Song and Wind

One of Jacobs’ most famous phrases is Song and Wind. During his lecture at 1995 International Brassfest in Bloomington, Indiana, he explained:

"My approach to music is expressed as Song and Wind. This is very important to communicate a musical message to the audience.
"This approach is one of simplicity as the structure and function of the human being is very complex, but we function in a simple manner. When we bring it to the art form it becomes very simple.
"Song, to me, involves about 85 percent of the intellectual concentration of playing an instrument, based on what you want the audience to hear.
"You cannot get anywhere without wind. If you think of a car, the wheels will not turn without an energy source—the engine. Brass players must have a source of energy, as there must be a vibrating column of air for the instrument to amplify and resonate. The musical engine is the vibration of the lips. However, the lips cannot vibrate without wind.
"When we combine Song and Wind, the musical message, song, is the principal element comprising 85 percent of the consciousness. The remaining 15 percent is the application of the breath, wind, to fuel the vibration of the lips."

Adolph Herseth puts it another way, "You have to start with a very precise sense of how something should sound. Then, instinctively, you modify your lip and breathing and the pressure of the horn to obtain that sound"

Wind is the energy source used to fuel the conceptual message of the song from the brain. His emphasis of Song and Wind shows how much importance Jacobs five to musical conception. "Study the product, not the method. Mentalize music by making statements, not by asking questions."
(page 138 – 139)

Although a little analyzing can be harmless, over-analyzing can cause problems. If the mind is flooded with positive thoughts, it will perform in a positive manner. By over analyzing, questions are being asked such as "Am I doing this right?" The mind is flooded with negative thoughts. Jacob states, "Don’t get caught on what not to do, instead concentrate on what to do."

The mind has the capability for a certain amount of information. If the mind is flooded with too many thoughts, it will overload. Concentration is lost and the note is missed – caused by over-analyzing. Jacobs simply calls this "paralysis by analysis"
(page 142)

Used with permission from Brian Frederiksen, WindSongPress