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Keeping It Simple

I have this cartoon clip posted outside my studio, I even keep a copy of it on my desk and I’ve had it for a very long time. It's a reminder, a reminder to keep things as simple as I can. Teach simple, consistent concepts. Practice with simple diligence and purpose. Come up with simple solutions for sometimes-complex problems or obstacles.

When I was a student, I made a trip to Chicago and took a lesson with Mr. Arnold Jacobs (former tubist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra). I ended up having a total of four lessons with Mr. Jacobs over the course of six months (which excitingly led to several lessons with Mr. Adolph “Bud” Herseth). It was the first time I heard the phrase “over analysis leads to paralysis.” At the time, I would overthink everything and I didn’t seem to get as far as I wanted (and yes, I was also very impatient, something that continues to this day I might add). I was literally “inside my head” so much that I would not allow my self to “let it go.”

I feel that at some point in our development, we need to understand and have faith in ourselves in order to let go. We need to be comfortable enough to not overthink ourselves into oblivion. Concentrate on the final product. The road to the final product may be long, it may be arduous, but it's the only road that matters. By keeping the solutions simple and having a clear & simple concept, I was able to reach that product. But then, I had yet another road to travel – to stay true to that path! If you follow the path, the road to learning is never ending.

“You’re overthinking this, Phil.” Keep it simple: a lesson in life, not just trumpet.

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