Monthly Archives: June 2018

Quality Musicians

I recently had occasion to visit my friend Stephen Campbell, professor of trumpet at Ball State University, and I noticed a great list he had created and posted on his door, which I share with you now:

Quality Musicians…

  1. understand where and how they fit in the musical fabric at all times.
  2. do what they can to make their work effective “in the hall.”
  3. realize that playing in a large ensemble demands even more clarity than performing with a smaller group.
  4. pace themselves during rehearsals and performances.
  5. remember that higher notes sound louder than lower notes. Longer notes also sound louder than shorter notes.
  6. don’t blast away in loud tutti passages, leaving themselves overly tired for solos or exposed passages.
  7. know to play softer and less aggressively in unison sections.
  8. play their best, regardless of who is on the podium.
  9. do not play as loudly as possible, even when the conductor asks for the same.
  10. are not defensive about suggestions from colleagues or the podium.
  11. do not take up valuable rehearsal time asking dumb questions.
  12. who are section leaders will be more effective with consistent playing rather than a lot of talking and gesturing.
  13. are always supportive and considerate of their colleagues.
  14. who are section players are more “chameleon-like” so as to be in a better position to follow the principal player and create a unified section.
  15. realize they may be “the problem.”
  16. always come to the first rehearsal prepared.
  17. are not born. We become quality musicians only through experience, honing our skills and instincts, and constantly listening.