Saturday, December 31, 2011

Musical Creativity IV

Check out Steph Hollander!

I attended with CCM with Steph.  She is an excellent horn player and one creative girl!

Monday, December 19, 2011

More Braveheart

Support:  Think about the amount of air support it took Mel Gibson to scream "FREEDOM" in the famous torture scene.  This is even more impressive when you realize his inside are leaking out just off screen.  Although the beginning is nice, his airstream kinda dies near the end.

Direction:  The opening of the movie is a little slow.  However, there is never any doubt that the images of the Scottish highlands and character development will give way to something...epic.  Even soft openings have to go somewhere.

Support and Direction:  The very last thing to happen in the movie.....The iconic sword toss.  Think about the amount of support it would take to toss a broad sword even five feet, let alone halfway across a battlefield.  And that arc, perfect.  Every phrase should have that direction and support.

Braveheart and Teaching


Today, I used Braveheart while teaching a lesson.  I had a couple of reasons, and I teach out of my apartment so I had a copy of the movie handy.  And, yes, we did watch some of it.

Telling a story:  Many teachers and performers encourage young musicians to tell a story while they play.  Strong emotions can help inform style and direction.  However, simply coming up with a story might not be enough.  Actors rely on pervious experience to draw a strong correlation between real life and make believe.  My students aren't old enough to have a good handle on life, so why not use movies.  Braveheart is a perfect example of a tumultuous love story with emotions so over the top everyone can understand.

Solo Piano:  Creating a proper mindset for a student to play piano in solo piece is also tricky.  In their experience  they see p and think as quiet as I can play.  Many of them have never seen a concerto performed because they have never been to see the orchestra.  And many more have never seen a brass concerto with the orchestra.  I usually try painting a picture, you are standing infront of the orchestra (80-100 musicians) and you are standing infront of 1,000-2,000 people in a huge hall.  Now everyone has to hear you over the orchestra.  In this case p means with a soft quality, not necessarily quietly.

In both the opening and closing monologues of this movie, Robert the Bruce and William Wallace are speaking clearly, articulately, softly, and yet loud enough to be heard.  Actually in the every last scene, Robert the Bruce pleads with an entire army in a soft manor.  They still had to hear him.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Little Sound-Huge Air

When you play soft you use less air?

When playing soft your air must be every bit as compact and the same speed of air as if you were playing forte.  A huge mistake when playing soft is to back off your air, causing bad articulation and sluggish response.  There are bunches of ways to visualize this.

Mighty Mouse

Here is a great image.  Little dude, big punch.

Li'l Sneezer (Tiny Toons)

For those of you who grew up in the '90s, I think this is a better image.  Li'l Sneezer, off of Tiny Toons, sniffles constantly.  His character comes off pretty weak.  But, with the help from some pepper, his sneeze can level a city block.

The Brain

Alright Smarty Pants, stop thinking and go try this.