Knowing when to stop

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Mesmerist, Dec 31, 2017.

  1. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    Serious question this. Sat here still doing more work on my part for VW (Butlins 2 section). If a malignant pig rushed across the stage and ate my music I reckon I know it that well it wouldn't bother me. The only thing which will let me down now will be nerves. How do you know when you've really done enough and there is no more music to be found? Soloists don't use music very often. Does there come a point when it becomes stale and you can really overdo it?
     
  2. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    I guess it depends on the individual - some people become complacent and sometimes even resentful of a piece if they play it too much... Some can play the same thing to death and never get bored (I think most bands have "that one" who could happily play the floral dance every single summer).

    I think when you pick a well-practiced piece up and don't know where to start then you're probably getting there...
    I mean, you know when you pick a piece up and there are still corners you can't reliably play (as long as they're reasonably within your capabilities), but when you're struggling to find bits to practice then you're getting there.

    Realistically, when you know the music that well there's no need for nerves - remind yourself that you know it inside out and remind yourself of how you played (not how you felt) at previous contests... If you've generally played well on contest day, take confidence from that by reminding yourself that the odds you're going to do a good job today are good.
    Half the time, it's about what you make yourself think and believe that will give you the edge.
     
  3. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    Thanks Tom.
    Yes there is a very experienced player in our band (Desford in the glory days) who says the only reason you'll be nervous is because you haven't done enough work. Including those easy quiet minims you don't think you need to look at. (I think I've done enough on this particular piece but it's absolutely gorgeous writing and I keep finding new bits which are so lush it's hard to stop).

    I always believed a soloist (for example Nigel Kennedy) learnt a piece then added their own interpretation to it. This must take hours and I wondered what the thought processes must be and how they know that moment it's perfect?
     
  4. julian

    julian Active Member

    For me, when I really know my part I tend not to 'over play' it at home. The M.D. will often change his or her interpretation a little bit in the band room anyway and as the band keep playing it together more and more of the music is revealed to me and how the nuances of my part fit in (especially on well written music). However what I do is in the lead up to a contest is to increase my overall practice to ensure that my stamina and range is the best that it can be so that I am 'comfortable' in my overall playing.
     
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  5. julian

    julian Active Member

    As for nerves. I've played in a variety of bands over the years from championship section to 4th section. Usually on cornet, but occasionally on sop or even solo horn! I deal with nerves on the contest stage by 'screening the audience out' both physically and in my mind. It's much easier on the end of a cornet bench as I usually turn inwards or if I'm playing further in by being shielded by other players. I never envy the horn players as their usually facing the audience and much more 'exposed' to the critical eye. However, when I go on stage I never look around to see who's in the audience, but just make myself comfortable, have some deep breaths and focus 100% on the conductor.

    As for concerts, well that completely different - always relaxed!
     
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  6. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    This is one of the first things I do - look around and see if anyone I know is out there.
    There's a photo somewhere from the Masters contest a couple of years ago where I'm obviously scanning the audience (noone else is, lol) - admittedly I was depping that day and that always makes me much less nervous, but I pretty much always do it.

    I guess it's a question of how comfortable you are up there (and to some extent how others around you are too).
     
  7. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    I know I've done enough! Couldn't face VW tonight so ended up borrowing Schindlers List and 6 Telemann sonatas out of my daughter's violin music. Be very glad you're not my neighbour...
     
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  8. julian

    julian Active Member

    A violin. A VIOLIN! What's going on? !!
    How many violins does it take to keep warm? - loads because they don't burn for very long!
     
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  9. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    Yes she's a changeling child obviously. As is the other one... she even called my flugel a trumpet???
     
  10. julian

    julian Active Member

    I'm lost for words...... Well for tonight, anyway!
     
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  11. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    Whilst our conversation will remain private as he wishes, he has given me permission to publicly thank him.

    Thank you so much Mello, for taking the time to talk tonight and offer help and guidance. I really appreciate it and will follow all your advice.
    This represents the best of this forum for me. The opportunity to talk and learn with experienced talented musicians who are willing and happy to share with others.
     
  12. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    And what an amazing resource. I met Mello once when he was guest soloist with Hamilton Temple Band in Ontario; he won't remember me but I'll never forget him!
     
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  13. julian

    julian Active Member

    I remember meeting Mello in my late teens - I'm sure that it was at Pontins Easter contest at Brean Sands circa 1980 ish (you know the one where everyone wanted to do well, but no one really wanted to freeze to death at the finals in North Wales at the end of October).
    I remember asking him about circular breathing. Despite having never met me before he was kind and patient and spent some while demonstrating the technique and getting me to try. I still can't do it!!
     
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  14. Slider1

    Slider1 Active Member

    A yes, I remember Prestatyn well, basically cos. it closed on sundays :)
     
  15. julian

    julian Active Member

    I think it closed after the 31st August!
     
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