When I first began my relationship
as a clinician for the "Yamaha Corp.", more than a few years
ago, I immediately realized what a special privilege I was being afforded.
A major instrument company was bestowing their trust in me to directly
channel my passion for music into the young, who are potentially our
most valuable resource. Most will agree that without the interest
of the young the future of any endeavor is doomed to extinction. A
clinician has the rare responsibility to pass a torch to others who
will subsequently light the flame for future generations, thereby insuring
the integrity and longevity of the entire musical experience.
I would like to recollect my
own experience, offering purely subjective suggestions and philosophies.
In addition, kindly allow me to state the changes I have encountered
throughout my years of involvement in this highly rewarding enterprise.
A clinician would do well to
begin to think of themselves as a small business, both utilizing and
implementing proven business techniques to alert their potential marketplace
to their availability. In making this investment in yourself, do not
foolishly wait for your telephone to ring, but network aggressively
to make it ring. Compile an extensive promotional kit with an accurate
(and hopefully true) biography. As a performance is almost always the
culmination of your appearance, begin to amass a body of arrangements
of varying difficulty levels that both showcase your talents and allow
for student contributions. Organize a list of potential events you would
like to participate in and be prepared to actively follow through on
every conceivable contact you may be exposed to.
The potential of events available
to the clinician is vast indeed, so in the beginning strive not for
quantity but rather for valuable experience in sculpting your presentation.
Realize in your networking that your efforts are a direct reflection
of yourself and strive for the highest degree of professionalism constantly.
An advertisement that includes all of your available services should
be place periodically in our major trade magazines.
A sound small business technique
requires the initial investment of capital before eventual acquisition
hopefully occurs. Despite your best efforts, a clinician must be prepared
to endure varying periods of activity as well as outright rejection.
Remember your bleak periods when great fortitude is required in honoring
back to back to back commitments. It is a pleasant problem being too
busy, but a real problem not to be. An "eyes on the prize"
mentality coupled with tenacity, persistence and perseverance are the
qualities necessary to achieve eventual success.
Upon arriving at your event,
seek to establish an immediate rapport by exuding positive energy, enthusiasm
and good humor. Each clinician will eventually develop their own style
and approach but remember that you are essentially an invited guest
in someone's home. Both students and directors are usually highly perceptive,
impressionable and sensitive. Explain that a performance is a celebration
of human spirit and strive to eliminate anxiety and tension whenever
possible. That success directly depends on one's adaptability to the
circumstances they encounter. Convey that the greatest error any musician
can commit is not a major mistake in interpretation, but is in not striving
to overcome obstacles and consistently provide their supreme effort.
Further render that failure can never be truly experienced by those
who have given their maximum effort, but is guaranteed to be experienced
by those who have not. These cornerstones epitomize true professionalism.
As you may be a "live"
representation of what others aspire to be, walk what you talk and be
"real". A clinician's very livelihood depends almost entirely
on the reputation they have acquired and it is wise (and simply good
manners) to avoid gossip in the inevitable shop talk you will encounter.
A positive reputation that has taken years to evolve can suffer severe
damage in an alarmingly short time. Courtesy extended usually transforms
into courtesy afforded. Take the time to announce students names to
your audience and explain that the front microphone is not an enemy
to be feared, but rather a friend to be enjoyed. Finally congratulate
all those involved for their contribution and state that, as the future
caretakers of our heritage, it is their responsibility to pass the torch
we mentioned earlier on to others. Always venture to gently guide, reassure,
complement and inspire, the last of which can hopefully be accomplished
by playing your ass off!
The changes I have observed
throughout the years are directly related to the explosion of technology
inherent in "the information age". The opportunities afforded
by the Internet were previously unimaginable to past generations. A
personal web site is a virtual requisite for the clinician, allowing
for direct communication with event coordinators and as a nearly limitless
venue for the exchange of information and advertisement. Personal organizers
have enabled the clinician's entire network to be at their fingertips
as needed. Cell phones have made it possible to communicate with nearly
anyone except of course Houdini, who despite his infamous final promise
has remained somewhere beyond known roaming charges. Faxes have allowed
for the instant return of the inevitable lost portion of a chart as
well as the rapid finalization of contracts, which I advocate being
implemented for each individual event. A clinician who unconditionally
gives their spirit to others must recognize the importance of having
their own spirit replenished and reinvigorated.
Subsequent reading of your e-mails,
which may state what your appearance has meant to a student or attendant,
can serve as a source of sustenance to your spirit by which the entire
process perpetually rejuvenates itself. Educational aids available today
were scarcely conceivable but a few short years ago. Perhaps future
technology will evolve to the point when "Beam me up Scotty"
will finally be a reality.
Most clinicians will readily
admit that they receive far more from the experience than they can ever
hope to espouse. It is a rare individual that can transcend their passion
into a vital living reality. At the conclusion of an event I usually
experience a wonderful feeling of fulfillment and "afterglow".
This priceless state allows me to feel that I can almost fly home unassisted,
which may not be a bad idea considering the present climate. In closing,
I am reminded that no less a legend than John Birks "Dizzy"
Gillespie spent his entire career openly sharing his vast musical knowledge
with anyone that was respectful and receptive. He truly realized what
inevitably the clinician must also:
IN ORDER TO TRULY KEEP
SOMETHING, YOU MUST ULTIMATELY GIVE IT AWAY.
Yours in music,
Yamaha trumpet clinician
Summit Records recording artist
USAF Airmen of Note (Ret.)