but they can explain with clarity, how they arrived at that ability.

So the first tip I have for you this week is to really sit and think about a facet of your playing that you’re really good at.  It could be as simple as producing a beautiful tone, or playing a difficult piece of music.  See if you could convey the message of “how” you actually do it to someone and have them understand.  I see this as valuable and important because it helps us analyze our own understanding… you just might bring a diamond in the rough to the surface of your conscious mind that will help you grasp something you’ve been trying to learn.

Tip #2 – Tired Chops Cause…

Just like there are different levels of understanding and competency, I now understand that there are different levels of having “tired chops” and what it causes.  For me, when I start to get fatigued and tired, my accuracy is the first to go (usually).  I start cracking more notes and either overshoot or under shoot notes.  That is the first indicator to me that I need to back off and start thinking about conservation.  The second thing that goes for me is my endurance… playing long lines starts to become difficult.  And third… the dreaded loss in range.

It used to be that the first thing that would go was my range… or so it seemed.  NO ONE likes to perform under these circumstances, but there are times that we must and therefore it’s important you know what to expect from the fatigue.  That panic feeling that we get can make you fatigue faster… the more tense your mind gets, the more tense your body gets and that’s a quick way to more disaster!  Relax – regroup and don’t buy into the mind games that we start playing with ourselves.

Let’s face it – NO ONE is immune to having to play on tired chops from time to time.  But you don’t have to make a tired situation into a bad performance…

Being miserable is a habit. Being happy is a habit. The choice is yours.

– Tom Hopkins – Sales Trainer

Have a GREAT week!