Not “the think system” but almost

In The Music Man, “Professor” Harold Hill pretends that he has a new way of teaching how to play musical instruments, “the think system”. You have to think of what you want to play, and you can play it. Of course the audience knows it’s a scam, and when he finally has to get the school band to perform in public the first time, he crosses all his fingers, exhorts the kids, “Think!!” and launches into the concert, fully expecting to be tarred and feathered when the parents realize he hasn’t taught them anything; but “the think system” does something, and enough music comes out of the cacaphony that the parents are delighted.

I’m here to say yes, the only way I can get difficult passages out of the trumpet is to concentrate on each note and think of what I want to hear. It’s hard to think of fast music, I mean to think accurately of every single note, as fast as you want to play it. For me, the thinking is as hard as moving my fingers correctly. It’s not thinking of where the fingers go, it’s thinking of the sound I want to produce that matters. I don’t mean to say that thinking is enough; I’ve been working on those difficult passages for a year or a year and a half and still can’t play them as quickly or cleanly as I want to; but without the thinking there’s no chance at all.

One Response to “Not “the think system” but almost”

  1. Chris Says:

    Well we all know that the mind can accomplish powerful things. Why NOT music?