Let’s start off by looking at the act of performing and understanding what goes into it.
All art forms are centred on one basic human activity – Communication. Whether it’s painting, sculpture, dance, music, or theatre, an artist creates something that an audience then experiences. The artist has poured their deepest inspiration, emotions, feelings, thoughts, beliefs and principals into their work, which are then communicated through the medium to the audience. It’s truly an incredibly personal and sensitive thing.
As musical performers, we are in a unique scenario. Each time we step on the stage, our art is created again, communicated to new and different people each time. Think of it as a gift you are giving to the audience…you have worked on it, nurtured it, even suffered for it, and now you are giving it to them for their enjoyment. They will applaud, they will cheer, and they will cherish what you gave them – a great moment in life. That’s the power of art.
Performing effectively requires preparation. Preparation includes group cohesion, personal skill development, practice performance and mastery of what is being performed. Most importantly, it requires personal investment and a willingness to share who you are with other people.
The best performers are ones who make every single note a musical statement. Nothing is ever done thoughtlessly. A great artist will slave over what might not seem to be important. They may play a half note a hundred times looking for just the right way to play to fit how they feel the music should go. Often times real meaning is buried deep and the only way to find it is to dig until it hurts.
A great phrase that captures this sentiment is “Max It Out.” It can be used in millions of ways, but truly anything you do in life can be thought of in this way. Max out a musical phrase. Max out your potential for becoming a great brass player by practicing individually. Max out your effort during every rehearsal. Remind each other often. Max it out and leave no room for regrets!