Harry Potter a Musician?

I am sorry to say that magic simply does not exist… in practice! Performers and teachers can have an ora, or a magical quality about them, but the way they obtained that is not magic. Some are accustomed to thinking that the Chicago Symphony has some powerhouse brass players, but what that magical affect actually is, is a singular unit playing with heart and soul, together. The end product is magic, but often times the process is not.

Many times while practicing I wonder “what is the secret to *any weak spots of my playing*?”. I sometimes assume that there is something that a God of tuba could tell me that would make it happen. Perhaps I’ll dig up an ancient box filled with golden mouthpieces, and the tuba of Arnold Jacobius, son of Tubagodius. This hasn’t happened yet.

How do you get good? The answer is hard work. You must practice efficiently, frequently and with purpose. Set goals, reach them, then set more.

Never forget why you began playing, though. Be the toddler who has no idea what a tuba is or who the Chicago Symphony is, but loves brass because its shiny. Just don’t poop your pants and cry.

We may not get a letter delivered by owls saying we are invited to attend Julliard, or say Wingardium Levoisa and have a soaring high range, but we can practice our skills, meet giants (maybe tuba players), and Stupefy those with our sound… and then we can have magic in music.

One Big Family

Published by Andrew Dougherty

Andrew Dougherty is a native of Gainesville, Virginia, and joined the tuba section of The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” in December of 2020. He previously was a member of the West Point Band, which he joined in November of 2017. He holds a Bachelor of Music from George Mason University, where he studied under Andrew Hitz, and a Master of Music from the University of Maryland, where he studied under David Fedderly. Andrew formerly played with Brass of the Potomac, the ITEA winning tuba and euphonium quartet NOVATEQ, and other band, orchestral, and chamber ensembles around the Washington, D.C. area. As an educator, Andrew has taught masterclasses at the Bard Conservatory of Music, and at the Tanglewood Institute, while maintaining a private studio of dedicated students. Prior to joining the military music field, Andrew was selected to perform as principal tuba with the Disney All-American College Band of 2014 in Anaheim, California, under the direction of Ron McCurdy. As a student, he won the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” Mock Band Audition, and was selected for the United States Air Force Band’s Collegiate Symposium.

2 thoughts on “Harry Potter a Musician?

  1. Sure, when associating the word “magic” with the most fantastical fictional sourcercy it is easy to think and say it doesn’t exist.

    I have witnessed the miraculous and been transported by mystics. By openning myself to things previously thought impossible, my views have expanded to include ever more.

    It seems to me these authors and storytellers are talking about something that exists all around us. They are trying to make the unseen seen and talk about the indescribable.

    Let your faith, diligent hard work, open mind, combine with all the great works and people that inspire you into potions and other wizardry. Don’t forget or disrespect the miracles and magic all around at all times.

    George Hopkins, director of the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps said something to the effect of “Forget about the magic they think we have, let’s show them the magic we actually have.”

    Be open. It’s art and alchemy.

    1. Absolutely! My point is not so much that magic does not exist, but that there is no magical way of improving. In essence, I mean to simplify the readers’ practice and ease frustration.

      There is undeniable magic and mystic around us, magic for the indescribable and unknown. Miracles in music are, like you said, around at all times. The healing power music possesses is one of those miracles.

      In this sense I say magic to mean a secret trick or path to success. Perhaps some have found that, but for me all the whimsy exists in the result, rather than the method.

      Thanks for the comment and insight!

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