The Second E: Effectiveness

Efficiency was defined in the previous post as being able to accomplish something with the least waste of time and effort. Effectiveness applies to the quality of the final product, it is the degree to which addressed problems are solved. As I like to say: Doing it right.

What is right? It is not doing it perfectly: Perfection is an unattainable and unrealistic goal that often leads to frustration. Trying to achieve something to the best of your ability is a sounder solution, as well as a more realistic and attainable goal.

At some point we have all become slaves to routine and have unconsciously been more permissive and complacent regarding things that we normally would not allow: a slower and sloppier slide technique, an improper playing posture, shallower breathing, etc. Why does this happen? It is likely the result of issues with concentration, enthusiasm, or simply not being aware of what is required to perform an activity to the best of our own ability.

A proper level of concentration is needed in order to fulfill a goal. An inappropriate level of concentration can cause harm in either extreme: not being concentrated enough can drive us to overlook the treatment of important aspects that could lead to improvement, while being concentrated beyond need can prevent us from attaining aspects that require a simple and natural approach.

It is difficult to be able to perform at our highest level when there is no disposition to do so. Following the same principle as concentration, if excessive enthusiasm (or extreme impulse) is given to the practice of one mere aspect, we spend all our time on that one aspect, rather than giving appropriate attention to all important aspects.

I remember when I used to play computer games, each had a number of minimum requirements that had to be met in order to assure adequate performance of the game. If they were not met, the computer struggled and the game would run poorly or not at all. I believe that similar minimum requirements combine in order to achieve the highest level of performance. There are three aspects that have to be understood and have to work properly: The breathing, the embouchure (a very good study about the embouchure’s performance can be found at, and the slide technique. It is not enough to work on them separately: The way we manage their practice and combine them in performance is extremely important.

Are there other concepts that could insure quality without increasing quantity of the study? There certainly are, but that would be in another post.

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