Alison Balsom’s Italian Concertos

Alison Balsom silver
Alison Balsom (Photo: Positively Puzzled)

There’s a lot to like about this video of classical trumpeter Alison Balsom promoting her new(ish) 2010 album of Italian Concertos. First is the way she’s totally into the music, moving to the pulse and absorbed in the sound. When they practice, great musicians move to the pulse (some dance, some clap, sometimes all you gotta do is nod ya head). Then take a look at how relaxed Balsom is as she plays. With one foot up (and Uggs on), it’s not “correct” posture, but what’s more important is to be relaxed and breathing well.

Want to learn more about the best ways to practice? Get an e-mail with a discount code when The Practice of Practice by Jonathan Harnum is published (June, 2014). To learn more about the book, check out a sample from The Practice of Practice.

Then she talks about the concertos on the album, all of which were written for the violin or the oboe. Again, lots of great players practice things (and perform them) that weren’t originally for their instrument. Rex Martin related advice to me he got from Arnold Jacobs, who said there isn’t a lot of beautiful music written for the tuba (they’re both superb tuba players if you’re unfamiliar with them). And so, Rex said he often plays pieces/etudes/melodies written for the trumpet, and sometimes, for a good workout, he plays them in the trumpet range!

And then there’s a shot of Ms. Balsom talking through the music with some colleagues (great music doesn’t just spring out fully formed, it takes thought, collaboration and attention to detail); and then Balsom talking about how she loves a challenge, another trait masters in any field have: they love to tackle challenges that push them to greater achievement.

Anyway, like I said, there’s a lot to love about this video (like that rotary valve piccolo trumpet), so I’m going to just shut up and let you watch it.

Want to learn more about the best ways to practice? Get an e-mail with a discount code when The Practice of Practice by Jonathan Harnum is published (June, 2014). To learn more about the book, check out a sample from The Practice of Practice.

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