We've all heard of "old wives' tales" - "A stitch in
time saves nine"; "A rolling stone gathers no moss" etc...but
has anyone ever really tested these old saws?
OK, so I can't see many people tossing rocks down a mountain to see how
much moss they collect - it's 'something we all know'.
In any trade, profession or hobby there are people who pass on accepted
wisdom with a nod and a sly wink - and on the whole such advice is usually
well heeded. But in the music business in particular there seems to be
an air of mystery surrounding some of the things many people hold to be
I'm inclined to think that it's because there are two distinct levels
of expertise at play (excuse the pun). On the one hand you have the musicians
themselves, many of whom have reached the giddy heights of stardom - and
whose word is subsequently taken as gospel on all matters pertaining to
But there's another arm of expertise at work - the people who make and
maintain the tools of the trade.
Unfortunately, knocking the dents out of a saxophone is somewhat less
glamourous than playing Carnegie Hall and repairs seldom feature in the
centre section of arts magazines, and what gets said there carries weight.
And so myths are propagated.
I've seen first hand how it works. Clients tell me that such and such
is a good idea 'cos so and so told them it was, and so and so must be
right 'cos he's the teacher. And if you find that teacher and ask him
why such and such is so he will tell you that so and so told him...and
so and so must be right 'cos he was his teacher.... and so on, ad infinitum.
But here's where the buck stops!
In this section of the site I shall be going back to basics. I shall be
taking nothing for granted.
Unlike most players I have the facilities to test the theories - if I
have to saw a clarinet in half to see how something works then that's
exactly what I'll do.
I hope to be able to demonstrate and prove why something works....or doesn't
work - so that you are able to make clear and precise choices based not
on hearsay, but on demonstrable facts.