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Trombone for dummies

0 Robert Levine

I’m a relative newbie to FaceBook, and continue to be amazed by what gets put up there by friends (both real ones and the FaceBook kind). I’ve seen wonderfully funny things, very suggestive self-portraits, blow-by-blow accounts of childbirth, and countless examples of Too Much Information. If blogging is the Internet’s Ego, then Facebook is its Id; filled with primal psychic energy and completely lacking in inhibitions.

I wondered if I had run across one of the Id moments a fews ago, when I read something on FaceBook from a colleague about another colleague. The actual post was a YouTube video of an excruciatingly bad performance on horn of the main theme from Star Wars, and the comment “the Holly Mulcahy of the horn.” Well, this seemed a little mean, given that Holly is one of our violin subs (as well as an active blogger here.) To compare her to the infamous Butcher of Star Wars Themes seemed not only mean but completely unjustified.

But I had the chance to talk to Holly this week (half our sub list was in town to to play Bruckner 8), and it turned out that it really was a compliment, albeit a rather convoluted one. For Holly is famous on YouTube for the following video:

The story behind the video is on her blog. It’s well worth reading, especially the lessons she learned:

…as easy as it is for me to lay down a Mozart Symphony or Tchaikovsky orchestral work on stage, I worry about the perceptions of audience and boards. If it is so easy, why are we being paid?

My sobering experience on trombone has proven the obvious though. While I have worked very hard on violin, the years went by and it was hard to comprehend what really went into it: years of training, hours of practice and rigid determination. Of course it goes with out saying, but you really don’t notice and appreciate until you start over on something unfamiliar.

That’s an insight that’s worth however many times Ravel turned over in his grave.


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