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Elevate Your Thinking to Elevate Your Playing


Throughout my professional trumpet-playing career, I have discovered that the most significant strides in my performance emanate not from refining my physical technique but from nurturing my musical concept. This article explores the transformative impact of imagination on brass playing, asserting that a robust musical concept is the cornerstone for true artistic expression. The contemporary brass landscape, often fixated on technical prowess, risks reducing musicians to mere “lip athletes” devoid of a distinctive voice. To counter this trend, the cultivation of imagination becomes paramount.

To enhance brass players’ performance through imaginative development, this article offers practical strategies rooted in visualization and creative ideation. The core of this transformative process lies in conceiving and articulating a clear musical message. Drawing inspiration from the teachings of Jan Kagarice and Arnold Jacobs, the article emphasizes the role of a precise sound concept as the linchpin for expressive and communicative playing. The process involves intent listening, imitation, and continuous refinement of one’s musical preferences. Imagination extends beyond the individual instrument, encouraging musicians to broaden their color palette by drawing inspiration from diverse sources within an orchestra or other instruments.

Visualization techniques borrowed from performance psychology, particularly imagining the desired musical outcome, assuming the role of revered performers, and contemplating the impact on the listener, offer a roadmap for navigating the intricate terrain of musical expression. By practicing with a vivid mental canvas and focusing on the quality of sound, expression, and connection, musicians can elevate their performance. This inclusive approach extends to envisioning physical ease, acoustical environments, and the profound connection forged with the listener.

In conclusion, the article posits that the true catalyst for growth in musical excellence lies not solely in mastering the physical aspects of the instrument but in elevating one’s thinking. By fostering a vivid imagination, musicians can transcend the limitations of technique and establish a profound connection with their art and audience. The collective pursuit is anchored in the realm of expression and communication, emphasizing the essence of being artists first and instrumentalists second. As musicians continue their journey, may their imaginations serve as the compass guiding them toward ever greater heights in musical excellence.

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ISSN: 2792-8349

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International Journal of Music