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 What do pros do . . .
Author: Philip Caron 
Date:   2018-07-18 06:42

. . . when they mess up in performance? Wrong notes, wrong entrance, something obvious to listeners and other musicians, or even a whole bad concert. I realize they normally keep going and give everything going forward their best. What about after the performance? Do they feel negative, recriminate, kick themselves? Shrug it off, forget it? Hide? Drink? Practice until dawn?

Just curious.

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 Re: What do pros do . . .
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2018-07-18 07:00

Well it's gotta be some combination of all of that with a heavy emphasis on "shrug it off." After all, we are all human and make mistakes. To be great major league batter, you only have to get a hit one in every three times at bat.


I dimly recall a 'recording day' during the regular Summer master classes that Robert Marcellus used to do at Northwestern. He played a recording of Ralph McLane doing the 'cat' in Peter and the Wolf in which Marcellus characterized the major flub as "the cat gets impaled on his way up the tree." It's hard to say what part of that recording process made it ok to let that go, but there it was. But I'm pretty sure Ralph McClane never let that hold him back.


I prefer the OPPOSITE stories. One such is of the great Michael Henoch, oboist of the Chicago Symphony while a student at Northwestern. There was a particularly hairy solo in a boisterous wind ensemble work (specific one escapes me) that he missed EVERY time in rehearsal. Come the concert Michael nailed it and immediately jumped up, fist in the air, screaming, "YEAH!!!." The audience just thought that was part where the oboist stands up and yells. [story courtesy of John Paynter]




.............Paul Aviles

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 Re: What do pros do . . .
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2018-07-18 22:36

Depends on how good the player is. If you miss 1 note every 2 Million, or 1 note every 10 Million notes.

The 10 M will probably get a lot more annoyed as the level of proficiency is so much higher.

http://www.SkypeClarinetLessons.com


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 Re: What do pros do . . .
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2018-07-19 02:28

Depends on the pro. I was just talking about this with a friend of mine with pros we've seen concerts of, or youtube vids of. He had a great clip of Joe Alessi where he plays a lick and cacks a high F. And the video zooms out as the rest of the orchestra plays, but you can literally see the frustration and anger growing on Alessi's face cause he SHOULDN'T have missed that F. And when it comes around again, with his still angry face he nails that F with a laserlike tone.

All the greats (and I mean TRULY GREATS) that I've watched videos of show major frustration if they get something wrong. Jeff Coffin, Michael Brecker, your stadium/amphitheater filler performers. Those who are pros but (like Dave Blumberg) said above, accept that they're not perfect, show less frustration and drive on with less visible anger.

I think it comes down to a tolerance level. It's sorta like the difference between the pro who has a great mastery of their instrument (think principles of symphonies), and a pro whose instrument is merely an extension of their being (your touring solo artists that play WITH those symphonies and their principles as their backup band).

Alexi

Platoon Sergeant
US Army Japan Band


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 Re: What do pros do . . .
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-07-19 04:31

On the other side of the question, I'll always remember the night I heard (and saw) Don Montanaro play 1st clarinet (with Philadelphia) in Beethoven's 8th. He played the high G at the end of the minuet solo as cleanly and as well in tune as you could wish for. As the orchestra went on with the da capo, the biggest smile broke out on his face that I've ever seen on an orchestra player during a performance.

Karl

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 Re: What do pros do . . .
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2018-07-19 04:43

I have a tape of John Williams (the guitarist, not the composer) and Julian Bream playing a selection of pieces by Dowland. At one point one of them, not sure which, plays a long run of notes one fret out. They just carry on as though nothing had happened, but you can hear them both laughing.

Tony F.

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 Re: What do pros do . . .
Author: Philip Caron 
Date:   2018-07-19 04:59

Alexi, thank you for alerting me to Joe Alessi. I just spent an hour listening to his marvelous trombone playing on YouTube. A masterful musician and fabulous instrumentalist. He sometimes takes what might be considered risks, and the results in the recordings I just heard are magnificent, but it wouldn't be surprising if a miscue occurred somewhere during a year's 365 days.

Professional pianists who frequently play solo recitals will all be heard to make mistakes, even the greatest technicians among them. In that context success is somewhat more a matter of projecting the intent of the music in spite of small errors of execution. Sometimes too those occur in relatively simple and familiar passages, not only amidst wild acrobatics.

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 Re: What do pros do . . .
Author: JohnP 
Date:   2018-07-19 17:43

When Prince Philip many years ago asked the principal horn in the Covent Garden orchestra what he did if he played a wrong note the answer was, “I just suck it back”. Or so the story goes.

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 Re: What do pros do . . .
Author: brycon 
Date:   2018-07-19 18:27

Quote:

I think it comes down to a tolerance level. It's sorta like the difference between the pro who has a great mastery of their instrument (think principles of symphonies), and a pro whose instrument is merely an extension of their being (your touring solo artists that play WITH those symphonies and their principles as their backup band).


I very much disagree: the way a musician deals with his or her "mistakes" is more a matter of personality and ego. Very good students, for example, can pick out all the problems with their performances (and often, they're overly critical because they don't yet have a grasp on what's really important). And students--not professionals--are usually the ones who respond to their mistakes with visible frustration.

Quote:

I was just talking about this with a friend of mine with pros we've seen concerts of, or youtube vids of. He had a great clip of Joe Alessi where he plays a lick and cacks a high F. And the video zooms out as the rest of the orchestra plays, but you can literally see the frustration and anger growing on Alessi's face cause he SHOULDN'T have missed that F. And when it comes around again, with his still angry face he nails that F with a laserlike tone.


The anecdote here, if it happened as you recount it, is all about the player's ego. Did the music dictate that the high F be performed with a "laser-like tone" or was Joe trying to prove something?

Quote:

All the greats (and I mean TRULY GREATS) that I've watched videos of show major frustration if they get something wrong. Jeff Coffin, Michael Brecker, your stadium/amphitheater filler performers. Those who are pros but (like Dave Blumberg) said above, accept that they're not perfect, show less frustration and drive on with less visible anger.


I once played in a big band that backed Michael Brecker on a concert. Mike had flown in from overseas and was rather jetlagged; he missed some things (though he was still brilliant). But he didn't get frustrated.

What Mike and other great musicians realize, I'm sure, is that mistakes occasionally happen. Dwelling on them, however, means you aren't focused on the music: you're focused on you. If you really want, do the perfectionist thing in the practice room, not in the concert hall. You can't make music while also constantly judging yourself.

The fetishization of perfectionism I read here, by contrast, is rather disturbing. I sincerely hope no students are encouraged by it...



Post Edited (2018-07-19 20:11)

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 Re: What do pros do . . .
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2018-07-21 16:18

When (extremely rare!!!!) Principal Oboist Phila Orch Richard Woodhams chips a note, he gets **angry** from what I've seen. Usually at the reed.


It's rare like Lightning striking the same place 3 times.

http://www.SkypeClarinetLessons.com


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 Re: What do pros do . . .
Author: Ed Palanker 
Date:   2018-07-21 17:21

I can only speak for myself, a pro player for a very long time. I would always get upset with myself if I screwed up, which happened. When I was younger even a squeak would drive me crazy. A wrong note or entrance would really make me angry with myself. I learned to live with it as I matured. I still didn't like it but I learned to put it out of my mind soon after the performance. I think every pro reacts differently. It's human to error, just don't do it to often. :-) By the way, when I thought I played great, which actually did happen sometimes, I was on a high.

ESP eddiesclarinet.com

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 Re: What do pros do . . .
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2018-07-22 09:02

> It's sorta like the difference between the pro who has a great mastery of their instrument (think principles of symphonies), and a pro whose instrument is merely an extension of their being (your touring solo artists that play WITH those symphonies and their principles as their backup band). <<

The difference between those two specific cases (which are only a couple out of many others) is much more than that. Personality, circumstances, preferences, etc.

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 Re: What do pros do . . .
Author: Grabnerwg 
Date:   2018-07-24 18:34

One of the most important things to do is to keep concentrating and don't dwell on the mistake.......If you stay upset and stop thinking ahead, you'll probably make a second and a third mistake.

Here's the other point. Everybody makes mistakes - everybody. Just suck it up and keep playing.

Walter Grabner
www.clarinetxpress.com
Zinner based mouthpieces still available!

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 Re: What do pros do . . .
Author: KenJarczyk 
Date:   2018-07-24 20:03

On the occasion of the inevitable clam, I usually whisper to myself, or a standmate “Clean-up aisle 4.”

Ken Jarczyk
Woodwinds Specialist
Eb, C, Bb, A & Bass Clarinets
Soprano, Alto, Tenor & Baritone Saxophones
Flute, Alto Flute, Piccolo

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 Re: What do pros do . . .
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2018-07-25 02:46

Really, it depends on the personality, but I still do believe that the higher proficiency you are at something, the less tolerant you are of your own mistakes.

People who are used to not making mistakes are more likely to be angry at themselves than those that make a lot more. Those that make a lot more are, to a certain extent "desensitized" to it and expect it. Those who don't often make mistakes likely are more 'surprised' that a mistake happened and are probably likelier to visually react. And this isn't just in musicians, this is in ANYTHING in life. Any sport, any job, any whatever. A certain super high level of proficiency tends to breed less tolerance of oneself with errors. Otherwise it's unlikely they would have REACHED that super high level of proficiency.

That said, when I make a mistake, or squeak or something, I usually just immediately look at the clarinetist to my left or right and shake my head dissappointedly in case the conductor looks to see who made the mistake. It usually results in a punch in the arm, but is worth it to see how flushed those clarinetists get when they see they're getting blamed! lol!!!

Alexi

Platoon Sergeant
US Army Japan Band


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 Re: What do pros do . . .
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-07-25 06:29

sfalexi wrote:

> That said, when I make a mistake, or squeak or
> something, I usually just immediately look at the clarinetist
> to my left or right and shake my head dissappointedly in case
> the conductor looks to see who made the mistake. It usually
> results in a punch in the arm, but is worth it to see how
> flushed those clarinetists get when they see they're getting
> blamed! lol!!!
>
I assume you meant this humorously. :)

In my experience the one thing that's true of almost every pro or even very good amateur player I've ever worked with is the attempt not to call any more attention to the mistake than it has already drawn to itself. That means not reacting visibly, or at least not beyond a quick resentful look at a reed or a spit valve, and just going on to play the rest of the music in the performance. Any more intense reaction - whether a shoulder shrug or a temper tantrum - is held off until everyone is off-stage and the audience, at least, has mostly forgotten that anything went wrong if they noticed in the first place.

I have seen instances of memory slips by soloists who have to stop and restart. They just look at the conductor, the orchestra stops, and everything starts again at a nearby rehearsal letter or beginning of a section. Again, no emotional, angry self-flagellation on stage, just get past the problem as unobtrusively as possible. If one night when I was in high school Isaac Stern beat himself up after the concert because he got stuck in a Viotti Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra, I will (and should) never know.

Karl

Karl

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 Re: What do pros do . . .
Author: Late_returner 
Date:   2018-07-25 12:59

Alexi's method of dealing with a mistake ( glare at an adjacent clarinettist) was also explained to me by an early teacher, a fabulously talented ex Army player. I was never sure if it is a joke.
He also said that the colonel conductor had a great method of ensuring necessary practice was done, an ever present threat to remove them from Bandsmen to sharp end ordinary soldiers !



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 Re: What do pros do . . .
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-07-25 18:49

Late_returner wrote:

> He also said that the colonel conductor had a great method of
> ensuring necessary practice was done, an ever present threat to
> remove them from Bandsmen to sharp end ordinary soldiers !
>

Yes, well, when I was in the Army Field Band that was also used as a threat, and since it was at the height of our buildup in South Vietnam, most of us kept that fear at least in the back of our minds. I'm not sure how easy that would have been to accomplish in practical terms - I don't remember anyone's having been "shipped out to Vietnam" during my 3 years in the band, but the prospect was enough for most of us.
[wink]

Karl



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 Re: What do pros do . . .
Author: Clarence Beale 
Date:   2018-07-25 20:49

Paul Aviles,

there is no known recording of Ralph McLane playing Peter and the Wolf. Probably Robert Marcellus played the 1941 recording by the All American Youth Orchestra conducted by Stokowski. I believe the clarinetist was Robert McGinnis.

https://archive.org/details/PeterAndTheWolf_753

The solo starts at 10:10.

Clarence Beale



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 Re: What do pros do . . .
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2018-07-27 03:41

Quote:

Alexi's method of dealing with a mistake ( glare at an adjacent clarinettist) was also explained to me by an early teacher, a fabulously talented ex Army player. I was never sure if it is a joke.
Whenever I do it, it's certainly a joke. Can't say the same for others all the time.

I've seen both. People smiling and moving on, and people visibly basically throwing tantrums. Maybe it's just that the visible ones stick out in my mind more.

Alexi

Platoon Sergeant
US Army Japan Band


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 Re: What do pros do . . .
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2018-07-27 05:55


Dear Clarence,




Thank you for the research! In addition to an incorrect identification, all those years added more of a gut wrenching mistake than there was.


And perhaps this is the the hallmark of a real pro's boo-boo. Not many notice if at all.




............Paul Aviles



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 Re: What do pros do . . .
Author: Philip Caron 
Date:   2018-08-08 06:02

Tonight in band concert there was a big fermata at a transition with most of the band playing forte, and per the key signature (F) our note was Bb. Another clarinetist blasted B-natural - and HELD IT the full length of the fermata.

What do pros do when someone else screws up? I'm no pro, and I don't think I gave any outward sign, but I wanted to scream, and I got cramps in all my toes. I was going to say something afterward, but didn't - it was our last concert of the season anyway. Obviously at the pro level that kind of mistake doesn't happened, but things like a colleague not blending, or playing out of tune, etc. - what if any might the response be?

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 Re: What do pros do . . .
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2018-08-08 15:17

Ok, I was originally going to also post Pro reactions last time and stopped myself.


I was at an outdoor concert at Ravinia back in the late 70's featuring the London Symphony Orchestra. They were performing Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz. In the second movement Jack Brymer was playing that that great little pastoral solo that starts with the echo and ends with a simple, written Dmaj scale. At the top of that last scale, Mr. Brymer tripped up with an incredibly wrong note and rhythm. As I was watching Mr. Brymer with field glasses I clearly saw the great Maurice Murphy (played every trumpet thing you've ever heard in every John Williams score.....yes, Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark) who was seated behind him laughing (silently) like hell. In the audience just a few seats away from me, Larry Combs (principal of the Chicago Symphony at the time) was shaking his head in bemusement and fingering the easy passage with his hands.


Again.....all human.






....................Paul Aviles



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