The Well-Rounded Player

What does this really mean? For me, it is a mindset that needs to be established from the very beginning. I consider it a type of cross training. In sports, if you only train for one position, you limit yourself from the rest of the game. That is the basic premise. A well-rounded player should not limit his/her mindset or game.

In music, it is important to know that all aspects of playing are important. All the genres have a place in the learning curve. Now I understand that some genres are more interesting, exciting or more fun, but being a well-rounded player means that you have the versatility and knowledge of all the genres. What am I talking about? I am talking about the Classical genres of the different time periods: Medieval,  Renaissance,  Classic, Romantic and Twentieth Century. Twentieth Century music includes Dixie , Blues, Swing, Jazz, Broadway, and Contemporary. Each style has rules about phrasing, dynamics, interpretation, and articulation. To limit yourself to one genre is leaving a hole in your development.

As a young student, I was told that I had to play in the concert band if I wanted to play in pep band, jazz ensemble, or orchestra. Teachers don’t want one ensemble getting all the credit or all the good players, and need to spread the talent around to have an all-encompassing program. The groups are stronger and the program has depth with that plan. As a student, I had to develop the techniques associated with each style.

So with the thought that I should have balance in my playing experience, I continue to play in different groups that have different foci.  I still am discovering the aspects of proper performance, and it is helpful to be  surrounded by many players with a variety of playing experiences.

-Chris Peters

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