Some thoughts on trust.
A topic that has frequented my mind lately is the value of trust in regard to music making. A call to create music is a passion-driven one, and though it is fueled by love it can be spotted with doubt and uncertainty. By learning to trust what is, what has been, and what will be, you as a musician can create a solid and organic foundation upon which to further build your musicianship.
“Trusting what is” aids us in our ability to collaborate; it is a way we can stay present in the process of creating. When I play, I trust that the conductor knows what they want and is giving good time. I trust that my colleagues are prepared and have their ears open. I trust what I am doing with my part enough to be able to concentrate on the other parts in conjunction with my own. This type of trust allows us to stay out of the doubtful and negative thoughts that poke at us mid-performance, and instead allow us to focus on others instead of ourselves. The best chamber musicians and ensemble players listen to their peers far more than they do the sound coming from their own bell. Of course, this type of trust can only be achieved with the proper preparation beforehand.
“Trusting what has been” allows us to acknowledge our past in a way that helps us to let go of it. This is how we trust our training. This particular aspect of trust is commonly discussed amongst brass players seeking to elevate their artistry and leave the practice room off of the stage. For example, I practice a bit of breathing every day. Simple exercises to stretch my body and work on achieving a comfortable flow of air. I trust that when I get onstage and take a big breath in, that the breath coming out will create a beautiful sound. Additionally, moments of excellence in rehearsals with peers are something to hold on to and remember. By trusting the work that the group has put in and acknowledging things that have gone well, you are freeing yourself to allow the performance to happen as it will, without getting caught up in the minutia.
“Trusting what will be” is difficult skill for a lot of musicians, including myself. I believe this type of trust can be built using the first two types that have been discussed. By knowing that you are in the right place at the right time, doing what you are supposed to be doing, you can let go of your anxiety about the future and simply exist in the present. Whatever will happen in the future is inevitable, and if you trust in your past work and your current efforts, you may rest easy in knowing that everything will work itself out.
Being present is the key to creating amazing music and fulfilling collaborations. Through developing trust in the different aspects of your artistry, you can venture forth into new opportunities and bold musical ideas knowing that your training, your goals, and your fellow musicians have your back.
The beautiful town square in New Bedford, MA. Playing with the South Coast Brass Band.