TO START... Writing has always been obvious. To write or rather to find the words, because speaking has always been obvious as well (at least in French...). More specifically, to put words on two worlds that have nourished my daily life since childhood : emotions & sensations. This world of feeling that clearly appears to us internally is not really designed at the base to come out one day. Finding the way to embody it is a quest, whatever the chosen vector, mainly music but also often the verb. I like to try to express the ineffable in more or less literary turns, often pictorial, sometimes metaphorical, sometimes frankly convoluted ... with more or less success, good taste and appropriateness. To make the invisible visible, to make the unspeakable palpable, to retranscribe the intimacy of our experiences through words, is finally to be able to communicate to others what is supposed to belong only to us. Therefore, with the acute awareness that communication is sharing, this desire to externalize the internal is the basis of what has guided my life for so long : to teach. Experience, by definition, is something which has to be lived but wich can not be shared. Nevertheless, to communicate through the discourse on emotions is to give the student new perspectives, to show him that he is not alone and to invite him, even to incite him, to provoke and live fully his own emotional experiences. In the same way, to describe precisely the subtle mechanisms of internal sensations, is to try to trigger in the other new connections, to bring to his consciousness unexplored areas and processes ignored by his own body. The mastery of a musical instrument is first of all a technical gesture whose bases are transmitted by the external. The common base of the early years of learning works in a more or less standardized way for everyone. Very quickly, however, the human comes to interfere in the appropriation of the tool and the specificities of each individual, his morphology, his mind, his energy, his emotions, his tastes, his creativity, his mood of the moment, his personal story even family’s story, come to shape in a differentiated way a gesture that hitherto was a simple technical compliance. It is when the machine is racing, when the being-musician claims his independence and proclaims openly and consciously his desire for autonomy that I intervene. For 24 years at the Conservatoire de Lyon, my students have always been between 16 and 28 years old. They are in this blessed period during which the construction of the young adult is at its height. They just come out of a world where the teacher is a source of energy, to enter another where they will have to find in themselves, the fuel of their progress. For martial arts practitioners, it would be to accompany students from the stage of the Ha to the stage of the Ri in the logic of the famous Shu-ha-ri (shu: copy and protect tradition, ha: understand and leave it, ri : transgress it, and for the best, transcend it). The pages that follow are some lines of reflection that regularly feed my classes. They always try to give inspiration to the young people who came to entrust me with their flight. May they be thanked for their patient listening. May I be forgiven for my presumptuous enterprise.
1 - SEARCH THE MASTERY 2 - THE HERITAGE 3 - ONE SOUND, EACH HIS OWN 4 - A VOICE, A SOUND 5 - EXPRESS OURSELF (to hear – to feel – to externalize – to communicate) 1 - SEARCH THE MASTERY The work on classical sound invariably begins with the enactment of 3 fundamental principles: - to have a pure sound over all the range,
- stable in all dynamic changes,
- and homogeneous on all registers (see "a contemporary saxophone”).
Purity itself implies 3 searches: no breath, no water, no metallic parasite. Homogeneity also: homogeneity of timbre, dynamic, intonation. Medium D-C#, for example, concentrates the 3 challenges of homogeneity to be solved : D too full / C# too empty; D too loud, C# too soft; D too high / C# too low... Good luck ;-) !
Once that is said, worked and assimilated, can we say that the sound is good ? Not yet, far from it. Technically, we can say that the sound is mastered. It is good to be exploited musically, the tool is ready ... but nothing, absolutely nothing is done yet !
At this stage, however advanced instrumental mastery, the game can be considered "clean". Nice !...it took many years of practice, bravo ... but be serious, a clean play, in itself, it is absolutely nothing. Nothing…Nobody falls in love with a girl because she is ... "clean" ! Nobody goes back to a restaurant because it is ... "clean" ! The sound itself requires so much more than just technical control of the constraints listed above ;-)
Then of course, the three constraints enumerated impose such a discipline, such a research and such a quantity of work that the one who manages to control them is finally able to choose "his" sound. In fact, this technical adventure will have intrinsically helped to grow. And of course, evolution is never so "chronological" (mastery then research), the path that leads to good sound being an all in itself, which is modeled, discovered and built in the long term. As everyone knows, "the goal of the trip is the trip" and it is the evolution induced by high-level technical research that will lead to the discovery of good sound. It is therefore on the common basis of this triple constraint that young apprentices will begin to chart their own path. Following the principle of "who can most can least": who masters a pure sound can seek to get a dirty sound, who masters a stable sound can seek to obtain a fluctuating sound, who masters a homogeneous sound can seek to obtain an heterogeneous one. After all, did Stan Getz have a pure sound ? No. And yet what a beautiful sound ! Did Callas always have the most stable voice ? No. And yet what a palpable emotion ! Did Rostropovitch have the most homogeneous sound ? No. And yet what depth of expression ! It should be noted that the fact of imposing oneself on total control before digressing is a pedagogical choice and not a truth in itself. One can just as easily take the gamble of personal development without pre-requisites. However, it is a logic that does not fit (in my humble opinion) to the French spirit. The pleasure of dissecting in order to understand to better control is written in our genes. This is the condition that allows ultimately to really have the choice ... even to deny the entirety of what we have built, but at least, knowingly ! "I can do it, but I choose another way". This constraint, sometimes painful, often castrating, is the price of our freedom. For the teacher, it's all about capturing the moment when there is a risk of formatting with a point of no return, this delicate moment from which you have to let go of conventions and start letting the alchemy “tradition in common/individual innovation” take its place. A mix of knowledge, modeling, inspiration and daring. "The more art is controlled, limited, worked, and the more it is free" (I.Stravinsky)
2 - THE HERITAGE Many of our former teachers lived in a fantasy that the saxophone would truly be a classical instrument like the others, the day he would have joined the orchestra. In pronouncing the word "orchestra", they spoke exclusively of the symphonic orchestra in its inherited form of the nineteenth century. That of symphonies and concertos. But Brahms is dead ! (sorry for this brutal announcement if some learn it by reading these lines ...). There is no saxophone in Tchaikovsky's symphonies and there will never be one. Ite missa est. This historical development is important because the dictat of the orchestra in the collective consciousness as THE reference of great music had a fundamental influence on the objectives set for decades in terms of sound.
In this perspective, two essential questions coexist: What is the place of a personal sound in a formation which seeks above all the collective unity? What is the role dedicated to wind instruments in the 19th century orchestra? At the first question I would answer gladly that the search for a personal sound is the opposite of a research of orchestral sound. It is not a lapidary judgment of course, the ideal of the orchestra, like the work of a choir for the singers leads to a wonderfully successful form of "living together"; but it is simply necessary to have the conscience that the desired sound is a group work, a team success in which the individual must be at the service of the collective. We know, for example, that some orchestras go so far as to recommend similar instruments in order to have a perfect kinship of sound in an instrumental section. Therefore, even if the modeling is done from the recruitment, in the choice of a musician who sticks "a priori" to the desired future sound, one can legitimately ask the question of the capacity offered to this orchestral artist to be different, and especially to the personal perspectives that will be left to him as to the evolution of his play. In the extreme, in order to stimulate reflection, it is always interesting to mention, for example, the recruitment criteria of the Vienna Philharmonic, which had great difficulty in integrating women for (alleged) homogeneity and tradition ... from when does the fact of creating a mold among the performers is a barrier to the quality of the art, even if it would be a condition, radical but effective, to the coherence of technical realization? (I pick up the copies in 5 hours ...). So I fight, by ideal of freedom (French tradition assumed it must be said) for the individualization of instrumental play, literally 1 individual = 1 type of sound. In the mission that is mine, and which is strongly oriented towards the training of soloists, my approach is understandable. It would not be the same, of course, if I taught chamber music and / or orchestral crafts... though (see in next chapter, the "competitions").
To the second question, I will answer as a composer, that the legacy of the orchestra that is transmitted to us in the orchestration techniques, if we cultivate it as it is without making it evolve, is very very reductive. In a relatively caricatural way (I admit) I would say that if you want some pastoral, you put the oboe. If you want aerial, put the flute. Nostalgic clarinet, martial trumpets, nobility horn, burlesque bassoon, exotic... saxophone. By cons, if you want the expressive... then you must use the strings ! It is without doubt on this last precise point of the expression that I fight with the most energy. I categorically refuse to be a living room potiche assigned to a vaguely decorative role. The "be beautiful and shut up" disgusts me (you will tell me that nature did not give me this chance, thank you for your sympathy...). I like to challenge the strings on their own ground. The sound must be able to convey all the nuances of the human soul. It is in this sense that the work of the sound can not be reduced to an orchestral color defined by the instrument itself, independently of who plays it. The saxophone has the power to say, to tell, to define us as a complex human being. In its etymology itself (the voice of Adolphe Sax) he can claim to be the tool of incarnation of who we are in the depths of ourselves. He has the power to be a polymorphous tool that gives us the opportunity to express ourselves as Mr. X or Mrs. Y and not only as “a saxophonist” as we can be in the orchestra and impersonally "the clarinettist" or "the flutist"(rather pretty the flutist in general... ).
Fortunately, no saxophonist is "condemned" to be exclusively an orchestral musician (it would be complicated ! ), but the trajectories of sound, guided by this ideal, have for a long time limited the sound identities considered "acceptable" in our little world of classical saxophonist.
In summarize, what is a good sound? (from my point of view means) A good sound is above all a sound that allows: 1 / to be recognized immediately as an individual, it is the question of identity. 2 / to communicate a personal emotion, it is the question of the expression.
3 - ONE SOUND, EACH HIS OWN In order to avoid any misunderstanding, it is first important to differentiate right away the good sound of the beautiful sound. The beautiful sound has purely aesthetic qualities, even cosmetic (!) which represent for me a relatively small (and especially rare) component of the sound in its entirety. These qualities are perfectly comparable to the criteria of human beauty. She is very beautiful ? happy for her. I'm ugly ? ... unlucky ! No more no less.
However, being handsome or ugly does not say anything about our respective characters, nothing about our real value, human or artistic, it says nothing about our ability to create and express interesting and touching things.
The "beautiful sound", the one that is more easily noticed in a horn than in a bassoon, an oboe than a flute (sorry friends) is a chance, a nugget gold that creates an emotion and an obvious pleasure... but I do not think that we can acquire it by work (I speak here about the sounds of exception that charm the ear from the first second as a fatal beauty catches the eye at first sight). The envelope of sound is above all a trademark. Its aesthetic qualities, different according to the people, are almost innate. The goal is not to make up or disguise to "look like", but to learn to assume, love and fully claim the sound that is our, this sound that characterizes us, in fact. "We play as we are". This adage, which seems simplistic, is not a starting postulate, unfortunately. On the contrary, it is an objective, it is even the ultimate goal I should say. It can ask for the search of an entire life to be realized, before the artist can be 100% in phase with the sound he generates. I like to take as an example 2 of my elders, who have become sincere friends for a long time, who are reference artists in the world of classical saxophone: Claude Delangle and Jean-Yves Fourmeau.
Claude has a sound that pierces you, Jean-Yves a sound that envelops you. They crystallize together 2 optics diametrically opposed to what is a good sound. I allow myself here to mention them by name because I know that putting into perspective their identities is always a source of education for the youngest, nourished that they have been by fantasies about the supremacy of their champion, the Selmer artist for some, the Yamaha artist for others.
There is actually a career level, regardless of age, from which the comparison no longer has to be. When practitioners of their level have found their way to exist through their art, the distribution of good and bad points is completely futile. They are no longer comparable because they fully assume their differences. This is the mark of great artists. It is therefore with quiet conscience that I will dissect their approach to sound, for purposes not qualitative, but educational.
Jean-Yves chose Yamaha, it is a colorful instrument, famous for its warmth. Claude chose Selmer. It is a solid instrument, renowned for its depth.
Jean-Yves gives priority to the roundness of sound.
The peripheral space nourishes the heart.
Claude gives priority to the center of sound.
The heart radiates towards the peripheral space.
In both cases, the center gives us meaning and the periphery ensures well-being. In the 2 cases, with 2 different designs, the sound is in good health. The periphery without the center in the heart would give a hollow and empty sound. The center without space around would give a dry, sad sound. It is therefore understandable that an approximate and especially partial imitation of these two models can lead, in less talented students than the originals, to mediocre results (just like Mule's vibrato, copied as is without the legendary brilliance of the original, has made many imitators sound ridiculously...). For who knows the two artists, it is also obvious that their respective sounds are like them, in their respective energies, in their respective repertoires, even in their respective physiques. They are their sound, their sound is them. This is the ideal that should guide the research of saxophonist apprentices, here is what should guide the coaching of teachers.
4 - A VOICE, A SOUND A parallel with the human voice can greatly help the artist in his quest for sound identity. She is not chosen at birth. She is what she is. By cons, it is unique so eminently valuable. She is anything but innocuous because it allows you to identify yourself instantly. When your mother calls you on the phone, when you pick and she says "Hello", you do not ask “who's speaking ? ”. Everyone knows that for sound, it's the same process. No need to ask "who is playing ? ” when you listen to Bird or Marcel Mule recordings. Nobody is born with a saxophone in the mouth of course (or your parents are damn twisted ...), but the project is ultimately to play as we speak, according to the expression, to play "as we breathe". This natural is from my point of view, the true quest for sound. From then on, as one clings to the hoarse voice of a Louis Armstrong, one has to learn to accept the strangled sounds. As we admire the nasal tone of a Billy Holiday we must learn to revel in a placement higher than usual. The goal is just to get a timbre close enough to what nature has offered you, to be able to recognize yourself in and therefore, to feel good with. It is reassuring to note that singers do the same. The voice is not programmed from birth to fill concert halls. The goal is to find the original sound identity, but in the exceptional context that the projection of the lyrical voice represents. The instrumental sound must follow this same logic. It is understandable then that what is commonly called "the sound" is in fact a combination of different parameters that includes the actual timbre, but also the articulation, the breathing and the phrasing, the energy and more generally the identity itself of the person who embodies that sound. By pushing further research, I like to differentiate the teaching given to students from different countries. Languages carry a significant share of our cultural identities. The idea of imposing a technique of sound whose sole and exclusive source for articulation, diction or even syntax would be French, would be an inestimable loss. The teacher's job will be to help cultivate a timbre, an articulation, a dynamic that comes closest to the spoken and sung voices. This while retaining the original accent, as well as the history of peoples that emerges from it. I love when my foreign students speak French, so I can fully measure what differentiates their internal resonance from mine. We all know the immeasurable charm that emerges from a language properly mastered (more or less) but tinged with a hint of exoticism that betrays a non-native language (and I'm not only talking about Monica Bellucci ...). The sound must absolutely keep this personal touch, this signature symbol of an inheritance. To want to erase it would be a terrible mistake on the part of the teacher, and a destructive denial for the student in search of identity. What a delicious mixture that a Japanese who plays American music on a French saxophone !
I often say to my foreign students: "Learn French to play French" (not that this famous "french touch" is the grail, far from it, but leaving to study in a country, better to try to understand the deep culture). The idea of a talking saxophone is clearly born in my heart and ears listening to Marcel Mule playing Ibert and the “Tableaux de Provence”. When I hear him play, I hear him speak. I hear my language. In addition, I hear French as it was spoken before I was born. Typically the style of voice, articulation, diction, nasal resonance (or recording technique) that immediately plunges us back into France during the Second World War and the post-war period ("Les français parlent aux français", "les carottes sont cuites"). The language carries in it a geography (national, even local according to the accents!) but also a clearly datable history (all the generations do not speak in the same way). I can not help but think of my own father, an opera fan, who castigated Debussy and Pelleas, saying to me: "it's anything ! we have the impression that they speak, they could say "give me the salt" or "you want bread ?"... I learned years later (at the CNSM in Music history class), that one of the major contributions of Debussy was precisely to get his rhythmic work close to the French prosody. My father was therefore right ... on the other hand, he saw this as an impoverishment, not a positive upheaval! To understand one's language is to understand oneself. To love your language is a step towards acceptance, knowledge and love of who you are. In any case it is a precious help, especially for the pedagogue who claims to be a guide to an individualized artistic expression. Some "selected pieces" about national schools ... • A South American (Colombian) student was unable to pronounce a straightforward "T". There was always a hint of Z just before. I had to abdicate and accept an Ibert who flirted deliciously with the sensual articulation of Stan Getz... • An American student whom I forced to not use his nasal resonators had a squeaky sound all the time. I realized too late that one should never go against the original language, but only harmonize with it. Educational error of my beginnings. I still ask him for forgiveness today. • A Japanese student was playing Tanada and wanting to help her find inspiration, I suggest that she imagine a film that Mysterious morning could be the soundtrack. I naturally expected her to announce a horror movie. To my surprise, she answers me "a love movie". I told her my astonishment and, marking a time for reflection she said: "yes but we in Japan, we kill for love...". I understood that day that the notion of universal music is pedagogically a dangerous shortcut. • In recent years, at my initiative, the competition entrance to the CRR saxophone has an additional test: recite a short text of choice in the language of the candidate (poem, text, monologue etc). In the opinion of all jurors without exception, this test is decisive! Candidates who make a just correct instrument performance are sometimes so brilliant, inhabited and inspired on stage, that they are accepted, hoping that they will one day be able to express themselves the same way on their instrument. On the other hand, some very suitable saxophone performers, are so bland and transparent once naked on the stage that we do not bet a cent on them.
5 – TO EXPRESS Much more important than "the sound" itself... what we put in it. And in... we put music. Warmth, passion, love, and all the nuances of the human soul !!! The sound (in the sense "sonority") is only a transmitter, a vector. It is not really the heart of our approach. What we must train is the one who plays ! The sound is only a consequence, a witness of the good health (or not) of the one who produces it. Finally always comes this thorny question, can we train people to become a musician? ..................... I absolutely believe that yes! In any case, let's say that we can wake up the musician who is in each of us and offer him the chance to express himself to the fullest of his potential. Of course, you have to agree on the term "musician" ... I often have with my "apprentices" 4 steps to go on the path of said "musicality": 1 / hear 2 / feel 3 / externalize 4 / communicate. To hear : To train a student to be a musician is first to train him to listen. Train him to hear more accurately, sharpen his acuity, to switch his perception of music in High Definition mode. For that it is necessary to open his ears on the thousands small nuggets that enclose a musical moment. Draw his attention to a breath, a slow motion, a barely perceptible color, a hesitation, a nuance of timbre or dynamics, a very slight rhythmic inflection, well... all that makes the music is alive and inhabited by the inside. We are often surprised by how little, students feel about their own play. It is also surprising that with all the cheap technologies that they now have access to (starting with their simple mobile phone), they are not more curious or eager to record themselves to listen with height how it sound and how they look. Often, students hear little or only partially because they have not been educated to do so, or at least not with a sufficient degree of sensitivity. Their "acoustic vision" is very often too global. They listen "roughly", without really concentrating, without seeking a total immersion in the intimacy of the musical language. Who still takes the time to sit on his couch and listen to a recording on an authentic hi-fi ?... I like the metaphor of high definition linked to the quality of the image. High definition means that if you zoom in on a detail, the quality of the resolution remains optimal, no blur, no pixelation, everything remains clear and precise. High definition listening follows the same process. The professional classical musician must hear things that ordinary people do not hear. He must perceive details and variations that are far more subtle than what an untrained ear can pick up. From then on, this crowd of information is brought to consciousness. And this is the purpose of this first step in learning the "musician": to bring listening to a higher level of consciousness.
This ear education is the foundation. Without it, nothing is possible. It can be worked, it can be formed, it can be learned ... so it can be taught. Good news ! It is a relatively technical apprenticeship, which requires nothing more than an immense amount of work and the guide of a demanding, patient and motivated teacher.
It takes time, it is difficult, the process is slow, complex, intimate, often laborious, but it is possible. The results are never immediate, things are unlocked in the long run. We must accept this slowness which, it is true, goes against all the expectations of instantaneous results imposed on us by the dictates of modern society. Give time back to time ... Training listening is the first step.
To feel: The second step is to become an emotionally sensitive being to this newly sharpened listening. After having put your finger on an acoustic "event", as small as it is, you have to bring the student to feel what this phenomenon harbors beauty, and what this beauty can bring him of emotion and therefore pleasure . Then comes an essential and inescapable key to education in art in general and music in particular: To marvel. To marvel is to put on all things the fresh, new, intense, admiring, astonishing and enjoyable look that a child puts on a new experience. The immense pleasure of discovery, these hormones of happiness that upset our body each time there is a "first time". The first time a child sees the sea, woaw! ... the first time he sees a tractor woaw! ... a first saxophone sound woaw! ... we must never lose this ability to “marvel”. Literally: to be amazed and admire. More poetically: seeing the wonders that music conceals. Above all, you must never lose the ability to marvel at beautiful things, even if you see them or hear them for the hundredth thousand times! It is necessary to continue to remain speechless when one opens his saxophone box and that one discovers this voluptuous form, this complex mechanics, this incomparable brilliance ;-) It is necessary to preserve this dazzled look of the kid who raises the lid for the first time and just do not believe his eyes so much “it's beauuuuuuuuuutiful ! ". Being a biker, I witness almost everyday this naïve but so precious wonder, when a kid holding his mother by the hand, points a finger to me to show "the motorbike! ;-) ". To marvel is perhaps that : “having in front of us more to love than to understand” (André Bruyère). So, when the student is able to hear, the attentive teacher must bring him to find pleasure in what he perceives, and from this pleasure, to draw a wonder constantly renewed. My friend Matjaz Drevensek will say that it's just "staying young", and he'll be right. From then on, the student will hear a slight fluctuation of tempo and will feel the delicious effect of inebriation that it gives him. He will hear a melodic or harmonic tension and will feel his body contract before enjoying a salutary relaxation. He will hear a motif that repeats itself insistently and will feel reinforced by a bestial pulsation. He will hear a quarter of a second of silence, and feel the infinitely poetic world that opens in this micro-space of purity. Hear and then feel. The base, staying active, again and again. I often affectionately insult (!) my students by treating them as little old people and comparing my class to a retirement home. Play jaded, play out of habit, routine... What horror ! You have to generate passion, envy, energy, enthusiasm ! Every day, every hour, every second ! Because to hear and feel requires attention at all times. It's exhausting. But it is the price to pay to hope eventually master our art. And yes, again, it can be transmitted, it can be educated, maintained, shared. To provoke emotions, to seek the intimate. Very often (the following will seem caricatural but my 25 years of teaching to advanced students testify), often the girls cry and leave the room. Often the boys get angry and slam the door. In both cases, this violent manifestation of internal conflict is very often salvating. Tears or anger are often the first visible signs of the artistic process: externalization. Both come out literally from the body of the one who feels (finally!) a strong musical emotion (even if it is potentialy unpleasant).
This quasi "initiatory rite" is a powerful moment in the life of the apprentice-artists because it involves the nakedness, the acceptance of oneself, and also a certain form of abandonment. When it is triggered, it is very often the moment of the learning that I prefer (without sadism neither, let us agree!). The vulnerability of these young people has always at this moment something extremely touching. It is also a very subtle moment pedagogically because it is then time to make them understand that the feeling of weakness and vulnerability that they experience, is also their best and strongest weapon to express their art with confidence and brio.
To externalize is first, to be. Do not play an emotion, but become that emotion. Do not play as if we were sad, but become sad, from the inside, truly. To shake his being up to whine if it is necessary. Because it is in the authentic lived that will be born the different expressions of "the musicality". The important thing is never the force of the emotion that one expresses but the force with which one expresses this emotion (read again 2 times that one because it is important!). By this I mean that one can and must express weakness (for example) with force. We must express humility with force. Vulnerability, doubt, tranquility, loitering, absence even, with force! It seems natural (and is actually easier technically and mentally) to express the emotions of the rage type, pride, violence, power ... with force. But to externalise is to show what is happening inside, everything that happens! Not just the obvious and caricatural emotions. It is in this sense that point number 1 (ear education) is essential. To externalize is a truly personal step because the artist must find and even decide what he chooses to externalize. Much of the artistic identity is played at this very moment. What do we decide to let outside filter ? what do we decide to let see of our inner world ? What emotions deserve to be embodied and emphasized ? What do we feel with so pride that we feel valued by showing it ? What do we feel so beautiful in us that it is worthwhile to be revealed to others ? And in a more contextual way: What emotions does the music that we interpret require to be valued in what proportions with regard to the different styles practiced ? With what balance between our ego and the intrinsic power of this music ? Externalizing therefore also requires learning, on a personal level above all, but also more pragmatically stylistically. To help the student to express himself in the respect of his natural identity is really the best way to bring him to reveal his musicality with accuracy. We do not turn a shy into a killer. On the other hand, one can bring a shy person to fully assume what characterizes him, and to become so proud of who he is that he will claim his shyness as a touching trademark. We do not make a warrior a lamb. On the other hand, one can bring a warrior to use his strength in a positive way, to cultivate a duty of protection, to help others to strengthen themselves and thus to find a form of peace. Hear-feel-exteriorize ... and here is revealed the last point of learning to "musicality" ... communicate.
To communicate : From the capacity to hear will come a competence and thus a confidence in oneself. Ability to feel will generate sensitivity and therefore self-esteem. From the capacity to express oneself will be born an identity and a peculiarity that brings others to oneself. It is already a lot to arrive at this stage of "musicality". But to communicate is to radiate. This is the definition that my teacher of Aikido was rightly waiting for the question "What is a teacher? ". Answer: "It is someone who radiates". And on stage, it's all about that. It is without doubt here that the process reaches certain limits. - To make the listening fine and intuitive, it is possible. - Translating these discoveries into enjoyable sensory experiences is possible. - Incarnate and express these emotions, by dint of work, it is possible with more or less talent. - Communicate these pleasures to others through the instrument alone, see opportunities for fun where others see only rhythms and notes, to react and be creative in real time by perpetually adapting to the multiple twists that art generates, no longer play but be, create new emotions, ... it's hard to transmit :-( Communication, nonverbal I mean, is that radiance that touches the soul of those who listen. It is a musical talent that can be revealed, amplified, educated and cultivated if it is already present ... but which, to my knowledge, can not be created from scratch. Nevertheless, if the first three points (listening-sensitivity-expression) have been correctly transmitted, I think we can say without blushing that we now have to deal with "a musician".
We, teachers are often caught in the throat by the short courses. There is so much to do on a technical level, that this work of substance is rarely lavished, in any case rarely on an individual basis. And that's where the bottom hurts. This education in musical sensibility can be collective if the objective is to train music lovers, those who receive the music. But if the goal is to build stage musicians, those who give, those who create, then this sensitivity must be individualized. I allow myself to say it, it is possible for all, and it is never too late. The privilege I enjoy at the Conservatoire de Lyon is that most of the students are already strong technically. I can therefore afford the luxury of focusing my support on this process of listening, music education and awakening to artistic identity. Together, we spend hours looking for (and finding in the best case) this damn SOUND ! ;-)
TO CONCLUDE : When does the search for sound stop ? ... for the artist, never of course ! We evolve, we shape an own identity that is constantly evolving. Then this sound, which is us, is a reflection of our soul, is metamorphosed at the same time as our body and our mind. It fills up or empties itself, becomes stronger or weaker, becomes enamored or saddened by the events and emotions that punctuate our lives. For the most unlucky among us, he will even take some wrinkles, lose his hair and wear a long white beard :-))) ... ... For the teacher on the other hand, it happens that a very advanced student, reaches during his studies a kind of "phase", a clear moment during which his technical competence, his artistic identity of the moment and the worked repertoire are balanced perfectly. This is the moment that I probably prefer most in all my years of teaching : this rare moment where I feel it would be hypocritical to seek again and where I make a duty and an immense joy to let go of this sentence oh so enjoyable: "... your training is over, I have nothing to teach you any more ...". But how do I like it !!! This alignment of planets does not happen much, I must admit, but it is each time a moment of intense emotion for the modest teacher that I am, and, I feel it well, for the brave student who faces me. I am not one of those punctilious teacher, long distance runners, who are able to start a student to 8 years and bring it 12 years later to join the CNSM in Paris (best regards Philippe Lecocq). Achievement as a teacher happens for me when the sound and the student are one. When I can say by listening to this young adult who arrived almost silent in my class 3 years ago, "that's it, he/she communicates !" I could cry sometimes, it's so beautiful. After, the years pass and the sound takes its place little by little. I am always touched (and flattered, the ego does not go away like that ...) when former students come back to see me just so that we check together their "good sound health". Some start careers far more promising than mine, but still they trust these old ears to check, again and again, purity, stability, homogeneity, internal, external, projection, listen, feel, externalize, communicate, purity, stability, homogeneity, internal, external, projection, to listen, to feel, to externalize, to communicate, purity, stability, homogeneity, internal, external, projection, to listen, to feel, to externalize, to communicate...